Monday, April 06, 2015

2015 NFL Draft and Packers Expected Targets

The Green Bay Packers are arguably the most tight lipped (especially GM Ted Thompson) organization in the NFL, so no one has any idea who they might draft. But in recent years, their first round pick is usually at a position where they urgently need help. For example, last year they badly needed a replacement for FS M.D. Jennings and they drafted HaHa Clinton-Dix in the 1st round. The mock drafts might not get the actual player right but they could very well chose the correct position.
Currently, CBS Sports has four mock drafts posted, one of which also selects UCLA ILB Eric Kendricks and the other three have cornerbacks. I think all four might have selected someone at inside linebacker if their were more (any) inside linebackers with a first round grade. Even Kendricks might be more of a 2nd round caliber player.

There aren't as many players listed as having met with the Packers as there are for other organizations, but Walter Football does list 14 players. There are only a few positions listed, but there are three positions where the Packers have met with three or more players:

1. Running back. I didn't see that one coming. While this isn't a need position, they can't afford to have their skill positions understocked, which is why drafting three wide receivers and Davante Adams in the 2nd round last year made sense. Maybe they'd consider using the 2nd round pick again (RB Eddie Lacy in 2013) this season on right running back.

2. Defensive back. I'm lumping two cornerbacks and one safety together, but the departure of Tramon Williams, Davon House, and probably free agent Jarrett Bush has left them thin in the secondary. Micah Hyde could play cornerback full-time which would then make drafting a safety important too. While they are set with their top five defensive backs, depth is needed but maybe not in the 1st round.

3. Defensive tackle. This might not be as important after re-signing both Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji but they still could use an upgrade over those two veterans. Also, recent draft picks Khyri Thornton and Josh Boyd might not be keepers. They met twice with Washington's Danny Shelton, who shouldn't be available at the end of the 1st round but would be a great addition if he did slip that far.

They have also met with two TEs (Minnesota's Maxx Williams was one) and Miami's Clive Walford twice. Reading the evaluation on Walford is like reading a description of TE Richard Rodgers, so I can see why the Packers might have interest in a player like Walford. He has a 2nd/3rd round grade, so it's more likely they'd be looking at him in the late 2nd.

I'll be happy as long as they address inside linebacker, defensive tackle, and defensive back at some point in the draft so I don't have a particular favorite. But inside linebacker still stands out as such a glaring need, Sam Barrington is the only player on the roster who looks like a favorite to start at either inside position (assuming Clay Matthews isn't staying inside), so that position still looks like the biggest need.

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