This is a good year to need a new cornerback, edge rusher, running back, and tight end.
All four could be considered positions of need for the Green Bay Packers, although that will somewhat depend on how free agency shakes out. Unlike in recent years, this draft class is loaded with talent at all four positions.
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Take cornerback, for example. Ten corners make Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 prospects, which is incredible. We may see players worthy of first-round selection fall into the second and even third round.
A name to watch is Sidney Jones. Jones would be an ideal fit in Dom Capers defense, and despite talent deserving of a top-15 selection, he could fall to No. 29. Ted Thompson might be spoilt for choice should he opt to address the position on day one.
The same is true with the pass rushers. From Charles Harris to T.J. Watt and Tim Williams, there are a number of names who could be there at No. 29 and make a day one impact to the Packers front-seven.
O.J. Howard is the pick of the tight ends, and while it’s unlikely he falls to the Packers in the first round, if he’s there Thompson may struggle to pass him up. Even if Jared Cook is re-signed, adding another tight end in the draft should be high on the shopping list. Assuming Howard is gone by pick 29, the Packers will be able to find mid-round value at the position.
Expect the Packers to be in the hunt for a running back at some point in the draft, but Eddie Lacy’s status may determine how high the priority is. If Lacy walks, Green Bay will be in business for a featured back to work alongside Ty Montgomery.
Christian McCaffrey is a name often associated with the Packers, but it may be a stretch to think Thompson would spend a first-round pick at the running back position, and it’s unlikely he’ll be available at the bottom of the second.
D’Onta Foreman is a day two option. Foreman is a powerful, bruising back much like Lacy, although concerns with his pass protection, ball security and ability as a pass catcher could limit his third-down work early in his career.
Joe Mixon, talent wise, would be selected much higher than he will fall to, but teams will need to make a decision regarding his off-the-field issues after a 2014 domestic violence incident.
No matter where the Packers decide to go in each round, they should be able to find talented players at each position of need.
Thompson has drawn criticism in recent years for drafting “projects” as opposed to more polished prospects, but he could potentially land some immediate contributors at depleted positions.
First, he must make some tough calls in free agency. Nick Perry, Eddie Lacy and Jared Cook are free agents to be, and all play at positions the Packers need to strengthen this offseason. Their futures will play a role in how the Packers approach April’s draft.
Packers fans can at least take comfort in the fact Thompson will be picking from a talented pool of prospects.