For the first time in years, the Packers are effectively eliminated from the postseason early. They’ll be shutting down Aaron Rodgers and turning their sights towards the offseason.
I’ve tried to make peace with this the moment Rodgers went down, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It’s okay to feel things Packer fans. Let’s start the healing process together and look towards the bright future in the form of the NFL Draft.
In order to see who the Packers might be aligned for in the first round in this upcoming draft, I’ve gone ahead and consolidated the mock draft results for the Packers from five notable mock draft sites.
The most common draft slot is right in the middle of the first round at 16. The prospects range from standard Ted Thompson options to unlikely but exciting prospects that would intrigue fans.
Let’s meet the prospects in this edition of the mock draft round up.
Walter Football pick #16: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The best part about Ferrell’s game is that he isn’t just a one-trick pony. He’s solid against the run with a PFF grade of 84.8. When he’s trying to disrupt the opposing backfield, he’s using his long arms to create speace and keep offensive linemen off him. He needs to develop some better hand-battling skills to go toe-to-toe with NFL linemen, but thus far he hasn’t needed that because of his physical traits. It’s hard to see Ferrell as a 3-4 linebacker or DE in the Capers system, though, if Capers survives the offseason.
CBS Sports pick #16: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Washington is probably the best deep threat in the draft and not solely because he uses pure speed to beat people. It’s his ability to go and get the ball that is so impressive. In high school, Washington played tennis, basketball and ran track to go along with football. If it’s one thing the Packers love, it’s a jack-of-all-trades skill player. Washington is quick in his routes, but once he makes the catch, he’s always able to turn on the afterburners and leave defenders looking like their cleats are made of lead. He’s a humble, small town kid who’d fit very well in Green Bay. I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on where this young man lands.
USA Today pick #17: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Offensive linemen from Wisconsin, Defensive backs from Florida State and Linebackers from Alabama are always players that I trust to translate into the NFL. Evans should be one of those players. A converted edge player, Rashaan Evans has the sideline-to-sideline speed to cover backs, tight ends and some slower wideouts. Since moving to inside linebacker, Evans has shown strong run defense and solid form tackling. His experience playing multiple linebacker positions would help keep him on the field in the Packers’ special defensive packages. In the Packers 3-4, Evans would provide a great athletic compleement to Blake Martinez.
SB Nation pick #19: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
I wrote earlier this year about Calvin Ridley possibly falling to the Packers in the draft, but I’m not sure he’ll be available at 16, let alone 19 like SB Nation has him slotted. Ridley runs as well as anyone with pads on and is one explosive weapon that many offenses will want to add. Currently, Ridley is averaging 16.3 yards per reception which is ridiculous even for college. It would provide the Packers with some much needed playmaking as the shifty wideout is often compared to Amari Cooper (but with better hands.)
Bleacher Report pick #16: Joshua Jackson, DB, Iowa
When you Google ‘Joshua Jackson,’ you end up getting an actor from Dawson’s Creek and ‘Josh Jackson’ gets you the rookie forward playing for the Suns. The Jim Thorpe Award Finalist, currently playing for Iowa, could be making a bigger name for himself soon, though. Jackson is another big corner (6’1”) whom the Packers could pair with Kevin King to really disrupt opposing offenses. Jackson’s excelled playing in zone where he’s seized plenty of interceptions by consistently being in the right place at the right time. However, he’ll probably need more reps in man coverage to become the complete corner the Packers need.