Monday, January 28, 2013

Packers 7 Round Mock Draft 1.0

This is my Mock Draft 1.0 for the Packers. I should have another one after the NFL Scouting Combine to get a better idea on what direction the Packers will go in. By then, there should be some cuts and trades. Ted Thompson will likely do a little bit of radio during that time as well where he could hint a few things. Until then, we can only follow the news and do our own research, investigating, and speculation as to who Green Bay will take in the 2013 NFL Draft. Here's what I think initially.

Round 1 Pick 26: Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North Carolina - The Packers had major problems at center after letting Scott Wells walk away, so they'll have to address that area this spring. Jeff Saturday didn't hold up as a replacement and was benched mid-season and later announced his retirement as Evan Dietrich-Smith took over at center for the remainder of the season. Cooper played an important role in North Carolina's running game, which averaged 193.8 yards per game, the highest per game average since 1994. Cooper has excellent agility, demonstrating the ability to quickly get to the second level and block on the move. Ted Thompson will like Jonathan Cooper's versatility, as the North Carolina product can play all three interior positions.

Photo: ESPN
Round 2 Pick 55: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington - A lot of people have Trufant going in the first round. I think otherwise. It's not that I don't think he's good enough to be a first round pick. It's just that it will be one of those things where he will get lost in the shuffle. Desmond Trufant is younger brother of Marcus Trufant (Seahawks) and Isaiah Trufant (Jets). It's pretty much been his destiny to join the NFL since he committed to Washington. Rob Rang says "He (Desmond) has the fluidity and straight-line speed to handle coverage duties and has proven ball skills (five career interceptions). To improve his standing with scouts, Trufant will need to show continued improvement as an open field tackler." With news coming out from the Packers that Tramon Williams will have to compete for a spot on next year's depth chart at cornerback. Trufant would give Williams a run for his money, and spot.

Round 3 Pick 88: Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall - I think we all know the reasoning for this pick. With Donald Driver pondering retirement and Greg Jennings putting his home in De Pere, Wisconsin up for sale, it looks like the Packers will need to look to add a wide receiver in the draft. Dobson accumulated 2,398 yards and 24 touchdowns. Aaron has a good reputation as a leader on and off the field, a good work ethic according to his coaches as well. He possesses good height and bulk to play the position. Speed is not the best but it's definitely good. He has deceptive speed as he uses long strides to get down the field and stretch the defense vertically. Finally, his excellent hands that would rate as elite in this year's draft.

Round 4 Pick 119: Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn State - Hopefully I'm not the only one who doesn't want Erik Walden back on the Packers next year. If the Packers cut him, there would be a void at the line backer position. In the 4th round, Gerald Hodges would be a steal for the Packers and he could honestly still be on the board. Hodges seeks out ball carriers and delivers a physical pop upon contact. He has above average athleticism for the position, showing the range to make plays all over the field and the agility to avoid blocks and quickly arrive to the play.

Photo: Zimbio
Round 5 Pick 152: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford - It's evident that the Packers need to figure out the running game and make it relevant again. James Starks has yet to prove himself. Cedric Benson will likely be gone next year, as will Ryan Grant. Alex Green and DuJuan Harris are our only two semi legitimate running backs, but neither of them strike me as premiere backs to lead a running game. Stepfan Taylor could bring that leadership to the Packers. He is well-built with a thick, powerful lower half. He commits quickly to the hole and possesses great initial burst to clear it before it collapses. He doesn't shy away from contact, and keeps his feet churning on impact. He forces his weight forward through the hole and on contact, and is able to grind out the extra half-yard falling down. He protects the ball well through traffic, and exhibits awareness to shift the ball to his outside hand prior to engaging defenders.

Round 6 Pick 182: Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas - There's a chance that Jermichael Finley could be cut this offseason to preserve some cap room. The Packers have some depth at tight end, but no one is a stand out as the leader. Chris Gragg may not be a big household name going into the draft, he has the potential to be a team's top option at tight end. In terms of his blocking, he uses his hands well and extends his arms with a good base, and does a solid job of sealing the edge for backs. However, he will really get noticed by scouts for his ability to catch the ball and make plays down the field. Gets off the line really quickly and does a good job of making plays after the catch. Big target who can play in-line as a tight end, out wide as a receiver, or in the backfield as a fullback.

Round 7 Pick 216: Eric Martin, DE, Nebraska - It wouldn't hurt the Packers to look for defensive line help. Jerel Worthy had knee surgery a few weeks ago, Raji was a little banged up last year, and C.J. Wilson needs someone to compliment him better. Dane Brugler writes: "Martin uses his long arms well to rip past blockers, sticking his foot in the ground and exploding to the play. Martin is a little tight-jointed, but has the quick feet to drop and cover in space, making plays away from the line of scrimmage. He plays the game with a physical attitude and arrives to the ballcarrier with a nasty demeanor, making him a tough player to contain."

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

-Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

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