Rd. 1, Pk. 27
Vernon Butler, DT/NT, Louisiana Tech
The need for a defensive lineman isn't exactly dire for the Packers, but it's an area that should be addressed now in the wake of B.J. Raji's unexpected retirement. The Packers do have a number of options at this spot, but few offer the upside of Vernon Butler, who could easily be off the board by now.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Jonathan Bullard, DT - Butler is another player who would make a ton of sense for the Packers.
2. Trade Down - Charlie Campbell reported that the Packers are a likely trade target for the Broncos and Browns, who could be looking to move up in an attempt to land Paxton Lynch.
Rd. 2, Pk. 26
Jihad Ward, DT/3-4DE, Illinois
This will make more sense in the final mock, but Jihad Ward would be another nice piece the Packers could add to their mediocre defensive front. Ward will complement the final mock's first-rounder rather well.
Rd. 3, Pk. 25
Jaylon Smith, OLB/ILB, Notre Dame
Jaylon Smith's medical recheck went terribly, and some teams now list him as a sixth- or seventh-round prospect. It's unfortunate, but perhaps some team will take a chance on him at the end of Day 2.
Rd. 4, Pk. 27
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
The Packers managed to re-sign James Starks, but running back remains a need because of Eddie Lacy's weight problems (though from pictures, he looks like he's shed an entire human being.)
Rd. 4, Pk. 33
Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple
Adding a second defensive end makes sense for the Packers, who need to improve the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Rd. 4, Pk. 39
Avery Young, OT, Auburn
The Packers had issues pass protecting last year because of a severe lack of depth. This needs to be addressed.
I liked Walt's pick in his trades mock of Jabrill Peppers. It makes tons of sense for Green Bay to get Peppers, but I'm not sure they would in light of his diluted-drug-test issue from the combine. I've heard that Green Bay loves Mixon and has done a ton of research into him in the leadup to the draft. The Packers could use a feature back and have the strong locker room, along with a small-town environment, to keep Mixon focused.
Mixon is an electric runner with excellent speed and the ability to rip off a long run on any carry. He became Oklahoma's featured runner as a redshirt sophomore with an average of seven yards per carry (168 carries) for 1,183 yards with eight touchdowns while sharing carries with Samaje Perine. Mixon also was a receiving weapon with 32 receptions for 449 yards with five touchdowns.
Sources have said that they think Mixon is a serious talent with three-down starting potential in the NFL. Some teams, however, already have ruled him out because of the incident from 2014 in which he punched a woman after she declined Mixon's advances. After video of the incident was released two years later, Mixon issued a tearful apology. Some teams have already removed him from their draft boards because of the character concerns.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Packers could use a cornerback upgrade, and I think they love Conley. The question will be if Green Bay is okay with the late-breaking off-the-field issues.
On Tuesday, news came out that Conley was the subject of a rape allegation. Two teams told me they thought it was bogus. Hopefully, they are correct for the sake of all involved. Another team said they thought it probably wasn't true, but they were very disappointed in Conley's lack of judgement and awareness to put himself in this situation. Regardless, the controversy could be damaging enough to cause Conley to slide in the 2017 NFL Draft, like La'el Collins or Laremy Tunsil in the past two years.
Conley recorded 26 tackles with eight passes broken up and four interceptions in 2016. He played well, and teams think he is a well-rounded player. The 6-foot, 195-pounder has enough size to start on the outside at the next level. In the NFL, Conley could fit in schemes that run zone, off man, and press man. He is a polished player who should be able to contribute quickly.
After some early issues, Conley had a solid 2015 season for the Buckeyes and improved as the year progressed. He totaled 49 tackles with two interceptions and five passes broken up that year. Conley has a good skill set, and he looks like a safe pick to develop into a quality starter.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Ryan Anderson, OLB/3-4OLB, Alabama
The Packers could use more edge-rushing talent.
Anderson (6-2, 258) was a clutch performer for Alabama in 2016. He supplied a lot of pass rush off the edge and also did well at setting the edge in run defense. Anderson totaled 61 tackles with 18 for a loss, nine sacks, three passes broken up, one interception and four forced fumbles on the season. In 2015, he put together a strong finish to the season, recording 37 tackles with 11.5 for a loss, six sacks and two forced fumbles on the year.
Anderson has versatile size and upside to develop. He would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jaleel Johnson, DT/3-4DE/NT, Iowa
The Packers grab a some defensive line depth and competition.
The 6-foot-2, 309-pound Johnson has the skill set to be a difference-maker at the point of attack. He is strong enough to shed blocks, yet has the speed to close on the quarterback. Johnson needs to get more consistent and increase the tempo of his motor, but he racked up 7.5 sacks in 2016. He also had 55 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and two passes broken up. In a number of ways, Johnson is a similar prospect to former teammate Carl Davis, who had first-round potential but slid to the third round in large part because of inconsistent effort.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Tyrone Swoopes, TE, Texas
The Packers added a tight end weapon in Martellus Bennett, but they could consider a developmental backup.
Despite how well the Packers have been run under the management of Ted Thompson the packers really have a lot of holes. Linebacker, Safety, O-line come to mind from a needs perspective. I have the Packers taking Reggie Ragland. I see him as more of a 2 down player, but he could really help Matthews play a more natural position. There’s also the possibility that Ragland becomes a decent player with his hand in the dirt on third down. He is a throw-back player but his skills still apply to today’s game.
Billings will add tremendous speed to a team that is in need of a solid DT. The depature of B.J. Raji Leaves Mike Pennel as the starting DT who is suspended for the first four games for violating league rules. This leaves Mike Daniels as the only option (Currently listed at NT) on the Packers depth chart, however Green Bay used him as DE last season and he enjoyed another big year so safe to say Mike McCarthy won't move him to NT. So this leaves the Pack with no one at DT/NT. Billings possess amazing speed for a big fella and lead Baylor last year with 15 tackles for loss (averaging more than per game) and he also brought in 5.5 sacks not to mention Billings is 6'1" 311 pounds and is arguably the most power player in the draft. This would be a huge pick up for Dom Capers defense
One of the premier run stoppers in this class, which truly is saying something in this class and his incredible defensive line talent. Very strong player who plays with great leverage and motor when defending the run. Very good tackler, both in terms of technique and production, which is something that is typically overlooked in defensive lineman. He racked up 108 tackles over the last two years despite only playing a bit more than 50 percent of snaps due to the incredible depth along the Alabama defensive line. Unfortunately, as much as he gives in the run game, he gives up in the passing game. He truly is a non-factor when rushing the passer. Only had two career sacks at Alabama. He just isn’t explosive enough nor does he possess the pass rush moves to make up for it. Plain and simple, his ceiling as a run stopper is as high as it gets, and his ceiling as a pass rusher is as low as it gets. Because of the importance of the passing game, and thus a healthy pass rush, I believe some people are a bit high on Reed and he could suffer a slight fall but the Packers would love to scoop him up here. With Clay Matthews moving back outside this season the pass rush shouldn’t be a huge issue but with BJ Raji retiring and a huge hole along the defensive line at both spots next to star Mike Daniels, stopping the run along the defensive line is the Packers biggest need without a doubt.
The Packers trade back with Denver and recoup good value, sending one of their three 4th-rounders to grab a second 3rd in a draft with great Round 2-3 value. They also still get their guy--after the early retirement of B.J. Raji, interior D-Line is a gigantic need, and Butler can play the 3-Tech and 1-Tech effectively. He's an absolute dog in the middle, who plays with great power and a strong base, and he finishes EVERY play--you love to see that in a big guy. The Packers desperately want to move Clay Matthews back to the outside, where he belongs--they need to shore up the middle of the front seven in order to do so. This pick starts it--with their next 6 picks, from 55-137, if they can snag a serviceable MLB, that'll finish it. This could be a huge draft for Ted Thompson--I mean, every draft has to be, when your only free-agent acquisition is Jared Cook Jr. But Rodgers isn't getting any younger, Nelson and Cobb have to both be injury concerns. The year for Green Bay to make their run is nigh.
For the first time in the Rodgers era, the defense regularly carried the offense. They will be looking for an impact player on offense. Hunter Henry is an intriguing prospect. He reminds me of Jason Witten and/or Greg Olsen. Henry has great hands and didn't drop a single pass all year. He wasn't used as a red-zone threat often in college, but I think he has potential to be a real weapon near the goal line. Right now, he's a fringe 1st rounder, but a good combine could cement that status.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Hunter Henry Going to Packers
Rd. 1, Pk. 27
Kenny Clark, DT/NT
No real problem with this pick, though I would've preferred Andrew Billings or Vernon Butler. The Packers needed a nose tackle in the wake of B.J. Raji's retirement, and they had their pick of the litter at this juncture. Given that, you might wonder why the Packers didn't move down, even if they didn't get full value. Still, Green Bay made a somewhat decent choice to fill a big hole on its defensive front.
Rd. 2, Pk. 17
Jason Spriggs, OT
It's surprising to see the Packers make such a splash move like this. It doesn't seem necessary either. Jason Spriggs tested extremely well at the Combine, but he has several things to work on before becoming a starter, as he's pretty raw. I think Green Bay could've waited on tackle depth and perhaps a starter for 2017. There were just other needs to address, and Green Bay could've obtained a better football player without trading up.