In the coming days, I highlight unsung heroes who could make great fits for the Packers.I get it. You're tired of all the speculation about Packers picks. I am, too. No, for real. At this point, I just want to know if we're going to take Mosley, Shazier or Pryor, or possibly none of the above. I want to know what Ted Thompson thinks of Austin Seferian-Jenkins. BDU, I want to see if you're right about Max Bullough! At any rate, rather than churning out another article a la ESPN about whether Louis Nix will fall into the second round, or whether we might take Jordan Matthews over Donte Moncrief, I thought I would highlight some of the players who aren't getting enough attention, at least in my opinion, and who could slip to the Packers in Day Three. Please add other guys who you think fit the bill! I'll be selecting two players each time, posting periodically. Enjoy!
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
Measurables: Height: 6-1, Weight: 195lbs, 40-Yard Dash: 4.50
Abbrederis has always been one of my favorite sleepers, and not because I'm a Wisconsin homer; I'm not (gasp.) It's just that he seems like the prototypical Packers receiver to me. He can slip behind a defense with his excellent route-running, and he has the soft hands to bring in the catches. He's not going to force defensive coordinators to game-plan for him specifically, but hey, when you've got this guy and this guy, and, hey, this guy, you don't need to be a superstar. Sidenote: I don't get why pundits aren't giving Boykin his due credit; he was very good last season. But that's another FanPost. It certainly doesn't hurt that Abbrederis is a Wautoma native (although Thompson hasn't ever drafted a UW prospect, so that might hurt, after all.) CBS has him as the fifteenth-best receiver in the class, behind the likes of Donte Moncrief, Cody Latimer, Martavis Bryant and Bruce Ellington. The receiver class is ridiculously deep this year, so drafting Abbrederis, a guy who'd usually be a Day Two pick, in the fourth round, would make me very happy, especially if we got a more explosive player such as Bryant or Moncrief to play outside.
Projection: It'd be hard for us to pass on Abbrederis in the fourth if he's still available. I think he has Wes Welker-type upside, and he'd contribute off the bat.
Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State
Measurables: Height: 6-3, Weight: 240lbs, 40-Yard Dash: 4.74
The Packers need a new inside linebacker, and the vogue picks right now are C.J. Mosley and Ryan Shazier in the first, along with Yawin Smallwood and Chris Borland in the fourth round. Jones is the polar opposite of Smallwood and Borland; he's a phenomenal physical specimen who needs to work on his awareness. If Borland's football IQ was combined with Jones' athleticism, the result would be by far the top ILB in the draft. What Jones provides off the bat is the ability to cover receivers; as we all know, A.J. Hawk is inept in this part of the game, and Brad Jones wasn't much better in his last year. While the Florida State product certainly needs some coaching, the ability is there, and he has good technique in tackling, which is refreshing. I was a big Jones fan back when I thought Mosley was unattainable in the first round, and I can see why I liked him. He'd be a great addition in 2014, especially if his job is to replace Hawk alongside Mosley on third downs.
Projection: I'm not sure I want Jones as a starter in 2014. But his potential is simply too much to ignore in the fourth; if he's still there, we take him and have a pass-coverage LB from Day One. (I'd also take him over Jared Abbrederis if we've already taken both an LB and a WR.)
(Coming Next Week: Potential Fifth-Round Candidates)