Starter Pack: Time to think about the draft

December, 4, 2013
12/04/13
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A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Packers still believe they are in the playoff hunt, and while that technically is true, the reality is that with a 5-6-1 record heading into the final month of the season, it is a long shot.

Which means it's not too early to start thinking about the NFL draft.

Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information, we now know where the Packers might end up in the 2014 draft order. If the season ended today, the Packers would hold the No. 16 overall pick in the draft.

They have not picked in the first half of the first round since 2009, when they held the ninth overall pick after finishing 6-10 in 2008. They took defensive tackle B.J. Raji with that pick, and Raji turned into a better-than-average player.

What kind of player would the Packers be getting at No. 16?

Here's a look at the last five players taken in that spot:

2013: QB EJ Manuel, who won the starting job for the Buffalo Bills as a rookie.

2012: Defensive end Quinton Coples, who had 5.5 sacks for the New York Jets as a rookie.

2011: Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who had 7.5 sacks for the Washington Redskins as a rookie and has 22.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons.

2010: Defensive end Derrick Morgan, who tore his ACL four games into his rookie season but has rebounded to be a solid contributor for the Tennessee Titans with 14 sacks the past three seasons.

2009: Linebacker Larry English, who has battled injuries during most of his five seasons with the San Diego Chargers.

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
  • Much to his chagrin, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not cleared for game action yet. Though he hasn't been officially ruled out for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, the tests he went through on Tuesday did not show enough healing in his broken collarbone.
  • For now, Matt Flynn will handle the starting quarterback duties in practice.
  • Here's a comparison between Flynn and fellow backup quarterback Scott Tolzien.
  • Coach Mike McCarthy hinted that some changes could be on the way this week, but the only noticeable difference so far was the release of safety Jerron McMillian. He was cut to make room for running back Kahlil Bell. The Packers also added first-year cornerback Antonio Dennard to their practice squad. Dennard has spent time with the Giants and Jaguars.
Elsewhere:

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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