Packers 2013 NFL Draft Prep: First Round Probables

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Eddie Lacy

Eddie Lacy

I have brought together 21 draft “experts” in an attempt to gain some form of consensus on who the Green Bay Packers will likely take in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. The plus side is that all of these jokers actually get paid to share their opinion, which would suggest they might know what they are talking about.

On the other hand, in this country someone doesn’t have to be good at what they do in order to make money — Twilight series, I’m looking at you. That’s one of the things that makes this country great. So, when you add that to the fact that Ted Thompson‘s brain is like the Divine Mystery, you basically come to the conclusion that the Packers could draft anyone at any position and no one really knows.

Picker Player
Daniel Jeremiah – NFL.com John Cyprien – FS  Florida International
Bucky Brooks – NFL.com Eric Reid – FS  LSU
Akbar Gbajabiamila – NFL.com Eddie Lacy – RB  Alabama
Gil Brandt – NFL.com Montee Ball – RB  Wisconsin
WalterFootball DeAndre Hopkins – WR  Clemson
WalterFootball Tyler Eifert – TE  Notre Dame
Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball Menelik Watson – OT  FSU
Rob Rang – CBSsports.com Matt Elam – SS  Florida
Dane Brugler – CBSsports.com Tyler Eifert – TE  Notre Dame
Pat Kirwan – CBSsports.com Tyler Eifert – TE  Notre Dame
Pete Prisco – CBSsports.com Sylvester Williams – DT  North Carolina
Alex Kay – BleacherReport Sylvester Williams – DT  North Carolina
Michael Schottey – BleacherReport Matt Elam – SS  Florida
Todd McShay – ESPN Justin Pugh – OT  Syracuse
Mel Kiper Jr. – ESPN Eddie Lacy – RB  Alabama
Russ Lande – National Football Post Eddie Lacy – RB  Alabama
Don Banks – Sports Illustrated Sylvester Williams – DT  North Carolina
Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk John Jenkins – NT  Georgia
Matthew Fairburn – SB Nation Manti Te’o –  LB  Notre Dame
Al Bracco  – Draftek Eddie Lacy – RB  Alabama
NFLDraftGeek Tyler Eifert – TE  Notre Dame

So, it is entirely possible that these clowns put a bunch of names on a board, closed their eyes and threw a dart. However, if we are looking for any kind of consensus, then about 40 percent of the group say the Packers will be selecting either Eddie Lacy or Tyler Eifert with their first-round pick.

Eifert is a tight end out of Notre Dame who projects to be somewhere between Jeremy Shockey and Rob Gronkowski — yes, a completely racist and lazy comparison. Of course, of those two guys, the first is known for his all-around douchebaggery and fragile feet, and the second is known for his love of appearing shirtless at clubs, hanging with porn stars and crushing kegs at frat parties. Since Eifert is presumably a good Christian boy from Notre Dame, the Packers perhaps could expect a player who is less of a headache off the field while being a comparable match-up nightmare for defenses on the field.

The strikes against Eifert would be that the Packers haven’t taken a skill-position player in the first round since Aaron Rodgers. They already have a wealth of talent at the pass catching positions, while sorely needing another impact player on defense. Also, the tight end position itself is considered by many GMs as a position that isn’t drafted for until at earliest the second or third round. Gronk himself was a rare second rounder while the Saints’ Jimmy Graham was a third-round pick.

Lacy is a big, powerful back with quick feet who is in the mold of a Steven Jackson without the dreads. Lacy is the only running back projected to be taken in the first round, and some believe that he may be available in round two. The Packers would be interested in Lacy for most of the same reasons they were reportedly interested in Action Jackson. Lacy could be the cure to the infamous 3rd-and-short the Packers need. He may also enable the Packers to grind teams down in the second half.

By signing blocking tight end Matthew Mulligan, the Packers have signaled their commitment to the running game as a means to break teams out of the two deep shell that has proven effective against Rodgers. This suggests to me that either the Packers are high on DuJuan Harris or they plan on drafting a running back high in this draft.

Probably the biggest strike against Lacy, besides the offense-related strikes listed against Eifert, is the fact that he skipped his Pro Day due to a strained hamstring. Considering Bears fans have allegedly poisoned the Green Bay water with something that weakens hamstrings — Viking fans are too stupid to think of such things — it should be a concern to the Packers to learn that Lacy even has hamstrings, let alone that one of them is already injured. Plus, other decent running back options like Johnathan Franklin, Giovani Bernard and Montee Ball will all be available in the second round.

The advantage to picking either one of these guys, Eifert or Lacy, is that both are the top players listed at their positions. Like I explained in my last article, finding an impact player who contributes immediately is more important than trying to fill a specific need. In that sense, if either of these guys are at the top of Thompson’s board when pick No. 26 is on the clock, he should take them.

Sylvester Williams, a large-bodied DT from North Carolina, is the next most popular choice. Presumably, this would help the Packers with their run defense while providing an heir apparent for Ryan Pickett. This pick would also fit nicely with Thompson’s motto of picking big guys over smaller guys.

Probably the biggest reason to pick Williams would be if Thompson does NOT believe that B.J. Raji can play the nose. When you play the 3-4 defense, you must have a monster in the middle who can absorb blockers. If Thompson doesn’t believe Raji can fulfill that role, then picking Williams or someone similar could be a strong consideration.

The main issue I see with picking Williams is that as long as Pickett is there — this year at least — Williams would likely only be a situational player, and like Pickett, would not play on most passing downs. That means you spent your first-round pick on a guy who is essentially a part-time player.

Several of the remaining scouts went with the safety position for the Packers’ first pick. The guys in the mix to be taken are Eric Reid from LSU, Matt Elam from Florida, and John Cyprien from Florida International. Out of these guys, I would lean towards Reid, personally. He is a proven playmaker who has the best ball skills out of the three. Elam is a big hitter who has been compared to Dante Whitner of the 49ers, and Cyprien is also a big hitter who has been compared to Morgan Burnett.

The film work I did during the season told me that Burnett is a better player near the line of scrimmage, either supporting the run or covering the tight end. I believe the Packers need a ball-hawking centerfielder who is also a sure tackler to best compliment Burnett.

Considering this, Bacarri Rambo from Georgia might actually be the best fit for the Packers. Rambo is a true centerfielder-type safety who has been compared to Dashon Goldson, formerly of the 49ers. That is high praise for me. Rambo is projected to be available in the second round, meaning the Packers don’t have to use their first-round pick to necessarily improve at the safety position.

There are also a few offensive lineman — typically tackles who are capable of playing guard — on the list of Packer probables. Personally, I would lean away from drafting another tackle in the first round, but as I said previously, if Thompson thinks he sees an immediate upgrade, he should draft him.

Locally, Margus Hunt, a DE from SMU, has been named as someone that Packers are interested in. The native of Estonia apparently showed freakish athletic ability at the NFL combine and his stock has soared since. At 6-8, 275 pounds, Hunt seems more the prototypical 4-3 defensive end, but of course, if he can add some weight, he could make an every down 3-4 end as well. Hunt’s size and raw potential both characterize the prototypical Thompson first-round pick.

Another strong possibility, considering the depth of the draft once you get past the middle of the first round, is Thompson may trade down to either the end of the first round or out of the round altogether. By doing this, he may be able to acquire another third or fourth-round pick while moving up in the second round.

Yes, I would prefer quality over quantity, but if you’re essentially going to be getting similar quality anyway, then you might as well get as many picks in a deep draft as you can.

About The Author

Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

19 Comments on "Packers 2013 NFL Draft Prep: First Round Probables"

  1. TyKoSteamboat

    Nice, Shawn. I always appreciate your draft input.
    I like going conservative in the 1st-round traditionally. But we haven’t taken an offensive weapon in the 1st-round, not named Aaron Rodgers since Darrell Thompson in 1990. Lacy would be good here. He can run, catch & block.

    Just please don’t select Manti Teo or Tyler Eifert…We’re set at tight end.

    If Jonathon Cooper or Chance Warmack (somehow) slip out of the top 15, i’d like to see TT trade-up there too.

    I can’t wait for the draft, baby!

    • Vijay

      I don’t think Te’o will get past either the Vikings or the Bears who pick ahead of us. I can see him playing as a MLB for either squad and filling a huge need for either team. I think Eifert is a real possibility for us and it would not disappoint me if he goes that direction as we do need another pass catching TE to complement FinMe or add insurance in case of injury or in case FinMe is no longer with us after this year. However, if it were me, I’d wait for Travis Kelce or Gavin Escobar (Rd 2-3) to fulfill that pass catching TE role. Kelce is the best combo blocking and receiving TE in the draft with deceptive speed and Escobar is the best “natural” hands receiver but struggles with blocking duties and is not a burner.
      Warmack and Cooper likely won’t be options. These guys have rare grades as Guards and Cooper provides the bonus of being more scheme and position versatile as he can play any of the 3 interior line positions. Chance is a Pro Bowl LG/RG candidate but fits a power scheme more than a zone blocking scheme like the one we run.

      Lacy benefited greatly from a monstrous power run blocking line, just like his predecessors. With one caveat–he was never regarded as being as naturally gifted as former Heisman winner Ingram or the even more talented Richardson. While I think Lacy would be a decent choice, I’d equate him to Eifert in that we’ve seen there best in college and there’s not as much upside as the other guys I’ve mentioned in my post below.

      • David

        I feel the same way about Lacy as I do Ball… they are a product of their lines and being ‘bigger’ than their college cohorts. Neither is going to work very well on a Packers line that can’t seem to block 5 on 5 very well… or against NFL personnel that are going to be faster and/or bigger than they are.

        i think both Ball’s and Lacy’s 40’s have torpedo’d their draft stock.

  2. Vijay

    Thanks Shawn. I see you have done your homework. However, no one does more homework on this blog than myself. I actually know the player bios for at least 250 of the draft eligible players. Not stating I’m a certifiable expert or anything but after studying tapes (granted via Youtube), and then re-checking the tapes again I can say that you are missing a few players worth considering who I feel would also be great prospects, have immediate contributions and possibly Pro Bowl or All Pro potential.

    Here are those missing names from your list which we should hope they are already stongly considering in the first couple rounds:
    RB – La’Veon Bell
    FS/SS – D.J. Swearinger
    TE – Travis Kelce
    DE – Datone Jones

    The interesting thing is that the players I’ve listed all have a chance of being passed up on in the first round depending on how the draft board actually pans out. So, with many “near the same talent” choices in that area, late 1 early 2, it would be advisable to trade out of Rd 1 and grab an extra pick while still being able to get one of these guys from wither your list or mine.

    • Shawn Shawn

      VJ, I know you are one of the resident “draft guys” on this site, and so I appreciate the input.

      For the sake of this article, I chose to stick with the guys named by the above 21 draft experts, with the exception of Margus Hunt, who has gotten a lot of play in both the GBPG and the PackerReport. Bacarri Rambo is pretty much my lone addition to the list, and since I chose to concentrate a little on the safety position, I decided to add some of my opinion of him.

      For the sake of length, I left many other players out.

      Datone Jones has also been talked about in the GBPG as a possible pick at #1. The other guys on your list have all been projected to the 2nd or 3rd round, though I agree that they would make good picks.

  3. Lars

    All reaches or bad fits except for Hopkins and Eifert. Maybe Cyprien on a trade-down. Williams is alread 25 years old and has the patented DT intermittent motor. Watson—another DT?

  4. Packer Bob

    I’m pretty sure Thompson will read this blog and skip over all those players, just to spite. He’s crazy like that.

      • Abe Frohman

        I recall reading a story that TT wanted Revis, but the Jets took him at the last minute and we couldn’t find a trade partner to get out of the round. Harrell was probably a “how about that guy?” with seconds remaining on the clock.

  5. CB

    Very Nice Article.

    INstead of having that ‘1’ guy projected to go to the Packers, now I can have about 10 names that come and go. The darft is fun that way.

    Yep hoping for one impact guy out of this draft,,,but my hopes for next season are much more centered on returning guys either in recovery or emergence to the next level!

    • Craig Jennings

      ^^This.

      Why do people here assume that nobody besides Casey Hayward will contribute from last year’s draft class?

      What if 3 more play makers emerge from the past 3 draft classes and stay off the injury report?

      What if the injury bug gets lost on its way to Green Bay this season?

  6. JimTalkBox

    My preference is for either Johnathan Cyprien (S – Florida Int.) or The BPA for the D-Line. Luckily, D-Line seems pretty deep this year.

  7. Zack

    Great article. I like Lacy because he would be a tremendous upgrade to our backfield, but I also love DuJuan Harris. I agree with you about the point that the packers are planning on running more since they just signed Matthew Mulligan, one of the best run blocking TE. I don’t think safety or TE is a first round need. We have five tight-ends. Mcmillian and Jennings were better than anyone is giving them credit. They did fill in for Woodson for many games. Offensive line does need improvement, but drafting another LT in first round would be stupid. I believe Lacy or trade out of first round.

  8. Allen

    There is no need for the Pack to reach on an OT most (16) of the 51 sacks were attributed to Rodgers holding the ball so as not to throw a pick.
    We also have plenty of depth and young talent at safety.
    TT’s dime a dozen mentality combined with Lacey’s poor performance at his pro day all but voids him out as the Packers number 1 pick.
    There’s really no logical option but Dt or De unless an outstanding talent (Cooper and Warmark were mentioned above) fell down to us.
    Personally Sly Williams and Margus Hunt are the only 2 picks Im excited about at 26. Both show the same ability to hold an O-Lineman in place, set the edge and charge after a back as well as rush the passer effectively.
    There are some knocks against Hunt for his age but having very little wear, an amazing work ethic and a freak physique eliminate this IMO.

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