The NFL draft is one of the most exciting times of the year for NFL fans. It brings an aura of hope to those who are at the bottom of the standings, and reassurance for those at the top. The Packers are a team that has some substantial holes for a team who made it to the NFC Championship this season. The NFL draft for Packers fans is sort of an unpredictable time. The only thing for sure about Ted Thompson on draft day is nothing’s for sure. Sometimes Ted makes the obvious pick like Ha Ha Clinton – Dix and sometimes he drafts Justin Harrell. It’s my job to get into Ted’s brain and tell you what I think he’s going to do, and here we go.
*Note: None of the Packers potential compensatory picks are in this mock draft.
Round 1: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington.
With Sam Shields released, it makes cornerback an even easier decision at 29. I’m sure everyone was screaming for it after the NFC Championship. You’re in luck Packer fans, the 2017 draft is loaded with cornerbacks for the Packers to take, and I think Sidney Jones is the right man here. All this kid does is find the football, 21.3% of the balls thrown his way this season were either intercepted or swatted. Another reason I think Sidney Jones makes sense over guys like Teez Tabor or Marlon Humphrey, he’s from the Pac 12. Why does that matter? Sam Seale. If you don’t know who Sam Seale is, he’s been the Packers Western Region Scout since 2012. Look at these names we have taken since he has assumed that role: Kenny Clark, Blake Martinez, Trevor Davis, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Jonathan Franklin, Damarious Randall. I could keep going on, but every single one of those guys was taken because of Ted’s trust in Seale’s scouting ability.
Round 2: Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio
Oh boy, I wanted to do it. I really wanted to make this pick T.J. Watt. Sadly, I don’t think he’ll be available this late in the second round. That’s okay though because if you haven’t heard of Tarell Basham yet, watch the tape. He’s quickly shooting up draft boards and for good reason. He’s a great pass rusher with an incredible motor. One of his criticisms was that he played in the MAC, and during Senior Bowl week he put all of those criticisms to bed and showed he wasn’t just a big fish in a small pond. He’s just a really big fish wherever he goes. He’s versatile enough to transition from a 4-3 DE to a 3-4 OLB and with potential as one of the best pass rushers in this draft, I think he’s the Packers pick in the second round.
Round 3: Nico Siragusa, OG, San Diego St
Remember the whole Sam Seale thing? He’s showing his face again in this pick. But it’s not a bad idea. With T.J. Lang’s status up in the air, and injury concerns seemingly weekly for the Packers offensive line, it adds good depth. Siragusa was All Mountain West first team and PFF ranked him as the 5th best guard in college football as well as the 3rd best run blocker. That’s the kind of praise that’s hard to ignore late in the third round.
Round 4: Donnell Pumphrey, RB, San Diego St
Yes, two San Diego St players back to back. This one, you may have heard of. The “All Time NCAA Division 1 FBS Career Rushing Leader” I put that in quotes because we all know it’s still Ron Dayne. Bitterness aside, Pumphrey is still a great player. How can someone with that kind of recognition fall until the fourth round? Simple, he’s tiny. He’s 5’8” and 169 pounds. Even with his stature he is the right pick for the Packers. Right now, nobody knows if Eddie Lacy is coming back. It’s starting to feel more likely he returns but the Packers need to sure up that running back corps in case he cannot stay on the field again. What Pumphrey brings to the table is that he’s a perfect zone blocking fit; he has terrific vision and makes precise jump cuts that always take him to the hole. If size is your only concern, this is terrific value in the fourth round.
Round 5: Cole Hikutini, TE, Louisville
Hikutini is 6’5” 248 pounds and has speed for days; he’s an absolute mismatch for linebackers and at times, safeties as well. He’s sure handed and gets the ball at the point of attack. With Jared Cook probably returning, Hikutini has a great player to model his game after and be his successor. Hikutini’s biggest flaw is his blocking. He’s not physical enough to play with the big boys yet, but over time he should be able to get stronger and make the adjustment.
Round 6: Vince Biegel, OLB, Wisconsin
I couldn’t pull the trigger on T.J. Watt in the second round but the Packers will take his counterpart in the sixth round. Sixth round picks aren’t perfect, Biegel is undersized, he has to get stronger, and his foot injury could be worrisome to some teams. The sixth round is where Ted is going to see if this kid can just play football, and if you watch Wisconsin football you know he can. All of the red flags are countered by a brilliant mind for football, and an attitude that won’t let him quit on a single play.
Round 7: Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane
Tanzel Smart’s measurables: Height: 6’1” Arm Length: 32 3/8” Weight: 296 lbs Hands: 9 7/8”
Mike Daniels’ measurables: Height: 6’0” Arm Length: 32 1/2″ Weight: 291 lbs Hands: 9 5/8″
I’m not saying he’s the next Mike Daniels but the similarities are there. Smart is an undersized defensive lineman that uses his low center of gravity to get a push and disrupt offenses. He has quick hands, great instincts, and an attitude that gets you far in the NFL. When asked about his size he said “My answer to that ‘I’m undersized’ is, just go out there and watch me practice and produce like God has been letting me do,” Smart said. “At the end of the day, just watch.” – The Advocate. Okay Tanzel, I’ll watch.
In the 2017 NFL Draft, Ted Thompson has the chance to quell a lot of people’s concerns going into the 2017 season. In every draft there are players that can help take any team to the Super Bowl, and 2017 can be the class that people remember as the one that gets them their fifth Lombardi Trophy.