25

April

Green Bay Packers Draft Matchup: LB Shea McClellin vs. DE/LB Whitney Mercilus

Shea McClellin OLB Boise State NFL Draft Profile

Shea McClellin OLB Boise State

Both Shea McClellin and Whitney Mercilus could be considered late risers on most NFL draft boards, including the Packers’ board. Different types of late risers, but late risers nonetheless.

Mercilus had only two sacks and didn’t do much of anything at Illinois in 2009-10 before exploding for 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 2011. McClellin wasn’t a highly regarded recruit coming into Boise St., but kept improving and became a feared edge rusher and versatile hybrid LB/DE. While Mercilus was projected as a first-rounder as soon as “draft season” started, it took a while for McClellin to get the attention he deserved and start rising up boards.

If McClellin and Mercilus are still avalaible when the Packers pick in the first round, I would take McClellin. I think McClellin still has some room to grow as a pass rusher and I’d love to see him develop opposite of Clay Matthews. I also think McClellin is a better fit in Dom Capers’ defense. He can rush from the edge, drop into coverage, stunt up the middle and move around if needed as Capers disguises his coverages and schemes.

It’s tough to go against Mercilus’ numbers from last season and his obvious raw talent, but he plays a little too high for my tastes and I think he’s more of a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 OLB. I can’t see Mercilus dropping into coverage or doing much of anything else besides trying to chase the QB from the edge.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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18

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

Harrison Smith

Notre Dame S Harrison Smith

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Harrison Smith

Player information:

  • Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
  • 6-foot-2, 213lbs
  • Of the strong and free safeties given a top 125 grade by NFLDraftScout.com prior to the Combine, only Smith (4.57) recorded a time under 4.66.

NFL Combine:

  • 4.57 40yd dash
  • 4.12 20 yard shuttle
  • 6.63 3-cone drill
  • 10.02′ long jump
  • 34″ vertical jump
  • 19 bench press reps

News & Notes:

One of the highest rated safeties in a draft considered extremely weak at the position. …. Intercepted seven passes as a junior, zero as a senior. … Appears suited to play the run well, but struggle in pass coverage. Not a good sign in a league where tight ends are only getting better. … Only player in Notre Dame history to register more than 200 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 15 pass breakups.

What they’re saying about him:

Dane Brugler (CBS Sports)  ”Plays stiff. Needs to be a more technically-sound tackler, often going for the knockout hit or forced fumble instead of wrapping up. Hits too high and loses leverage, allowing ballcarriers to pick up extra yards.”

National Football Post:   “Isn’t a guy you want to trust to run with receivers down the field. However, because of his solid natural range and instincts, I can see him getting over the top and making plays in a center field type role as an NFL strong safety.”

NFL DraftSeason.com (Will Lomas): “As far as the safety class goes this one is relatively weak, but (Smith) provides good value on day two and can fill a need on a team that has good corners but needs to upgrade their run D.”

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • Can definitely close. When he comes at you, look out
  • Looks comfortable blitzing, which should make Dom Capers happy
  • Tough to judge his pass coverage on this video since he’s off the screen on most pass plays, but I did notice a few instances where he didn’t get deep enough in zone coverage
  • Does show a nose for the ball, though, if he winds up near the ball
  • I could see his playmaking ability meshing well with the Packers defense. Worth a shot in round three, perhaps.
17

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Janoris Jenkins

North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Janoris Jenkins

Player information:

  • Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
  • 5-foot-10, 193 lbs
  • All sorts of red flags: Kicked off team at Florida (it’s really hard to get kicked off the Gators), kicked out of a game at North Alabama and still hangs around with bad people according to some scouts.

NFL Combine:

  • 4.46 40-yard dash
  • 4.13 20-yard shuttle
  • 6.95 3-cone drill
  • 10.01′ long jump
  • 33.5″ vertical jump
  • N/A bench press reps

News & Notes:

Probably would have been a no-doubt first-rounder if he didn’t get kicked out of Florida. … Has four kids, all under the age of three. … Stood out immediately as a true freshman in the SEC. … Completely dominated Division II competition. … Considered by some scouts to be the most gifted CB in the country. … Can play press, man and zone coverage. … Inconsistent tackler. … Missed only one game in his college career.

What they’re saying about him:

In Jenkins’s case, it’s probably best if we let him speak for himself:

  • On his marijuana use: “I’m done with it forever. I can’t do it, man.”
  • On talking to teams about his past: “I was honest, straightforward, told ‘em I did it. I admitted to everything, I take full responsibility, and I learned from it.”
  • On what teams see in him: “They see the talent, they just want to know the kind of kid I am. I just come in here and show them that I’m not a bad kid. I’m looking to put it in the past and move forward.”
  • Here’s what Mike Mayock of the NFL Network had to say about Jenkins: “What happens, whether you believe in it or not, is the more talented kids get more chances, and Jenkins is a pretty talented kid. Someone’s going to want to buy into that.”

Video:


Video Analysis:

  • He looks damn good against a couple of current NFL WRs in this video
  • Doesn’t shy away from sticking his nose in there on screens to the bigger and stronger Julio Jones
  • Seems to understand positioning when the ball is in the air (see the play where he undercuts A.J. Green)
  • Effort is there against run game, but doesn’t seem like much of a tackler