As the Packers’ draft analyst for DraftTek.com, I’ve been involved with over 25 mock drafts since the 2014 season ended. They’re not entirely mine, however, as the actual picks are made by a computer simulation. I get to input needs information, and can put in requests to “grab” certain players (if they are available at that spot) or “lockout” players from contention.
Analysts for the other 31 teams all do the same thing. What results is the closest thing to a real draft simulation (they don’t call it a mock) I’ve seen anywhere. It ‘s quite unique and if you are not familiar with it, you really should check them out.
What’s even cooler is that on draft day, the “simulation” is updated within minutes of when each pick is selected. So, when the Packers are up at #30, it will re-run the simulation, eliminating the 29 other players already picked from contention for the Packers’ pick. So at any point in the draft, you can get a quick view at what the landscape looks like for the rest of the draft. Isn’t that rather amazing? It’s a great thing to be checking as you watch the draft unfold…
Anyway, here’s what I’ve come up with for an “all-mine” mock draft, taking into account needs, value and trying to predict who might be available at each pick:
My One and Only 2015 Packers Mock Draft
1) Jalen Collins, CB, LSU – I’ve been told for a month that Kevin Johnson and Jalen Collins are at the top of the Packers CB wish list. While I don’t expect Johnson to make it to pick 30, the reports of Collins failing some drug tests at LSU probably means Collins will. Normally I would rule out a guy with some off-field issues as a Packers top pick, but the recent welcoming back of Letroy Guion to Green Bay tells me their stance on non-violent infractions may be softening. Collins marks off all the check boxes for the cornerback position, except perhaps experience. (Alternate Choices: Marcus Peters, Byron Jones – yes, I’m going all-in for a cornerback here.)
2) Paul Dawson, ILB, TCU – With Stephone Anthony presumably off the board, the choice here is Paul Dawson. Dawson is a bit of a rarity, an instinctual, hard-hitting middle linebacker type that is also very good in coverage. He needs to get stronger at the point of attack, but is adept at avoiding blockers and pursues sideline to sideline. He had a super productive final season with 128 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and four interceptions. (Alternate Choices: Denzel Perryman, Shaq Thompson)
3) Marcus Hardison, DT, Arizona State – With Mike Daniels needing a new contract, Raji and Guion on 1 year deals and Khyrie Thornton a huge unknown, Ted has a hard time passing up another big body in this spot. Hardison is a guy that came on strong last season. Originally a DE, he was moved inside to DT and was highly effective as an inside pass rusher. Quick first step, athletic, but not stout against the run – needs some work there. Hardison is a guy who may just now be coming into his own and shows a high upside. (Alternate Choices: Xavier Cooper, Gabe Wright)
4) Davis Tull, OLB, Tennessee – Chattanooga – Tull was one of the winners of my “Best in Shorts” awards at the combine. He wowed scouts with the best vertical jump and broad jump despite battling a pulled hamstring. He couldn’t run the 40, but recorded a 4.57 at his Pro Day. Tull was a three-time Southern Conference Defensive Player of the year and started 48 straight games. He stood out against lesser competition foe his non-stop motor and aggressive play. Look up “Football Player” in the dictionary and his picture is there. (Alternate Choices: Alani Fua, Jake Ryan)
5) Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska – Bell is not getting nearly as much love as he deserves, perhaps because he’s not a big, impressive-looking receiver and played for Nebraska, who ran the ball 62% of the time last year. Bell has a burst that will beat most cornerbacks, competes for the ball and is a deadly downfield blocker, a trait the Packers value highly. He’s also a kickoff returner that averaged roughly 25 yds per return. (Alternate Choices: Darren Waller, Josh Harper)
6) Wes Saxton, TE, South Alabama – This is purely a pick for the future. A raw, athletic player with limited experience, but one with a high upside if he takes to coaching, something Brandon Bostick did not do. Was a top combine performer among tight ends in the 40yd dash, vertical jump and broad jump. (Alternate Choices: Nick Boyle, EJ Bibbs)
6b) Akeem Hunt, RB Purdue – Hunt is a triple-threat guy (running, receiving, returning) who has drawn some comparisons to Darren Sproles. He has a long way to go to get to that level, but there is potential there. He was not invited to combine but had an excellent Pro Day performance, including a 4.37 40yd dash. (Alternate Choices: Karlos Williams, Terrance McGee)
6c) Tyrus Thompson, OT, Oklahoma – Thompson has a very good combination of size and athleticism and is a well-rounded prospect, but he is maddeningly inconsistent in both technique and effort. If he takes to NFL coaching, and plays like he means it, he would make a very capable backup with starter potential. Has played both tackle spots. (Alternate Choices: Darryl Baldwin, Chaz Green)
7) Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada – Fajardo is my sleeper QB in this draft, as BJ Coleman was in the 2012 draft. The Packers took Coleman in the seventh round, so I’m looking for a repeat of that move, but hopefully with better results (Coleman was out of football last year). (Alternate Choices: Connor Halliday, Blake Sims)
Note: Coming up tomorrow will be my annual. “Last Minute Prediction, Opinions & Whispers.”——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.