The Green Bay Packers came awfully close to reaching the Super Bowl last season. A series of unfortunate events robbed them of that opportunity and if they want to rectify their failure they’ll have to take the right steps going into 2015.
They’ve already cut Brandon Bostick, the tight end who botched a crucial onside kick and moved on from ineffective inside linebackers, A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. The latter still need to be replaced, along with the two cornerbacks they let walk in free agency. Needless to say, as good as the Packers are, they have some work to do in the early rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft.
We could go on and on over a seven-round mock, but who has time for that? Let’s focus on the first four rounds and see what Green Bay might (or should) do with those picks:
Round 1 (30) – Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
The Packers need an inside linebacker. That is, unless they think Sam Barrington is the answer or plan on keeping Clay Matthews on the inside permanently. I doubt either is the case, though, so my money is on them taking the best inside ‘backer they can get their hands on. Kendricks is a first round talent when it comes to intangibles, tackling ability and instincts, but some may be scared off due a lack of elite explosiveness. He’s a fine athlete with a strong work ethic, though, and should fit right in with what the Packers are trying to do. The best part is he has displayed the awareness and fluidity to track players in coverage – something inside linebackers have struggled mightily with in Green Bay.
Round 2 (60) – P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
Green Bay actually does have some solid young talent in their secondary, but they simply need more. Williams should be a nice find near the bottom of round two if he can make it there, as he fits a clear need and is actually a borderline first round talent. He has that desired combo of size and speed you look for and has the makings of a solid cover corner.
Round 3 (90) – Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
Jermichaely Finley is gone and still hasn’t been replaced, so it’s time the Packers go get another high upside, athletic tight end that can go nuts in their potent system. Andrew Quarless is an average talent and both he and Richard Rodgers lack the explosiveness to take over games and create mismatches. Funchess has the size and ball skills to be an immediate red-zone factor and has the athleticism to be a problem for linebackers, as well. He’ll need time to fully learn the position (he’s a wide receiver convert), but the potential cannot be denied.
Round 4 (120) – Bobby Richardson, DE, Indiana
A natural defensive tackle, Richardson’s lack of ideal size but terrific athleticism and length make him a natural fit on the end of Green Bay’s 3-4 defensive line. You could say pretty much everything about him isn’t necessarily ideal, but Richardson is a really good athlete who has a nice burst and sheds his blocks well. He’ll need to get bigger and stronger, but has the makings of a disruptive pass-rusher on the end if he pans out. Green Bay brought back two big bodies two rotate in the middle of their 3-4, so if they don’t address nose tackle they’ll at least grab a high upside guy like Richardson to work on the outside.