The Green Bay Packers' Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions Post Combine
The 2014 NFL draft process has concluded another step, now that the NFL Scouting Combine is over. The general managers, personnel people, scouts and coaches have also seen some of the prospects at events like the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.
The final step for the draft process will be the various pro days, when players will try to raise their status in the draft.
After that comes the three-day 2014 NFL draft, which starts on May 8. Believe it or not, that event is still more than two months away.
A lot of things will be happening for NFL teams before the draft actually begins. Free agency starts on March 11, and that situation could change the dynamics of the draft for any given team, depending on which players they sign.
Teams will also find out before the draft whether or not they will be getting any compensatory picks. That situation could also change the drafting strategy of certain NFL teams.
In this mock draft, I have assembled players who would be good fits for the team going into the 2014 NFL season and beyond.
Note: Combine results are courtesy of NFL.com.
Round 1: Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama)
Weight: 208 pounds
In early January, I asked scout Chris Landry on Steve Duemig's radio show about his take on safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama. Landry said, "Clinton-Dix is the best of the bunch (safeties). He's got really good size. I think he's got good range. I think he's physical and I think he's got the ability to make plays on the ball."
Clinton-Dix has warranted that type of praise with his play on the field. In the past two seasons, the former Crimson Tide star had 88 tackles, seven interceptions and 13 passes defended.
Mike Mayock has Pryor rated ahead of Clinton-Dix in his position rankings at safety, but they are clearly the two best safeties in the draft class at the position.
If the Packers can get either Clinton-Dix or Pryor in the first round, they would have to be ecstatic, knowing how putrid the safety play was for the team in 2013.
Round 2: Linebacker Chris Borland (Wisconsin)
Weight: 248 pounds
Linebacker Chris Borland had an up-and-down combine. He did very well in the bench press with 27 reps but didn't post a great time in the 40-yard dash at 4.83.
But the tape on him doesn't lie. All he does is make football plays. A lot of them.
Mike Mayock ranks Borland as the fourth-best linebacker in the draft. He also thinks Borland will probably go as early as the second round and will start for whichever team selects him.
Bob Wolfley had a recent piece about that in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
One can see why Mayock likes Borland. In his career as a Badger, he had 420 tackles, 50 tackles for a loss, 17 sacks, three interceptions, 18 passes defended and 14 forced fumbles.
The Packers need a playmaking inside linebacker like Borland who can make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Round 3: Tight End C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa)
Weight: 265 pounds
The Packers have questions at the tight end position, as both Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless will have an opportunity to test the waters of free agency. If the Packers lost one or both of them, they would need to find a capable tight end to fill the void.
C.J. Fiedorowicz could be that player. Mike Mayock rates the former Iowa star as the fifth-best tight end on his board.
In his career as a Hawkeye, he had 91 receptions for 899 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Fiedorowicz would be a nice big target in the red zone, plus he is one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft. That is important, as the Packers have made their running game a key part of their offense, led by running back Eddie Lacy.
Round 4: Defensive End Deandre Coleman (California)
Weight: 314 pounds
Defensive end Deandre Coleman of California didn't do a lot at the combine except for the bench press, but he has a capable track record of success in college, especially in stopping the run.
In his career at Cal, he had 121 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss and six sacks.
His main duty in Green Bay would be as a run defender. The Packers were continuously gashed by teams in the second half of the season in the running game. At times, they were unable to stop the running attack late in the game with the clock ticking away.
Coleman can help to turn that situation around.
Round 5: Wide Receiver Jeff Janis (Saginaw Valley State)
Weight: 219 pounds
It looks like the Packers will be taking a wide receiver at some point during the draft—especially after Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's report about the team being prepared to let James Jones leave via free agency.
That is why it was nice to see a small-school prospect like Jeff Janis perform so well at the combine. Besides having great size at 6'3", he ran a 4.42 40, had 20 reps in the bench press and did well in the other drills too.
In his last year at D-II Saginaw Valley State, he had 83 receptions for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Janis looks similar to Nelson in both size and athleticism.
Round 6: Linebacker Devon Kennard (USC)
Weight: 249 pounds
If you look at Ted Thompson's track record in drafting linebackers, you will see that he likes picking them out of USC. He did that with Clay Matthews in 2009 and also with Nick Perry in 2012.
I could see Thompson picking a third Trojan linebacker this year—in this case Devon Kennard.
He did OK at the combine, but there is a lot more to like about the former USC star.
For one, he was a team captain. In his career as a Trojan, playing as a defensive end, middle linebacker and outside linebacker, he had 195 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, one interception, nine passes defended and one forced fumble.
Kennard would be an excellent asset on special teams for the Packers and would push for playing time on defense as well.
Round 7: Offensive Lineman Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt)
Weight: 297 pounds
One of the attributes that the Packers like to see out of their offensive linemen is versatility—the ability to play multiple positions on the line.
Enter Wesley Johnson of Vanderbilt. The former Commodores star played left tackle, left guard and center in college.
He was a two-time team captain, had the most starts ever in Vanderbilt history and was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2013.
In addition to that, he is very familiar with the zone-blocking scheme. He also performed well at the combine.
The Packers might be losing starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith to free agency, plus they have depth issues at the offensive tackle position. That is why the selection of someone like Johnson makes a lot of sense.