Each week, SB Nation's Dan Kadar publishes his updated mock draft, often revealing different projections for each team. For the Packers, however, Kadar has consistently stuck with inside linebackers, often projecting Mississippi State's Benardrick McKinney as the pick at 30th overall as he did this week.
ESPN's tandem of Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have different ideas, however.
Kiper published his second mock draft of the year on Wednesday (Insider subscription required), and his pick for the Packers at number 30 is almost certainly influenced by Letroy Guion's recent legal troubles. That's because he projects Ted Thompson to draft Oklahoma nose tackle Jordan Phillips, likely expecting the Packers to let Guion walk.
The 6'5", 334-pound redshirt sophomore could certainly make sense as a fit in Green Bay, and he would rejoin his former collegiate defensive line coach, Jerry Montgomery, who was just hired by the Packers this week.
Here's an excerpt of Kiper's breakdown of the pick:
It would be nice to add another pass-rusher at some point, but there isn't a great option on the board at this point. And it could be hard to pass on a player of Phillips' potential as a potential star along the defensive line ... this is a freak athlete in 6-foot-5, 330-pound package, a player who can control blocks with his strength-size combination and can pursue like a much lighter, faster player when he finds a lane.
Obviously, the Packers' run defense was a problem throughout the first half of the 2014 season, and they had their issues in the playoffs as well. While this pick would not solve the issues at linebacker, it would be a step towards building up the middle. It's not hard to imagine Phillips contributing on early downs as a true nose tackle in the base 3-4, then substituting out on passing downs when Dom Capers uses his pass-rushing packages.
Kiper's colleague, Todd McShay, posted his latest mock draft late last week (subscription required), and he's looking to the offense instead. He projects the Packers to snag Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams, despite most of the inside linebackers remaining on the board (like Kiper, the only player at that position off the board by pick 30 was Denzel Perryman from Miami). While Williams is by acclimation the best tight end in this year's draft class, it's tough for this writer to imagine Ted Thompson drafting a player at that position so highly when many players are available to help out the front seven (and the inside linebacker group especially).