When it comes to the NFL Draft, few teams do better on a year-to-year basis than the Green Bay Packers. Say what you want about Ted Thompson, he gets it done on draft day.
Thompson is a big proponent of drafting the best player available. I think that most general managers are. But, that doesn’t that if the grade is essentially equal between two players that need doesn’t matter, it’s often the tiebreaker.
Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Eddie Lacy, Bryan Bulaga, Nick Perry, Damarious Randall — these were all picks that were made in part due to need. Some of them worked out great, some are still question marks, but Thompson drafts for need, he just won’t reach to fill one.
That relates to this post, because as the title says, this is an “ideal” mock draft. And what I mean by ideal is essentially a mock draft that reveals what I see as the ideal scenario for the Packers in the first three rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Therefore, when I pick a player for a Packers in a particular round, it has to do with need, while also selecting a player in an area where he is generally projected to go.
Round 1: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama –
There was a time when it seemed like there was little possibility that Ragland would fall to the Packers and it’s a scenario that still seems a little unlikely, but if he is there, the Packers have to take him.
Ragland has his weaknesses and can be exposed a little bit in coverage, but he runs well sideline to sideline, does a good job of getting off blocks and finishing plays. He can rush the passer a little bit and he’s an intimidating presence inside and that’s something the Packers defense sorely needs.
Round 2: Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford –
The Packers have Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers, but if Hooper somehow fell to Green Bay at No. 57 or Thompson actually traded up a few spots to get him, Hooper playing at Lambeau Field would be perfect.
Hooper is a physical specimen. He’s big and athletic. He caught 74 passes in the last two seasons for Stanford and can be an impact player in the passing game, but is a good blocker too. He could be the starting tight end for the Packers for the next decade.
Round 3: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State –
Calhoun was kind of an enigmatic guy at Michigan State and was somewhat disappointing in his junior season for the Spartans, but this guy had 44 tackles for loss and 27 sacks. I have seen him projected anywhere from late second to late third, so it’s possible he falls to the Packers in the third.
Thompson normally likes to play it safe, but production doesn’t lie. This kid can play and the third round is the perfect time to take a little risk. He also presents the potential long-term starter opposite Clay Matthews if he pans out at outside linebacker.