The Green Bay Packers are coming off a 15-1 season after which they fell short in the NFC Divisional Round, losing to the eventual World ChampionNew York Giants.
So what do the the Green Bay Packershave to do get back to the playoffs and another Super Bowl?
The Packers have 12 total draft picks, so they should have a good chance to reload and get back to the playoffs and beyond.
Green Bay’s needs include a pass-rushing linebacker, defensive lineman, cornerback, safety, quarterback, running back.
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State: Ryan Pickett isn’t getting any younger, and ever since Cullen Jenkins departed the defensive line has struggled in getting to the quarterback.
Worthy is 6’2″, 308 pounds, All-American, had 10 tackles for a loss and helped lead Michigan State to the No. 1 rushing defense in the Big Ten. He had 11.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for a loss over his career at MSU. Worthy is more likely to play end in a 3-4 than a nosetackle.
Nick Perry, OLB/DE, USC: Perry is 6’3″, and 271 pounds. He fits best as a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker. His strength is rushing the passer.
Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State: McClellin is this year’s Brooks Reed, a player who rode a hot combine and soared up draft boards.
Boise head coach Chris Petersen on McClellin, “You know Shea McClellin’s a trained assassin on the football field. That guy’s been such an unbelievable player for a long time for us and completely and totally underrated, I think maybe, in the public’s eye. I don’t think so much in our opponents’ eyes, certainly not on our coaching staff. And, I just think that’s coming to light right now.” (KBOI2.com)
McClellin is 6’3″ and 260 lbs—undersized to play defensive end. When he gets in the backfield, he finishes plays and runs down the quarterback and would be a great complement to Clay Matthews
He is explosive with a great motor, plays with hand on the ground and can stand up and rush the passer. (National Football Post).
Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: With the Green Bay Packers releasing Collins this morning, this makes safety a bigger need.
Smith is 6’2″ and 213 pounds. He is athletic, smart, and has shown ability to step up in the run game as much as the pass game. He is also similar to Packers defenders, especially Charles Woodson, as they like to get up in the passer’s face a lot.
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama: At 6’2″ and 272 pounds, Upshaw comes from a great defense and is best when paired up with another outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. (NFL.com)
After the first round, the Packers might look into taking these players:
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: Jeff Saturday is 36 years old, and would be great to help bring Konz up into the NFL after playing with Peyton Manning for his whole career and now Aaron Rodgers.
Konz is 6’5″ and 314 pounds but has some durability issues, suffering a blood clot, a dislocated and sprained ankle in his college career. He was once a possible first-round draft pick but should be selected in the second round.
David Molk, C, Michigan:Remington award winner for best center last season. Is 6’1″ and 298, did 41 reps on bench press at the Combine. Good speed, and a strong player. Could put some weight on. Solid in pass protecton, but needs work when setting in for bullrushes. Can be late in blitzes and needs work with technique. (NFL.com).
Gino Gradkowski, C, Delaware: He can play guard and center, and can learn from Jeff Saturday, while playing guard too until Saturday retires or leaves.
Possible running backs:
Chris Rainey, RB/WR, Florida: He is dynamic and can play two positions. Also incredibly fast—ran a 4.45 40-yard dash.
Chris Polk, Washington
Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati
Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska: Crick is 6’4 and 294 pounds. While he did get injured last season, he used to be a first-round prospect, and benefited greatly playing alongside Ndamakong Suh his junior year.
At 6-feet-4 1/4, he might not be able to hold a lot more weight, and a lot of teams project him more as a 4-3 guy who can move inside on third down, but he has some natural 3-4 skills, and is getting to play as such. – Len Pasquarelli
Billy Winn, DE, Boise State: Chad Rueter says he is athletic and is a five technique prospect. 6’4, and 294 pounds.
Mike Martin, DT, Michigan: At 6’1″, 306 lbs, he ran a 4.88 40-yard dash. He is strong, and racked up 88 tackles, 17.5 for a loss, and six sacks in his career at Michigan.
A sleeper at cornerback might be,
Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina: A confident, hard worker. I interviewed him on my radio show, the Fan interference (@USFinterference), today and he showed that he will do what it takes to be the best.
He plays with a chip on his shoulder and compared himself to Deion Sanders. At 6′ and 197 pounds, he led the Big South in pass break-ups along with 62 total tackles, two for a loss, two forced fumbles, and a blocked kick.
He also set a school record at Coastal Carolina and conference records with 35 pass break-ups. He could get bigger, stronger and a bit faster, along with improving his technique.
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin or Kellen Moore, Boise State: Both need some development, but as seen from Rodgers and Matt Flynn, Mike McCarthy is a great quarterback developer.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com has the Packers taking these players in this order:
Shea McClellin, Billy Winn, Dequan Menzie, FS, Alabama, Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa, Kyle Wilbur, OLB, Wake Forest, Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee, David Molk, Patrick Witt, QB, Yale, Deangelo Tyson, DT, Georgia, Gino Gradkowski, Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford and Duke Ihenacho, SS, San Jose State.