Day 1 of the NFL Player draft is in the books. And Kenny Clark, DT, out of UCLA is the newest Packer. But, which direction will Green Bay go next? Who does Ted Thompson have his eyes set on?
Shortly after the completion of round one, mock projections began popping up after evaluating the remaining talent and speculating on the Packers' next pick. The early consensus has Green Bay taking a linebacker with its second selection (57) and an offensive lineman with its third-round pick (88).
NFL.com projects Deion Jones, OLB, LSU will be the Packers second-round pick and Graham Glasgow, OL, Michigan their third-round pick. Our own SBNation projects Joshua Perry, OLB, Ohio State in the second round. SI.com says its Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri, and Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State. CBSsports.com also projects Brothers to Green Bay in round 2. Profootballfocus.com deviates from linebacker and says Thompson will take TE Jerell Adams out of South Carolina in the second, and Shon Coleman, T, Auburn in the third.
Two factors to consider while deciding if the projections are accurate or what one's personal leanings are: Thompson's "best player available" approach, and need.
It was well documented prior to the draft that DT, ILB, and TE are Green Bay's greatest needs. Offensive line is also a concern, especially with Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, and J.C. Tretter approaching contract years.
It's particularly nice when all three align for a pick. Packer fans can applaud Thompson as this appears to be the case with his choice of Kenny Clark in the first round. The versatile Clark fits Dom Capers defensive philosophy better than others with his ability to play across the line. Yes, Clark is a run-stuffer first. But, he is an improving pass-rusher. And at only 20 years old...upside is the operative word.
Back to Day 2. If available, Kentrell Brothers makes sense. The 6-foot, 245 lb linebacker out of Missouri is big enough to help solve Green Bay's fifth worst rushing defense (4.5 ypc) last season, and he's a tackling machine. He has more tackles the past two years than any other college football player.
Perry and Jones would likewise make sense with the Packers' second pick although both played more on the outside. Jones is considered undersized by most accounts at 6-1, 222 lbs, but can "fly". He clocks in the 4.57 range. If Thompson is looking ILB, Jones could still be the guy, especially if Packer brass believes he can add some weight to his 6-1 frame without forfeiting much speed. The 6-4, 254 lb Perry isn't fast by NFL standards, but his motor and effort are 100% NFL caliber. Perry is also a good fit at ILB.
South Carolina TE, Jerell Adams, is Profootballfocus.com's selection. But, this seems unlikely considering Thompson has only drafted two tight ends on day two in his 11 years, Jermichael Finley in 2008, and Richard Rodgers in 2014. Both were third-round selections.
That said, Thompson has only selected a linebacker once (Abdul Hodge, 2006) in the second or third rounds.
I like the projection of Kentrell Brothers. And while the Packers' second pick might not be Brothers, I do believe it will be a linebacker. Personally, I like the idea of Jones to increase the team speed on defense. I also agree with si.com that the third could be Vannett. I also like Jerrell Adams in the third round.