SB Nation Mock Draft 2014: Packers Select Troy Niklas

Jared Wickerham

With our second pick in this year's SB Nation mock draft, we added a versatile piece to the offense to offset one of this off-season's big losses.

As we do each and every year, we at Acme Packing Company have been participating in SB Nation's NFL Mock Draft this offseason in an endeavor to project what the Green Bay Packers might do in specific draft scenarios. This year, we found ourselves without the top linebacker or safety prospects in round one and selected Ryan Shazier to help bring elite athleticism to the inside linebacker corps.

In round two, we found that our top two remaining targets were drafted with the two picks immediately prior to the Packers' selection at 53rd overall. Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix fell all the way to the Chicago Bears' pick at 51, while Washington State safety Deone Bucannon went to Arizona with the 52nd pick, leaving us scrambling a bit to identify who we would target at 53.

Ultimately, there were a handful of players we considered. Pass-rushers Demarcus Lawrence from Boise State and Marcus Smith of Louisville were in the discussion. So were defensive backs like Lindenwood's Pierre Desir and Florida State's Lemarcus Joyner. We also had our eyes on wide receivers such as Jarvis Landry from LSU and Davante Adams from Fresno State.

However, one name stuck out among the rest as a perfect blend of need and value with the 53rd pick, and so, he was our selection.

With the 53rd pick in the 2014 SB Nation Mock Draft, the Green Bay Packers select:

Name: Troy Niklas
Position: Tight End
School: Notre Dame
Year: Junior (RS)

We were really holding out hope that Nix or Bucannon would fall to the Packers in round two, but with them off the board, our focus had to turn elsewhere. With this pick, we find the Packers a big 6’ 6-1/2" target for Aaron Rodgers who can attack the seam, be a red-zone weapon, and block effectively in the running game.

Niklas’ arrival would make the assumed loss of Jermichael Finley less painful, and would help to solidify the tight end position for the Packers for the foreseeable future. His blocking ability would help Eddie Lacy’s production and should allow Mike McCarthy to be more versatile and aggressive with his play-calling in the running game. Niklas would be the most complete tight end the Packers have had in many years.

While his receiving production at Notre Dame was not spectacular (32 receptions for 498 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2013), Niklas physical skills suggest that he is capable of progressing in the passing game and his sheer size will immediately make him a receiving threat near the end zone. All in all, Niklas' ability to contribute both receiving and blocking is what made the difference for us here.

Do you agree with our pick, or would you have taken one of the other players we mentioned earlier? Let us know in the comments.

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