I hear defense, defense, defense fans for this draft. In my other piece on the offensive side of the ball, I stated the offense fell from #3 in 2011 to #13 in 2012. The defense improved across the board in 2012 over 2011, and I expect a lot more of that improvement this coming season. I don’t believe we will see a repeat of last year, but there are needs that have to be addressed in the draft, where in the draft is the big question.
Based on the opinion of many, need and BPA make a convergence in this draft with a number of DT/DE prospects rated around the Packers #26 pick. All of these Defensive linemen have those warts I talked about in the offensive piece.
Lets start with Sylvester Williams,
A some what under rated DT, not as hyped as others right now, but very talented. But there are questions about him, Real concerns? Hype? Misinformation? All in the eye of the beholder.
To continue the Williams theme lets go with Jesse Williams NT/DE Alabama,. I like this Williams because he can play NT, DE and that 3 technique used in the nickel and dime for the Packers. He is raw and limited in pass rush. Back to these players having questions.
Lets look at Jonathon Hankins, more warts, but a possibility for the #26 pick, what I don’t like is two years of knee injuries. But quick long arms another prospect that can play multiple spots in the defense.
The player that is getting more and more buzz right now for the Packers is, Datone Jones. He might be the best fit as 3-4 DE in the entire first round. Like the rest of the group of Dlinemen at the #26 pick, he has questions about his effort but there is no question of his ability.
And last but not least is this D-line Prospect. Rankings on him are all over the map. This is a high risk, possibly high reward pick. Big men with his athletic ability are few and far between, he will be drafted higher then he should be because of that. But I would think he is in the mix. He is a high effort, great work ethic prospect, and is a physical freak, The thing with this pick would be the teams projection of what he could be with development. Margus Hunt offers the type of player along the defensive line the team does not have now. The question is, when do you draft him.
For me, if my favorite pick Tyler Eifert isn’t there at #26 and depending on how the draft unfolds, the best thing might be to trade down. You could move back and still get one of these players in the later 1st and or second and beyond:
And one more player as a late pick or UDFA: William Campbell.
In this draft, selecting an OLB for depth, and to push Perry, would be a very good thing. And even better, one that has very good coverage skills that could play ILB on 3rd down in different packages. Perry is a question mark, but I think he will be a big step up from anything they’ve had across from Matthews. In some ways that is really not saying much. I am not going to slam any of the players that have been across from Matthews over the last few years, but that is one spot that needs additional help even with Perry. I am not that high on the 3-4 OLB prospects in this draft, college OLB’s or conversion DE’s, not at #26 for sure. Well maybe one or two but the first one has a lot of questions, one is, is he a OLB or a ILB? A little light for a 3-4 OLB but very good in coverage, and very questionable off the field.
Two players that need a close look, Corey Lemonier and Jamie Collins. I really like Collins, he is my #1 3-4 OLB prospect, his change of direction and quickness show up, he can drop and cover, IMO highly underrated. ,
You have to look at players like Chase Thomas a questionable athlete for the position but just a damn good football player.
And remember these two names, Ty Powell and Jake Knott. Powell is my Sleeper pick and Knott is just another damn good football player, that was injured during the 2012 season and has little talk about him..
Last but not least those DB’s. I keep seeing safety, safety, safety being talked about and a high draft pick there. I disagree on the high pick part, but agree that one needs to be drafted. Why I feel that way is Jerron McMillian, he would be the most athletic safety in this years draft. As a safety he is a physical freak, he has 4.40 speed, 1.40 ten yard quickness, and excellent agility. I really feel he will be a Collins level safety, he has better quickness and agility then Collins had. And the biggest reason for me is his coach. Darren Perry to me is one of the best DB coaches in the NFL. It is a huge step from Maine to the NFL. But McMillian IMO gives the Packers the ability to use there safeties as Capers likes to use them most. That is to bait and switch, who is playing deep who is playing at the line. With that I have a few Safeties I like in this draft, better athletes, can play up and deep center field.
and my sleeper pick…
I have heard little talk about CB’s and this is a good draft for that position. I will just list a few that need to be looked at as mid round picks.
And depending on how far he slides, his talent and play making abilities do stand out
I am still working on my final mock draft, we will get to see just how bad I am at picking…
Thanks for this post to draft-season contributor Don Christensen, known as “Yoop” on the TalkinPackers forum.