I’ve been asked a couple of times to do a Green Bay Packers-specific mock draft and a Packers-specific big board over the last few weeks. We’re one week out from the big day, so I decided to finally do it.
I’m not going to rank players how I like them, though. Instead, I took a look at the trends that Green Bay has had over the years. For offensive players, I started with the 2006 draft class, when head coach Mike McCarthy was brought in. For defensive players, I started with the 2009 draft class, when defensive coordinator Dom Capers was brought in.
I narrowed my view from all draft picks to first- through fourth-round picks. Looking after that will fog up the true tendencies of this front office, as most late round picks are just fliers. From there, I eliminated players who didn’t seem to fit the Packers’ criteria.
Cutting Down the Board
QB: Semi-mobile quarterbacks are the trend, but with Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley on the roster, I don’t think the squad is going to draft a passer in the first four rounds. I’m not listing the position.
RB: Eddie Lacy doesn’t fit the mold of the other running backs that Ted Thompson-Mike McCarthy have drafted. Every other back caught a significant amount of balls in their final college seasons. With Lacy already on the roster, you’d assume they’d be looking for the type of running back they typically target: Third-down backs. Eliminate players who aren’t in the ballpark of 7-second 3-cone, 4.55-second 40-yard dash and 200 pounds. Mandatory that they caught at least 20 balls in their final season.
WR: This is a trend of Ted Thompson’s: Every position has one outlier. At receiver, it’s Randall Cobb. Look for receivers 5’11” or taller, ballpark of 4.55-second 40-yard dash and 7.05-second 3-cone.
H: I had to look at all tight ends instead of just the first four rounds, as Ted Thompson has only taken two that early in his history with the team. When accounting for Jermichael Finley’s odd combine-pro day split, all of Green Bay’s true tight ends have been great athletes, despite their size. Ballpark of 4.7-second 40-yard dash, 7.3-second 3-cone and 4.55-second shuttle.
OL: Other than Jason Spitz, who was drafted in the first year of the Ted Thompson-Mike McCarthy marriage, every offensive lineman they’ve taken early in the draft has been a college blindside pass protector. Players who were never left tackles. Ballpark of 7.75-second 3-cone and 4.75-second shuttle.
LB: The Packers have only drafted one (Jake Ryan) off the ball linebacker in the first four rounds since Dom Capers has been the defensive coordinator of the team. Ryan played on the edge for Michigan at times, which falls in line with a Green Bay trend: moving edge defenders to inside linebacker. Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, Nate Palmer and Carl Bradford have all moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker. Look for players who have OLB-ILB skill sets.
CB: Avoiding short cornerbacks started in Green Bay. Kick anyone off the board who is shorter than 5105. Ballpark of 4.6-second 40-yard dash and 7.1-second 3-cone.
S: Green Bay just drafted a first-round safety two years ago, and Morgan Burnett is making elite strong safety money. If they target a safety in this class, it’s more than likely a “Bat” third safety for package downs. I’m not including the position on the big board.
These are the first- through fourth-round grades for players on NFL Draft Scout who qualified through the filters. Here’s your Packers-specific board. If nothing else, it’s a 57-man watch list.
Using this board as the pool to make selections from, I redrafted selections from Dane Brugler’s (CBS Sports) seven-round mock draft.
1st: Kenny Clark, DL, California
— Justen Gammel (@gamscout) March 12, 2016
Very nice by Kenny Clark but I would like to see him try to disengage and make a TFL pic.twitter.com/IwZpLzkFr3
— Rolo (@RoloEdits) February 23, 2016
Kenny Clark does his best to try stop this run by himself, walks his guy right back. almost into the lap of the RB. pic.twitter.com/e3VNAgUkfA
— Rolo (@RoloEdits) February 21, 2016
Kenny Clark DRIVING his guy back pic.twitter.com/gU56Pwp0up
— Rolo (@RoloEdits) February 20, 2016
Watched UCLA DT Kenny Clark and I wouldn't say he's the weakest DT in the draft pic.twitter.com/GgkkzSO302
— KP (@KP_Show) January 12, 2016
— Justen Gammel (@gamscout) December 28, 2015
B.J. Raji retired. Josh Boyd ended the season on IR. Mike Pennel is on a four-game suspension. Christian Ringo is more of a spelling 3-tech behind Mike Daniels than a true starter. Datone Jones got moved to outside linebacker years after Mike Neal was moved to outside linebacker. Jerel Worthy and Khyri Thornton didn’t pan out.
The only defensive lineman other than Mike Daniels who is consistent that the Packers can field on in Week 1 is Letroy Guion, who was facing gun and drug charges last offseason. Clark is a 20-year-old who may not look explosive on paper, but he’s a 3-technique in a nose tackle’s body, very similar to a young Raji. Clark can play left defensive end early on in his career, where he’ll see much fewer double-teams, but I wouldn’t count him out as a nose guard long term, either.
LE: Kenny Clark vs. Josh Boyd
Nose: Letroy Guion vs Mike Pennel
UT: Mike Daniels, Christian Ringo
If you have one hole, fill it twice to be safe. I’ll take a defensive lineman over a linebacker any day, especially in Dom Capers’ defense.
2nd: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Tyler Boyd starring in 'Press Cover This' https://t.co/J9HZ4YRHyB
— Laurie Horesh (@LaurieHoresh) February 26, 2016
2015 Tyler Boyd https://t.co/4pFpTm2ffW
— Russell Clay (@RussellJClay) February 13, 2016
I think we’re making a mistake by assuming that the Green Bay Packers are fine with bringing Jordy Nelson back and calling it good on receivers. If Will Fuller or Josh Doctson are there in the first round, I think they pull the trigger. They seem to want another outside receiver, based on who they’ve brought in for interviews. They typically bring in UDFA types, but when half of their reported visits are at the same position, you begin to wonder.
#1 outside: Jordy Nelson
#2 outside/slot: Randall Cobb
#3 outside: ???
Is it Jared Abbrederis? Are we ready to hand it off to Jeff Janis after a couple of late games? Is Davante Adams even going to make the 2016 roster?
This is a guy who carried the entire Pittsburgh Panther offense his final year. Boyd is a very consistent receiver who reminds me a bit of Keenan Allen. A second-round, jack of all trades master of none receiver for the Packers? There’s a history of this.
3rd: Hassan Ridgeway, DL, Texas
Hassan Ridgeway vs OK State was basically like a highlight tape. Showed versatility in his assignments. Wow moments pic.twitter.com/vT6XJbQw71
— KP (@KP_Show) March 28, 2016
I’d damn near demand inside linebacker by now if Ridgeway wasn’t on the board. Again, Green Bay heads into the season with two quality starters at a three-player unit that’s the most heavily-rotated in the sport. If an athletic fat guy falls into your lap, you take him no questions asked. Ridgeway is an upside guy who might be one of the 20 best players in the draft, if he develops. Green Bay would head into 2017 with their five line of scrimmage players locked up: Datone-Ridgeway-Clark-Daniels-Clay.
4th A: Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin
Good strength, balance and determination here from Wisconsin OLB Joe Schobert, running through 2 of nationa… https://t.co/iCclAAKOny
— Rob Rang (@RobRang) January 22, 2016
Ted Thompson likes to convert failed or undersized athletic pass-rushers to inside linebackers. Schobert is too short to be considered as a pass-rusher by many, but he has a lot of Jake Ryan-Carl Bradford in him, good or bad. If he’s still there in the fourth round, expect him to be the pick.
4th B: Charles Tapper, EDGE, Oklahoma
charles tapper, he had a nice week in mobile https://t.co/yHT0OMUprY
— hornets fan account (@SundayFiasco) January 31, 2016
charles tapper, jesus pic.twitter.com/xHGrg6Kzjy
— hornets fan account (@SundayFiasco) March 2, 2016
Tapper is hard to explain. He runs down Big 12 running backs and receivers like Amari Cooper from behind, but he played in a frog stance for his last two years at Oklahoma that asked him to be a run-first defender. His former coach Jerry Montgomery is now on the Packers coaching staff, which loves to bring in freak athletes on the edge. Recently, they’ve brought in bigger 3-4 outside linebackers with Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Mike Neal and Datone Jones. He can develop into a power rusher opposite of Clay Matthews.
4th C: Paul Perkins RB, UCLA
PAUL PERKINS!!!! https://t.co/cJHGbmeDTY
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) April 7, 2016
Why hello Paul Perkins https://t.co/K4FU5WhogW
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) April 6, 2016
Paul Perkins (24) isn't afraid to stick his face in the fan…squares up a DT right here. https://t.co/tpGSyD3fVK
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 13, 2016
Green Bay has been looking for someone to spell Eddie Lacy on passing downs for a while now. No more Randall Cobb in the backfield, limiting their already thin wideout unit. He can catch. He can block. He can cut. He’s a third-down back who can push for a starting gig if Lacy’s body isn’t right.
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley
RB: Eddie Lacy, Paul Perkins, James Starks
WR: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Tyler Boyd, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Davante Adams
H: Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo, Aaron Ripkowski, Kennard Backman
OL: David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga, J.C. Tretter, Don Barclay, Lane Taylor
DL: Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Kenny Clark, Hassan Ridgeway, Josh Boyd, Christian Ringo
EDGE: Clay Matthews (ILB), Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Charles Tapper, Jayrone Elliott
LB: Jake Ryan, Sam Barrington, Joe Schobert, Carl Bradford
CB: Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, Ladarius Gunter
S: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde (CB), Chris Banjo
SPT: Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Rick Lovato
Suspended/Injured: WR Ty Montgomery, DL Mike Pennel, CB Demetri Goodson