Green Bay Packers – A Look Ahead to the NFL Draft

With the 2017 NFL draft just three weeks away, teams are scrambling to gather information on this year’s field of prospects.

This is the opportunity for general managers to find that diamond in the rough that could reverse any team’s fortunes. Due to free agency, the Green Bay Packers have needs that should be addressed immediately. Let’s take a look at how the fist three rounds might shake out for General Manager Ted Thompson and Head Coach Mike McCarthy.

Round #1 – After the departure of linebackers Julius Peppers and Datone Jones, the Packers find themselves without a relevant outside pass rusher. The addition of Nick Perry, who is ready to step into a starting role, will help, but they need someone who can step in and put big pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Looking at the draft board, there’s a good chance that OLB Takkarist McKinley from UCLA could be available. After blossoming into a quality player in his senior year, 10 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss, he rates as the best option in a 3-4 defensive formation. The price should be right.

Round #2 – As the Pack learned in 2015 and the early part of 2016, they must put a premium on protecting Aaron Rodgers. Without a viable alternative to step in at QB, the focus in the second round should be place on offensive guard. Adding to the urgency was the departure of T.J. Lang, who left as a free agent.

This will be a strong draft for offensive linemen with a many as a dozen going in the first two rounds. At the end of the second round, the Packers might want to set its sights on Dion Dawkins out of Temple. Among an outstanding group of linemen, the 6’4”, 314 lbs. Dawkins earned first-team All American honors this past year. He’s big, strong and very agile. Best of all, he’s NFL ready.

Round #3 – The Packers are fortunate to be entering a draft with plenty of quality players available at just the right positions. Over the past couple of years, the defense has suffered by not having the consummate shutdown corner that’s needed to anchor a defense. While players like Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins and the recently added Davon House are serviceable, they haven’t shown the ability to dominate opponents.

To address this growing need, McCarthy and Thompson might want to look at someone like CB Sidney Jones from a very good Washington Huskies defense. In order to make a choice like this palatable, the Packers would have to be willing to look beyond the fact Jones tore his Achilles during the Pro Day combines. The injury figures to sideline him until early in the regular season, but he could prove to be quite a bargain, considering he was considered one of the very best in his class prior to the injury.

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