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.
— Josh Frier (@jfreeze224) March 6, 2014
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.
— Don Sauberan (@eyeformation) March 4, 2014
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.
— Luke Mills (@lmills34) March 10, 2014
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.
— Jeff Nelson (@jeffnc1) March 10, 2014
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.
— Jeff Nelson (@jeffnc1) March 10, 2014
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 [email protected].
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