We are less than a week away from the 2017 NFL Draft, and I’m not entirely sure anyone has any idea how this draft is going to play out. Reports come out that the Browns are considering Mitchell Trubisky with the first pick in the draft, Josh Dobbs impressed and went from possible undrafted free agent to being considered a second day pick, and Reuben Foster tested positive at the Combine. Those are just a few headlines that make the draft so unpredictable and exciting. From a Green Bay perspective, it seems like the kind of draft that can add enough quality players that can help the Packers push to another Super Bowl. The question then becomes what players, and when? Well, for the 3rd and final time this year, I will try to get into Ted’s brain and tell you.
Before I make the first pick, what exactly are we looking at for the 29th pick?
This is a special draft when it comes to cornerback talent. Quincy Wilson, Marlon Humphrey, Tre’davious White, Chidobe Awuzie, Kevin King, and Gareon Conley are all cornerbacks the Packers could take at 29. All of them have the desired size, speed, and talent that could be taken late in the first. Takk McKinley and T.J. Watt are pass rush options that could also be where the Packers go. The Packers need a guard, and Forrest Lamp could get a look, although that decision would cause Packers Twitter to explode. The Packers still need a running back to compliment Ty Montgomery. Christian McCaffrey is the only first rounder the Packers could have a chance at right? Well, let’s not forget about a month ago the Packers had Joe Mixon in for a visit. I won’t go into his off the field issues, it’s awful and it’s well known, but I will tell you that he’s a top 15 talent in this draft. Let me be clear this isn’t me covering my bases; this is just a small idea of what the Packers are thinking about going into this first pick and the draft as a whole. Taking all of this into consideration, I think the draft could look like this:
Round 1: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
With the Cowboys picking 28 and also desperately needing a corner, I think they could take a Conley or Wilson right before us. That’s okay because Awuzie is someone the Packers and fans could fall in love with. Awuezie has great size at 6’0” 202lbs, and he ran a 4.43 at the combine as well. Awuzie has the ability to hang with anyone on the field; he has experience playing outside and in the slot. He is always in control with his movements, and was rarely caught out of positon. He lacks ideal run stopping capabilities for his size, and if beaten he doesn’t have the recovery speed to save the play. Awuzie is a cornerback who’s always locked on to whoever he’s covering in man coverage, and in zone coverage he makes the right decision almost every time. Awuzie has the kind of skillset that Green Bay would covet, on top of his versatility to play outside or in the slot.
Round 2: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
Tim Williams is someone that could easily go in the first round, but he’s a one trick pony and he could fall because of that. The Packers are in luck though, because that trick is getting to the quarterback. Williams won’t be asked to do a whole lot more than that early in his career behind Nick Perry and Clay Matthews. Williams is a superb athlete and will beat his blocker in whatever direction he chooses. Failed drug tests while at Alabama will be worrisome to some teams, but with recent situations and players being suspended quite often these last 5 years it may not be something that will scare the Packers off.
Round 3: Nico Siragusa, OG, San Diego St
An old face from my first mock draft makes a return. With T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter’s departures, it makes the Packers taking a guard or an offensive lineman that can play anywhere on the line almost certain. Siragusa is a high level run blocker, and his pass blocking isn’t there yet but Lang and Sitton were taken later than Siragusa and brought their own weaknesses as well, and they were high level guards for many years. With Aaron Rodgers recently saying he doesn’t see guard as a need for the Packers in the draft, we will see if Ted agrees. (http://www.espn.com/blog/green-bay-packers/post/_/id/38460/aaron-rodgers-doesnt-see-guard-as-a-big-need-for-packers-in-the-draft)
Round 4: Marlon Mack, RB, USF
Elusive. That’s the best word to describe Marlon Mack. Mack is the all-time leading rusher in USF history, and he did it with style. Mack is one of the best backs in this draft at stringing moves together and making defenders miss 1 on 1. Or 2 on 1. Or 3 on 1. He’s that dynamic. His biggest weaknesses are all mental. In college, he would try to stretch plays outside far too often instead of making the cut and going downhill. Something defensive coordinators are going to take notice of when it comes to Mack, is that he fumbled 12 times in his three years at USF. Fortunately, over his time in college he improved as a pass catcher and he could really be a nice compliment to Ty and Michael in that backfield.
Round 5: Elijah Lee, ILB, Kansas St.
You didn’t see Elijah Lee at the combine, he wasn’t invited. In fact, it was considered a surprise that he decided to leave after his junior campaign, but to Lee that doesn’t matter. He’s betting on himself. Lee is a very athletic linebacker and has great closing speed on ball carriers. Lee tends to play too tall, which can get him left in the dust and he needs to become more of a force as a tackler. If an NFL coach can get him to fix some of these issues, he can be a disruptive force on this Packers defense.
Round 5: Deatrich Wise, DE, Arkansas
Wise is a guy who had a lot of expectations his senior year, and he fell short of them. A lack of athleticism and slow feet showed up on tape a lot last season and he couldn’t get the quarterback like he did in 2015. Wise has 8 sacks in 2015 and only 3.5 last season. The thing about Wise though, is that the potential is there and he has every attribute to rebound from that disappointment. Wise has 35” inch arms which prevent offensive lineman from getting into his body and he has raw power to go with those arms. With the Packers he would be an ideal two gap defensive end which would play to his strengths.
Round 6: Robert Davis, WR, Georgia St.
The Packers offense isn’t in much need of weapons for Aaron Rodgers, but with Adams’ contract ending after this coming season, Jordy being 32, and Cobb’s underwhelming performance, a late round wide receiver is worth taking a look at. Robert Davis is a 6’3” 219lb wide receiver who ran a 4.44 40 yard dash and has a 41 inch vertical but he’s the definition of raw. The ability to get up and go after the football is there but everything else is a project. His route running isn’t very effective, and he doesn’t get a whole lot of separation. Right now he’s a moldable piece of clay that the Packers players and staff could turn into an NFL wide receiver.
Round 7: Justin Davis, RB, USC
Ted Thompson said the Packers need to add some guys at running back. It’s unlikely you’ll find a star in the 7th but this late in the draft it’s worth taking a look at one. Davis needs to put on some weight and hold on to the football and he can maybe have a chance at showing the coaching staff something. He’s quick and has the ability to make the right cuts in a zone scheme.
The 2017 NFL Draft is almost here and it’s one of the most exciting times for football fans. It’s the day where you can see what your future is going to look like. If the Packers can hit on a couple of these picks, a return to the Super Bowl is in the future.