NFC North: Odell Beckham Jr.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After months and months of mock drafts and revised mock drafts and re-revised mock drafts, there is no more time to waffle.

Mosley
Shazier
So what does that mean for the Green Bay Packers if they stay at No. 21 in the first round of the NFL draft?

Let's take a look at what several local and national NFL writers and analysts see for the Packers (with links to their full first-round mock drafts):

Rob Demovsky, ESPN.com
  • Player: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
  • My take: With Eric Ebron, C.J. Mosley, Ryan Shazier, Odell Beckham Jr. and the top-two safeties off the board in our NFL Nation mock draft, a move back was intriguing. Even though the Packers re-signed Sam Shields, cornerback will be a need down the road with Tramon Williams getting up there in age, and Gilbert is too highly rated to pass up.
  • Note: With all due respect to my NFL Nation colleagues, I'm not sure I see the first 20 picks playing out the way it did in our draft, which was unveiled on Tuesday. I find it highly unlikely that all of those players I mentioned will be gone by the time the Packers pick. Given the opportunity to do the entire first round on my own, I believe there is a good chance at least one of those previously drafted players will be available. In that scenario, I think it would come down to Mosley or Shazier. On the contrary, I do not believe Gilbert will be available to the Packers at No. 21 as he was in our mock.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN Insider
  • Player: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
  • Kiper Jr.'s take: I've had Mosley in this spot before, and it makes a lot of sense both as a value -- he's a top-15 player for me -- and also from the standpoint that he fills an obvious talent void at linebacker. He can line up next to A.J. Hawk and not only help the run defense, but also give the Packers a very good cover linebacker. The question for Mosley has been whether he can stay healthy, but he has stayed on the field and could be a pretty big steal at this point.
Todd McShay, ESPN Insider
  • Player: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
  • McShay's take: I would never put Lee here, as I think safety is a much bigger need (and the No. 1 safety on our board, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, is still available in this scenario) and there are probably four or five other positions that are bigger need areas for them than wide receiver. But I've heard that Lee won't get past the No. 21 pick, and he does make some sense in that they could get QB Aaron Rodgers another weapon -- and Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb's contracts are both up after this season. Clinton-Dix is probably the more logical choice, but we'll roll the dice on Lee based on what we're hearing.
Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Player: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
  • McGinn's take: The Packers need a safety but can't pass on Mosley, who would make it this far only if teams have reservations about his injury history. GM Ted Thompson seeks a safety (does he trade up?) a bit later.
Pete Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette
  • Player: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
  • Dougherty's take: Packers need dynamic every-down player for heart of ‘D’.
Bill Huber, Packer Report
  • Player: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
  • Huber's take: Is he an inside linebacker? An outside linebacker? Why, yes, he is. If he's available, Ohio State's Ryan Shazier figures to be the Packers' selection as a potential three-down, game-changing weapon. However, will Shazier be available when Green Bay is on the clock at No. 21?
Paul Imig, FoxSportsWisconsin.com
  • Player: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
  • Imig's take: There is more depth in this draft at safety than there is at inside linebacker, giving the Packers an opportunity to perhaps land a quality safety such as Jimmie Ward or Deone Bucannon with their second-round pick. If Green Bay somehow walks away with Shazier and either Ward or Bucannon in the first two rounds, it will be a draft-weekend victory for Thompson.
Don Banks, Sports Illustrated
  • Player: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
  • Banks' take: This time around we don't foresee the Packers getting the safety they covet, because the highly regarded Clinton-Dix and Pryor went in the upper half of the round. But Mosley is a talented and productive three-down linebacker that Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers could make good use of. With Mosley and Julius Peppers both joining forces with Clay Matthews, the Packers' linebacking unit would look significantly improved in 2014.
Peter King, TheMMQB
  • Player: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
  • King's take: I wanted to put Ryan Shazier here, and that could well be Ted Thompson's pick. But the Packers have to like Mosley’s nose for the ball, and Green Bay's need at inside linebacker is big. This is a logical pick, and Thompson's a logical man.
Pat Kirwin, CBS Sports
  • Player: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
  • Kirwin's take: Shazier can do it all. He's fast, can drop in coverage, he can rush the passer and his 258 tackles in 39 games speaks for itself. Nine forced fumbles is just another indicator he's around the ball.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
  • Player: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
  • Prisco's take: They have to get faster and he plays faster than C.J. Mosley.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com
  • Player: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
  • Jeremiah's take: Seferian-Jenkins would provide Aaron Rodgers with an enormous red-zone target.
Mike Mayock, NFL.com
  • Player: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
  • Mayock's take: Shazier is a linebacker made for today's NFL. He has 4.38 speed at 237 pounds and can play inside in the base and all over the place in sub-packages. He'll be an immediate playmaker.
Ourlands’ Scouting Service
  • Player: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
  • Ourlads' take: Darqueze is a plugin and play man-to-man defender. He is a physical corner in coverage and on run support. Reroutes receivers and keeps position on them. Has a closing burst when called on to blitz. An aggressive wrap tackler who is smart and instinctive.
The board has been put together and in a little over 24 hours, the Detroit Lions will be able to see exactly how the NFL draft they have planned for over the past five-plus months will actually shake out.

In explaining his team’s draft process Monday, general manager Martin Mayhew said because the Lions are at the No. 10 spot, they have their initial draft board, will remove the quarterbacks and then have their essential Top 10 to work with Thursday evening.

Other than the obvious that Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is somewhere on their board, here is one man’s guess of what their Top 10 board could look like come Thursday -- pulling quarterbacks off, of course, since the Lions are not searching for one. Remember, this is just a guess. Detroit has not tipped much of anything off as to what their board would look like.

Watkins
1.Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: The Lions have made no secret about their love for the player who caught 101 passes last season and is considered the top receiver in the draft. The Lions brought him in for a visit, brought his teammate, Martavis Bryant, in for a visit and also brought in his brother, Jaylen Watkins, a defensive back from Florida. They ate with Sammy at his pro day, and Mayhew believes he is a good fit for the organization. The question is whether Detroit could really go and get him as he will be long gone by No. 10.

2.Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: There’s no way Clowney is lower than third on any team’s draft board, and if he is, that team is likely kidding itself. Clowney is a transcendent talent who is the most physically gifted player in this draft and perhaps in the past four or five drafts. For Detroit to get him, it would likely have to trade all the way up to No. 1, but if he somehow fell to No. 3, then it might be worth it to pursue.

3.Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo: The second-best defensive player in the draft also fits a position of need for the Lions. While Watkins is often the talk of most trade-up scenarios, it is Mack who could be the player Detroit could end up targeting in that type of scenario. He is an instant playmaker who is a three-down linebacker and would give the linebacking corps an immediate upgrade in talent and depth.

Evans
4.Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: Many of the other rumors surrounding Detroit involve a lesser trade-up scenario for Evans, who was Johnny Manziel’s main target with the Aggies. The Lions would likely only have to go up to No. 7 to grab him, so it would cost less in return than Watkins. Lining him up with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate would give the Lions one of the scarier passing games in the NFC.

5.Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: He is the top tackle in the draft and almost certainly not going to be available for Detroit. If he somehow slipped to the Lions, they would find a way to make it work on the line, most likely moving 2013 left tackle Riley Reiff inside to guard.

6.Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Matthews could be available, in theory, depending on how the top of the draft goes, what trades are made and the number of quarterbacks selected. He or Taylor Lewan are often considered the highest rated tackles in the draft behind Robinson.

Dennard
7.Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: After the top six is where it gets tricky -- and this is likely where the Lions’ pick will come from. Dennard lacks the ideal size defensive coordinator Teryl Austin would like in a cornerback, but he could be the best cover corner in the draft and likely will be the first cornerback off the board Thursday night. Part of why I didn’t consider him in the NFL Nation mock is he wasn’t available as Minnesota took him at No. 9.

8.Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: Some will think this is high for Clinton-Dix, who I took in the NFL Nation mock draft Tuesday. Former general manager and ESPN analyst Bill Polian panned the pick and said cornerback was the more glaring need. That is a fair assessment, but safety is also a position of need for the Lions and Clinton-Dix is the best safety at a somewhat thin position compared to the rest of the groups in the draft. As I mentioned Tuesday and Wednesday, I believe the Lions will try to trade down.

Donald
9.Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: Not necessarily a position of need for Detroit, but he could very well be the best player available for the Lions at No. 10, and as I mentioned Wednesday, the player I believe the Lions should take at No. 10 if he’s available. Drafting Donald would offer Detroit flexibility on the defensive line, and he has experience in both a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme, which can help in Austin’s defense as he tries to turn it multiple. Plus, he can learn from Ndamukong Suh for a season before potentially stepping into a starting role if Suh or Nick Fairley departs Detroit in 2015.

10.Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: There are a lot of interesting connections for Fuller with Detroit. Both of his brothers have played for the Lions at some point in their careers. Vincent Fuller was a cornerback for Detroit in 2011 and Corey Fuller was drafted by the Lions last season and is on the roster for 2014. Kyle Fuller has outstanding ball skills, but isn’t as strong in coverage as Dennard.

Next six: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan; Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU; Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame; Anthony Barr, DE/LB, UCLA; Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State; Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Let's get this out of the way from the top: We know Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson does not draft for need -- or so he says.

But in the months leading up to this week's draft, Thompson and his scouts have spent hundreds of hours not only discussing the prospects who will be available to them but also their current roster and its strengths and weaknesses.

With that in mind, let's break the 12 position groups that make up the roster into four parts based on the following categories of draft needs.

We will define them this way:

Part 1: Negligible -- positions where there is little or no need.

Part 2: Non-essential -- positions where there is a need but it is not paramount to fill.

Part 3: Secondary -- positions where there is a need but not at the critical level.

Part 4: Pressing -- positions where it is imperative that help be found.

On Monday, we looked at the negligible needs, Nos. 10-12. On Tuesday, it was the non-essential needs, Nos. 7-9.

Next up are the secondary (and I don't mean the position group) needs.

4. Receiver: Letting veteran James Jones leave for the Oakland Raiders in free agency was not a huge surprise, but it left the Packers with just two proven receivers (Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson) and one they believe can jump into that category (Jarrett Boykin). There's a group of unproven receivers that could follow what Boykin did last season, when he filled in adequately while Cobb and Jones were injured. That group includes Kevin Dorsey (a seventh-round pick last year), Chris Harper (a fourth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks last year) and Myles White (an undrafted free agent who played sparingly last season as a rookie).

Possible players of interest: Odell Beckham Jr., LSU; Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt; Marqise Lee, USC; Bruce Ellington, South Carolina.

5. Interior offensive linemen: With Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, the Packers are set at guard for the foreseeable future. But center is as big a question mark as ever. What is certain is Aaron Rodgers will have his fourth different center in as many seasons after Evan Dietrich-Smith left in free agency to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There's no one on the roster with any NFL experience as a starting center, but the leading candidate is second-year pro JC Tretter -- a former college tackle who did not play a snap as a rookie last season. Even considering the need, the Packers aren't likely to spend a first- or second-day pick on a center. The top centers carry second- or third-round grades.

Possible players of interest: Marcus Martin, USC; Weston Richburg, Colorado St.; Russell Bodine, North Carolina; Travis Swanson, Arkansas; Luke Bowanko, Virginia.

6. Offensive tackle: A year from now, this could be a pressing need depending on what happens with Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod, both of whom are in the final season of their contracts. With the emergence of David Bakhtiari last season as a rookie at left tackle, Bulaga will move back to the right side. But he needs to stay healthy after failing to make it through each of the past two seasons. Sherrod, a first-round pick in 2011, has not contributed since he broke his leg as a rookie, and the Packers declined his 2015 option year. There's no reason to think any of the first-round tackles will fall to No. 21.

Possible players of interest: Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama; Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee; Morgan Moses, Virginia; Jack Mewhort, Ohio State; Billy Turner, North Dakota State.

Analyzing McShay mock: Packers 

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
12:15
PM ET
No one knows for sure who Ted Thompson will pick with the 21st selection in next month's NFL draft. Even the Green Bay Packers general manager himself might not know yet.

But put ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay on the clock, and he's ready to make a pick right now. In his latest mock draft , McShay selected who he would pick if at the controls of all 32 teams.

The Green Bay Packers' greatest needs would seemingly be on the defensive side of the ball.

Even with the addition of pass-rusher Julius Peppers, they likely need to upgrade a few more spots in order improve on its 25th overall ranking last season. With that in mind, it might come as a surprise that in ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay's latest mock draft , version 4.0, he has the Packers taking offensive players not only with their first-round pick but also with their second.


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