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Packers Mock Drafts: ESPN’s Kiper & McShay approach Green Bay’s picks differently

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One analyst sticks with all defense, while the other finds an elite athlete at offensive tackle in round two.

NCAA Football: Miami at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While ESPN’s top NFL Draft analysts usually work alone, this week Mel Kiper and Todd McShay published a joint set of mock drafts that feature some interesting picks for the Green Bay Packers.

Each analyst conducted a two-round mock draft on their own, then the picks for each team were presented together to compare and contrast the two strategies. While the first-round picks by each analyst are fairly consistent with their strategies so far, they go in different directions with their round two selections, leading to some interesting ideas for what the Packers might do with pick number 45.

Mel Kiper’s Picks

Round 1: DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Round 2: CB M.J. Stewart, North Carolina

Kiper did a good job in finding players who fit the Packers’ traditional athletic thresholds even with his round two pick. Davenport has been discussed ad nauseum here at APC, but Stewart is a relatively new name.

Rated as a fourth-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, Stewart does appear to check off all the Packers’ traditional boxes for cornerbacks, standing 5-foot-10 7/8, weighing 200 pounds, and posting times of 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 6.90 in the 3-cone. (Note that Ted Thompson’s track record was drafting players with times of 6.87 or less in the cone drill, but 6.90 is close enough to be considered.) Stewart, a three-year starter, posted double-digit pass breakups in each of those three seasons, though he did not have an interception as a junior or senior. That said, he picked off four passes as a sophomore and two more in rotational duty as a freshman.

These picks would address the Packers’ biggest defensive needs back-to-back, leaving the remainder of the draft to find a receiver and perhaps some help on the offensive line.

Todd McShay’s Picks

Round 1: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Round 2: OT Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh

Much like Kiper’s pick for the Packers at 14, McShay’s selection of Josh Jackson needs little discussion. He is one of the top corners in this year’s draft class and as such fits a need; the question for me is whether his value is appropriate at the 14th pick, particularly when both Davenport and Boston College’s Harold Landry remained on the board.

The second-round pick is more interesting, however. O’Neill blew up the combine and is one of the fastest and quickest tackle prospects in years. At 6-foot-7 and 297 pounds, he ran an absurd 4.82-second 40 with a 7.14-second 3-cone drill and a 4.50 short shuttle — each of those numbers is the 90th or higher percentile of offensive tackles, according to Mockdraftable. His explosion numbers, while not similarly exceptional, are still very good, ranking in the top third, and his overall athleticism, as measured by the RAS system, put him as one of the 40 most athletic tackles in the last 25 years:

The Packers swung big on Jason Spriggs two years ago and so far that pick has been a miss; O’Neill would represent another shot at an elite athlete at that position, and he would likely be intended to succeed Bryan Bulaga. In fact, O’Neill could even be asked to start on day one due to Bulaga’s rehab from a torn ACL.

Bonus: O’Neill won the Piesman Trophy in 2016.

Admittedly, going corner and offensive tackle in rounds one and two does not help with the pass rush, but it does address the Packers’ biggest need and another significant question mark. The Packers could then package a few of their mid-round picks to try to move back into round two for a pass-rusher, or they could stand pat at 76 and try to land an athletic edge player like Florida State’s Josh Sweat.

Poll

Which of these two mocks would you prefer for the Packers?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Mel Kiper
    (1209 votes)
  • 55%
    Todd McShay
    (1518 votes)
2727 votes total Vote Now