Looking to the NFL Draft

By Rick:

Since the loss to the Giants many Packer fans have turned the page and are looking at Free Agency and the Draft. We know that TT is not much of a Free Agent guy (though if Jenkins is cut by the Eagles he may be a cheap FA to get) but the draft is his area of expertise. Over the last week many people have asked me about certain players in the draft almost all of them have been defensive players. Here is a little blurb on the players I have been asked on and I added 2 of my own at the end that I am watching for during the combine and interviews.

Please realize this is using my pre senior & east-West shriner bowls and pre-combine rankings

Ronnell Lewis OLB Oklahoma

#1 OLB / #18 Big Board

6-2; 244lbs; 4.62 40yrd dash;

Solid 4-3 or 3-4 OLB. He has the athleticism. I have character concerns as he stopped going to class and wound up not being eligible for Oklahoma’s bowl game. His interview, football IQ, and willingness to be coached would decide whether he is a Packer player or not.

Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois

#3 DE / #20 Big Board

6-4; 265lbs; 4.63 40yrd dash;

NCAA sack leader is more athlete then pass rusher. He was moved all around on the Dline by Illinois. Watching tape I think he is a serious risk at OLB for a 3-4 defense. He has had zero training and very few snaps while standing up. If he wasn’t a 1st rounder and could be taught instead having to play right away he could be a turned into a very good 3-4 OLB. As a 4-3 DE he is in his element right now. He is unpolished but seems to be very coachable. May have growing pains in the NFL for a year or two.

Mark Barron S Alabama

#1 SS / #24 Big Board

6-2; 220lbs; 4.52 40yrd dash;

One of the best safeties in the nation. He is not a thumper but a classic ball hawk safety. In man to man or over the top in zone the QB had better be on his game or Barron will make him pay. Size and skills are close to perfect to challenge against the Calvin and Andre Johnson’s of the NFL world.

Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama

#3 OLB / #28 Big Board

6-2; 265lbs; 4.77 40yrd dash;

A 3-4 OLB only, he has shown his ability to be an edge rusher on one of the top college defenses in the country. He is to slow to come around the edge in a 4-3 at OLB but all of his experience in the 3-4 Nick Saban used to win the National Championship should make him an attractive pick for any 3-4 defenses wanting a solid OLB.

Zach Brown OLB North Carolina

#4 OLB / #36 Big Board

6-2; 235lbs; 4.49 40yrd dash;

Can play OLB or ILB (&Nickel LB)  I think one of the more versatile LBs in the draft. He is a 4-3 OLB though. He does not have the mass to be an OLB in a 3-4 defense. I see a multi front defense like the Patriots being a great place for him or a 4-3 like the Rams near the beginning of the 2nd round.

Bruce Irvin OLB West Virginia

#6 OLB / #42 Big Board

6-2; 245lbs; 4.52 40yrd dash;

A young man with a troubled past. He went and turned his life around and got his GED. He played at junior college and was told to get the QB. He did with 72 tackles w/16 sacks. West Virginia asked him to do the same. He had 14 tackles for loss- all of them sacks. Assuming his interview and past issues seem resolved Irvin has the size, speed, and tenacity of CM III.

Billy Winn DE Boise State

#5 DE / #52 Big Board

6-3; 300 lbs; 4.85 40yrd dash;

Played in both a 3 and 5 technique and even played out side the tackle. Very strong and athletic for 300 lbs. He can play 4-3 DT or 3-4 DE. A solid player for a mid to late 2nd rounder. Not a great first step but leverage and strong skills and hands allow him to shed blockers and get to RBs and QBs in the back field. May be the steal of the draft if he goes to the right team as I have him scored better then last year’s Corey Liuget from Illinois (1st round Chargers)


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