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Packers Draft Mailbag: While a Great Prospect, Green Bay Won't Trade Up for Clowney

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Packers Draft Mailbag: While a Great Prospect, Green Bay Won't Trade Up for Clowney

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Photo by Brian Carriveau of CheeseheadTV.com.

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.

Jadeveon Clowney is a rare talent, something he showed at the NFL Combine on Monday when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, tops among players listed as defensive linemen, and particularly impressive for a man measuring in at 6-5 and 266 lbs. He'll be considered by the Houston Texans as being the first overall draft choice. For the Packers to jump up to the first pick or two, they'd probably have to sacrifice their first round draft picks in the next three drafts and even that might not be enough, with another player or late-round pick possibly being required as well.

While Clowney is talented enough to fit in almost any defensive system, the Packers already have two edge rushers in Clay Matthews and Nick Perry that likely just need to stay healthy to be effective. There's every possibility Clowney would be an upgrade over Perry, but mortgaging the future for one player whose work ethic has been repeatedly questioned would be a stretch. They'd be better off addressing the needs at safety, inside linebacker or tight end/receiver. After Clowney, the next best defensive players are probably Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr.

The division rival Chicago Bears are sitting at No. 14 overall and probably have their pick of any safety they want, although there's arguably other needs the Bears may choose to fill as well. Then there's the Cowboys at No. 16 that are seemingly in need of a safety and defensive linemen. It's possible that one of the top two safeties will be off the board, and it's possible that they'll both be gone. It's just impossible to predict with any certainty.

For what it's worth, I personally like Deone Bucannon better than Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, subject to change based on what I see at the Combine tomorrow. The wildcard among teams that need safeties are the Philadelphia Eagles, sitting just one pick behind the Packers at No. 22. Knowing Green Bay also needs a safety, the Eagles might be motivated to trade ahead of the Packers depending on how things shake out.

As I just mentioned, I like Bucannon better than Clinton-Dix unless the disparity in Combine workouts really changes my mind. However, I'm not sure either one are worth picking at No. 21 overall. Depending who's still on the board, the Packers may be better served by addressing another position, assuming Calvin Pryor is already gone.

After the top three, I like Kenny Ladler, and Tre Boston is really growing on me. There's a lot of momentum behind Jimmie Ward, and I think his coverage skills are top-notch, but he's going to have to put up some monster numbers to prove he's worth taking as a sub-195 lb. safety. Terrance Brooks is also growing on me, although he's a rung below those previously mentioned.

This question probably has less to do with who the Packers draft than the schemes they run. If the Packers continue to run a true 3-4 defense, Nick Perry necessarily has to play outside linebacker. He just doesn't have the size and bulk to hold up against double teams as a defensive end in a 3-4.

If the Packers run some sort of hybrid scheme as Mike McCarthy seemed to suggest during the NFL Combine, however, then we may start to see Perry play some sort of "Elephant" end type of role that more frequently takes advantage of his ability to rush the passer, minimizes the need for him to drop into coverage and provides some flexibility to explode out of three-point stance. The key to all of this is for Perry and others on the defense to stay healthy most importantly.

The Packers could always use another weapon for Aaron Rodgers, but it doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of a true wide receiver. In selecting a tight end, especially if Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless depart in free agency, the Packers would be adding firepower to the offense as well. Potential first round draft choices like Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro and Austin Seferian-Jenkins all have the ability to stretch the field.

That doesn't mean the Packers won't add a wide receiver at some point over the course of seven rounds and nine picks. But remember that the Packers have several other wide receivers on the roster looking to make a jump like Chris Harper and Kevin Dorsey too. That said, I also suggested in a recent article that if Mike Evans is still available at No. 21, he might be too good to pass up, so I won't rule anything out.

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 (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tony's picture

No shot Evans will be there. But there was no shot Rodgers would be there at 24, either.

Dom Marcuccio's picture

Evans, Ebron, Nix. If any one of those 3 are there at 21, we will pull the trigger. All 3 are gonna be great. BPA- always has been Teddy's philosophy and that will continue.

packeraaron's picture

Lord, I would die of happiness if they nabbed Nix.

4thand1's picture

I'm not sold on Nix. His gaining a shitload of weight and not having a great year this year kinda throws up a red flag.

RC Packer Fan's picture

He reportedly dropped 20 lbs since the end of the year.
Also he is feeling sexier...

Words right from Nix himself...

4thand1's picture

LOL, yeah heard that too.

Andrew's picture

If Raji hits the road then Nix would be the ultimate need AND value pick. I'd consider him there even if Raji stays. Knee injury slowed him down this year, but he would have been top 15 if he came out last year. Had some impressive tape in 2012.

That being said, I'd take Evans next probably. He really impressed me yesterday with running a solid 40, but he also may have the best hands out of the whole WR group. He's a natural, catches everything away from his body. Looks effortless. Would be a fantastic possession receiver and red zone target. Moreso than Ebron, probably.

ATS's picture

Not sure what to think of Nix.
As silly as it sounds, I think I'd like him better if it wasn't for Raji. I'm just tired of this body type. Do players really have to be fat to be strong?

I'd love a player with the build of Hageman but I don't like the risk involved with him, personally.

It's starting to feel to me like this is a "trade down" year. There seems to be like 7 studs (not counting QB's)-Clowney, Matthews, Robinson, Watkins, Mack, Barr, Ebron- and then everyone else falls into a pretty deep pile of players.

If the Packers can find a trade partner and gain another 2, 3 or, 4th rounder, I think that would be cool. We just need 2 or more of Houston, Jacksonville, Oakland, Minnesota, and Cleveland to NOT draft a QB with their 1st pick. Then pit them against each other while they try to get in position to pick Carr.

Dom Marcuccio's picture

Totally agree that a trade down is very likely if Teddy isn't sold on a player at 21. They are saying this is one of the best drafts of the modern era and there will be a plethora of talent in the mid rounds. Right now we need speed and more hard hitters on that D and Teddy has a way of overachieving in the mid rounds.

The 21st pick is equivalent to the 49 and 50th picks or the 40, 70, 110th. I would be all about either scenario. There will definitely be a club trying to move up and grab someone they have their eye on. Always expect the unexpected with Teddy.

Derek in CO's picture

Clowney = Aaron Maybin

RC Packer Fan's picture

I give the Packers about a .0001% chance of trading up to get Clowney. I am predicting him to be a top 3 draft pick. I don't think he will get past 2 after his combine.

I really think there is a pretty good chance that Clinton-Dix and Pryor both could be there for the Packers. I really do think that at least 1 will be available.

If the Packers go to more of a Hybrid 3-4, does that mean they could add a player like Dee Ford and have 3 very good pass rushers on the field at once? I think its a possibility. Something to keep an eye on.

I really think the Packers come away with at least 1 WR in the draft and possibly 2. I think they will look to draft a bigger WR, maybe Jordan Mathews in the 2nd, Martavis Bryant in the 3rd, or Brandon Coleman in the 4th.
I could also see them looking at a smaller quicker/faster type that could be a return man maybe like Dri Archer (although considered a RB also), Brandin Cooks, Robert Herron, or Jalen Saunders all fit that role.

Arlo's picture

Interesting questions along with equally interesting answers. However, I wish you would change the wording on this.

"There’s every possibility Clowney would be an upgrade over Perry."

I doubt Perry (even healthy) has a chance to equate to Clowney.

Who's better? ---- It'll be between Clowney & JJ Watt. Perry's not even in the picture. (IMO)

4thand1's picture

There's a reason teams get players like Clowney and Watt. Usually because they sucked so much the year before.

Hank Scorpio's picture

If Clowney falls to the Packers, I think they should take him. His incredible speed make up for his questionable work ethic and so-so run support (at least in the one game I saw him play v Wisconsin).

But that questionable work ethic and lack of run game ability mean I wouldn't go get him. The hardest thing with college players is figuring out which ones will be happy with their SB check and which ones want to be great. There are TONS of signs that point to the former with Clowney.

Arlo's picture

Clowney falling to GB (at 21) would be a greater fall than AR back in 2005. --- Won't happen.

Hank Scorpio's picture

I agree, Arlo.

It was a bit tongue in check to suggest he would.

4thand1's picture

Once again Clowney's work ethic is challenged by the media. He ran an outrageous 40, 4.53, then decided to skip a lot of the other drills. It seems like all the attention he's gotten has gone to his head. Good luck to the team that drafts him. Only 21 reps at 225.

RC Packer Fan's picture

What I think is funny, is last year when he tried to enter the draft, the scouts and media said that it didn't matter what he would do from then on, he would be the #1 overall pick this year.

Now the media and some scouts are criticizing the guy because they question his work ethic.

For the record I do question his work ethic with the stuff I have been hearing. I don't question his skill set, but I do question how motivated he will be to do what it takes to be the best.

That being said he still should be a top 3 pick.

MarkinMadison's picture

I've seen OL get drafted with a similar number of reps at 225 lbs. I haven't heard that Clowney is a one-trick bull-rush pony either. He's a guy who beats the opposition with quickness and change of direction, and despite his apparent lack of a bench press, has enough strength to throw off OTs and make the play in the run game. He may be raw, he may have had a down year, but he is not Jamal Reynolds.

Stroh's picture

He can throw off OL due to his extremely long arms. I heard his wing span is like 84 in. That means he has his hands on the OL chest/jersey and they are grasping air, can't get their hands on him. That allows him to control them. This is one of the reasons they measure arm length. When an OL can't get his hands on the pass rusher, the pass rusher can disengage and is able to control the OL to get to the QB.

Having long arms also makes bench press more difficult. Longer way to push the bar up.

TXCHEESE's picture

Agree with you Stroh. Anyway you don't have to bench press 'em when you get there. Plus that extra inch or so, is adding to the possibility of QB strips.

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