Posted by Mike Wendt on April 16, 2012 Jump To Comments
Heading into the playoffs last season, Green Bay looked like the favorite to once again win the Super Bowl and enter the NFL draft with the last pick in the first round. As it turned out, the Packers weren’t able to stop Eli Manning, probably because he was wearing his Citizen EcoDrive watch. Although the game was ugly, it pointed some flaws on the defensive side of the ball that will likely be addressed in the draft. What ultimately killed the Packers in the playoffs was their inability to get Manning and the Giants off the field on third down (8-of-16 on third down conversions, but they converted about 8-of-10 to break the game open). The Packers simply couldn’t get enough pressure on Eli and it killed them. I’ve been hearing about a few different players the Packers might draft, so instead of focusing on just one guy like in years past, we’ll give you a few guys who have a great chance to don Green and Gold as the Packers’ first round pick. With the 28th selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers might select:
Nick Perry (USC) – OLB/DE
Why the Pack would take him – Perry is listed at 6’3”, 250 pounds, which probably makes him too small to play defensive end in the Packers’ 3-4 system, but he has great speed and explosiveness off the edge and could be used opposite Clay Matthews as a pass rushing outside linebacker. He struggles when he needs to drive a tackle or tight end into the backfield, but offenses always need to account for Perry because his speed rush is so deadly. Perry would likely be one of the best three players available if he falls to the Packers, and Ted Thompson loves to grab the best player available, so if he’s there I believe he’ll be the pick.
Why the Pack wouldn’t take him – The biggest reason why the Packers wouldn’t select Perry is because some other team already did. Nobody really knows where he’ll be drafted. I’ve seen Perry go as high as #12 to the Seahawks, and as low as sliding to the second round, so it’s anybody’s guess. Perry would be a good fit in Houston and New England, who hold the two spots right before the Packers in the first round, so don’t be surprised if he’s taken right before the Packers get on the clock. Another reason why the Packers may pass on Perry is his size. As stated earlier, he struggles to get penetration when he’s not speed rushing, so he’ll need to get stronger if he wants to be effective at the next level. That being said, Perry is listed at 6’3”, 250, and Clay Matthews is listed as 6’3, 255, and we’ve seen how effective he can be.
Shea McClellin (Boise State) – OLB/DE
Why the Pack would take him – Word on the street is that Ted Thompson really likes McClellin, so much so that it would have been a no doubt pick if McClellin was available in the second round. As is common during the offseason, certain players’ stock rises because of a solid combine and interest from multiple suitors. McClellin has gone from a mid-second round pick to a potential top-25 pick over the last few months as scouts have started comparing his ability to Brooks Reed, the Arizona Wildcat standout who had a very impressive rookie season with the Texans in 2011. McClellin is built much like the other hybrid outside linebackers, as he is listed at 6’3, 258. He’s another linebacker the specializes in the pass rush, but he’s also better than average in pass coverage. He’s got a motor that doesn’t stop when he’s on the field, and could be a Packer depending how how the rest of the first round falls.
Why the Pack wouldn’t take him – Unlike Perry, McClellin will likely still be on the board when the Packers are on the clock in the first round. The main reason why the Packers would pass on McClellin is because somebody else on their big board has fallen or because there are a handful of “best players available” still on the board. Again, we know the Ted Thompson loves to draft the best player available, and although McClellin is a talented prospect, Thompson might look for better value in the second or third round. If Nick Perry is off the board and a top cornerback or running back falls to the Packers, don’t be surprised if they pass on McClellin and try to make a trade to move up in the second round.
Jerel Worthy (Michigan State) DT/DE
Why the Pack would take him – Although some scouts think he needs to play in a 4-3 defense to maximize his abilities, Worthy would be a solid addition to the Packers as a 3-4 defensive end. He’s the type of player that doesn’t necessarily fit the scheme, but he’s one of the most talented players on the defensive side of the ball and could easily be one of Ted Thompson’s “best player available” picks. The Packers have struggled to get defensive end penetration since Cullen Jenkins left in free agency, and the newly suspended Mike Neal has been hampered by injuries and lackluster play during his development as Jenkins’ replacement. I’ve seen Worthy ranked as the top DE/DT in the draft, and although he’d probably be more comfortable in a 4-3 scheme his 6’3, 310 pound frame would fit into the Packers’ system. Almost every mock I’ve seen has the Broncos grabbing Worthy at #25, so Denver is likely the last hurdle he’d have to clear for the Packers to have an opportunity to draft him. The Packers could use a guy like Worthy to help stop the run and get penetration on pass plays to take pressure off our outside linebackers.
Why the Pack wouldn’t take him – Aside from the fact that he may not be available for the Packers to draft, the biggest knock against Worthy is his inconsistency. Worthy has shown flashes of brilliance at times, but he has also faded away from the spotlight at crucial moments in games, and scouts want to see him “bring it” on every play. Some question his maturity, but a team like the Packers should be able to keep him in line without much trouble. Plus, he’s a Big Ten guy who would get a lot of love from the crowd at the first signs of success, so I think he could be a great fit if given the chance. He’s got the talent, but the few knocks against Worthy could be enough for Thompson to pass on the Michigan State star.
Peter Konz (Wisconsin) – C
The Packers added Jeff Saturday to replace Scott Wells, but they need to start thinking about a long term replacement.
Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) – OLB/DE
If Upshaw falls to the Pack he’ll likely be taken over McClellin, but most mocks have him going to the Jets at #16. He’s another hybrid 3-4 backer.
Devon Still (Penn State) – DE/DT
Much like Worthy, Still could help solidify the defensive end position in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme. I think the Packers take Worthy over Still, but he’s an option if Perry, Worthy and Upshaw are gone.
Who do you think the Packers will draft? Leave a comment or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MikeWendt7