Who the Packers Will Pick: NFL Draft Experts Have Their Say

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It’s a phenomenon that happens every year.

If you’re a fan of the NFL, you immediately turn into a draft expert for your team once the season comes to an end. The Green Bay Packers and their fanbase are no different.

It’s a part of what makes the draft process great—everyone has their own opinion on who to pick and why. And surely, a few mock drafts you’ll read from fans will get a number of picks right.

Yet contrary to popular belief, actual “experts” on the draft are typically more informed and in-tune with who each team might pick than the common fan.

They’re paid to know (or sound like they know) and their connections to the football world give them an obvious step up.

Here are the most recent mock picks to the Green Bay Packers from several of the most well-known experts and draft websites.

ESPN (Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, Jr.), CBS Sports (Chad Reuter): Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona

With nearly constant comparisons to Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, Reed has shot up many draft boards.

Both ESPN whiz-kids (or whatever other adjective you use for them) have the Packers taking Reed to be the playmaker opposite Matthews for the Packers defense.

If his story continues to follow in the footsteps of Matthews, it’d be hard to argue with the pick.

Reed is one of the more explosive short-area players in the draft (1.59 10-yard split), and he’s going to give you the non-stop motor that has endeared Matthews to so many of the Packers fans.

National Football Post (Wes Bunting): Ben Ijalana, G, Villanova

With the likely departure of starting left guard Daryn Colledge whenever free agency starts, Ijalana could immediately fill the hole.

He’s super-athletic for his big frame (6’4″, 320 lbs), and there’s also a chance Ijalana could play tackle once he adjusts and gets comfortable with the NFL game.

The Packers like T.J. Lang as the replacement at either guard or tackle long-term, but there’s never anything wrong with adding talent and versatility to an offensive line, and Ijalana does that.

Sporting News (Russ Lande): Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple

Cullen Jenkins is more than likely on his way out of Green Bay, and the Packers could potentially add more depth to the defensive end position.

At the end of the first round, Wilkerson would be an attractive option. He’s tall (6’5″) and athletic enough to be a difference maker at end in the Packers 3-4.

Mike Neal and Ryan Pickett would be the probable starters if Jenkins leaves, but bringing aboard Wilkerson would add quality depth to the Packers defensive line rotation. He’d also project to be the starter down the road as Pickett ages.

Yahoo! Sports (Doug Farrar): Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

NFL.com (Pat Kirwan): Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

The thought process behind the selections of both Heyward and Clayborn follow the same thinking for taking Wilkerson.

Jenkins will need to be replaced, and Heyward and Clayborn will give you consistent play from the defensive end position. Packers GM Ted Thompson is also a firm believer in building the defensive line.

Neither are flashy players, but both Heyward and Clayborn are safe picks at the end of the first round at a position that can never have enough solid players.

CBS Sports (Rob Rang): Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois

Of all the players the experts had Green Bay taking, Wilson might have been the most surprising.

The Packers currently have a logjam at middle linebacker, and that’s where Wilson primarily played at Illinois.

However, he’s better suited to be an outside linebacker in the NFL. In fact, if you look again at the 10-yard splits, Wilson is the top defensive player and could be a disruptive athlete on the outside.

Drafttek.com (Jersey Al), Draftcountdown.com (Scott Wright): Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA

Depending on your draft philosophy, Ayers represents the opposite of Wilson. On tape, Ayers looks like a top 15 pick for a team in need of a rush linebacker.

However, with slow times at the combine, Ayers has seen his stock fall and he’s been slipping down boards ever since.

So, do you take the player who shows up on tape or the guy who impresses with numbers at the combine? Either way, the Packers would be addressing their pass rusher opposite Matthews.

Walterfootball.com: Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

Some of the hype has died recently, but there was a period where several mock drafts had Baldwin going to the Packers.

The obvious reasons for that include the possible departure of James Jones for a chance to start, and the career progression of 36-year-old Donald Driver.

In addition, Baldwin is a terrific athlete for his size (6’5″, 230 lbs) and could potentially give the Packers a nightmare threesome with Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley in the passing game.

NewNFLDraft.com: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois

To many, drafting a running back in the first round when you have two potential starters (Ryan Grant and James Starks) already on the roster is a difficult thing to comprehend.

However, Grant has just one year left on his contract, and you can’t discount the injury history of Starks.

Leshoure could fill in immediately on third downs if Brandon Jackson leaves, and he’d be a more attractive option than re-signing Grant after 2011.


Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.


34 thoughts on “Who the Packers Will Pick: NFL Draft Experts Have Their Say

  1. oooh, jersey al, i think ayers does not even look close to a top 15 pick and Martez Wilson does not look good at all. Wilson plays incredibly soft, jogs in pursuit even when he should have a chance to make a play with that speed. I just do not understand why Ayers is thought to be such a great player. I only watched 3 games this year but he did nothing in those games, was roasted in coverage and did not look natural rushing the passer. I have read that people think he is a physical player and once again I do not see where this comes from. I understand that I sound like a guy that is just being contrary, but those two are quite possibly my least favorite players being talked about as Packer possibilities.

    1. I think people are giving up on Ayers after some slows times, but he’s a solid football player. I’d take him over Reed in a heartbeat.

      And I agree on Leshoure…wouldn’t be a fan of taking a running back in the first round.

      1. i do not care about ayers’ times, i do not care too much about the combine other than it gives some names of people to take a look at that you may not have known before. ayers does not play fast…in my humble opinion

  2. Brooks Reed should not be compared to CM3, but it is obvious why people do it. He is a better version of Frank Zombo in my eyes. He will struggle in coverage like Zombo, but should be more affective bending the corner and getting after the QB. Would not mind him at #32. What was CM3’s 10 yard split? wasn’t it 1.49? that blows away anyone in this draft.

  3. On Leshoure – To quote the great Lindy Infante, “you can never have too many ferraris in the garage.” which is what he said after he drafted darrell thompson and had Brent Fullwood and Keith Woodside on the roster. His statement should have been, “you can never have too many Pintos in the garage.”

    This draft is very deep at the RB position. Is Leshoure really that much better than Bilal Powell? I like LeShoure but there is no need to pick a RB in the first this year.

  4. Analysts get paid so I ignore them as much as possible.
    I at TARYN KNOWS DRAFT PROSPECTS (so I’m told often LOL)will put my names in the hat and they are;
    Zach Hurd OL
    Cliff Matthews-DE/OLB
    Lester Jean-WR
    Ryan Jones DB
    Sam Ocho-DE/OLB
    The amount of talent the Packers need to weed through is staggering and already proved very capable in this flex system.Unless the 1st and/or 2nd picks have a very strong sense of unseating a position guy as of now,I’m trading back(1st at least) and drafting good probables for effect and lessen the possible bust syndrome of the first pick.
    I left out any pure DL due to the Jolly/Jenkins questions and/as the Wilson/Neal expectations are still in play.
    Honestly,a RB or ILB in the 1st,geez.
    Visit me often at TARYN KNOWS PROSPECTS for the alternative to what you’re getting.

    1. taryn, two of the guys on your list are on my list, but I’m not going to say who yet (until it comes out in the CheeseheadTV NFL Draft Preview)

    2. I keep hearing of the depth in this draft at RB and DL, so I agree with this trading back idea. Anybody know if Giants, T.B., or S.F. (not sure how they match up on trade value-if much stock is put into using “the chart”) would be trading our first for their 2nd and 3rd?

      1. At first I was not big on this WR class, but I am warming up to it. If James Jones plans on leaving town, WR may be the biggest need.

        Jennings – Great

        Driver – Everyone loves him but he is on the decline. He cannot play forever and he cannot seperate like he could at one time. Love him but he should be #3 this year.

        Jordy – Solid pro. Not spectacular. A decent #2 and a great #3.

        Brett Swain – Not an NFL caliber WR. (atleast not for this offense)

        James Jones was very frustrating this year, but he leaves a big hole that Swain cannot fill. Adding J-mike back into the mix will help, but a developmental WR would be a need in my opinion. Greg Little might look really nice. Raw, but is a complete beast with the ball in his hands and can return kicks.

    3. Trading back would be great. If there was ever a draft to be picking at #32 this is it. There are only a couple elite players in this draft, everyone else from about 5 to 45 gets a pretty similar overall grade from me.

  5. I use almost the same nickname to the ESPN guys as you do, Zach! I just substitute the first 2 letters for “j”…

    As far as prospects listed:
    Wilkerson is a run stopper. We have plenty of that. Heyward and specially Clayborn are more interesting prospects, who have pass rushing skills.
    Reed is just too stiff and not powerful enough in his lower body (7.11 3-cone, 30 1/2 vertical). I think he’ll be a one-trick pony a la KGB, with less pass rush, and more run stop.
    Have no idea about Ijalana.
    Wilson is soft.
    Ayers is slow and stiff (abysmal 7.49 cone drill, with 254lbs. Castonzo at 311lbs had 7.25)
    Baldwin is an interesting prospect, a different WR than what we have. Is a bit stiff (4.34 short shuttle) but is tremenduously explosive (42 vertical), has a nice first step (1.58) and is reportedly a though catcher who’s not afraid to go over the middle or block. Has some problems with drops due to concentration though (where have we heard that before?).
    And as far as Leshoure, I don’t think he’s an elite back to warrant a 1st round pick. I don’t have a problem with adding him, I think, as you said, he’d be a great 3rd down back, but IMHO (and TT’s apparently) a 1st rounder is too steep a price to spend on running backs, unless it’s someone trully elite, like Peterson or Johnson.

    1. Baldwin is not explosive. Watch tape. He will not seperate in the NFL. Think a slightly more talented version of Ruvel Martin. He is going to sink like a rock by draft day.

  6. My apologies to you Zach on not giving a good job on your post and welcome to Jersey Als site and another thumbs up for you AL with what appears to be another good addition to the writers list here already.

    1. The only problem Ayers has is attitude. he’s not the most motivated guy. His poor combine results are a reflection of that. However, if you believe Capers/Green can light a fire under his ass, then he is the most complete OLB in the draft. Not the best at any ONE thing, but best overall. And he could even play ILB.

      1. Really Al? Best OLB in this draft? Better than Von Miller and Aldon Smith? I want to like Ayers, but the more film I watch the more I dislike him. Do you have a game in particular that I could watch on him that might change my opinion?

        1. Read carefully what I said. He can do the most things well. Miller can do one thing extremely well. I love Smith, but as a 4-3 defensive end. Put some weight on him and you’ve got yourself a future Pro-Bowler.

          I’m not going to go searching tape again, but I will say that Ayers had games that he completely took off. Perhaps those were the ones you saw? That’s why I say it will take the right coaching staff to make him into the player he is capable of being. I think the Packers are a perfect fit. he could go elsewhere and suck.

          1. Al, I did read what you said carefully. Miller is just as good in coverage as Ayers and is a MUCH better pass rusher. Ayers may be better at setting the edge and taking on blockers in the run game, but I am not certain of that. I understand what you are saying, you think Ayers has less deficiencies than Miller, and I would strongly disagree with you.

  7. As much 2-4 Nickel as Woodson allows us to play, how much do we need a defensive lineman? Picket, Raji, and Neal for base; combo of Wilson/Green/Jolly for breathers…I’m fine with that. The only question is Jolly being back. If he’s not do we still need a first rounder with such depth available in the draft this year?

    1. I’d say even with the base, DE isn’t a big need.
      We got Neal and Pickett slated as starters, and Wynn, but specially Wilson, improved greatly as the season progressed, and Green is a very good run stopper.

      We are losing a complete 3-4 DE in Jenkins, a guy that provided great pass rush.

      If we find someone in the draft with that characteristic, it would be great. But though he has shown little, Neal seemed to be a guy that can rush the passer and play the run. And with the forementioned players on board, plus the possible adition of Jolly, DE isn’t a position of need.

      If we can have TWO complete DEs plus Raji, it would be awesome, but Neal, Raji and Pickett is a great DL.

      As I see it:
      LDE: Neal, Wilson, Wynn
      RDE: Pickett, Green, Jolly
      NT: Raji, Pickett, Green

      Seems pretty good to me.

    2. There are a ton of good DEs in this draft. You have to take one of them if they are the best value, which at 32 they probably will be. Do you remember playing Wynn and Wilson extended minutes against MN and Detroit because they were the only guys left? DL in the 3-4 are going to miss time. They are taking on double teams every play, getting chopped and tripped. Can never have too many good players on your DL. Pickett played admirably this year, but he is a backup NT in this system. He should not be playing DE.

      1. I have a 3rd-4th round guy I really like at DE for the Packers. Not to be a tease, but I don’t want to reveal everything I’ve written for the CheeseheadTV NFL Draft Guide before it comes out…

        1. c’mon Al, one name won’t kill the draft guide! Let me sound smart in front of my friends.

  8. What no Randall Cobb (WR/RB/QB/KR) or Justin Houston (OLB Georgia. Cobb is smallish (5’10 191) but is a good slot guy that can actually catch and may be a Harvin/Jackson guy on offense (explosive wise). Love Houston too but I think he’ll be gone

    1. completely disregard Houston at 32 heard from Evan Silva he is struggling at LB drills and Mayock doesn’t like him in RD 1 also, Houston ran a 4.57 40 at 6’3 267.

      1. It was there for everyone to see at the combine. he fell down a few times when backpeddaling and turning. And what point are you trying to make about his 40 time?

        1. I have no clue Al just putting it out there I personally think the 40 is overrated the cone and the 10 yard split are the most telling drills of the combine

          1. 1.62 10 yard split, 4.37 20 yard shuttle, 6.95 3 cone drill.
            Shows very good athleticism. Not great.

    2. I agree with you .Cobb seems like that versatile athlete that we,ve never had.He could give our punt return instant credability. Also,our O could use that change of pace. I,m comparing him to Megget or more recently Randel El.

  9. I think the first pick should be Torrey Smith WR Maryland. He is the return man they don’t have now. And has the talent to push Jennings.

  10. Well if the CBA is signed before the draft I can see Matt Flynn getting traded for a third round pick and Nick Barnett for a sixth giving us a combined 11 picks. With that said here is my Packers mock draft:
    1st: Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA
    2nd: Jurell Casey DE USC
    3rd: Clint Boling OT/OG Georga
    3rd: Austin Pettis WR Boise St.
    4th: John Moffit OG Wis.
    4th: Noel Devine RB WVU
    5th: Chimdi Checkwa CB Ohio St.
    6th: Scott Tolzien QB Wis.
    6th: Jeremy Beal ILB Oklahoma
    7th: Eugene Clifford SS Tennessee St.
    7th: Schuylar Oordt TE N. Iowa

    This goes to say that we also resign John Kuhn, Mason Crosby, and Howard Green.

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