31

March

Packers Mock Draft with a Twist – Pigskin Paul

Pigskin Paul on the Packers and the NFL Draft.

Pigskin Paul – Draftnik

I am not a big fan of Mock Drafts. I always feel like they are a lot more work than they are worth. With trades and so many front office changes every year the process of putting together an accurate sample Mock Draft seems not only daunting, but highly speculative. And since I do not have inside team contacts it stacks the odds even more against my being able to project with any degree of certainty.

So as a compromise between my own needs and those of my readers/followers I will herein present a PACKERS Mock Draft for all 7 Rounds. But this is a very simplistic effort. I am going to take the Draft concept of taking the best available athlete at the pick to the extreme. Without consideration of any variable the effort below is based upon the team taking the player who falls at exactly their pick number based on my Regardless of Position prospect rankings as of March 28th.

So away we go:

Pick 21    DEE FORD/DE/OLB/AUBURN/6’2/252      If  FORD is as athletic as most of us feel he is, then one would think that DOM CAPERS would be able to find multiple roles and places to move FORD around. And to the delight of many PACKERS fans the team could potentially have a superior pass-rush compliment to CLAY MATTHEWS.

Pick 53    MORGAN MOSES/OT/VIRGINIA/6’6/315    This long, lean athlete could be the answer to their  long term OT quality issues because of constant injuries to BULAGA & SHERROD. Ideally this pick would be at OG, but that’s the way best available works out some times. MOSES should become a solid starter in the NFL in a year or two.

Pick 85    CRAIG LOSTON/S/LSU/6’1/215        I think LOSTON is a lot closer in talent and potential to ERIC REID, 49‘ers first rounder last year, than many people give him credit for. He’s a big hitter and if you look at his Combine numbers you realize he’s an NFL caliber athlete. He would immediately upgrade the Packers S corps.

Pick 98    JEREMY HILL/RB/LSU/6’1/235       This pick doesn’t make much sense at all since the team added young depth to its backfield in the last Draft. But when at his best he’s very similar of EDDIE LACY in running style. So much for “best available athlete” in its strictest terms.

20

February

Live By the Draft, Die By the Draft – Pigskin Paul

Ted Thompson - Packers NFL Draft

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Since I appear to be the Grandpa of the Draftnik football writers I find at times a need to explain some of my witticisms and quotes. There is an old saying “live by the sword, die by the sword’. That really should be self-explanatory. Today I want to relate that saying to TED THOMPSON and his successful reign as the Leader of the PACK.

As anyone who follows the PACKERS and/or the NFL Draft  knows THOMPSON, also know affectionately around the League as WHITEY, subscribes to the theory that you build your franchise through the Draft Process and then hang on to your good players. Once upon a time, say 2006, WHITEY also supplemented his roster by signing a couple of significant VFA by the names of WOODSON & PICKETT. Those 2 players helped solidify the Green Bay roster and contributed significantly to their 2010 season SUPER BOWL run. For some unknown reason THOMPSON has been reluctant to take the plunge and fish in those waters again. WOODSON is gone, and PICKETT is a roster question mark from this point on, in his mid-thirties.

The main point of this diatribe is to point out that even though I agree with THOMPSON in principle I feel like injuries exposed how little experienced depth the PACKERS roster currently has. Many will defend the organizational philosophy by pointing out that the 2013 team was decimated by injuries. The PACK were indeed near the head of the injury bug epidemic list, no matter what criteria you use. Officially, the team lost 70 games by starters to injury. The key players involved were AARON RODGERS (7 games), RANDALL COBB (10), JERMICHAEL FINLEY (10) & BRYAN BULAGA (16). CLAY MATTHEWS also missed games twice because of his wrist woes. There were also multiple games lost by non-starters as well. But as the injuries mounted it became clear that the depth on the team was lacking and too many players plugged into the breach were not of sufficient NFL caliber and/or experience to hold down the fort over the short or long term.

24

July

Pigskin Paul’s Packers Preview: 12 Young Players Who Need to Step Up

Packers Nick Perry - Time to Step Up.

Nick Perry – Time to Step Up…

We have done it my friends. We have survived the dreaded football off-season. This coming week NFL teams will begin pouring into Training Camps with about 90 players per team ready to compete for jobs on 2013 regular season rosters. The Green and Gold will be amongst them obviously with high expectations and goals, but lots of questions to be answered as well. Not to be considered all inclusive by any means, here are some topics that come to mind for yours truly.

Nice to see that MARK MURPHY continues to wield the financial magic wand that continues to reap revenue and profit to keep the franchise competitive with the power brokers like JERRY JONES down in Texas. With the South end zone expansion project well on its way to completion local revenue should get a nice boost for future seasons. My only question in that regard is one for the entire NFL: At what point does your thirst for money hit “the wall” because of fan saturation/exposure and expense of access to your game?

Still can’t help but wonder whether Free Agency and Salary Cap haven’t left the team dangerously thin of proven NFL talent at the LB and S positions? Of course some younger players will get better and contribute more, but is the organization counting on more of that phenomenon than is reasonable? We shall see.

So then who might be the younger players to step it up and emerge as legit NFL starters, perhaps even stars? The other key question is often, who can return to the field and bounce back (and up) from injuries? With a young, home grown roster like that of Green Bay that list might include half of the roster, but let me pinpoint a dozen guys who might make a performance leap this season for various and sundry reasons.

NICK PERRY/OLB    Last year’s No. 1 Pick missed most of the season after a September wrist injury eventually landed him on injured reserve (with a knee injury to boot).  Assuming he’s healthy it would be nice to think that he spent a lot of  his down-time in 2012 talking with coaches and watching film that helped him better understand the position switch from DE to OLB he is making. Hopefully, that study will help him do more playing than thinking in 2013.

10

May

Pigskin Paul Peruses Packers Picks

Packers NFL draft picksSo now all the guess work is over and the NFL Draft is in the books. As I write this most Packers rookies are showing up for their first taste of an NFL OTA.

And it is obvious that unless I am going to be totally oblivious of my readers’ desires, which is not a good thing at all, I am going to have to relent of my “no Draft Grades” stance, at least relative to the PACKERS and the rest of the NFC North.

So let’s start right at the top of the list with the team that is the clear choice as “America’s Team”, to the vast majority of my readers.

GREEN BAY PACKERS  2013 DRAFT ANALYSIS

 

ROUND 1, PICK 26        DATONE JONES        6’4/283        UCLA        4.80/40    32 3/4” ARMS    10” HANDS

JONES selection may have been a slight surprise to some, but his name had been surfacing in talk of the PACK’s Draft plan on a regular basis over the final weeks leading up to the Draft.  The team’s brain trust (THOMPSON&McCARTHY) clearly agreed in principle with a lot of the PACKERS fan base that the team needed more help for CLAY MATTHEWS in generating pressure on opposing QBs. Disrupting opposing backfields turned into a hobby for JONES last season under the new coaching staff at UCLA, led by veteran NFL Coach JIM MORA. He recorded 19 TFL and 6.5 Sacks in his final season for the BRUINS. He might be a bit light in the pants for an NFL 3-4 scheme, but he carries his current weight well and combines functional strength and quickness to keep from being engulfed by bigger OT. His 29 reps in the Bench Press at the COMBINE was impressive for his weight. He also shows solid hand work combining strength and quickness to keep blockers off balance. He had a very solid week of work in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He excelled in practices and roamed the field effectively during the game. One would expect that DOM CAPERS will move JONES around and have him on the field even in his 2-man DL formations. He has experience all along the line and has more athleticism than the last guy the PACKERS selected to fill this role for them: MIKE NEAL. I would expect JONES and a healthy NICK PERRY to help CLAY MATTHEWS tremendously in the front 7 in 2013. Not a “special” player like MATTHEWS, but appears to be an excellent fit in the PACKERS schemes and should contribute right away as a Rookie.

9

April

Pigskin Paul’s NFC North Mock Draft

2013 NFL Draft

2013 NFL Draft

Since my Packers Mock Draft a little while back, I’ve received request for a Bears mock draft as well.  So here goes nothing. But I do have one disclaimer. I am not familiar with the long term work of PHIL EMERY, so this one is purely on me with no inside information to draw from. And at the request of more than a few folks whose favorite division is the NFC North, here’s the whole division for you.

(As with my previous PACKERS MOCK the number in parenthesis after the Pick name and vitals is where I currently have the player ranked on my Regardless of Position Prospect list.)

 

DA BEARS   2013 MOCK DRAFT

Round 1, Pick 20    ALEC OGLETREE/LB/GEORGIA/6’3/242(22)

The LB position is the biggest rebuild unit on this team now that VFA has been used to finally upgrade the OL. If EMERY can get past the off-field issues OGLETREE could be an instant starter for them, on the outside in my opinion. He’s an excellent athlete and his ex-S skills can be put to best use outside rather than in the Middle where he’d be a bit undersized for the NFL.

Round 2, Pick 50    MARKUS WHEATON/WR/OREGON STATE/5’11/189(50)

DA BEARS have a solid group of WR, but none of them is the quick/fast combo slot type. WHEATON plays faster & quicker than his Combine 40-time of 4.45. And remember EMERY has announced that DEVIN HESTER is now a  RS not a receiver. Combine that decision with the injury retirement of JOHNNY KNOX and this team needs a fast slot receiver. You can’t have too many weapons when your centerpiece is JAY CUTLER. On my Board all the value DT types were gone when this Pick came up, or I would have gone there with the selection.

Round 4, Pick 117    AKEEM SPENCE/DT/ILLINOIS/6’1/307(116)

No, he’s not the behemoth they should have inside but he’s a young, athletic player who can play the run and push the pocket a bit. He’s an example of the quality depth in the middle of this Draft class. He’d come in real handy if OKOYE & IDONIJE both price themselves out of town. Could become an instant starter, or at the least a viable part of a DT rotation.

Round 5, Pick 153    TRAVIS KELCE/TE/CINCINNATI/6’5/255(152)

1

April

Packers Mock Draft #1 from Pigskin Paul

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Trying to figure out Mocks that involve all 32 teams seems absolutely impossible to my old mind. Trying to construct something that captures the scheming and mechanization of TED THOMPSON’s mind may be even more daunting. But at least it only involves 8 Picks and no one in their right mind expects anything close to it to actually occur at the end of April. So here is my first PACKERS 2013 Draft projection.

Just a brief explanation of the effort. I am using my Top 300 prospect list and then selecting at the pick spots currently held by the PACK. When they are scheduled to select at spot 26 in Round 1 I consider prospects that I have ranked from 24-35. Thus I am hoping that Whitey likes someone in that 12 spot range. Within those 12 I am also considering needs as I view them. Even though Thompson professes the “best available athlete” philosophy as his drafting mode, he is far from oblivious to roster need factors if he has a group of players that are pretty much equally ranked on his Draft Board.

Even though I believe this to be a very good Draft to trade back a couple of times because of high quality depth I refuse to even begin speculation on when and where he might trade. Therefore, this projection is confined to the current 8 Picks that the PACKERS organization holds.

PACKERS MOCK DRAFT 1st Edition March, 2013

Round 1, Pick 26 DESMOND TRUFANT/CB/WASHINGTON/6’0/190(25)
He fits the mold of a PACKERS CB. He is a solid athlete, with extreme confidence who can cover and will tackle with gusto. TRAMON WILLIAMS is now in his 30’s & SAM SHIELDS may moving on this year (RFA) or next. He could be an immediate sub-package contributor and a starter by 2014. He’ll be the 3rd TRUFANT brother to play in the NFL. I just love those gene pools. He adds speed to the PACK with his 4.38/40 from the Combine.

Round 2, Pick 55 JOSH BOYCE/WR/RS/TCU/5’11/206(66)
With all the QB issues at TCU last season this guy fell off the radar for many NFL teams. But he caught their eye and got back into serious consideration when he ran a 4.38/40 at the COMBINE. Looks to me like he can bring the same kind of skills & production to the PACK as those of recently departed GREG JENNINGS. He also flashed some return ability during his college career.

6

February

First thoughts on Packers Draft Season from Pigskin Paul

Ted Thompson is on the prowl...

Ted Thompson is on the prowl…

Before I get totally immersed in DRAFT information, including, but not limited to, the upcoming NFL COMBINE I thought it might be a good time to drop a few tidbits of information and opinion on the PACKERS off-season.

I can assure you that TED THOMPSON and his staff are involved up to their eyeballs when it comes to the off season scouting process in preparation for the 2013 NFL DRAFT, which is the lifeblood of this organization under the guidance of the Thompson  administration. Want some further proof of that statement look no further than the current official PACKERS roster posted at their official website http://www.packers.com . Taking away the announced retirements of DRIVER & SATURDAY the roster stands at 69 players right now. Of those 69, 36 are original draftees of the PACKERS.

But for THOMPSON, the 7 Round Draft is just part 1 of the annual talent acquisition process. The other part takes place (legally speaking) a second after the final pick of each draft concludes. That is when all teams hop on the phones and try to sign the highest ranked, or most interesting players not drafted but classified as having that something special that Green Bay is looking for. Another 10 players on the current roster were signed as Undrafted Free Agents by the Green & Gold.

It should also be noted that the PACKERS scouting personnel don’t always get everyone they are interested in to sign those UDFA contracts. So they keep a list of players they wanted but could not sign. Then the pro personnel staff scout these and other players during training camp as they attempt to make other rosters around the league. Every season a few of the ones that got away, get cut and are signed by the PACK. Another 18 players on today’s roster originally joined other teams as UDFAs, but were picked up by the PACKERS when they were released by said teams.

That means that out of 69 total players on the current roster 28 came into the NFL as undrafted players. Besides the PACKERS ability to find talent, one of the major tenets within the organization is that TED THOMPSON must have a coaching staff that prides itself on teaching and developing young players into NFL caliber veterans. Other than “stars” like RODGERS & MATTHEWS, there isn’t much talent differential at roster spots 20-50 for most NFL teams. It is more often than not the ability of coaches to teach and develop  players within a team’s schemes that leads to a deep and productive roster.