We all love mock drafts. How many have you clicked on over the past few weeks? It’s okay. We all do it. Here I present my Packers mock draft, my seventh annual attempt. I’ve nailed exactly one pick in six years: Randall Cobb. So, bottom line, don’t expect the Pack to pick any of these guys. But if the draft were to fall like this, I’d be pretty pumped.
Round 1 (29): TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconsin Conventional wisdom says Ted Thompson will likely take either a pass rusher or a corner with his first pick. Will the pick land at 29, or will he trade out of the first round and drop six or seven spots and add a fourth round pick? Wherever he picks, my gut tells me he’ll be more enamored with what’s available at OLB than the remnants at corner. So unless a guy like Kevin King or Tre’Davious White is there at CB, I think Thompson goes for the pass rusher. I’ve got three guys checked: Charles Harris (Mizzou). Takkarest McKinley (UCLA) and TJ Watt (Badgers). I have a feeling the first two guys will be off the board, so Thompson takes JJ’s little brother, who is just scratching the surface at what he can be as a pass rusher. He’s a bit injury prone, but he seems to have a motor similar to his older brother and could step right in and allow a guy who many compare him to, Clay Matthews, to move inside from time to time. We’ve seen a number of mocks (including PFF’s Cris Collinsworth) with the Packers taking troubled RB Joe Mixon with their first pick. Can’t see it. Can’t see Thompson taking a running back in the first round for the first time and making it Mixon. There’s no doubting the talent, but the baggage should drop him to day two.
Round 2 (61): Sidney Jones, CB, Washington A consensus top 10 pick before blowing out his Achilles on his Pro Day, it’s hard to know when on day 2 he will be drafted. Since it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play this season, he may be more appealing to teams that know they’re at least a year away from contention. But if he’s there at the bottom of the second round, I don’t see how the Packers can pass him up. He’s been compared to former teammate Marcus Peters and the Packers have nothing on the roster remotely close to that talent. With Davon House on a one year deal and Randall and Rollins entering prove-it years, the Pack may be starting from scratch at the position in 2018. Having a healthy Jones ready to step in? Sign me up.
Round 3: (93): Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington You can argue that running back is a bigger need, but the Pack knows they can find solid runners on the final day of the draft. The receiver position will get murkier after this season. Cobb’s cap number is getting uglier by the moment, Jordy Nelson is getting older and Davante Adams will be a free agent (not to mention Ty Montgomery switched to running back). Janis, Davis and Allison are all question marks over the long run. Kupp will present value that the Pack can’t pass up: an uber-productive receiver, who finished as the all-time Division 1 leader in catches, yards and TDs. His 40 time was disappointing, which is why he may still be on the board when the Pack is on the clock. Thompson loves him some day 2 receivers and his track record there is stellar.
Round 4 (134): Jordan Morgan, G, Kutztown State (Pa.) Thompson has never not drafted at least one offensive lineman in any given draft, and with the departure of Lang and Tretter, he may add two. Morgan was a four-year starter at LT for the Division 2 school and seems to have the body type and nastiness to move inside. He’ll have a chance to compete for Lang’s spot. No GM has a better day three and beyond track record on the offensive line than the silver haired fox.
Round 5 (174): James Conner, RB, Pitsburgh Thompson finally finds a running back, in the draft’s most courageous player, who has beaten Hopkins lymphoma to return to the field. He projects as a nice complement to Montgomery: more of a battering ram type, who can move the chains and at the goal line. Character and leadership are through the roof. If he’s gone, Pack may look to Clemson’s Wayne Gallman or Coastal Carolina’s De’Angelo Henderson, for a different kind of back.
Round 5 (184 Compensatory): Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois A former hurdler, Smoot put on weight and has turned into an interesting prospect who could be a fit in the Pack’s DL rotation. A year under the tutelage of Lovie Smith should have him more prepared than many for the transition to the pros.
Round 6 (214): Jeremy Clark, CB, Michigan The tall (6’3”) speedy (4.43) corner tore his ACL early last season which cost him most of his senior year and his plea for a sixth year was denied. So he enters the draft with health concerns, but Thompson decides to double up on banged up corners. Clark has bulked up while rehabilitating and could be 100% by the time training camp opens. The more competition the better at the Pack’s most unproven position.
Round 7 (247): JJ Dielman, C, Utah Thompson could hold off and sign a couple of undrafted centers and add another LB here, but Dielman projects as a solid backup to Linsley, a current roster need. A former tackle who converted to center and saw his season ended early by injury, Dielman will serve as a capable replacement for Tretter.
All right, your turn. Who you got for the Pack’s first pick or two? Vikings trolls: feel free to leave now and go back to thinking about the 47 players that will be picked before your team gets a chance to add someone.