Evan Silva

Draft Analysis

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NFL Draft Needs: Packers

Thursday, April 03, 2014


Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

 

No. 1 Team Need: Tight End


Silva's Analysis


Jermichael Finley is "months" away from signing with a team, while plodding in-line tight end Andrew Quarless returns atop Green Bay's depth chart. Ex-college basketball player Brandon Bostick remains an intriguing project going on age 25, but didn't assert himself as a prominent pass catcher when healthy last season. The Packers need a multi-dimensional tight end to threaten the seam for Aaron Rodgers, and clear perimeter running lanes in front of Eddie Lacy.


Norris' Options


First day option: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech - Amaro spent almost 90 percent of his snaps in the slot and checks the most important part of being a tight end in the Packers’ offense: receiving. With that said, he is a willing and adequate blocker and flashed well while inline. I think he can be a complete tight end and stay on the field in nearly every situation. His agility and body control allow Amaro to be a mismatch. He dominated the short to intermediate patterns, but look for him to run the seam more often in the NFL.

 

Second day possibility: Austin Seferian-Jenkins - No tight end prospect aligned in a wider variety of positions than ASJ. In the slot, inline, out wide and in the backfield. He did it all. ASJ is severely limited after the catch, but his basketball background is evident when tracking the football. Body control is there.


Third day flier: Jake Murphy, Utah - Murphy is older than most prospects and is almost solely an H-back/move tight end. He gets thrown to the ground blocking and is slow in his release, but Murphy has very reliable hands.


 

No. 2 Team Need: Center

 

 

Silva's Analysis

 

The Packers have generally considered centers expendable under GM Ted Thompson, over the last eight offseasons allowing Mike Flanagan, Scott Wells and Evan Dietrich-Smith to walk in free agency without much of a fight. It's conceivable Thompson will turn to ex-tackle Don Barclay or 2013 fourth-round pick J.C. Tretter to succeed Dietrich-Smith in-house. It's also conceivable that the Packers will pursue a longer-term solution in the draft. The Packers primarily utilize a zone-blocking running game, but have been looking to get bigger up front in recent seasons.


Norris' Options


First day option: Joel Bitonio, Utah State - I keep saying it, but do not be surprised if Bitonio is selected in the first-round. Teams are going to love his athletic lower half and positional versatility. Bitonio has been worked out at left tackle, guard and center, and I expect some teams to list him as the top center in the draft. He is not overly powerful but can absorb strength at the point of attack and redirect that momentum.

 

Second day possibility: Weston Richburg, Colorado State - Richburg, along with USC’s Marcus Martin, are the two top pure centers. Again, centers do not need to overpower their man, instead Richburg can get to the second level and occupy or reach block off the snap. The key is to not be jolted by face up or slanting linemen. Pass protection is there, too.

 

Third day flier: Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt - Again, positional versatility. Johnson has tiny arms, which teams will knock him for, but can play all five positions. He is an occupier but can lose on power counter moves or quick punches off the snap. Added weight could help his cause.



No. 3 Team Need: Safety


Silva's Analysis


The Packers parted with incumbent FS M.D. Jennings and return SS Morgan Burnett following an awful year. Burnett was among the game's leakiest safeties in 2013 after signing a new five-year, $26.1 million contract. Green Bay has discussed moving Micah Hyde to safety full time, though Hyde is a core special teamer and probably not a viable every-down defensive back. This club could use an aggressive, sure-tackling strong safety, allowing Burnett to focus on deep patrol.

 

Norris' Options


First day option: Jimmie Ward, NIU - Ward might win in more ways/areas than any safety in this class. Need him to cover slot receivers or tight ends? He can do it. Play in the box after walking down pre-snap? Sure. Or roam the deeper sections of the field while keeping everything in front? Absolutely. I prefer Ward over Calvin Pryor. He is the real deal. Mixing him with Micah Hyde, who is also versatile, could help the defense quite a bit.


Second day possibility: Deone Bucannon, Washington State - Bucannon is a bit straight-line-ish and robotic, but he closes so quickly. Perhaps fluidity will come with time, and you see some of it with pre-snap movements, but until he has his feet under him there will some wasted movement. Bucannon is aggressive and not afraid to lay out ball carriers in space.


Third day flier: Marqueston Huff, Wyoming: Huff has played corner and safety during the draft process. There are exposures of both free and strong safety while at Wyoming.




Video: Norris on Green Bay's top need





Packers 2014 Draft Picks (9)


First Round (No. 21)

Second Round (No. 53)

Third Round (No. 85)

Third Round (No. 98)

Fourth Round (No. 121)

Fifth Round (No. 161)

Fifth Round (No. 176)

Sixth Round (No. 197)

Seventh Round (No. 236)



Packers Current First-Team Offense


QB: Aaron Rodgers

RB: Eddie Lacy

WR: Jordy Nelson

WR: Randall Cobb

WR: Jarrett Boykin

TE: Andrew Quarless

LT: David Bakhtiari

LG: Josh Sitton

C: J.C. Tretter

RG: T.J. Lang

RT: Bryan Bulaga


Packers Current First-Team Defense


RE: Julius Peppers

LE: Datone Jones

NT: B.J. Raji

ILB: A.J. Hawk

ILB: Brad Jones

OLB: Clay Matthews

OLB: Nick Perry

LCB: Tramon Williams

RCB: Sam Shields

FS: Morgan Burnett

SS: Micah Hyde



Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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