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Packers mock draft: Running back help late in the first round?

Would the Packers break their habits and select a tailback with their first-round pick?

Capitol One Orange Bowl - Florida State v Michigan Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Though the Green Bay Packers remain alive in their pursuit of Super Bowl LI, those in the NFL draft community have one eye focused on April's selection process. As such, mock draft season has begun in earnest. That includes SB Nation's draft guru Dan Kadar, who released his latest mock draft Monday. In it, Kadar sees the Packers eyeing one of the best running back talents to emerge from the collegiate ranks in recent years, Florida State's Dalvin Cook.

Cook represents something the Packers haven't had in their backfield in some time -- a workhorse back who can challenge teams as a runner and pass catcher in roughly equal measure. Eddie Lacy and Ty Montgomery possess some of those traits individually, but neither offers both in quite the same way as Cook. Given how head coach Mike McCarthy likes to use his backs in the passing game -- including regularly featuring wideouts in the backfield -- having a player with Cook's skill set could make an already dangerous offense even scarier to opponents.

At the same time, Green Bay hasn't selected a running back in the first round since 1990 (Darrell Thompson, 19th overall), a year which predates even Ron Wolf's tenure with the franchise. While Cook indeed looks like a special talent, he might not prove enticing enough for the team to break from their habits.

Here is what Kadar said about the selection:

26. Green Bay Packers - Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Key needs: RB, G, CB

It’s clear the Packers need to improve a running game that’s fallen back on wide receiver Ty Montgomery and journeyman Christine Michael. If they don’t go running back early, a good guard to fill the hole created before the season with the release of Josh Sitton. This offseason the Packers will have to decide whether the development of a player like Quinten Rollins is where they want it to be.

Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. He covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.