Taking a Stab at the Packers' Nine Picks; Mock Draft XLV

OK, it's obviously ridiculous to try to forecast what Ted Thompson will do with his nine picks this weekend. But I'm thinking there are worse ways to spend ten minutes of your life. I'm hoping to hit at least six of the positions he grabs and see if I nail one or two on the nose.

I see five scenarios for the Pack at #32:

1-With four QBs gone and two left for a number of teams to fight over, Thompson trades this pick to a team like Cincinnati or SF and adds a #1 or #2 in next year's draft. I think there's a better than 50-50 chance that the Pack trades down.

2-Mark Ingram is sitting there. Odds are either the Saints or Patriots will grab him if the Dolphins pass. But if he's there are #32 I think the Packers pounce on him.

3-The experts' pick for the Pack is Arizona linebacker Brooks Reed. Chances are they could end up with him at #32, or if they move back a few spots. I can't argue with this choice. He would take a lot of heat off of Matthews and fits right in with his flowing locks. If the Pack elects to go with a linebacker they could go for...

4-Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA: Another guy who may fall to #32, though the Patriots might be a good fit at #28.

5-"The Bryan Bulaga Story" could be revisited if one of the top 5 tackles drops. Castanzo, Smith and Carimi will be gone, but if Nate Solder or Derek Sherrod is available, Thompson will be tempted to go with another tackle to solidify the future of the line once Clifton's knees give out. The way I have the first round falling, Sherrod is available when the Packers pick.

But ultimately, if the Pack stays at #32 I think they'll take:

Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State: Many will look at this and say it's a need pick. With Cullen Jenkins moving on in free agency and Johnny Jolly no longer part of the picture, the D-line's ranks have thinned. Pickett and Green are also on the backside of their careers so depth here needs to be addressed. But Heyward is the top guy left on their board and happens to fit right in next to B.J. Raji on the line. He faced constant double teams at Ohio State and was still very productive. He's mature-played four years-and his coaches gush about his work ethic. Along with Raji and Neal, Heyward could help anchor one of the league's top defenses for years.

2nd round (#64): Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky: Thompson may elect to move up here to grab the guy he covets. Getting Jermichael Finley back will surely help the passing game, but with Driver finally showing his age and James Jones likely moving on, the Pack may need two receivers in this draft. Cobb is the SEC's all-time leader in all-purpose yards and could step right into the slot. He's got great hands and is a YAC stud. He's terrific in the return game and would add explosiveness to the special teams, while also being a potential #3 or #4 WR right away.

3rd round (#96): Davon House, CB, New Mexico St.: At 6'1", House has the measurables the Pack loves at this position. Ran a 4.44 in Indy and a 4.35 at his pro day, so speed is not an issue. Hard-nosed, physical and never missed a game. House provides depth at a critical position that was stretched to the breaking point in the Super Bowl. He could also compete for the kick returner job.

4th Round (#129): Stephen Schilling, G, Michigan: A four year starter, he played right tackle and left guard for the Wolverines and could compete for a starting spot right away, if Darren Colledge leaves via free agency. High football IQ and at 6'5" 308, scouts feel he has the frame to add 10-15 pounds and become a productive lineman in the league for a long time.

4th Round (#131): DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma: I also considered Darren Sproles look-alike Jaquizz Rogers here, but ultimately the Pack goes with a guy built a lot like Ryan Grant, who's shown explosiveness and is the all-time leading scorer in OU history. He's projected as a late second rounder, but if he's still available, Thompson pounces.

5th Round (#163): DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas: Pegged as a right tackle in the NFL, Love anchored the line for the high-powered Razorbacks and kept pass rushers away from Ryan Mallett. a five-year college player, he's ready to step in and compete for a job. Better as a run blocker than a pass blocker, his inconsistent play knocks him down to the fifth round. Could be solid, could get cut in training camp (if there is one),

6th Round (#197): Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama: Hmmm, a late round pick at QB out of Alabama for the Pack? Where have I heard that one before? Since the lockout eliminated Graham Harrell's chance at studying in Mike McCarthy's QB school, McElroy has a chance to earn the #3 job, which could quickly become the #2 job, if Matt Flynn moves on via trade or free agency. McElroy isn't tall (6'2") and has a hitch in his delivery, but he was a big-time winner at Alabama and is extremely intelligent and accurate. A year or two under McCarthy and he will be a serviceable backup for A-Rod.

7th Round (#204): Malcolm Smith, OLB, USC: Fans have been waiting (im)patiently for two days waiting for a pass rusher to provide an upgrade over Jones, Zombo, Walden. Not sure Smith is an upgrade, but he's another guy to throw out there. He led the Trojans with 78 tackles and two defensive TDs in 2010. Smith is Clay Matthews' former teammate and will be coached by one of the best, Kevin Greene. His older brother is the "other" Steve Smith, of the Giants.

7th Round (#233): Marc Schiechl, OLB/DE, Colorado School of Mines: Just another player from that football factory, Colorado School of Mines. Thompson decides to double his pleasure with another pass rusher and Schiechl is Division II's all-time sack leader. He projects as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 and may end up being drafted higher than this. Very athletic and performed very well at his pro day at nearby Air Force. Seems like a TT pick.

And now for my final first round mock:

1. Carolina: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

2. Denver: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

3. Washington (via trade with Buffalo); Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

4. Cincinnati: A.J, Green, WR, Georgia

5. Arizona: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

6. Cleveland: Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina

7. SF: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

8. Tennessee: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

9. Dallas: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

10. Buffalo: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

11. Houston: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

12. Minnesota: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas, Vikings are desperate to energize the fan base. While throwing out hints that they love Locker, Mallett is the guy they covet and gets a chance to start on opening day (if there's a training camp).

13. Detroit: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

14. St. Louis: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

15. Miami: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida

16. Jacksonville: Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Purdue

17. New England: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

18. San Diego: Cam Jordan, DE, California

19. N.Y. Giants: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

20. Tampa Bay: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

21. Kansas City: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

22. Indianapolis: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

23. Philadelphia: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

24. New Orleans: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

25. Seattle: Jake Locker, QB, Washington

26. Baltimore: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

27. Atlanta: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

28. New England (may trade out): Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

29. Chicago: Danny Watkins, G, Baylor

30. N.Y. Jets: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

31. Pittsburgh: Aaron Williams, CB/S, Texas

32. Pack: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

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