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Packers Draft Needs 2016: DL edges out ILB in APC community vote

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The top two needs for Green Bay's roster in our survey are no surprise, but it was impressive to see just how close the community sees those positions.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Acme Packing Company posted a survey to our readers of the Packers' five greatest draft needs for the 2016 NFL Draft this week. We saw a great response to the survey, drawing over 1,200 total submissions.

The results are in, and we have them for you here. We awarded five points for each first-place vote, four points for each second-place vote, and so on down to one point for a fifth-place vote.

Need #1: Defensive Line

The line narrowly edged out the inside linebacker spot for the biggest need in the draft. Inside linebacker did claim more first-place votes (550 to 522) but the voting was more skewed towards the line at the lower levels, with DL owning the second-place vote by a bigger gap. It is clear that B.J. Raji's departure plays a factor here, as does the move of Datone Jones to linebacker and Mike Pennel's suspension. The team currently has just five linemen on the roster who could be active in week one, and only three of those have played a down in the NFL.

Need #2: Inside Linebacker

There was no question about the top two needs, however. ILB fell just 42 total points short of the D-line, a different of under one percent of the total points. The Packers certainly need to find a linebacker who can cover in the dime package, since Sam Barrington and Jake Ryan still project more as run-stuffers.

Need #3: Offensive Tackle

This one surprised me quite a bit. I was expecting that if any position on the offensive line would be picked highly, it would be the interior. Instead, tackle claimed the third spot thanks to a strong showing in the heavily spread-out third- and fourth-place votes. Tackle edged out outside linebacker by three votes among all third-place votes (277 to 274) and held a commanding lead at fourth with 327. Surely, the results were heavily impacted by David Bakhtiari's impending free agency after the 2016 season as well as the poor performance of his backups when he was forced to sit for a few weeks late in the season.

Need #4: Outside Linebacker

Pass-rusher came in at number four, thanks to a decent number of second-place votes and a strong showing in the other spots. Yes, Clay Matthews is back and Datone Jones has moved to the linebacker spot, but Jones, Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, and Lerentee McCray all will be unrestricted free agents next year while Jayrone Elliott will be a restricted free agent.

Need #5: Tight End

Thanks to a strong showing in third- through fifth-place voting, the tight end position ended up fifth in our responses. The Packers' only current tight end who can reliably threaten the seam is Jared Cook, and he has both battled drop issues and has a one-year contract. It would make sense for Green Bay to find an athletic project in the middle or late rounds.

Overall Results and Impressions

Here are the final results. There were 1,225 total votes cast. 5 points were awarded for a 1st-place vote, 4 points for a 2nd-place vote, and so on.

  • 1st-place votes: ILB (550), DL (522), OT (53), OLB (37), TE (29), C/G (12), QB (9), WR (8)
  • 2nd-place votes: DL (458), ILB (413), OLB (109), OT (97), TE (67), C/G (31), WR (28), RB (16)
  • 3rd-place votes: OT (277), OLB (274), TE (217), DL (113), ILB (112), RB (43), WR (35), CB (24), S (20)
  • 4th-place votes: OT (327), TE (243), C/G (162), OLB (148), RB (97), WR (85), ILB (40), CB (40), DL (38), S (38), QB (6)
  • 5th-place votes: TE (223), RB (191), C/G (177), OT (143), OLB (140), WR (113), S (93), CB (66), QB (43), DL (19), ILB (16)
  • Overall points: DL (4876), ILB (4834), OT (2281), OLB (1879), TE (1773), C/G (1006), RB (578), WR (540), S (229), CB (218), QB (100)

One of my biggest surprises was to see the interior offensive line finish sixth. I genuinely expected that to be higher due to the impending free agent status of Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, and JC Tretter. I was also confused by the nine first-place votes given to the quarterback position, though I suspect that this was somebody having a little bit of fun with the results.

One thing that did not surprise, however, was just how close the call was between defensive line and inside linebacker. As you can see above, the votes were incredibly close.

Thanks to all who participated!