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Packers Draft Mailbag: Chris Borland Fits Better Than Trent Murphy

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Packers Draft Mailbag: Chris Borland Fits Better Than Trent Murphy

In the run-up to the NFL Draft, we are publishing a weekly “Mailbag” feature here at Cheesehead TV.

If there’s any question you’d like answered, tag your queries with the hashtag #PackersDraft on Twitter.

I'd take Chris Borland as a natural fit at inside linebacker over a player like Trent Murphy, who may or may not fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Murphy is a good player too, it's just that he comes with a higher degree of risk. A good comparison to Murphy might be former Packer Aaron Kampman. Yes, Murphy did play in a two-point stance occasionally at Stanford, but he looked much more comfortable with his hand in the dirt, like Kampman. As the Packers have learned, it's not a seamless transition trying to fit square pegs in round holes with players like Nick Perry, Mike Neal, Andy Mulumba and more.

Certainly, there's a degree of risk with Borland and his height as well. But there are enough success stories of short inside linebackers in the NFL playing at a very high level to believe Borland can do it too. Sam Mills, Zach Thomas, London Fletcher, Chris Spielman are all brought up as comparisons. Borland's instincts are so good, he should be able to experience success as well.

This is a tough, tough call. As usual, it all depends who else is still available, but if the choice absolutely came down to Mosley and Pryor, Pryor probably makes more sense because of the acute need at safety for the Packers. This also assumes they don't use free agency to address that need as well. There's no need to be alarmed by Pryor's middle-of-the-road 40 time at the Combine. He plays much faster than he times. The only safety that trumps Pryor is Deone Bucannon.

Mosley is far from a bad option. In a prior Mailbag, we brought up his talent in pass coverage being a major selling point. But the Packers at least already have A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones at the inside linebacker position. They're not perfect, but there's a far bigger hole at safety next to Morgan Burnett. A persuasive person might be able to tilt me in Mosley's direction. The good news for the Packers is they might not go wrong with either player.

It all depends on what you mean by "early." With so many other immediate needs on the team, there's almost no chance the Packers take a tackle in the first round. Let's add a qualifier. There's almost no chance they take a tackle unless the Packers have reason to believe both Bulaga and Sherrod are never going to be the same players again, a topic previously explored here at Cheesehead TV.

Even the second round might be too early to take an offensive lineman for the Packers for a team with other needs to address at safety, inside linebacker, tight end, defensive line, wide receiver, and maybe even outside linebacker. But by the time you start getting to the third round, it starts getting to the point where you don't pass up the best player available. Players like Morgan Moses, Jack Mewhort and Joel Bitonio might be guys who come off the board some point roughly around the the third round.

So much depends on what the Packers do in free agency. If they happen to go out and sign a second-tier safety like Mike Mitchell, who the Packers believe can be a starter in their defense, then they may choose to pass adding a safety in the draft, at least on the first day or two. It also depends on which players might be available and when. Just for example, if a player like Craig Loston is somehow still available late in the fourth round, the Packers may choose to pull the trigger one someone they could view as too good to pass up at that point.

One more name to keep in the back of your mind is Mississippi State safety Nickoe Whitley. Because he had a torn ACL repaired after the season, you're not finding him high on anyone's lists of the best safeties available. But in an amazing story that's gone largely unnoticed, Whitley played pretty much the whole season with that torn ACL and played at a high level. He might be as high as the fourth-ranked safety on my own personal board if he was fully healthy. He's a guy that might be worth taking in the late rounds despite the injury because he has starting potential.

There's every chance the Packers take a tight end as high as the first round. By no means is that a guarantee, but if Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro is available, the Packers might view one of them as the best player available. Ebron is very much a Jermichael Finley clone, declaring for the NFL draft after his redshirt sophomore season, in the mold of today's new breed of "move" tight end and someone who is self-confident, perhaps to a fault.

If the Packers don't address tight end in the first round, players that might be available in the second include Austin Seferian-Jenkins, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Troy Niklas, just to name a few. It wouldn't be surprising for the Packers to address that position at any point, especially if one or both of Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless leave via free agency.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (17) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

HankScorpio's picture

re: Pryor v Mosley in round 1.

With Micah Hyde on the roster and the coaching staff making noise about getting him on the field for all 3 downs on defense, I think Safety has already been addressed, to at least some degree.

I'd feel better about Morgan Burnett & Micah Hyde at Safety than AJ Hawk and Brad Jones at ILB.

I know next to nothing about CJ Mosley or Calvin Pryor. But for my money, the Packer roster needs a shot in the arm at ILB more than Safety.

That's not to say I'd pass on a Safety with a 1st round grade just because Micah Hyde looks like he'd make a pretty good Safety. I'm just saying I think the equation is altered from what we saw on the field in 2013. ILB wasn't that far ahead of Safety in terms of 2013 quality of play, IMO.

GBPack's picture

I'd take Mosley simply because I view him as better than all the safeties available. Proven stud playing on the inside of a 3-4 at the college level with top notch cover skills. If Mosley drops we better grab him.

HankScorpio's picture

An ILB stud with top notch cover skills tops my wish list for this offseason. It seems like a vital element to what Capers tries to do. And one they have been missing for a long time.

ben's picture

No thanks on Mosley. I'd rather have shazier or vannoy or telvin smith at ILB.

COW's picture

I don't like Mosley's lack of size.
Too light.

Also - if they're so close that making a choice between one or the other is difficult... then you go with the safety.

While their ILB's may leave a lot to be desired... the position is nowhere near as pathetic as what they have going on at S.

This team need TWO new safeties.

GBPack's picture

If he played WLB for a 4-3 team in college his weight might concern me because we wouldn't know if he could handle playing the middle, but since the position he played is the same position we'd draft him for I'd be pretty comfortable with it. If the coaches wanted him bigger they could get him closer to 240 I'm sure. He's was 234 at the Combine. His impact would be felt in sub packages as a blitzer and in coverage early on anyway. We don't need him to be an early round stuffer at this point in time.

It certainly depends on TT's perceived value because he won't draft need over a player rated significantly higher. If the grades are close I agree with you, use need as the tiebreaker.

COW's picture

"but since the position he played is the same position we'd draft him for"...
IN COLLEGE.

Pros is a whole different thing.

GBPack's picture

What's your point? Obviously there's a step up in competition for everyone, but you could say that about every player that gets drafted. That's stating the obvious.

My point is he's coming from the defensive system we want at the position we want. There's less unknowns vs drafting a guy like Shazier and hoping he can quickly transition from OLB in a 4-3 to ILB in a 3-4.

ben's picture

Shazier might be the best safety in this draft class

COW's picture

my point is that a 234lb ilb is fine IN COLLEGE.
that's too light to play ILB in the NFL.

GBPack's picture

Lol, so the weight you play at in college is what you're stuck at for life? First, he could play at 234 no problem. Second, our two starting ILB's are listed at 242. Two of the best in the game, Willis and Bowman, are listed at 240 and 242.

I think Mosley could add 6 to 8 pounds.

GBPack's picture

What do ya know. Luke Kuechly listed at 235. Clearly he's too light to be a MLB as well...

Evan's picture

Get used to this nonsense. I remember all last off-season how Bakhtiari would never amount to anything because he was 5 pounds too light too.

I think Cow has some weird form of body dysmorphia.

Stroh's picture

Derrick Brooks played his entire NFL career between 230 and 235. How did he fare? Last I checked he was headed to the HOF. So Mosley is 234 now. Even w/ one good offseason in an NFL weight room he can get to 240. Dayrl Washington w/ the Cards was 230 at his combine, and he's at 240 now. He hasn't lost a step either. He's among the top 3-5 ILB in the NFL. These players are in their early 20's, they aren't even fully mature men yet!

4thand1's picture

Wow, talk about a 180. You were high as hell on Mosley before. I distinctly remember you saying ,"take Mosley if he's there".

Stroh's picture

Straight up if you had your pick of Mosley or Pryor, its not even close! You take Mosley... Mosley is rated quite a bit higher than Pryor is. Classic case of taking the BPA over a need. Pryor might, might, be the bigger need, but Mosley is the real deal. There other options in the 2nd for a Safety.

Don't make the mistake of passing on a better player just to fill a supposed need!

hump's picture

yep stroh, you are right on with that! mosely is the better player period!!! and ALWAYS TAKE THE SURE THING!!! mosely is the real deal.but unfortunately,he will be long gone at 21....... meanwhile, i liked amaro on tape but after combine....NO FKN WAY,he chokes in crunch time!! ebron in one or fedorowitz in 3,and also....changed my thoughts on pryor over dix......no way is he better prospect than dix nor as smart!!

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