Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: Rounds 4-7 Packer Selections on Defense

I wrote about the five offensive players drafted by the Green Bay Packers on Saturday in an earlier post, and this one is about the four defensive players selected in rounds 4-7. There were 11 draft picks in all, and that doesn't even include all the undrafted free agents, with a slight six to five advantage to the offense after a defensive heavy 2012 draft.

5th round, Iowa CB Micah Hyde. He's listed as a cornerback, but he looks like a safety for the Packers.  He recorded 78 tackles and 14 pass defenses as a senior, so he seems like a player who's used to playing closer to the line of scrimmage and someone with good ball skills. The knock on him is that he looks better suited for zone coverage, which would make him a better fit for the Packers at safety instead of trying to run with receivers along the sidelines as a press corner. He'll help his cause if he can produce on special teams in kick and punt coverage.

5th round, Mississippi State DE Josh Boyd. He's a strong (32 bench press reps), high-energy guy who's not big enough to be a nose tackle on a 3-4 defense but doesn't have enough of a pass rush to be a highly regarded 4-3 tackle prospect. He should be able to hold up fine as a 3-4 DE for the Packers and he looks to be similar to DE C.J. Wilson. He doesn't really fill a need, but provides depth. The defensive line needs to get better next season, so if he can emerge in training camp, he could beat out another lineman for a roster spot. He might be a candidate for the practice squad, if he can slip through waivers.

6th round, Illinois State OLB Nate Palmer. Every year, the Packers are looking for a college DE to convert to OLB, and this year it's Nate Palmer. He also started a thing by being a player from Illinois State, and then the Packers went and signed a couple undrafted free agents from there too. There are a couple linebacker spots available to replace Erik Walden, D.J. Smith, and Frank Zombo, so this might be a good opportunity for him. He impressed scouts at his pro day, but I'm not sure about a guy who couldn't get playing time at Illinois so he decided to transfer to Illinois State.

7th round, South Florida ILB Sam Barrington. I had to dig a little to find out more about him, at first I thought he was an outside LB prospect, but instead he looks like someone who will play inside after watching his college highlight video. He's a solid tackler who can blitz up the middle and drop back in pass coverage. He seems a little undersized to me, but he may look just fine once he puts on a Packer uniform. As I mentioned with Palmer above, there are some roster spots available at linebacker, so Green Bay could be a good team for him.

Overall, GM Ted Thompson adds more depth to a young defensive group that was re-loaded last April, so these players are going to have to stand out because there might not be enough roster spots for them. But the Packers could use another defensive back and they never can have enough linebackers. It's not obvious what the Packers got with these players, so we'll have to wait and see how they play in the preseason.

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