28

April

Green Bay Packers 7-Round Final 2011 NFL Mock Draft

The 2011 NFL Draft is quickly approaching.

After all the speculation surrounding the draft process, the actual event will finally take place from Thursday night to Saturday.

So, before the draft, I tried my hand at playing Ted Thompson and put together a seven round mock draft for the Packers. Complete with trades and analysis, I think this mock draft gives the Packers several key pieces for 2011 and beyond.

 

TRADE: Packers send pick No. 32 to Cincinnati Bengals for picks No. 35, 134 and 207

Second round (No. 35, from Cincinnati): G Danny Watkins, Baylor

There will be a team in the early second round that gives the Packers a call about trading back into the first round. When that call comes, Packers GM Ted Thompson quickly accepts.

Even without a pick on day one, the Packers find an immediate starter on the offensive line in Watkins. When Daryn Colledge leaves in free agency, Watkins will step right in at left guard and likely improves the unit overall.

 

TRADE: Packers send picks No. 64, 96 and 207 to Denver Broncos for pick No. 46

Second round (No. 46, from Denver): WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky

With more extra picks in their draft queue, the Packers can afford to trade up from No. 64 and get Cobb—a versatile and physical receiver who makes his living after the catch.

He can contribute right away on both punt and kick returns, and Cobb could help replace the likely loss of  James Jones in the passing game.

 

Fourth round (No. 129): CB Cortez Allen, Citadel

If the Packers draft a cornerback, he won’t be expected to contribute right away.

That gives Thompson the luxury of taking Allen, a raw but talented player who could develop into a starting NFL cornerback if given time. With Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields the top three on the depth chart, Allen would have plenty of time to learn before taking over a bigger role.

 

Fourth round (No. 131): DE Cedric Thornton, Southern Arkansas

Cullen Jenkins is on his way out of Green Bay, and relying on Mike Neal to completely fill his shoes would be a big risk.

26

April

Packers Prospect Profile – WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky – 2011 NFL Draft

1) Profile:

Randall Cobb

College: Kentucky

Position: WR

Height: 5’11″ Weight: 191 lbs.

Born: August 22, 1990 From: Alcoa, TN

2) High School / College Highlights: At Aloca High School, Cobb was a standout both on and off the field. As a four-year member of the track team, Cobb finished third in Tennessee in the 100-meter dash his senior season with a time of 10.75 seconds. He also was an All-District basketball player his junior and senior years, and a member of the academic honor roll.

Even with all those accolades, football was still the sport where Cobb excelled the most. He earned All-State honors during his last two years, quarterbacking the Tornadoes to a 27-3 over that span. His senior year, the dual-threat quarterback was picked as Tennessee’s “Mr. Football.” Rivals still only rated him as the 18th best prospect in Tennessee, and Scout.com gave him just a two-star rating.

Once at Kentucky, however, Cobb proved his worth. He made the SEC All-Freshman team in 2008 by playing at quarterback, receiver, running back and returner. Cobb was named All-SEC First Team his final three seasons at Kentucky, and an All-American his senior year (2010).

3) College Stats: 144 catches for 1661 yards and 13 TD’s; 228 rushes for 1313 yards and 22 TD’s; 44 kick returns for 1081 yards; 63 punt returns for 619 yards and 2 TD’s; 62 completions for 689 yards and 5 TD’s

4) NFL Combine Results: 4.46-second 40-yard dash, 16 bench-presses at 225 pounds, 33.5″ vertical leap, 115″ broad jump, 7.08-second 3-cone drill, 4.34-second 20-yard shuffle, 11.56-second 60-yard shuffle

5) Strengths/Weaknesses: Cobb is as versatile a player as there is in the 2011 NFL Draft. While his main position in the NFL will be receiver, Cobb has the ability to line up at running back, punt and kick returner or quarterback in the Wildcat formation.

As strictly a receiver, Cobb is best suited to play in the slot. He never shies away from contact and isn’t afraid to go over the middle to make plays. Once he gets the ball in his hands, Cobb is tough to get down. His history at running back and compact frame allow him to break tackles and gain yards after the catch.

25

April

Packers Seven Round Mock Draft from Pigskin Paul – 2011 NFL Draft

From our friend Pigskin Paul, who has been studying the NFL Draft since before you were born (well, most of you, anyway), here is a full seven-round 2011 NFL mock draft for the Green Bay Packers:

2011 PACKERS MOCK DRAFT

Not to bore you with detailed minutia, but here is roughly how it works. I use the PIGSKIN PAUL Regardless List and scan the 10-12 players closest to each PACKERS Pick slot. Then I select the player that seems the best fit for the PACKERS schemes and style of play. And away we go…

PICK 32/R1 MUHAMMED WILKERSON /DE/TEMPLE/6’5/310   Freakishly athletic DL who can play anywhere but the nose, in any scheme. He is a bit raw, but the PACK has a staff that can ‘coach-up’ players. He should be able to contribute right away, and has great upside. He could be the defensive version of JERMICHAEL FINLEY/TE. If he really is available to them then WHITEY might not look to trade out of Round 1.Great value selection, as well as a need with unlikely return of JENKINS or JOLLY.

PICK 64/R2 DANIEL THOMAS /RB/KANSAS STATE/6’0/228      PACKERS Personnel people have been scouting THOMAS hard. He’s a one-cut runner with decent speed for his size and is excellent catching the ball out in space. He’s a bit raw as a RB, having played QB until 3 seasons ago. His style of running fits a zone blocking scheme. He needs to run over and through defenders with more power and will have to step it up in pass pro. But he is a willing learner and works hard. This pick is an insurance policy if GRANT does not return to form, and/or JACKSON goes elsewhere as a VFA.

PICK 96/R3 SHAREECE WRIGHT /CB/SOUTHERN CAL/5’11/185     Comes from a college defensive scheme as close to the PACKERS D scheme as possible. Has the size that fits WHITEY’s CB profile. May be a better long term 3rd CB option than PATRICK LEE. Is a good cover corner and he will support the running game. This selection would also help facilitate the possible move to S of WOODSON.

PICK 129/R4a CECEL SHORTS/WR/MT. UNION/6’0/200       Small school guy who broke most of PIERRE GARCON’s school receiving records. Has good size, decent speed and excellent hands. It broke my heart when he exited SHRINE Week on Tuesday with a hammy pull. May also be able to perform some return duties while he moves up the WR depth chart. This pick makes a lot of sense for the long term, and could be important if the team decides it cannot afford to retain JAMES JONES as their No. 4 WR.

23

April

Packers Prospect Profile — CB Jimmy Smith, University of Colorado

1) Profile:

Jimmy Smith

College: Colorado

Position: CB

Height: 6’2″  Weight: 205 lbs.

Born: July 26, 1988 From: Fontana, CA

2) High School / College Highlights: While playing along side USC recruits Allen Bradford and Shareece Wright at Colton High School, Smith excelled at safety, cornerback and receiver. A three-time All-League selection, Smith was pegged as the No. 57 overall athlete prospect by Rivals.com and the 53rd ranked safety by Scout.com.

Once at Colorado, Smith started 27 games at cornerback spread over four seasons. While only intercepting three passes in his career, Smith was an All-Big 12 First team selection his senior year and a Second teamer his junior season.

3) College Stats: 47 games (27 starts), 163 tackles, three interceptions, 18 pass breakups, three fumble recoveries

4) NFL Combine Results: 4.46 second 40-yard dash, 24 bench-presses at 225 pounds, 36-inch vertical jump, 123-inch broad jump, 6.93 second 3 cone drill, 4.06 second 20-yard shuffle

5) Strengths/Weaknesses: Smith has the size, speed and coverage ability that makes NFL teams salivate at the thought of having him in their secondary. He’s more than comfortable playing press coverage, and his size makes this a very valuable attribute.

And while he didn’t necessarily put up flashy numbers in college, quarterbacks simply stopped throwing his way later on in his career. In fact, only 52 passes were attempted against Smith during his senior season. Four of his brothers played college football, and Smith has the kind of cockiness that you see in the elite NFL cornerbacks.

However, Smith has some serious red flags that have turned him off to NFL teams. Smith failed a drug test in 2007, and he was arrested twice for possession of alcohol as a minor.

His attitude problems could also be an issue. Jeff Lewgold of the Denver Post said that teams “think [Smith] might want to be a celebrity more than he wants to be a good NFL cornerback.”

6) Fit for the Packers: With Charles Woodson slowly running out of good years, the Packers need to start thinking about finding an eventual replacement. Tramon Williams and Sam Shields will be around for the foreseeable future, but defensive coordinator Dom Capers liked using three-cornerback sets with Woodson playing the slot and near the line of scrimmage. It’s yet to be seen if Williams or Shields could fill that role, but you’d have to bet against it.

21

April

Packers Prospect Profile — CB Cortez Allen, The Citadel

1) Profile:

Cortez Allen

College: The Citadel

Position: CB

Height: 6’1″ Weight: 196 lbs.

Born: October 29, 1988 From: Ocala, FL

2) High School / College Highlights: For his first three years at North Marion High School, Allen was strictly a track star. His senior year, however, he gave football a try and was an immediate standout. North Marion improved from 6-6 in 2004 to 10-4 during Allen’s senior season in ’05, and Allen was named to Florida’s Class AAA All-State, All-City and All-District teams.

Still a raw recruit, Allen saw playing time in only five games his first two collegiate seasons, including being redshirted after just one game in 2007. Once Allen took over the starting spot mid-way through 2008, however, he would never again give up it during his final 2.5 years.

After intercepting three passes in 2009, Allen was named a Third team All-American and Second team All-Southern Conference. He followed up that performance with two interceptions in 2010, good for a Second team All-American and All-Southern Conference selection.

3) College Stats: 39 games played (28 starts), 121 tackles, five interceptions, 16 passes broken up, two touchdowns, one blocked punt

4) NFL Combine Results: 4.51 second 40-yard dash, 18 bench-presses of 225 pounds, 35.5-inch vertical jump, 129-inch broad jump, 6.76 second 3 cone drill, 4.01 second 20-yard shuttle, 10.87 second 60-yard shuttle

5) Strengths/Weaknesses: With his big frame and long arms, Allen is adept at playing press coverage, and he used these skills to be a dominant cornerback at the Citadel. In his 28 career starts, Allen only allowed 69 completions (35.03 percent) and three receiving touchdowns with an average of 4.42 yards per pass attempt.

He wasn’t just a shutdown corner either. Allen contributed as an active supporter against the run, and he made no qualms about playing special teams. In fact, Allen recorded 13 tackles on special teams during his career. Finally, Allen played well in the East-West Shrine game and didn’t seem overwhelmed by the occasion.

Despite that performance, Allen is still a raw prospect with very little experience against big-time competition. And while he certainly has plenty of short-area quickness, Allen lacks the straight line catch up speed that most of the top flight cornerbacks possess.

18

April

Packers Prospect Profile — OT Nate Solder, University of Colorado

1) Profile:

Nate Solder

College: Colorado

Position: OT

Height: 6’8″   Weight: 319 lbs.

Born: April 12, 1988 From: Buena Vista, CO

2) High School / College Highlights: Solder’s foot speed and power make his 6-foot-8 frame even more imposing than it appears to the naked eye. He just looks like a guy that can dominate whomever lines up across from him. Solder was dominant in 2010, becoming the first Colorado offensive lineman to earn first-team All-American honors since 1979. He’s also durable, missing just two snaps since his sophomore season. Solder led the nation last year with 142 knockdowns and allowed only one sack and three pressures in 12 games

Solder was a 245-pound tight end and middle linebacker at Buena Vista high school inColorado and was rated the eighth best prospect in Colorado after his senior season. His dedication in the weight room transformed him into an imposing 319-pound tackle at Colorado.

3) College Stats: 49 games (36 at tackle), 308 key blocks, 20 touchdown-resulting blocks, 5 sacks allowed

4) NFL Combine Results: 4.96 40-yard dash, 21 bench reps, 32 vertical jump, 7.44 three-cone drill

5) Strengths/Weaknesses: Solder struggled against Cameron Jordan, an elite DE in this year’s draft, which raises some questions about whether he can consistently handle NFL pass rushers. His tall frame and wingspan helps him against bull-rushers, but also could hurt him against quick DE’s that take a sharp and driving angle off the line.

Solder is still learning how to play left tackle, which is probably his main weakness right now. He’s only been playing tackle for three seasons. Even though he’s still relatively new to the position, the results have been impressive. Most analysts agree that Solder has the physical tools to be a special lineman for a long time in the NFL as long as he continues to improve and learn the position.

6) Fit for the Packers: I can see Ted Thompson falling in love with Solder, but I don’t think he’ll last until pick No. 32. CBSSports.com projects him as the fourth-best tackle in the draft and the 24th best player overall. I think that actually might be a little low. Solder is a beast and the physical tools are there for him to become something special.

16

April

Packers Prospect Profile — OL Jason Pinkston, University of Pittsburgh

1) Profile:

Jason Pinkston

College: Pittsburgh

Position: OT

Height: 6’3″   Weight: 313 lbs.

Born: September 5, 1987 From: Pittsburgh, PA

2) High School / College Highlights: Pinkston, a two-time All-Big East left offensive tackle, projects as a right tackle in the NFL, or possibly a guard. Either way, his college career was impressive. Pittsburgh produced a 1,000-yard rusher in each of Pinkston’s three seasons as a starter. His versatility also helped him hold his own in pass protection against both speed and power rushers.

Pinkston came to Pittsburgh as a defensive tackle before getting switched to the offensive side in September of his freshman season. He started three games at right tackle his sophomore season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury and earning a medical redshirt.

3) College Stats: 41 career starts, 38 at left tackle.

4) NFL Combine Results: 5.39 40-yard dash, 7.88 three-cone drill, 4.91 20-yard shuttle, 22.0 bench press, 26.5 vertical jump, 08’02″ broad jump.

5) Strengths/Weaknesses: Most analysts highlight Pinkston’s effort and point out that his “motor” is always running no matter the situation, or who is lined up across from him. He also has the size and body shape to play guard, as well as the athleticism to hold his own at tackle.

Negatives include “extra weight in the midsection” (translation: he needs to mix in a salad) and doubts about his ability to handle NFL edge rushers. He also commits early to an opponent’s move, which makes him vulnerable to delayed or secondary rushes.

6) Fit for the Packers: I get the sense that Pinkston is viewed as a step or two above a project. He’s talented enough to possibly contribute right away, but it will likely take a year or two before he’s fully ready. Do the Packers need another project on the offensive line? If Ted Thompson thinks Pinkston’s talent might be worth the wait, why not?

Football teams with bad offensive lines annoy me. They’re a chore to watch. The Packers line played surprisingly well last season and I’d like to see that continue into the future. I will likely endorse any draft pick spent on an offensive lineman, including Pinkston. Just don’t be surprised if he doesn’t challenge for a starting job right away.

7) Highlight video