It’s almost that time again, where many football player’s dreams come true, the NFL Draft. This year’s draft will be held in Chicago for the 2nd straight year, and be held on April 28th, 29th and 30th. The Green Bay Packers had a season where everything didn’t work out according to the script due to injuries and miss opportunities. The Packers have resigned some players and acquired a big target in the offense, tight end, Jared Cook. Hopefully in the draft, the Packers can find more success.
Round 1: pick 27:
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
A 6’4, 273 pound tank is what the Packers need. With the lost of BJ Raji to retirement, this is a clear pick the Packers need to get. Ogbah is a very quick end that can play on the left, right or inside. Ogbah has one of the strongest hand slap in the league which helps fight off blocks and not get beat.
Round 2: Pick 57:
Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
A play-making safety with great man to man cover ability, and ball skills, which helped him finish with nine career interceptions and five this season in just four games. He has had some medical history, recent one with his ACL. Hopefully the medical issues stay away from him in the NFL, because Joseph had a very good shot of earning any starting position.
Round 3: Pick 88:
Denver Kirkland, OG, Arkansas
A offensive guard is what the Packers need as last year the offensive line just collapsed due to injury, having a guy like Kirkland would help in depth. Kirkland is a strong, powerful blocker that has done well in rushing and the passing game. Only negative is that Kirkland tends to keep his head down while blocking, but that can easily be fixed.
Round 4: Pick 125:
Willie Henry, DT, Michigan
Henry began his final year in Ann Arbor, starting nine games and earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, racking up 34 tackles, 10 for loss, and tying for the team lead with 6.5 sacks. Comes off snap with low pad level and is usually the leverage winner, but take his eyes off the ball as he recorded 5 encroachment penalties last year. Henry can also bring great depth especially with the lost of Raji.
Round 4: Pick 131:
Keivarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame
A guy the Packers would need after the departure of Casey Heyward. Russell started 11 games, miss the rest of the season due to a broken fibula, for the Irish in his final season on campus, making 60 tackles, 3.5 for loss, two interceptions and four pass breakups. Russell was actually considered one of the top running back recruits in the country coming out of high school, but moved to the secondary for the Irish before his freshman season. He does lack size, so receivers would easily be able to post him up, but has great speed and is a great tackler, a problem Packer defensive backs have had in the past.
Round 4, pick 138:
Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State
Haeg is the perfect man to increase the Packers offensive line depth as a four-year starter who comes from winning program. Haeg has played both tackle spots, also plays with good posture in his pass sets and uses his length effectively. Can get to the perimeter quickly and seal the edge when asked to.
Round 5: pick 163:
Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State
At the linebacker position that Packers seem pretty well. Young and talented. Unfortunately with one of them, Julius Peppers time is running short, when will it run out is the question. Fackrell is a pretty good linebacker that would not only bring the Packers depth, but long term success once Peppers does retire. A good tackler who is able to shadow the ball all over the field. Has length and arm extension to punch and control the point of attack. Functional strength is good enough against the run. Fackrell had 80 tackles or more in each of his last three full seasons. Had just five sacks, but was often dropping back in coverage, does have potential to rush. Did tear his ACL in 2014, hopefully doesn’t affect him in the NFL.
Round 6: pick 200:
Yannick Ngakoue, OLB, Maryland
Ngakoue would be a great utility guy on defense as he can play both linebacker and defensive end. Flexible and athletic with a chiseled frame. Produced 45 quarterback pressures and 13 sacks this season. Plays with a fast motor. Can bring great depth in both positions.
Round 7: pick 245:
Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan
After the Packers announced they will not be signing James Jones due to having a young receiving core, drafting Braverman would be good for that. Braverman has good moves that often make the first tackler miss. Is able to create throwing windows to help the quarterback. Can be brutal to match up near goal line with his two-way routes. Competes at a premium level. Adjusts routes in space and works back to a scrambling quarterback. Has had history of returning punts. Only downfall to Braverman is he is a small receiver and due to his size, he can get physically beat up when crossing the middle of the field.
With less than a month away from the draft, teams are for sure keeping their eyes on these prospects. If you’re a Packers fan, you got to trust the front office, over the past few years, they have been getting the job done.