Day one of the 2014 NFL Draft could not have gone better for the Green Bay Packers, who desperately needed help at safety entering the night only to be fortunate enough to have Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the best safety in the draft, fall right in their lap at pick no. 21.
Going into Thursday night, the odds of Clinton-Dix landing in Green Bay seemed slim to none. Most projections had him going near the top 10 and at least among the top 15 picks. But the Packers played it cool, waited for their turn and ultimately got their guy.
Now that the big need at safety has been filled in the first round, the Packers find themselves in a great position heading into Day 2 of the draft. They hold a total of three picks; one in the second round and two in the third.
There are still needs that must be addressed; tight end, center, wide receiver and linebacker chief among them. Yet, none of those needs are as glaring as the one at safety, so filling that early on is a huge bonus.
Therefore, as we turn our attention towards day two of the draft and specifically the second round, Packers select 53rd overall, here are five realistic possibilities for Packers 53rd overall selection:
1. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech – With only one tight end taken in round one of the draft, there are three very good options that should go in round two and Amaro falling to 53 is the best possible scenario for Green Bay. Last season, Amaro put up eye-popping numbers for the Red Raiders, catching 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. He is the classic move tight end and would help fill the void left by Jermichael Finley.
2. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin – Thompson has never taken a player from the University of Wisconsin but if Borland is somehow still available with the 53rd pick in the draft, it would be hard for Green Bay to pass on the 2013 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He is tough, talented and works extremely hard. His motor is non-stop and he would fit extremely well in the middle of Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense.
3. Marcus Martin, C, USC – Martin is regarded at the top center in the draft and would be an absolute gift if he were to fall to the Packers at no.53. It’s highly unlikely he makes it this far because he can play both guard and center. But if he does, Green Bay may start re-thinking it’s plan of having J.C. Tretter start at center in 2014. The 6’3, 310-pound is athletic and physical enough to excel at the NFL level right away.
4. Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame – If Amaro is not available with the 53rd pick then Niklas is a definite possibility. Unlike Amaro, Niklas is a classic in-line tight end that has the ability to split out wide if necessary. He is the best blocking tight end in the draft, which would fit well in Green Bay with the added importance of the running game, an old-school tight end like Niklas might be just the thing for an evolving Packers offense.
5. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt – Matthews is one of the most underrated prospects in the 2014 draft and after becoming the SEC’s all time leader in receptions and receiving this past season, he is still not getting the credit he deserves. At 6-3, 205-pounds, Matthews would fit perfectly in the west coast offense and Ted Thompson has had a lot of success with picking wide receivers in the second round (Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb). So if Matthews is there his name could very well be called.
Stay tuned for more Packers analysis draft analysis and check out my thoughts on the Packers landing Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in round one on Thursday.