GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: A fan of the Green Bay Packers holds a sign during the NFL opening season game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on September 8, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Saints 42-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
It took me too long to make this pick. I never expected to wrestle with it for as long as I did. Just lock-and-load to second-guess and rip away. Next up: Baltimore Ravens and they'll be represented by our very favorite, Mr MaLoR.
By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-
I had a lot of trouble and did not know who to go with here for the Green Bay Packers.
I could at least narrow it down to one side of the ball - with their offense tops in the league in scoring and 3rd overall in yards per game, and their defense a below average 19th in scoring and the league's caboose at 32nd in yards per game.
Then I could look at their 29 total sacks - which tied them with the Colts, Bills, and Chiefs for the 27th worst mark in the league and the third-lowest total overall - to deduce that something disappeared from their Super Bowl-winning front seven in 2010 (47 sacks, tied for 2nd overall).
And then... I was stuck.
I mean I did make a pick to meet a deadline, but I'm still second-guessing it to a degree.
Do I go with a defensive lineman to play end in their 3-4? Or do I go with an outside linebacker to play opposite Clay Matthews?
- Devon Still, Penn State (6'5, 303)
- Jerel Worthy, Michigan State (6'2, 308)
- Kendall Reyes, Connecticut (6'4, 299)
Two guys with somewhat solid Day 1 grades, another guy with a late-1st/early-2nd round grade. I really wanted to throw out Jerel Worthy right from the get-go because of (what I think is) his relative lack of size (in this case, height/length). Then I looked up what Cullen Jenkins is listed at, and he's apparently 6'2, 305. It's relevant because in retrospect, the loss of Jenkins and the lack of depth to consistently fill that void this past year (Jenkins had 7 sacks in just 11 games in 2010) is what largely precipitated the Packers' fall from lofty defensive standards.
(Potential) outside linebackers:
- Shea McClellin, Boise State (6'3, 260)
- Andre Branch, Clemson (6'4, 259)
- Vinny Curry, Marshall (6'3, 266)
The four big-name DE/OLB prospects - Melvin Ingram, Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus, and Courtney Upshaw - have all been taken, leaving me with an assortment of late-1st/early-2nd round prospects.
(I also tried to consider Chandler Jones, DE from Syracuse here, but wasn't entirely sure how he could best maximize his potential in a 3-4. So I threw him out.)
Narrowing down the DL prospects
I ended up throwing Jerel Worthy out anyways because 1) the more I read about him, the more he sounded like a penetrating 4-3 DT that would be out of place at 3-4 DE (like Corey Liuget, the Chargers' 2011 1st round pick, though Liuget may still develop by leaps and bounds going into his second year); and 2) because I just can't take him over Still, when they both played the same position in the same conference and Still was the one named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (maybe it's just me though).
The thing is, I eventually decided against Still as well. I think Still is a relatively safe pick that the Packers could take here, and he could certainly help shore up the run defense and create some pressure that linebackers can clean up on. He would definitely be an asset to the team, but my gut feeling is that his effectiveness in a 3-4 would be a step below his effectiveness as a disruptive 4-3 DT. As such, I'm not sure if his value to the Packers here is far enough ahead of the value of a DL prospect from the next tier - like Brandon Thompson from Clemson or Jared Crick from Nebraska - both of whom should be available closer to their 2nd round pick.
And since I could not take Kendall Reyes ahead of both Still and Worthy, and because Reyes' draft stock reminds me a little bit of Kentwan Balmer's back in 2008, I have to throw him out too.
Narrowing down the OLB prospects
This was really tough, but I crossed Andre Branch off the list first. It was more of a gut feeling than anything, but I'll do my best to try to articulate the logic I think I had - McClellin and Curry both seem to me like they could have more to contribute to the Packers right now, even while they grow into the defense. Curry apparently already has a good array of moves in his pass rushing arsenal, and McClellin has some moves as well and a non-stop motor that will never give up on a play, along with the experience of having lined up all over the field at Boise State. All the reports I read on Branch talked about how he can be lightning quick, but they all also talked about how he's a bit of a one-trick pony right now when pass rushing. I think I figured that of the three of them, Branch was the most likely to be a Larry English/Jerry Hughes-type bust.
So in the end...
With the 28th pick in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State.
Yep, it just happened. At the risk of being accused of just going with a pick that's "in vogue" right now, I actually am going with McClellin. I really did not expect to decide on him, but that's just the way it shook out for me today. And I'm not going to partially cop out and say that I'd like to trade down and get him later - I'm taking Shea McClellin and I'm taking him right here. Even if the Patriots take a different pass rusher ahead of me, I have no assurance that they won't double-down and take McClellin with their other 1st rounder (they are currently without both of their leading sack-getters this past season). I can't guarantee that the 49ers won't take another OLB for their rotation either. I know that the Colts should be in the market for an edge rusher with the second pick of the 2nd round to help flesh out their brand new 3-4 (which MaLoR points out in what is a fine piece of work).
I think Vinny Curry has better potential as a pure pass rusher - and we did begin this exercise in part to try to figure out how best to address the Packers' low sack total - but by all accounts he would require a ton of work before he could start dropping into coverage. I'm not necessarily just looking for someone to duplicate Clay Matthews on the opposite side (though that's not a bad end-result); I'm looking for as well-rounded a complement as I can find, who will provide greater flexibility to the defense across all of their various formations (especially if they go back to more 3-4 base defense, and then might need OLBs to drop more often out of that formation). I think McClellin is a better OLB prospect overall, because he has the experience of standing up and moving all over the field. The tiebreaker was McClellin's ability to excel in coverage sooner than Curry could.
I know that quite a few guys at Acme Packing Company aren't quite on board with taking him in the 1st round, and that's fine. I'm just not going to take their reasoning and use it completely in lieu of mine. The kid from Boise State has got speed, awareness, and a fantastic motor - what more do you want? The only knock is sack production specifically (seeming to "regress" with just 6 sacks in 2011 after 9.5 sacks in 2010), which then turns into the usual concerns about someone that "never dominated" against non-BCS competition. In rebuttal, I think you do have to give him a bit of a pass for the drop in sacks, because the experience he was gaining in coverage had to come at the expense of pass rushing opportunities. Furthermore, when Boise State went to play Georgia at Georgia, McClellin reportedly had a great performance against Cordy Glenn.
I'm still not sure I made the right decision to pass on Devon Still. However, with the Packers typically being the least active team in free agency (even less active than us), the fact that they went out to sign a guy like Anthony Hargrove to help address the position makes me a bit more comfortable with waiting to address the DL until the 2nd round or later (they have no idea yet if Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins will return to play football, so they could take a replacement early on Day 2).
BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:
- Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
- Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
- Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
- Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
- St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
- Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
- Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
- Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
- Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
- Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
- Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
- New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
- San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
- Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
- Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
- Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
- Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
- Denver Broncos -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
- Houston Texans -- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
- New England Patriots -- Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama