Hello APC’ers! If I may, I’d like to have your undivided (or divided – if you can do that multitasking thing) for a few minutes. As some of you may know, SB Nation likes to do these mock draft things in the offseason. In the prior years these were handled at the Mocking the Draft site. This year however the mock draft is being held at Turf Show Times - ostensibly to hold the biggest badest ever mock draft editionTM. Last year I volunteered my rookie services to be our beloved Packers GM, and this year I’ve done the same. April 20-21 will be the dates of this year’s 7 round mock draft, and the results will be posted on twitter and Turf Show Times. One neat thing this year is the addition of several draft analysts to bounce ideas off of and break down our picks – or call us out when we flop. In this post I plan on posting my thoughts on a draft strategy, player rankings, a Packer primer Shoes31 edition, and target players. This is where all you come in by adding your insight in comments or other fanposts. I also invite all of you to join us in the Packers war room during the mock draft – everyone can help out and have a say in how our draft unfolds.
I’d like to shout out to Tracker J Dunn for making an excellent fanpost on the same topic, as well as his support during this process. Also thanks to Wiedmann, guto13, and BirdDogUni for expressing early support in this endeavor.
The Shoes31 Packer Primer – Position break down
In here I plan on boring you all with a breakdown of the different position groupings on the Packers. I feel this is important because it helps us see where potential holes may be, or positions that could use upgrading.
QB – Not much needs to be said here about our starter. The #2 guy could be upgraded, but I like Coleman’s upside. If someone falls during draft day, say Landry Jones or Matt Scott into the 6th, I may draft them. Other than that I think this position is set.
WR – We have a trio of very talented wideouts in Nelson, Jones and Cobb, and a bunch of unknowns after that. Jones is a free agent next year and may not be retained. Nelson has 2 years remaining on his contract IIRC, while Cobb is going to be sticking around in Title Town for a good long while. Both Ross and Boykin have potential, but that’s all it is at this point. This offense requires good WR’s for Rodgers to throw to, and we could be in the process of retooling the group. I see us drafting one early in rounds 1-3, or maybe getting a couple of late round developmental guys.
TE – Question marks are abundant in this group. Is Quarless healthy and ready for a bigger role? Can Taylor or Williams develop into more than a situational player? Is Finley finally going to be consistent? I personally don’t see Finley with the Packers in 2014. He either plays great and prices himself out of Green Bay, or he has another inconsistent season and we move on from him. Unless Ted stays enamored with his potential and Finley becomes a lot cheaper this is probably his last year as Packer. Can someone behind him step up, or do we draft a future starter? I really don’t know what to do at this position, as picking a TE in round 1 seems like a luxury to me.
HB – A hard position to evaluate for the Packers. Green has all the tools, but it typically takes one to two years to fully recover from an ACL tear. Is he going to be a different player with a year of experience and being fully healthy? Harris was a late season star at the running back position, but can he hold up in pass protection and with 16 games worth of carries? Starks has been a very good player for us when healthy which has been rare. If he could stay healthy than this position group is solid. Kuhn is reliable in pass protection but isn’t a great lead fullback, plus he’s getting expensive. If we can’t trust Starks or Green than adding a back is very likely. Also expect Ted to start looking at Kuhn replacements.
OT – Ask different people and you get different answers on the state of our OT. After a rough rookie year Bulaga has been a top RT when healthy. On the other side is the average to below average Newhouse. Newhouse can get you through a game in pass protection, but offers nothing for run blocking. Barclay showed some nice flashes, but I think his best position is at G. Andrew Datko and Derek Sherrod are the wildcards of the group. If either recovers from their injuries (shoulders for Datko and broken leg for Sherrod) I think this position group is set. Sherrod’s leg should be fully healed with no problems, but are his strength and trust back in the leg? Moreover how does the duo respond to playing football for the first time in two years?
OG – Probably the strength of our OL. Sitton is one of the best guards in the league, while Lang has been an above average guard and still has room to grow. Depth is a concern, but Barclays ideal position may be as a backup OG. A draft pick here would either be a converted T or a G/C prospect.
C – Both Rodgers and McCarthy have expressed confidence in EDS as our starting center. I don’t think the Packer fan base shares that same confidence in EDS. Depth at this spot is sorely lacking, as the most likely #2 is Greg Van Roten. Adding a player in the draft will help provide some needed competition and reinforce the depth at this barren position.
NT – Raji and Pickett rotate off at this position, and that’s pretty much it. Pickett is in the final year of his contract and may not be back next year while Raji may be better off at the DE spot. Whichever spot our coaches determine is Raji’s best position determines how we add players to the DL this year.
DT/DE – Lots of specialists at this position, but not one stud. CJ Wilson is the run stuffer who offers nothing in pass rush. Neal, Worthy and Daniels are the interior pass rushers who aren’t ideal on the outside. Neal is the better player of those three when healthy, but he is in the final year of his rookie deal and may be expensive to retain. Worthy is coming off of an ACL tear and more than likely won’t be ready to start the season. Daniels is a hustle guy. Next year the DL could look very different, and adding an impact player could improve the D drastically.
OLB – We have our starters in Matthews and Perry, but no real depth behind them. In a 3-4 the linebackers have to be a strong position group for you, especially the 3-4 OLB’s. Getting quality depth and developmental guys / potential starters is a must for this group.
ILB – Lots of bodies but are there any playmakers? Bishop was our stud in 2010 and 2011, but his injury is very concerning. Full recovery from your hamstring tearing off of your bone is no sure thing, so I don’t know what to expect from him. Hawk is reliable if nothing else and Brad Jones had a very good first year starting on the inside. Smith was impressive in his rookie year, but decidedly less so in year 2 and now he’s coming back from some nasty knee injury. Manning is a future starter to keep an eye on though. Adding a draft pick to this position is going to be hard to do because of all the bodies and salary already committed here.
CB – Probably the strongest position group for the Packers. Unless a highly rated prospect drops I don’t think we take one high in this draft. Taking a developmental prospect in the later rounds is a distinct possibility, never can have enough cover corners.
S – While not a playmaker in his own right, Burnett is a solid starter in the NFL. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the other starter. MD Jennings has good coverage ability, but doesn’t have the bulk for run support. McMillian has the potential to develop into a quality starter but he is still very much an unknown. What goes for McMillian goes double for Sean Richardson, has the right triangle numbers of height weight and speed, but very much a project at this point. If a good prospect at safety presents itself this is one area that could be upgraded.
General Draft Strategy – Because winging it is for cool kids
I believe the top positions of need for the Packers are DL,C,S. I’d very much like to add a starter prospect at ILB, but the number of bodies and salary tied up to that position already makes it hard to do so. Depth concerns are at OLB and WR. Adding intriguing prospects at RB and TE is also a priority, though not a need per se.
When we are on the clock at #26 I still see a number of similarly rated prospects. If possible I’d prefer to trade down into the top half of round 2, say somewhere around 34-42. Depending on where you trade down too we may have to give up a 4th to get a 2nd and a 3rd. After that it’s pretty much best player available. I’d like to target one of my positions of need, but if a highly rated prospect at another position is available I’m going to pull the trigger on that guy.
What are your thoughts on the matter?
After years months weeks of painstaking research and staring at computer screens I’ve come up with my own position rankings. A big board is currently hidden behind an in$ider subscription. If you’d like to subscribe please create a big board and email it to me. Once emailed said big board becomes my property, because I’m a boss. Please use a calibrated sarcasm detector for that last sentence.
Anyways here’s a link to my fabulous position rankings. Certain prospects may not be on the list due to perceived lack of scheme fit, not being read about by myself, or due to saying enough research into this grouping. The document is editable by all who have a copy to the link; this lets you leave a comment on anything in it or to make an edit with your own ideas. Please don’t go crazy with it and put Vontaze Burfcit as your/our #1 ranked ILB.
So please look over this small but powerful spreadsheet and offer your opinions on it. Missing a player or have someone ranked incorrectly? Proceed to let me know while making creative misspellings of Shoes31.
I have a few prospects that I really like, but I’m still working out a final list. When that’s done I’ll edit this section and post a comment with some target players. If you feel the need to bang the table for someone, then bang the comment section below. Remember that most of my information comes from reading scouting reports – not actual film study.
First and foremost thanks for taking some time to read this long post. If you’re interested in helping out during the draft please leave a comment stating that you are interested in doing so with your email address and twitter if applicable listed (you can email me that info if you’d prefer to not make it available – my address in in my profile). The reason this info is important is just in case I can’t be there on draft day, someone else has to make the picks then. Otherwise please leave comments on anything mentioned in this obnoxiously long post.
I’m acting as Ted Thompson for 2 days on the 20th and 21st so call me Stubby Shoes. Unlike Ted though I’m going to let you help me draft players during this mock draft. Any insights on players or strategies are welcome, as is joining us on draft day in a soon to be created war room. I’ve created my own position rankings chart; check it out in the player rankings section.