26

April

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Updated Day 2 Projection

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Packers GM Ted Thompson

It’s been said over and over, but while the 2013 NFL Draft lacks star power at the top, it’s extremely deep in rounds two and three. So that should make for an exciting Day 2 tonight.

You’ll notice plenty of first-round talent on the board between picks 33-62. There are even some players in the third round that had a shot at being selected in round one.

For the Packers, I’d be quite surprised if they don’t add a skill position player at some point today. Whether it’s running back, wide receiver, or both, the Packers should have plenty of options to add an impact player on Day 2. There wasn’t a single running back selected in round one, so Eddie Lacy, Giovani Bernard, Johnathan Franklin and Le’Veon Bell are all still on the board. There’s a very good chance that one of those players will fall to the Packers at No. 55.

Sorry, Mel Kiper, but Montee Ball is not a first-round talent, and I don’t think he’ll be selected in the second round at all.

But if the Packers have their choice between several running backs, they’ll probably have to decide what’s more important: Do they a running back that would play immediately, or grabbing a wide receiver to groom for the future? Of course, they could go for a more immediate need and go with a safety or center, but I believe the value will be better at the end of the third round at those positions.

Ten is a really nice and even number. So here are ten potential Packers picks to keep an eye on today: UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin, Michigan St. RB Le’Veon Bell, Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton, North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard, Oregon St. WR Markus Wheaton, Southern Miss LB Jamie Collins, West Virginia WR Stedman Bailey, California C Brian Schwenke, North Carolina St. S Earl Wolff and Georgia Southern S J.J. Wilcox.

Now that we’re batting 1.00 after correctly predicting the Datone Jones pick, let’s see if we can nail the team’s Day 2 selections as well. Note: It probably won’t happen.

 

Second Round (Picks 33-62)

33. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

34. San Francisco 49ers: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford

35. Philadelphia Eagles: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

36. Detroit Lions: OT Menelik Watson, Florida State

25

April

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Final two-round projection

UCLA DE Datone Jones

UCLA DE Datone Jones

Happy Draft Day, everyone.

Christmas is cool and birthdays are fun, but no single day on the calendar stands above the first day of the NFL Draft. My apologies to March Madness.

While the 2013 NFL Draft may lack star power at the top, there’s no shortage of uncertainty. And it’s sure to be yet another exciting draft.

The Packers have been quiet this offseason up to this point, but as Kris Burke said in a post earlier this week, it’s now time for Ted Thompson to “come out and play.” Thompson and the Packers will make their first pick at No. 26 overall. Many names have been mocked to the Packers, but my final mock draft has the team adding some help on the defensive side of the ball in round one.

There will be surely be plenty of trades in the first round, but I didn’t project any in this final mock. Once the first trade goes down tonight, this projection will undoubtedly find the trash can.

But anyways, enjoy my final mock draft and have a happy Draft Day.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Other options: OT Eric Fisher, OLB Dion Jordan

At No. 1 overall, it’s between Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher. Both players will likely be successful at the NFL level, but I think Joeckel winds up being the pick. There are three tackles that could go in the top five, but all three are very different players. Rumors suggest some personnel guys within the Chiefs’ organization prefer Fisher over Joeckel, so this could be a waiting game until they’re at the podium with their pick.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Other options: OT Eric Fisher, QB Geno Smith, DE Ziggy Ansah

It’s hard to see through the smoke in the week leading up to the draft. But if you believe all the pre-draft rumors, then the Jaguars are seriously considering an offensive tackle with the second pick. Considering they already have a solid left tackle in Eugene Monroe, I think new head coach Gus Bradley looks for a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball. Dion Jordan is the best defender in the draft.

3. Oakland Raiders: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Other options: Trade down, CB Dee Milliner, DE Ziggy Ansah

29

March

2013 NFL Draft Preview: Ranking Wide Receiver Prospects

Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson

There may not be a Julio Jones or A.J. Green at the top of this year’s wide receiver crop, but the position is among the deepest in the 2013 NFL Draft.

This year’s classes is led by former JUCO transfer Cordarrelle Patterson, who played at Tennessee in 2012. Patterson, although raw, is a freakish athlete with seemingly limitless potential. He’s the No. 1 receiver on my board, and his college teammate, Justin Hunter, isn’t too far behind.

Along with Patterson, West Virginia speedster Tavon Austin also appears to be a surefire first-round pick. Austin is more of a Percy Harvin-type matchup nightmare than a true perimeter wide receiver, but he may be the most explosive offensive prospect in the entire draft.

Many have Calfornia’s Keenan Allen as a first-round pick as well, but I’m not 100 percent sold. To me, Patterson and Austin are clearly the top two guys at the position, and after them, Allen is one of a handful of guys that could sneak into the end of round one or fall to the middle of round two.

Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins and Southern Cal’s Robert Woods fall into the same boat as Allen.

The Packers certainly have a need at wide receiver. On top of Greg Jennings leaving Green Bay for Minnesota, the team faces uncertainty with Jordy Nelson, whose contract is set to expire after 2014, and James Jones, who is scheduled to be a free agent after this season.

Ted Thompson has done some serious damage on Day 2 of the draft since taking over as general manager. Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Jennings were all selected in the second round by Thompson, while Jones was a third-round pick. It’s very possible that the Packers will look to address the position in either the second or third round.

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (6-2, 216)

  • Draft stock: Early-Mid 1st
  • 40 time: 4.42, 10-yard split: 1.55, Vertical jump: 37″
  • One-year starter in D1; transferred to Tennessee in 2012.
  • There isn’t a “can’t-miss” guy at the top of the draft, but Patterson has a chance to develop into a pretty special player. He’s remarkable after the catch and was often given the ball in the running game at Tennessee. If he can polish up his route running, Patterson could very well end up being a Pro Bowl player.
6

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Quinton Patton, WR Louisiana Tech

Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton

Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: WR Quinton Patton

Player Information:

Quinton Patton, WR Louisiana Tech
6-0, 204 pounds
Hometown: La Vergne, TN

STATS

NFL Combine:

4o-yard dash: 4.53
10-yard split: 1.56
Vertical: 33″
Broad jump: 9′ 10″

News and Notes:

Patton played two seasons at Louisiana Tech after beginning his college career at Coffeyville Community College in southeastern Kansas … Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks, a potential first-round pick this year, called Patton the best WR he’s played against: ”I feel like (Quinton Patton) from Louisiana Tech is the best receiver I’ve played against since I’ve been here. I’ve gone against some good ones in the SEC, too, but he’s probably the most complete.” … Caught 21 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Texas A&M in 2012 … Was named All-Western Athletic Conference First Team in both 2011 and 2012 … In the Poinsettia Bowl, players were given $300 Best Buy gift cards, but Patton gave his to kids participating in the Make-A-Wish Foundation … During his time at Coffeyville CC, Patton served as the punter and averaged 39.8 yards per attempt … Packers met with Patton Jan. 25 at the Senior Bowl.

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • NFL.com: “Used on quick throws to take advantage of his shiftiness and surprisingly tough running, lowers his shoulder and is not easy for smaller cornerbacks to drag down after the catch … Shows fight as a run blocker, willing to hit multiple punches to keep his man at bay and works himself into the correct blocking angle. Hustles downfield to help out fellow ballcarriers. Plays with a feisty attitude.”
  • CBSSports.com: “Possesses an athletic build with long arms. Quick accelerator who gobbles up the cushion. Shows good quickness, strength and competitiveness versus press coverage. Sets up the defender with a variety of releases, alternating his gait to keep his opponent off-balance. Consistently catches the ball with his hands, away from his body.”

Video:


Video Analysis:

  • Willing blocker that plays until the whistle whether he has the ball or not.
  • Crafty after the catch.
  • Accelerates quickly with the ball in his hands.
  • Does a good job of selling his route on double-moves.
  • Separates from press coverage, typically with a quick stutter-step off the line of scrimmage.
25

January

If Jennings leaves, Wide Receiver Becomes a Pressing Need

Packers WR Greg Jennings

Packers WR Greg Jennings

Most expect wide receiver Greg Jennings to leave the Packers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Jennings has spent the past seven seasons in Green Bay after being drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. And after 425 catches, 53 touchdowns, two Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl, Jennings’s time in Green Bay appears to be over.

When the Packers played the Minnesota Vikings in week 17, the wide receiver’s sister was critical of quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Twitter, suggesting that Jennings should “take (his) talents to South Beach and get paid.”

Miami is certainly a potential landing spot for Jennings. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was the Packers’ offensive coordinator from 2007-2011. And whether it’s with the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings or another team, Jennings is likely in line for a healthy payday this offseason.

In which case, one of Green Bay’s strongest positions in recent years could become a pressing need.

The Packers saw a preview of life-after-Jennings in 2012, as he only appeared in eight regular season games. In his absence, James Jones and Randall Cobb emerged as key playmakers for the Packers. With Jordy Nelson on one side, Jones on the other and Cobb in the slot, the Packers have a talented trio of wide receivers even if Jennings signs elsewhere.

But having three talented receivers does as much good as having one great quarterback. If the all-too-popular injury bug bites, the team could suffer.

And beyond Nelson, Jones and Cobb, the Packers face a great deal of uncertainty at the position. Undrafted rookie Jarrett Boykin was a pleasant surprise in the preseason and cracked the final 53-man roster in August. Jeremy Ross showed promise as a return man late in the season, but he didn’t make an impact on the team offensively.

Donald Driver was used sparingly in 2012 and is reportedly leaning towards retirement.

At tight end, the future of starter Jermichael Finley is up in the air. Packers beat writer Bob McGinn wrote Dec. 15 that the Packers appeared to be finished with Finley, but the much-maligned tight end improved down the stretch. Following the article’s publication, Finley caught 18 passes in the Packers’ final three regular season games. Finley signed a two-year, $14 million contract last February, leaving the team with a tough decision on what to do with the five-year veteran.