As a football junkie, I know the appeal of mock drafts and the installment of hope that it can cause for all 32 fanbases in the National Football League. For some teams, it is simply a mirage disguised as a flashy quarterback with little substance, while for some teams it can be a way of adding key contributors to a title-contending team.
At this time last year, draft pundits were discussing whether the Green Bay Packers would take C.J. Mosley or Ryan Shazier with their 21st pick in the draft. As fate would have it, Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would fall down the draft board, and the Packers appear to have found a feature ball-hawking safety that they have desperately needed since the early retirement of Pro Bowler Nick Collins.
The Packers also appear to have found quality starters in second-round selection Davante Adams, fifth-round selection Corey Linsley, and third-round selection Richard Rodgers. Injuries prevented us from seeing the true potential of players like Khyri Thornton (3rd round), Jared Abbrederis (5th round), and Jeff Janis (7th round), and the jury is still out on players like Carl Bradford (4th round) and Demetri Goodson (6th round).
This season, many draft pundits are predicting more of the same for the green and gold; inside linebackers. This probably means it won't materialize and the team will just simply take the best available player that fits their needs. You know...the smart thing to do instead of (allegedly) allowing a homeless man make your 26th overall pick in the draft.
While we have already showcased what ESPN's and SBNation's latest mock drafts predict for this April's draft class, how about we add a third option? Here's what WalterFootball.com predicts will happen this April in Chicago.
The latest post-combine mock draft was done by Charlie Campbell of the web-site. I have also added site-founder Walter Cherepinsky's draft selections, which were posted on February 18.
Round 1 (30)
Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
According to Campbell, the Packers will need to add a difference maker at defensive tackle in case B.J. Raji decides to test the free agent market again. It appears as though Letroy Guion won't be playing football any time soon, so adding a big body like Phillips (6-foot-6, 334 pounds) would be an excellent addition to a team that struggled to stop the run at times last season.
"In 2014, Phillips had 39 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, two sacks, and one pass batted. The redshirt sophomore caused disruption at the point of attack and looks like an excellent candidate to play 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL. Phillips has had injuries that have held him back, but he has a great and rare skill set." - Charlie Campbell
Walt's Selection - Denzel Perryman, ILB, University of Miami
Walt predicts the team will calm the fan base's concerns about the inside linebacker position early on, taking athletic linebacker Denzel Perryman from the University of Miami, Florida. Perryman isn't exceptionally big at 6-foot and 242 pounds, but has impressive lateral speed, agility, and active hands to get off of blocks well. He was voted a team captain in his senior season with the Hurricanes and finished with 102 total tackles (73 solo) and 2 sacks. Pairing Perryman with Sam Barrington would give the Packers two hard-hitting linebackers in run support.
Round 2 (62)
D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
Much like his first-round prediction, Campbell believes the Packers should add some quality depth to the offensive line in case Bryan Bulaga hits the free agent market. Humphries is very athletic for his size (6-foot-6, 300 pounds) and would be a good fit for a team that is attempting to add some ground maulers in the run game.
"He played well in 2013, but dealt with a lot of injuries the past two years. The medical concerns could knock Humphries down on draft day, and it probably would have made more sense for him to return to Florida for his senior year. However, Humphries has the athletic skill set to start at left tackle in the NFL." - Charlie Campbell
Walt's Selection - Nate Orchard, DE/OLB, Utah
Walt sees the Packers selecting an understudy to Julius Peppers with their second-round selection in Orchard. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end has already told scouts that he can play outside linebacker at the next level and his film and senior stats would back that up. Orchard finished with 84 tackles (54 solo), 21 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 pass break ups.
Round 3 (94)
Paul Dawson, ILB/OLB, TCU
In the third-round, Campbell predicts the Packers will finally address the inside linebacker position with TCU linebacker Paul Dawson. At 6 feet, Dawson is a little smaller than most starting inside linebackers in the league, but his film displays great instincts and pursuit angles to the ball carrier.
"Dawson had a huge 2014 season to lead a tough Horned Frogs defense. He put up a huge stat line with 128 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, five passes batted and four interceptions. As a junior, Dawson had 91 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, one interception and three passes broken up." - Charlie Campbell
Walt's Selection - Jacoby Glenn, CB, Central Florida
Walt predicts the Packers will add some depth to the cornerback position since the team will have three cornerbacks hitting the open market. Glenn has the potential to be a future starter in the NFL according to most scouts, and his redshirt sophomore campaign helped solidify that claim. The 6-foot, 186-pound defensive back recorded seven interceptions, and 48 total tackles (35 solo).
Round 4 (126)
Doran Grant, CB, Ohio State
Like Walt's third-round selection, Charlie sees the Packers going with some defensive back depth with their fourth-round selection. Grant (5-foot-10, 193 pounds) recorded five interceptions to go with 51 tackles as a key player in a Buckeyes defense that feasted on turnovers and only allowed 201.1 yards passing per game. Grant was named a First-Team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches in 2014.
"In 2013, Grant broke into the starting lineup and contributed for Ohio State. He had 58 tackles with three interceptions and 10 passes broken up that year. Grant was an honorable mention All-Big Ten performer." - Charlie Campbell
Walt's Selection - Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn
According to Walt, the Packers will need to add another running back to pair with Eddie Lacy as James Starks and DuJuan Harris hit free agency. At 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds, Artis-Payne could be everything the Packers hoped Johnathan Franklin would become before retiring after his rookie season due to injuries. He has much more experience running out the shotgun formation than Lacy did coming out Alabama and his quick, one-cut burst would be a great complement to Lacy's bull-dozing style.
Artis-Payne finished with 1,608 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns in his senior campaign. He also added 13 receptions for 147 yards as a receiver.
We'll add more updates as the draft gets closer, but it appears that there is hardly a consensus on what Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers will do this April.