Oct. 31, 2016
Mid-season Packers mock draft
Yes, it is late October, but it is never too early in the season to talk 2017 NFL Draft. As it is, Green Bay would have another mid-to-late 20s pick. With the Packers having a number of free agents, I will take my stab at what the Green and Gold will do in the upcoming draft.
Round 1: Desmond King, CB, Iowa
This just seems like a Packers-type pick. He is a ball-hawk in the secondary. He is also a very solid tackler and can even return kicks if need be. With Sam Shields’ concussion history, I have a gut feeling that the Packers will cut him to open up some cap space. You can also never have too much depth at the position, as evidenced by this season in which the Green and Gold has been without Shields, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins for much of the year. The 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner is a well-rounded player and if he is there when Green Bay selects in the first round, the Packers should jump all over the Iowa cornerback.
Round 2: Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi
With Jared Cook struggling this season and currently injured, Green Bay needs to look at a tight end in the draft. I am sure the Packers would love Alabama’s O.J. Howard or Michigan’s Jake Butt, but they won’t make it to the late second round. Engram is a real weapon as a receiver and would be a matchup nightmare for opposing safeties and linebackers. He has an injury history, which may knock him down in the draft, but he could be like Jimmy Graham if utilized correctly. With Green Bay’s offense sputtering like it is right now, drafting Engram would give Aaron Rodgers another weapon at his disposal.
Round 3: Vince Biegel, OLB, Wisconsin
Both Nick Perry and Datone Jones are free agents this offseason. I think the Packers may open up the check book to keep Perry, who has had a great year so far. Green Bay will only keep one of the two, I think. Julius Peppers is also a free agent, but I doubt he will be brought back unless it is for really cheap. The Packers drafted Kyler Fackrell last year who has played well as a rookie, but the Green and Gold could use some depth at the position. Biegel is a very solid run defender and is great at rushing the passer as a 3-4 linebacker. However, at points, he struggles to bring down the quarterback after getting into the backfield. I think that can be worked on, though. He will need to work on his coverage skills as well.
Round 4: Johnny Caspers, OG, Stanford
Green Bay have taken a combined three players from Stanford in the last two drafts. The Packers love taking guys from out on the left coast, so why not another? Many mock drafts have Green Bay taking a guard high in the draft. Fine. But it is not because of the release of Josh Sitton. Both T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter are free agents and they may be only able to keep one. Even with the re-signing of David Bakhtiari, the Green and Gold drafted Jason Spriggs in the second round in April for a reason. I believe that somehow Spriggs will be in the starting offensive line. Caspers is a versatile offensive lineman who can play guard or center, which is what Ted Thompson is looking for. He is a very good pass blocker and Green Bay needs someone who can help keep Rodgers upright.
Round 5: Shock Linwood, RB, Baylor
Regardless if the Packers re-sign Eddie Lacy, Green Bay needs another running back. I doubt the Green and Gold brings back Knile Davis or Don Jackson. Starks is a free agent after next season and he has not had a good year this year. I don’t see Linwood as a starting caliber running back, but is a nice change of pace running back.
Round 6: Riley Ferguson, QB, Memphis
Back when Ron Wolf was the General Manager, he wanted to draft a quarterback every year. The Packers possibly have their quarterback of the future with Brett Hundley, but Green Bay lost Joe Callahan to waivers early this season. Since Callahan was on the team to start the year, the Packers are willing to keep three quarterbacks and Ferguson would be a possible quarterback selection late in the draft.
Round 7: Tyrique Jarrett, NT, Pittsburgh
Letroy Guion has done well as the starting nose tackle, but Green Bay lacks depth behind him. This position would probably be drafted higher if the Packers did not have so many other needs. He is a big body who can take up space and eat blockers so Blake Martinez and Clay Matthews can make plays.