Could Devon Still fill the Cullen Jenkins-sized hole in the Packers' line?
Since everyone's been having debates in the comments about whether or not certain players are realistic as first-round draft picks for the Green Bay Packers, I thought I'd browse around the internet and find some mock drafts to pick apart. A lot of these were done last Monday, so there's a good chance that I'll do another one of these posts in the next couple days, and perhaps once a week after that in the build-up to the NFL Draft. Let's start with Ryan Van Bibber. The writers' explanation is block-quoted.
The Packers' defensive front was soft. Adding Worthy gives Dom Capers an immovable object at the five-technique spot, occupying blockers while the outside linebackers attack. Worthy also has the ability to get around blockers himself.
Jerel Worthy's name has been tossed out quite a bit as a potential 3-4 defensive end, but I still like him a lot better as a 4-3 defensive tackle. He still has Peter Konz and Andre Branch available here, and I think both would be better picks for fitting a need and fitting the system than Worthy, and neither is a reach at this stage.
Finding a guy who can create pressure off the edge opposite Clay Matthews is a must. Perry has an explosive first step, is learning to use his hands to disengage and could end up being becoming of the better sack artists to come out of this year's class.
If Nick Perry is available at 28, he'd be a great fit as a pass-rushing 3-4 OLB. Ryan Van Bibber had him going at No. 21 in the SB Nation mock draft. I'm not entirely convinced that Perry is going to easily make the transition from being a 4-3 edge rusher to standing up in the 3-4, but he certainly has the skill set for it.
Despite All-Pro Clay Matthews rushing the passer, the Packers finished 27th in the league with only 29.0 sacks this past season so this pick should be a front-seven defender. Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still is near unstoppable when he is firing on all cylinders and might fit best at as a five-technique a 3-4 scheme. He would help occupy blockers with his long arms and big hands and create holes for the pass rushers to collapse the pocket.
If Still falls to 28, I think he projects a little better as a 3-4 end than Worthy does, and he'd be a great pickup. Most people don't have him falling to 28, however.
General manager Ted Thompson loves to use high picks to fortify his offensive and defensive lines. Reyes hasn't generated the same attention as some of the other top defensive linemen in the 2012 draft but is highly regarded due to his size (6-4, 300), burst and power. He played defensive tackle for the Huskies but has the length and strength to hold up nicely in Green Bay's three-man defensive line.
Reyes is a bit more athletic than Still and Worthy, but he's a bit smaller and wasn't as dominant in college. He steadily improved with each college season, however, so that's an excellent sign.
Green Bay already has one of the most dynamic outside linebackers in the league in Clay Matthews but an upgrade is clearly needed on the other side. After striking gold with Matthews, why not try the Trojan program one more time? USC's Nick Perry played defensive end in college and racked up 29.5 tackles for a loss and 21.5 sacks in three seasons but he could also transition to outside linebacker in an odd front at the next level. However, regardless of where Perry lines up there is no denying that he is one of the most explosive edge pass rushers in this draft. The other main consideration for Green Bay would probably be a defensive end since Mike Neal can't seem to stay healthy and there isn't much depth to speak of. With Charles Woodson nearing the end of his career it is probably time to bring in reinforcements at cornerback too. Wisconsin C Peter Konz could enter the conversation if Scott Wells bolts as a free agent. Other than that the Cheeseheads don't have many glaring holes, which could afford GM Ted Thompson the luxury of going the best player available route.
One note from Wright's mock: He has Konz and Andre Branch going shortly afterwards. I'm a big fan of Konz and even though Branch doesn't quite match Perry for raw talent, I'm more sure about his ability to transition to standing up.
The Packers missed Cullen Jenkins last year as their DL play was a real problem at times. B.J. Raji underperformed and their 5-techniques were underwhelming for most of the year. While they seem to like Mike Neal, he can't stay healthy. Still comes from a long line of Penn State DL (most of whom have failed to perform well in the pros) and appears to be a good fit for Dom Capers' 1-gap 3-4 scheme.
I'll look past the unwarranted shot at Raji. This time.
Who do you want to see the Packers pick at the end of the first round? Forgive me for not putting an 'other' option in this poll, I just don't want people coming into the comments saying we should take Melvin Ingram in the first round, know what I mean? Let's keep it realistic.
Who's the best option for the Packers at No. 28, if they're available?
DE/DT Devon Still (264 votes)
DE/DT Jerel Worthy (126 votes)
OLB/DE Nick Perry (682 votes)
OLB/DE Andre Branch (151 votes)
C Peter Konz (517 votes)
DT/DE Kendall Reyes (67 votes)
DE/OLB Ronnell Lewis (35 votes)
1842 total votes