While Acme Packing Company is running through round one of our own 2016 Mock Draft this week, we also participated in the annual SB Nation NFL Writers' Mock, which has been going on for a few weeks now.
When our turn came up to make the Green Bay Packers' first-round selection at 27 overall was a little strange. There were a couple of defensive tackles we did not expect to remain available at this point who were still on the board, but at the same time some intriguing names like Andrew Billings, Reggie Ragland, and Jonathan Bullard all had their names chosen within the prior ten picks.
Now, the cliche is that Ted Thompson drafts the best available player at all times. However, the best player on our board at this time was defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins, who projects as an ideal penetrating 3-technique lineman. There's just one problem: the Packers have an excellent one of those already in Mike Daniels, and they just locked him up with a big four-year contract extension. Therefore, our pick went to the next-highest name on our board:
With the 27th pick, the Green Bay Packers select Jarran Reed, defensive tackle, Alabama
Although the Packers' pass rush was very good in 2015, their run defense was mediocre even with B.J. Raji manning the middle. Now that he has taken a hiatus for 2016, Green Bay is left with some questions at two of the three positions on their defensive line.
Enter Jarran Reed.
In Reed, the Packers find an immovable anchor for the center of their defense who also has the length and ability to move out from the nose and line up as a 5-technique end. His pass rushing skills are admittedly a work in progress, but he has shown glimpses of potential in that respect that should develop over time. More important is his ability to two-gap and help keep the linebackers free to pursue ball carriers.
Even if he remains a non-factor in the passing game, however, the Packers have a top-notch interior lineman in Mike Daniels plus a bevy of pass-rushing outside linebackers who can bring the pain on the quarterback. Although the Packers' strategy on defense tends to lie primarily in attacking the quarterback, Reed would provide a much-needed boost against the run and would solidify the nose tackle spot for the next several years.
SB Nation draftnik and friend of APC Dan Kadar might have gone in a different direction than we did, as you can read below:
My choice probably would have been one of the pass rushers, but Reed fills an obvious need. His run stopping is a known NFL trait, so he should be able to come in and be a factor there. His value at No. 27 is good as well. Teams (and their fan bases) just need to realize that Reed may not come in and provide a lot of flashy plays. What he will do, however, is be a mainstay up front and free things up for other players to get tackles.
Other players that we considered at this spot included fellow defensive linemen Vernon Butler of Louisiana Tech,the aforementioned Sheldon Rankins from Louisville, and Kenny Clark from UCLA. Ultimately, however, I made the call on Reed due to Green Bay's need for run support up front and the idea that there should still be a talented pass-rusher or two to find in the middle rounds.
Let us know what you think of the pick below and be sure to follow along with the rest of the SB Nation Writers' Mock Draft here.