Packers Focus on LB, D-Line and Safety in 2016 NFL Draft
With the 2016 NFL draft just days away, there are tons of news nuggets out there. And sometimes, even though the Green Bay Packers are usually tight lipped, some good information gets out.
The information that came out today came via the Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who is his final draft notebook, stated that Clemson’s T.J. Green was a “hot name” among Packers’ scouts and that if he’s on the board in the second round, he could very well be the team’s pick.
Miller also noted that the Packers liked the players from Alabama and that the team had a late first-round grade on Reggie Ragland. Miller also said this about Ted Thompson:
“General manager Ted Thompson doesn’t always stay on script, but everything coming out of the draft room in Green Bay points to defensive line and linebacker in the first two rounds.”
Miller didn’t divulge anything earth-shattering about the Packers. Anyone can tell that the Packers need help at linebacker and depth on the defensive line. And anyone who follows Thompson knows he has a tendency to draft a defensive lineman within the first few rounds almost every year.
But, that being said, it was interesting to hear the nugget that the Packers want to address linebacker and defensive line within the first two rounds. I could definitely see it happening, but the board could start to thin out at both positions near the end of the first round, so we will see.
Another thought that has been gaining momentum recently, has been the idea of the Packers drafting a bigger safety and playing him as a sub-package linebacker, a la the Cardinals and Deone Buchanan.
This is an idea that I have come to like in part because I believe Jake Ryan and Sam Barrington are both good against the run. Where the Packers really have issues is defending the pass and in particular tight ends and backs.
Tight ends killed the Packers last season and a lack of a talented cover guy in the middle of the field certainly didn’t help. That’s where the idea of picking a player like Green, who is 6-2, 209 pounds, is intriguing.
Green is a good cover guy and some teams even think of him as a corner. Yet, he struggles in space at times and in man coverage. However, he runs well and covers more than good enough to be a nickel LB.
Green is actually a pretty decent blitzer and a solid tackler. The move would help the Packers in a few different ways. One, it would give them a coverage option that is big enough to play in the box in nickel situations. Secondly, it would give the Packers some depth at safety behind Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, especially with Micah Hyde needing to possibly play more at corner this season.
Like I said, at this time of the year, it’s hard to determine what’s true and what’s not, but with a little analysis of Miller’s tidbits reveals that they make perfect sense, which lends me or believe they are truthful.
We will all have to wait for the draft later this week to find out.