5

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: OLB Sammy Brown, Houston

NFL Draft Profile, Sammy Brown OLB Houston

Sammy Brown OLB Houston

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Sammy Brown

Player information:

Sammy Brown, Houston
6’2″, 243 lbs
2011: 93 tackles, 30 TFL, 13.5 sacks
2010: 76 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 2 FF

NFL Combine: (not invited)

Houston Pro Day:

4.64 40-yard dash
7.13 3-cone drill
4.47 20yd shuttle
10’3″ long jump
33 7/8″ arms
9.5″ hands
37″ vertical jump
20 bench press reps

News & Notes:

A JUCO transfer, Brown  led the nation in Tackles for Loss in 2011. He was named 3rd team AP All-American and 1st team All C-USA. One of the few pure 3-4 OLB’s in the draft.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): Might be a little on the short side, but looks bigger because of his longer set of arms. Possesses solid girth through his frame and carries his weight well. Plays As an outside backer in Houston’s 34 front and does a nice job as a pass rusher. … A highly productive pass rusher who has come a long way since being a JUCO transfer. Has a feel for getting after the passer, exhibits a good burst and closing speed around the edge and is an intriguing 34-type prospect.

Pro Football Weekly: Fluid-moving, agile athlete capable of bending the edge. Lack of instincts and passive playing temperament could limit chances.
Video:

Video Analysis:

  • Has a lot to learn, but flashes top-level athleticism.
  • Not as active in pursuit as I’d like to see. Gives up too soon.
  • Needs to learn to use those long arms to shed blocks.
  • Shows burst to consistently get into the backfield, but doesn’t sustain his effort to the whistle.
  • A special teamer and situational pass rusher with potential for much more if he can learn to play with max effort all the time.
  • A good UDFA to bring in and see if Kevin Greene can light a fire under him.
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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.

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4

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DE/OLB Andre Branch, Clemson

NFL Draft Prospect Profile Andre Branch, DE/OLB Clemson

Andre Branch, DE/OLB Clemson

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Andre Branch

Player information:

Andre Branch, Clemson
6’4″, 259 lbs
2-sport star in HS as a football tight end/outside linebacker and a basketball power forward.

NFL Combine:

4.70 40-yard dash
4.25 20-yard shuttle
7.19 3-cone drill
10.0′ long jump
32.5″ vertical jump
19 bench press reps
34″ arms
9″ hands

News & Notes:

Branch led the Tigers in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (17) in 2011. Played primarily right DE at Clemson, but has the athleticism and measurables to handle the conversion to 3-4OLB.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): At 6-4, 259, Branch has the athleticism to stand up. He can bend, turn and burst to get to the passer. He is similar to Whitney Mercilus, except not quite as dynamic. However, instincts could hold him back at OLB, according to one front office man.

Frank Cooney (CBS Sports): Branch is a raw, flashy, long-armed player with great closing speed but still has a long ways to go if he wants to excel in the NFL… Possesses a legitimate blend of explosive speed and power which could result in much improved play with greater technique. Can beat lethargic offensive tackles off the snap with his burst. Good upper body power to stack and shed, as well. Some untapped potential in this area.

NFL Combine: Branch is a tall, physical and athletic end who could move to outside linebacker for a team that runs the 3-4 defense. He should be able to regularly beat NFL linemen on the rush and disrupt the passer, whether he’s standing up or has his hand on the ground. Because of his versatility and pass-rushing ability, he should come off the board late in the second round.
Video:

Watch Andre Branch’s NFL Combine Workout

Video Analysis:

  • Ideal size/speed combination.
  • Active in pursuit, can chase ball carriers down.
  • Will have to get stronger and play with better pad level, especially against the run.
  • Needs to use hands better to keep blockers from getting into his body.
  • Could develop into an explosive edge rusher as a pro.
  • Should have the ability to drop into coverage with good success.
2

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Kendall Reyes, Connecticut – UCONN

NFL Draft Prospect Profile - Kendall Reyes, DL, Connecticut - UCONN

Kendall Reyes, DL, Connecticut

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Kendall Reyes

Player information:

Kendall Reyes, Connecticut – UCONN
6’4″, 299 lbs
3-sport Captain in H.S. (football, basketball, track)

 

NFL Combine:

4.95 40-yard dash
4.53 20-yard shuttle
7.43 3-cone drill
9.42′ long jump
34.5″ vertical jump
36 bench press reps
33.25″ arms
9.5″ hands

News & Notes:

Reyes played in every game and started 42 over four years at UCONN, earning a starting job towards the end of his freshman season. A two-time All-Big East selection, Reyes played mostly DT for the Huskies. Did not accumulate a lot of sacks (11.5) playing inside, but was stout against the run and did consistantly provide inside pressure on the QB. As one would expect, with his height, long arms and vertical jump, he knocked down 10 passes for the Huskies.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): Needs to win with his first step as a pass rusher at this stage. Exhibits the burst to threaten gaps and/or cross the face of a blocker and make his way into the backfield. Is a gifted athlete who can stunt inside and exhibits good closing range in space. Gets upright into contact off the ball at times. However, he has the skill set, to rush the passer… Displays some natural talent and did a better job at Senior Bowl playing with a lower pad level. If he can continue to play lower should be able to fight for a starting role in both a 34 or 43 scheme as a three or five technique.

Frank Cooney (CBS Sports): Reyes played both end and tackle in college and didn’t impress scouts as a pass-rush threat until he outplayed some of the best offensive linemen in the country at the Senior Bowl. He has good short-area quickness and will win most fights in a phone booth.

NFL Combine: Reyes has a motor inside and relies more on his feet and technique to beat guys. He is a good player to insert in different slants and stunts inside based on schemes that commonly use these tactics. Reyes will be a reliable and strong player at the next level who consistently displays high effort and rarely gets completely blocked inside; he is always able to make just enough of a play to make a difference.
Video:

23

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Antonio Allen, S South Carolina

Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Antonio Allen

Player information:

Antonio Allen, S South Carolina
6’1″, 210 lbs
Played the “spur” position for the Gamecocks, a hybrid SS/LB role. Can you say “Return of Big Oakie?”

NFL Combine:

4.67 40-yard dash
4.25 20-yard shuttle
7.02 3-cone drill
9.83′ long jump
34″ vertical jump
17 bench press reps

News & Notes:

Allen started of 2011 with a bang, recording 16 tackles in South Carolina’s opening game. Allen was named second team ALL-SEC for the 2011 season, finishing with 88 tackles , 3 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 9.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Played on every special teams unit except field goals.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): A tall, top heavy safety prospect… Plays a lot inside the box and when he sees the football showcases an average initial burst, drops his pad level, wraps and creates an explosive pop into contact…   Doesn’t consistently take proper angles toward the ball carrier and lacks the initial closing gear to make up for it. Plays like a 4.6 guy and doesn’t routinely make a ton of plays in pursuit. Struggles to breakdown as well into contact and has a tendency to outrun the football.

Dane Brugler (CBS Sports): Doesn’t shy from contact and exhibits a nasty attitude with a competitive attitude and motor. Versatile with experience as an in-the-box safety and in man coverage, lining up over inside receivers. Also played on special teams coverage…   Has suspect instincts in coverage and needs to show better pre-snap recognition. Will slip off tackles and needs to finish more consistently. Has durability concerns after various injuries forced him out of action in college, including a hamstring injury in 2010 and a neck issue last season. Lacks a natural position and might be viewed as a linebacker/safety tweener by several teams.

NFL Combine: Allen is an experienced SEC defensive back who has played the rover position for South Carolina and is a versatile defender. He is very active and plays the run extremely well. Some will question his value as a safety because he didn’t play the true safety position in college…
Video:

Video Analysis:

  •  Definitely does his best work in straight-ahead “attack” mode
  • Delivers a good hit in those instances
22

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette

NFL Draft Profile: Louisiana-Layfayette CB Dwight Bentley

Louisiana-Layfayette CB Dwight Bentley

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Dwight Bentley

Player information:

  • Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Layfayette
  • 5-foot-10, 182 lbs
  • Four-year starter that competes despite being undersized. Looked good in Senior Bowl at at the combine.

NFL Combine:

  • 4.43 40-yard dash
  • 4.50 20-yard shuttle
  • 6.99 3-cone drill
  • 9.05′ long jump
  • 31.5″ vertical jump
  • 13 bench press reps

News & Notes:

Struggles in man coverage. … Lack of size hurts him in run support. … Picked off three passes and returned two for touchdowns his senior year. … Good at making plays on the ball. … lack of size raises questions about durability. … Some project him as a third-rounder, others say he’s a late-round pick for teams looking to stockpile CBs. … Had a chance to guard Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon in 2010, but rarely lined up against him even though Blackmon torched a teammate for over 200 yards.

What they’re saying about him:

  • Matt Bowen (National Football Post): ”An active player that is around the football — and he wants to challenge receivers. Quick with his hands on the initial punch in a press-position and will drive on inside breaking routes with clean cuts from his backpedal. Might not have ideal size outside the numbers.”
  • ProFootballWeekly.com: ”Undersized, confident, fluid, finesse corner who consistently held receivers in check and showed well at the Senior Bowl, solidifying his standing. Most comfortable angled to the QB and seeking to pounce, and can play zone or off-man.”
  • Jesse Bartolis (NFLMocks.com): ”Bentley is not a huge name, but is a really nice mid round prospect.”

Video:


Video Analysis:

  • I would shudder if he lined up across Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall or Percy Harvin
  • Tiny. Seems like he could easily be picked on with a bigger WR, even if that WR isn’t on the same level as Johnson, Marshall or Harvin
  • Quick and shifty. I wonder if returning punts could be in his future?
  • I like his reaction skills. Might fit better into a zone scheme.
  • I’m seeing Bentley as more of a fourth- or fifth-rounder instead of a third.
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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: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Alabama safety Mark Barron

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: S Mark Barron, Alabama

Player information:

  • Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  • 6-foot-1, 213 lbs
  • Underwent double hernia surgery but still projects as the draft’s top safety

NFL Combine: (injured, did not participate):

News & Notes:

Barron stepped onto campus his freshman year and tallied 11 special teams tackles, the third most on the Alabama roster. From there, Barron took over the starting safety position and proceeded to rattle off three-straight first-team All-SEC selections. Arguably his most productive season came in 2009, when Barron intercepted seven passes as a sophomore. Two years later, Barron is the unquestioned No. 1 senior safety in the 2012 draft class. Most project him in the top-30 picks.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): Has the makings of a heck of a special teams player who can also attack downhill vs. the run game, play inside the box and drive on the football in front of him in the pass game. Isn’t going to be a major threat turning and tracking the football, but his improved instincts makes me think he can start in the league early on.

Frank Cooney (CBS Sports): If his feet were as quick as his instincts he would be a great free safety, but Barron is built like and plays like an outstanding strong safety. He has exceptional read-and-react skills, gets a quick jump on passes and has great hand-eye coordination going for the ball. All this somewhat compensates for his lack of great speed. On run support, Barron plays with a good balance of patience and aggression that keeps or puts him in the middle of plays that others might overrun. While he does make the occasional big hit, Barron is more of a text book tackler.

NFL.com (Combine): Barron is an imposing defender on the back end for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. He screams “professional defensive back” from preparation, to warm-ups, to in-game productivity and presence. A stalwart at the position, he has the size and athletic ability to contribute right away in the NFL. He is a safety with great range and ball skills to make big plays, and also is a contributor in run support to use his size and instincts to be an active defender. Barron’s combination of size, speed, production and football instincts project him to be a top-50 pick.

16

March

Assessing the Packers’ Biggest Draft Needs

Ted Thompson Packers

Despite Tom Silverstein’s shocking news that the Packers are interested in former Miami Dolphins’ defensive end Kendall Langford, chances remain high that the Packers instead address their defensive deficiencies through the draft.

In doing so, the question becomes which position should the Packers address first; an outside linebacker to put opposite Clay Matthews or another body to build up a much-needed pass rush. Or what about center if Scott Wells finds a new home via free agency and the Packers come up empty-handed with veteran centers?

Regardless of need, Ted Thompson is likely to draft the best player available when the Packers get on the clock, but it’s worthwhile to play the game.

While the Packers having glaring holes both on the defensive line and at right outside linebacker, addressing the issues of the defensive line will also help to alleviate additional pressure placed on the outside linebacker, as well as the defensive back field.

With a steady pass rush in 2010, the Packers were able to mask their weakness at the right outside linebacker position all the way to winning Super Bowl XLV. When Cullen Jenkins walked out the door to become an Eagle and the pass rush struggled, there were just too many problems to disguise. By fixing one issue, namely the defensive line, the Packers would again be able to compensate for weaknesses elsewhere, if not able to find a solution via free agency or the draft.

The news of Mike Neal’s suspension earlier this week was another hit to the Packers’ defensive line situation. Supposed to be the justification for letting Cullen Jenkins walk for a somewhat affordable deal, Neal hasn’t lived up to the hype and is getting dangerously close to the bust label, or even the Justin Harrell 2.0 label. It appears that Neal is not the answer, and the doubt weighs enough that it’s time to act.

While Langford would be a good addition to the rotation on the line, he won’t offer much in terms of the pass rush, the Packers’ biggest downfall in 2011. He is a run-stopper first and foremost and not known for getting after the quarterback.

The Packers need to address the defensive line and get a lineman who can and will get to the quarterback. That’s not to say if the Packers have a chance at a top outside linebacker they should pass him up, but just that the addressing the issues on the defensive line is a more desperate need.