With the NFL Draft right around the corner, it seemed like a perfect time for the Packers Guru to shift away from free agency and the NFL offseason to focus on the draft.
So in the first of many posts to come on the Packers regarding the 2014 NFL Draft, today I am kicking things off by breaking down five first-round possibilities for the Packers.
These five players are all projected first-rounders and would fill a need for the Packers, they also should be within the Packers reach come draft day, although one or two could require trading up.
Without further ado, let’s get to this list:
1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama –
Of course, Clinton-Dix is at the top of my list and he should be at the top of the Packers list of players they have a reasonable shot at drafting. Anyone who follows the Packers knows safety is by far the biggest need on the team and Clinton-Dix would be a perfect fit in Green Bay.
The 6’1, 208-pound safety from Alabama is a versatile defender with high-end athleticism. He is solid in coverage, whether it is man or zone and is more than capable of locking down a tight end or slot receiver. He is also active in the run game and can play effectively near the line of scrimmage.
The former five-star recruit has started 24 games for the Tide over the past two seasons and in that time, he notched 88 tackles, four tackles loss, seven interceptions and 13 passes defensed.
If the Packers get lucky, Clinton-Dix will fall to them at no.21 but if not, general manager Ted Thompson may consider trading up for him and with two third-round picks this year, moving up is a definite possibility.
2. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama –
Noticing a theme? Trust me the next player on the list will not be from Alabama.
Mosley, who went to Alabama in 2010, was not listed as a starter his first two seasons but played starters reps and was among the team leaders in tackles.
In his four year career for the Tide, Mosley posted 319 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, five interceptions, two forced fumbles, 24 passes defensed and three defensive touchdowns. He is a 6-2, 240-pound linebacker that can do it all and possess the versatility and athleticism needed in the middle of the Green Bay defense.
Nabbing Mosley may also require the Packers to trade up but with the decreasing value on the inside linebacker position, its possible Mosley could slide a bit even though he should be an impact player next season, regardless of where he ends up.
3. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina –
Outside of safety, the most glaring need on the Packers roster right now is at tight end and if available Ebron would be the perfect guy to fill that role.
In terms of athleticism, he is on par with the likes of Jermichael Finley as he stands 6-4, and weighs in at 246 pounds, while also running a 4.6 forty-yard-dash.
Ebron has all the physical tools to succeed and had great production at North Carolina with a career total of 112 receptions for 1,805 yards and eight touchdowns.
As a junior this past season he caught an impressive 62 passes for 973 yards, numbers you don’t often see from a college tight end, which leads me to believe in the right offense with the right quarterback, this kid could explode onto the scene.
Ebron may not last until Green Bay picks but in my opinion, he would also be worth trading up to get. He is such a big, athletic player that defenses have to focus on him, which would open things up for Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin.
4. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville –
If Clinton-Dix is the prize, then Pryor is the consolation — but a pretty damn good one at that. A three-year starter for Louisville, Pryor is an impact defender, who is equally adept at playing both the run and the pass.
At 6’2, 208-pounds, Pryor is just as big as Clinton-Dix and is actually a little bit faster. However, he does not possess the man-to-man coverage skills that Clinton-Dix does but can hold his own in zone coverage, can play the deep middle and in the box. He is a perfect safety for today’s game due to his athleticism and physical nature and would be a tremendous upgrade if he lands in Green Bay.
5. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech –
Amaro is another intriguing pass-catching option that should be available when the Packers select. This would be a great pick because not only would it fill a need at tight end, it would also take pressure off the Packers to use an early pick on a wide receiver.
The third-year junior had a solid 2012 season with 25 catches for 409 yards and four touchdowns but really blew up in 2013 with an astonishing 106 receptions for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. Those are wide receiver numbers and for all intents and purposes, Amaro is a wide receiver.
However, he is the type of matchup nightmare that NFL teams desire and would give the Packers the flexibility to move him and others around to create mismatches.
Amaro may not be the classic tight end that can play three downs and be effective as a run blocker but it cannot be disputed that he would make the Packers offense even more frightening than it already is.
Well that’s all for now folks but there will be more content coming on the draft in the coming days and weeks so stayed tuned. And as always if you want to interact with me directly feel free to comment below or reach out to me on twitter – @thepackersguru.