2013 NFL Draft Preview: Mel Kiper conference call highlights

Because all guys named Rambo are cool. - USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper had a conference call with the media. Here are a few highlights from the call that may interest fans of the Green Bay Packers and help understand the Packers' option with the 26th pick in the first round.

On Tuesday Mel Kiper had a conference call with the media to discuss the upcoming draft. None of the questions asked specifically dealt with the Packers and their draft strategy, but Kiper did touch on a few potential players the Packers may be interested in. He also dealt with issues for many of our division rivals. You can read the entire transcript here.

Here are a few highlights based on issues that we have discussed leading up to the draft here at APC:

On some high profile Alabama players who may be on the Packers’ radar….

Eddie Lacy has a pretty late pro day tomorrow. This late in the process, what could he gain or lose? Also another Alabama player, what are the pros and cons on Jesse Williams at this point?

MEL KIPER, JR.: A kid who played nose tackle in that 3 4, is incredibly strong, powerful kid, still raw, still learning the game. I think you look at him as a second round pick. I think Eddie Lacy is a borderline first. I think he could easily go where St. Louis is picking at 22, think about Green Bay at 26, even as early at Cincinnati at 21.

I don’t see a scenario where Eddie Lacy doesn’t go in the first. He’s a running back. I’ve never been an advocate of taking a running back in the first. They’re going to go. One usually goes. You can go back years and years before one didn’t in the first round. I think Lacy finds a way to go in the first to one of those teams that I mentioned.

MORE: Eddie Lacy Disappointing in pro day

On a couple potential defensive lineman targets early on for the Packers…

You have Margus Hunt at 31 to San Francisco. I’ve watched him the last four years here, and I think he’s a little raw. Are teams just enamored with his size, strength and athletic ability?

MEL KIPER, JR.: Yeah, that’s what it’s doing. You’re talking late first round, early second round for Margus Hunt. He’s got tremendous physicality and potential. He’s a great athlete, has the right attitude.

Yeah, he’s raw. I think the ball location skills, you question him when you watch him. Obviously he needs to improve his technique. You think about where Margus Hunt can be in two or three years with pro coaching, that’s what you’re drafting him on, where he can be two or three years from now, not where he is as a rookie.

He’s going to be raw coming into the league. He’s inexperienced. You see that when you watch him. I talked about that during the year. That’s why he flashes. He’s not consistent. He doesn’t have the right technique. He’s not instinctive as the defensive lineman. I think all those things are concerns.

Physically he’s a top 10 pick, but he’s going to be a late one, early to mid two because of the fact there is a bit of a roll of the dice whether it will all come together for him as the pro level.

Can you assess the Ohio State players, Johnathan Hankins, John Simon and Nathan Williams?

MEL KIPER, JR.: I think you look at Hankins in the second round. He wasn’t as dominant this year as he was two years ago, but he’s got a lot of ability. I can see like Seattle in the second round could look at him.

You look at John Simon. I like the way he plays the game. He’s got a lot of versatility. He plays with energy. You look at John Simon, you think early to mid third round. I project him to Buffalo, 71st pick overall. Energy, kind of like the old Mike Vrabel who came out of Ohio State, had a nice career in NFL. Play down end, gives you some scheme versatility. Great kid. Tremendously hard worker, great passion for the game. I think John Simon solidly in the third round now.

On some potential safety targets outside of the early rounds….

I’m wondering about the two safeties from Georgia. Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo. Rambo was an All American a few years ago, but Williams seems to be tracking if not ahead on draft boards. Where do you see these two guys?

MEL KIPER, JR.: I think Shawn Williams is a very solid, reliable safety. He’s tested well. He played well. Had a good Senior Bowl week. I think he’s solidly in that late second, early third round discussion.

Bacarri Rambo made a lot of big plays. A little bit of an inconsistent tackler at times. I think he’s a third or fourth round pick. Sanders Commings, the quarterback safety, is more of a fourth or fifth round pick.

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