As we continue through draft season, we have another mock draft released by one of the main draft analysts at the biggest sports media outlet. Yes, it's behind the ESPN paywall, but Todd McShay's fourth mock of the year is full of surprises, at least in my mind, and they start when you scroll down to the 26th pick of the draft where the Green Bay Packers sit. McShay is now projecting that the Packers will select offensive tackle Menelik Watson of Florida State:
This might seem a little high for a player with an early-second-round grade, but Watson could make sense for various reasons. The Packers might not be totally sold on Marshall Newhouse as their left tackle, and there is concern about RT Derek Sherrod coming off a broken leg suffered late in 2012.... at this point there is not a running back, safety or wide receiver worth reaching for to fill a need. The Packers can't win unless they improve their ability to protect Aaron Rodgers, and Watson could help in that regard.
The first thing that jumps out to me is McShay's definition of what the "need" positions are for the Packers, mainly the fact that the defensive line is not mentioned. I think he's right on with not reaching for a running back or receiver, but I still feel that the defensive line is a bigger need than safety. This difference in perception is compounded for me in McShay's second round pick, when he projects safety D.J. Swearinger to Green Bay when linemen Jesse Williams, Brandon Williams, and Datone Jones are all still on the board. Swearinger is a good player, but if Jesse Williams is somehow still on the board with the 55th pick, I would be running up to the draft table and giggling with his name on the card.
Here are some other interesting picks of note in McShay's mock draft, specifically with players who are rumored to be Packers targets:
20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
31. San Francisco 49ers: John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
32. Baltimore Ravens: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
46. St. Louis Rams: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
52. Vikings: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
56. Seattle Seahawks: Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern
57. Houston Texans: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama