We know our pick is (26th), and we know what we need in the draft. With the free agents we have, I'll assume we keep the guys I asked to keep in the "Free Agents: Stay Or Go?" post. The players: Brad Jones, Frank Zombo, Sam Shields, and Evan Dietrich-Smith, Using the CBS draft prospects rankings, I used Green Bay's needs and took players who were projected to be selected in that round (if CBS has them in round 1, I consider them in round 1). Here's my draft right now:
1st round: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Green Bay could use some help stuffing the run. After shuffling the defensive line with Raji moving from nose tackle to defensive end, and Pickett vice-versa, the Packers can use another guy to strengthen that line, as Ryan Pickett continues to age and reach free agency. Last season, the Packers ranked 24th in the league in stopping runners at, or behind, the yard of scrimmage last season. What impresses me about Williams is his ability to stop the run. I think he'll be an efficient run stuffer at either nose tackle, or outside at defensive end. The Packers have some needs on the offensive line, and I thought we should've went OL in round 1, but now, I think Williams could be a very nice fit for the Packers.
2nd round: Kyle Long, OT, Oregon
If the Packers want to create an impact with their running game, they're going to need another running back. Before you add another running back, I'm positive that we need another offensive linemen in the interior. The issue with Green Bay was that they couldn't get their backs to the second level, ranking 29th in second level rank, and 32nd in open field rank according to Football Outsiders. When digging deeper, FO found out it was the tackles that were the problem. Green Bay couldn't run behind the tackles, ranking 30th running behind the left tackle, and 26th behind the right. I like Marshall Newhouse, and he's been solid but I feel like he's more of a guard. If TT agrees and moves him inside, I think Long should be considered. He's big, and he has great feet. I think he has left tackle potential, and could be able to take a nice amount of snaps at LT in his rookie season. Long has a ton of mixed opinion about his stock, but I think by draft day, he'll be a 2nd-3rd rounder.
3rd round: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
Outside of Clay Matthews, Green Bay lacks the players on the outside who can disrupt the quarterback. Even though we ended up with a large amount of sacks (47 sacks to be exact, putting us 4th in the NFL), it was a group effort, and 11 of them came against Chicago. We have Matthews, and we have last season's first round pick, Nick Perry, who looked to be coming out. After that, we have...what? Other than Moses, I don't think we have a really good OLB who can get to the QB. If I could have any guy after round one, I think I would pick Chase Thomas. I watched this guy for three seasons, and thought he would be a good pass-rusher in the 3-4. With Perry and Matthews, I think Thomas could be a really nice backup who can play solid in run defense just as well as creating pressure on the QB.
4th round: Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
Along with the offensive line not creating holes for the backs, we also don't have a solid back. DeJuan Harris was solid in the games he was called upon, but Benson? Green? Starks? Something must be done. For this Packer offense, we need someone who can run in and outside of the tackles, as well as catch from out the backfield. In his one solid season at Florida, Gillislee showed all of that. Between the tackles, outside the tackles, catching out the backfield, he was huge for Florida's offense. If TT goes RB early, I don't think MG will be the pick, but if he waits, Gillislee should be high on his list.
5th round: Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford
Jermichael Finley wants to return. I don't think we should aim for a TE in the earlier rounds, and leave TE as a later round option. With Zach Ertz overshadowing him, Levine Toilolo doesn't exactly have the numbers, but he could have the ability to get the ball. With Finley staying another season, the Packers could bring in Levine to groom him as his potential replacement. He still has a ton of things to work on like his route-running ability, and he could bulk up a bit and become a better blocker, but he's the lottery ticket I enjoy in the later rounds. If he pans out, could he become what Jake Ballard was for Manning?
6th round: Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech
Greg Jennings and Donald Driver are gone this offseason. If so, we have Cobb, Jones, and Nelson as the experienced WR's. The Packers have also brought in Jeremy Ross and Jarrett Boykin to work it. With the three WR's moving up a spot, the 4th WR position is open. I think the Packers could bring in one more WR, and Corey Fuller seems like a nice candidate. He's big (6-2), lean (200 pds), and he's fast (expected to run a 4.3 40). He also transferred from Kansas after running track and field. Much like Toilolo, he's another lottery ticket offensively that could work out.
7th round: Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State
I'm a sucker for good stories. Mauti tore his ACL in 2009 (forced him to take a medical redshirt) and 2011. I think he'll drop, due to his injury history (he was also struggling through injuries in 2008 and 2010). He seems like a guy with high character, plus I think he's very solid in defending the run, and he's good in wrapping up on tackles. He was ranked 5th round on CBS, but I hope he falls so we can take a chance on him. In round 7, I just want a gamer. If he works, I think he could be depth at ILB/practice squad.