Friday, April 29, 2016

2016 NFL Draft: Packers Select UCLA DT Kenny Clark in 1st Round

I couldn't believe it as the Top 2 inside linebackers in the 2016 NFL draft, UCLA's Miles Jack and Alabama's Reggie Ragland, were still available when the Green Bay Packers were on the clock. And then they made the pick for UCLA DT Kenny Clark.
Initially I was disappointed, but in the end the Packers drafted one of the defensive tackles I expected them to draft. Clark looks like Mike Daniels v.2.0 (though he's slightly bigger) which would be a home run if he becomes as good as Daniels. In the clip above, he's sacking No. 1 overall pick QB Jared Goff, so he's made big plays in important games. The Packers have missed on two recent Southern California products (LB Nick Perry, and DE/LB Datone Jones) but they did hit the USC jackpot with LB Clay Matthews in 2009.

So what happens in the 2nd round? Maybe Ohio State's LB Joshua Perry would be a solid selection. It seems too early to draft a TE (at least too early for GM Ted Thompson). They really need a linebacker and they've already passed once on the two best linebackers who are rehabbing from serious knee injuries (Jack, Notre Dame's LB Jaylon Smith) so they're probably looking for someone healthy, like Perry. They already have one inside linebacker returning from a major knee injury (Sam Barrington) who is expected to start next season.

On the other hand, I really expected them to draft a linebacker early last year, and they waited until the 4th round to select LB Jake Ryan. One of GM Ted Thompson's most common draft traits is to draft a defensive lineman in the 1st round, and then go CB or WR (maybe even another DL) in the 2nd round. This draft is deep on the defensive line and at wide receiver (though there isn't an obvious elite WR at the top of the draft) so if there's a position left with a high draft grade, it's probably at one of those positions. Who knows what talent might fall on the defensive line (the two tackles from Alabama are still available). Penn State DT Austin Johnson should be available, and he'd fill the role of a run stuffer to replace NT B.J. Raji (and DT Mike Pennel during his suspension).

No comments: