Top Ten Options for #27: Packers NFL Draft 2016
From Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider senior editor
~It happens almost every year.
For weeks on end from February until late April, Packer fans around the world spend hours and hours looking over mock drafts, big boards, who’s rising, best fits, etc. for months leading up to the draft.
They fall in love with a few prospects, get their hopes up, and then….. the draft comes and you hear the name Justin Harrell, or Nick Perry, or Datone Jones, or Michael Neal, Damarious Randall (a “safety”?), James Jones, etc. Nobody had those guys mocked to the Packers in the first round, or second, third, etc.
I’ve tried to tell myself in the past years to totally ignore all the leadup to the draft, because Thompson will never take the guys I want him to take.
He didn’t take Dez Bryant in 2010 when he fell down, or Jerry Hughes whom I originally wanted before Bryant slid down.
He didn’t take Denzel Perryman or Stephone Anthony or Eric Kendricks last year to fill our inside linebacker hole.
But his team made the playoffs again, for a league-tying seventh straight year, despite missing the key weapon for the whole season. They also were one courageous two-point conversion away from stealing the NFC Divisional at Arizona and moving to Carolina for the NFC Championship game.
So what Teddy has done is working well. But that’s mostly do to taking Aaron Rodgers 11 years ago, and to his credit, trading up and taking Clay Matthews in the 2009 Draft.
Good or bad aside, I am not getting my hopes set on one guy. I’m spreading my love wide. Here is my top ten list of guys I hope to be named as our pick at #27. In order. All these guys have a decent chance of being available, although certainly a few of them won’t when it all breaks down on Thursday the 28th. But some will.
Click on the prospect to see CBS Sports Scouting Reports on the top two guys. The “Compares to” comes from CBS.
This is the guy the Packers need to plug up the middle of their defense. He’s gone by #27 in about 75% of mock drafts out there, but there are some new ones from Sports Illustrated, NFL.com, The Sporting News, and some of them have Ragland sliding and taken by the Packers at 27. So there’s some hope.
He didn’t test fast, so there’s a chance he will slide to the #27 pick. There remains some question whether he’s fast enough to be a 3-down backer and stay on the field in passing situations. But I believe the scouts who say he’s fine there. Some Alabama defensive prospects have not panned out recently.
But the Packers have had good recent luck with Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide players. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has showed that he’s capable of multiple Pro Bowls. Eddie Lacy is a stud as well.
COMPARES TO: Vinny Curry, Philadelphia Eagles – Ogbah is a balanced athlete with the physicality and coachable mentality that can be molded in the NFL, similar to Curry when he entered the league.
Ogbah hasn’t been seen because of being on Oklahoma State. But his production dwarfs the higher=-rated guys from Clemson, Alabama, and other bigger name schools.
He’s got high character as a person off the field, and he leaves it all on the field. His best football is ahead of him as he got a late start in the sport. In my opinion, he’s what Ted Thompson hoped Nick Perry would turn into.
#3- DL Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
COMPARES TO: Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants – Both Hankins and Butler have the quickness and point of attack power to push the pocket to give blockers all they can handle.
I almost have Butler ahead of Ogbah, and actually I’ll be just as happy if he’s the guy that’s announced at #27 as I would Ogbah, because I believe the Packers need more immediate help along the defensive line than they do at outside linebacker. I believe Nick Perry and Jayrone Elliott are a very good backup unit at outside linebacker.
Butler is a monster, and his quickness, agility for his size are rare. He’s about 15 pounds bigger than Jarran Reed from Alabama.
He would be a fantastic addition, and compliment to Mike Neal and Letroy Guion. Remember, B.J. Raji has called it a career. Don’t expect him back ever, but for certain this year.
#4- OLB Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky, via Ohio State
From NFL.com: NFL Comparison- Whitney Mercilus
IN OUR VIEW (CBS): A true wild-card prospect, Spence has top 15 talent, there is no question about that. But the former Ohio State Buckeye has a history of drug abuse, although he has cleaned up his habits since being banned from the Big Ten.
Spence is a slippery rusher with the lateral quicks and low pad level to be an impact pass rusher in the NFL. How Spence interviews and carries himself in the pre-draft process will be an important step in his job interview for NFL teams.
–Dane Brugler and Rob Rang (2/1/16)
#5- DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
COMPARES TO: Michael Brockers, DT, Los Angeles Rams – Although he doesn’t have a sky-high ceiling, Robinson should start in the NFL for a long time as a three-down defender, fitting even and odd fronts, similar to Michael Brockers when he was a mid-first round pick out of LSU.
–Dane Brugler (2/10/16)
#6- DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
IN OUR VIEW: If the technique and discipline catch up to his natural brawling strength and mentality, Billings flashes dominant qualities. A scheme-versatile prospect, he will be valued as a nose tackle by odd fronts and a one-technique tackle by even fronts.
COMPARES TO: Bennie Logan, DT, Philadelphia Eagles – Similar to Logan, Billings isn’t the most physically impressive lineman, but he is built low to the ground with a powerful base that will fit both even and odd fronts.
–Dane Brugler (2/10/16)
#7- WR Josh Doctson, TCU
From CBS: STRENGTHS: Tall athlete with long arms and adequate muscle tone for the position. Outstanding leaping ability, body control and ball-skills to elevate with springs in his legs to out-jump defenders.
Extends with magnet hands to pluck away from his body, displaying usually terrific focus and tracking ability. Uses his body well to box out and shield defenders from the ball. Immediately looks to turn catches upfield with deceiving run toughness and a strong stiff arm. Creates spacing in his routes and finds open zones to give his quarterback a clear target.
Unselfish, dependable and hungry worker – can’t find anyone who will say a negative word about him. Highly productive, leading TCU in receiving each of his three seasons with the program.
#8- DE Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
IN OUR VIEW: After starting his career outside as a defensive end, Nkemdiche filled out his frame and moved inside to defensive tackle where he is best-suited in the NFL. Although he isn’t one of the top-10 football players in this class, Nkemdiche is one of the top-10 talents because of his ability to get upfield in any scheme and penetrate gaps, but teams will view him as a high risk/high reward type of prospect.
COMPARES TO: Michael Bennett, DT, Seattle Seahawks – Statistics don’t reflect Nkemdiche’s impact, but, like Bennett, he has the versatility and athletic prowess in a big man’s body to be disruptive in different ways.
–Dane Brugler, Rob Rang (2/10/16)
#9- DL Jonathan Bullard, Florida
IN OUR VIEW: Bullard is a classic two-gap run-stuffer with size, physicality and a blue-collar playing style. Teams will appreciate his no-nonsense game along with his positional and schematic versatility to play outside or inside. Bullard will attract some first-round attention.
–Dane Brugler & Rob Rang
#10A- TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas
From NFL.com: NFL Comparison: Jason Witten
By far, the premier tight end in the 2016 draft. Henry is a big body with the athleticism to get open, the hands to finish catches in traffic and the blocking ability to help give a running game the additional kick it might be missing on the edge. Henry should come in and become a very good NFL starter.
Also from NFL.com: “He’s the most complete tight end to come out in years. He’s a legitimate first-round pick,” an NFL scout told New Jersey Advance Media. “You have had so many tight ends who were nothing more than big wide receivers. This kid is a complete tight end. He can catch, he can run and he can block.”
Another scout suggested Henry falls short of Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert when it comes to receiving skills, but believes he can block more effectively than Eifert. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Henry’s played in a pro-style offense at Arkansas. That should help him transition to the NFL more easily than slot tight ends from college systems that employ the spread offense.
#10A- DL Kenny Clark, UCLA
COMPARES TO: Domata Peko, DT, Cincinnati Bengals – Similar to Peko, Clark is a power-packed run defender who should be a quality nose tackle for a long time, initially as a two-down defender with potential to be more.
IN OUR VIEW: Though he doesn’t possess great size, Clark is one of the country’s better run-stuffers, winning with strength, a naturally low center of gravity and hustle to plug rushing lanes. Overshadowed by flashier athletes throughout much of his career and still developing his pass rush skills, Clark flashes the violence, agility and motor to twist and drive blockers backward, projecting as a three-down interior player at the next level.
–Dane Brugler & Rob Rang (2/10/16)