The Super Bowl is over, the NFL Scouting Combine is two weeks away, and the draft is "only" three months from now. Mock drafts are going to start coming frequently, and today we look at a pair of mocks that project the Green Bay Packers to address the back end of their defense.
ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay each released his second mock draft in 2014 on Thursday morning, and both of them have projected defensive backs as going to the Packers with the 21st overall pick.
We'll lead off with Mel Kiper, who is projecting the Packers to take safety Calvin Pryor of Louisville (Insider subscription required for the full article). Kiper has this to say about the selection:
Pryor is a guy who flew under the radar earlier in the season, but closed out his career at Louisville extremely well, and teams are beginning to catch up now that it's evaluation season. Pryor is a downhill safety who will fly up to the line of scrimmage and make plays. While he's got work to do in coverage, he's instinctive and athletic enough to get better there. And he has momentum that could help him push past Clinton-Dix as the first safety taken.
It's tough to argue that safety is not the biggest need on this team, so the pick makes sense from a positional standpoint. Pryor's abilities both in pass defense and run support probably make him one of if not the most balanced safeties in this draft class, and he would be an instant starter for this Packers squad.
Todd McShay, on the other hand, is projecting the Packers to take a cornerback, namely Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State. Here is McShay's explanation:
Cornerback is a need position for the Packers, but not as much of a need position as tight end, safety, D-line and linebacker. So this is more of a value pick than anything else. Gilbert is the top cornerback prospect in a class loaded with them, and he is an absolute ball hawk with good size and the ability to press or sit back in coverage.
This pick could definitely make sense if Sam Shields departs in free agency. If that is the case, I would expect Micah Hyde to be moved to safety and Gilbert get an opportunity to play early on in sub packages. I find it interesting that McShay lists literally every position on the defense as a greater need than cornerback, though. Adding Gilbert to a group of Casey Hayward, Tramon Williams, and Davon House would give the Packers a young and very talented corps of cornerbacks that still has some veteran leadership.
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