And there you have it. All 32 picks are in for our 2011 BTSC Community Mock Draft. With still close to a month to go before the start of the real deal, I'll be asking you all shortly in a poll about potentially doing a second round. We certainly had our best year to date in terms of getting picks in timely. The picks weren't just submitted quickly though. You all did a great job with the writeups as well. Many thanks! Let's conclude with a bang compliments of JDSteelers, who has a tremendous writeup for the defending champion Packers at No. 32. - Michael B. -
The Packers are a damn good team, obviously. They're also pretty young at a lot of key spots - they have a top 5 quarterback, and top 5 pass rusher, a very talented corner, a great nose tackle (key in the 3-4), a second-year tackle who just handled LaMarr Woodley in the Superbowl, an athletic deep threat at TE, and a dynamic wide receiver, all of whom are under thirty. They also won the Superbowl with something like fifteen players on injured reserve, so this team is scary in terms of future potential. Still, they have some needs. They need help at defensive end. Three of their top guys could be gone or at the end of their careers, making this a pretty big need. They need another pass rushing outside linebacker (but there isn't one left on the board, tragically). They could use some help at running back and a young, big wideout, and they have a few needs on the offensive line. Still, Ted Thompson always takes the best player available, and with this team, he can definitely do that - especially at number 32.
I've outlined the pros and cons of who I see as the top prospects in this draft for the Packers - they aren't in order of preference. Also, with the situation and talent on the board, I doubt I would trade down, though I'm sure there are going to be teams that want to move up for Phil Taylor.
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa - Clayborn is falling because of his concerns and his Erb's Palsy. Teams are concern it can sap his strength, though he doesn't play like it does. He does have some character concerns and I think he might actually be a little light for the Packers - their defensive linemen are all bigger than Clayborn. Nevertheless, he's a talent and is probably the best player available, which is Ted Thompson's modus operandi.
Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor - I have no idea how he slid this far, but don't reject this possibility out of hand just because they have B.J. Raji. Raji is their nose tackle for the present and future, but Taylor wouldn't be his replacement. The Packers have played nose tackles at 3-4 end a lot the past few years (Raji played there a lot as a rookie and Ryan Pickett played there this year) and Taylor has the athleticism and the length to play there, though he needs to keep his weight under control and develop some pass rushing moves. He can be coached though, but the real reason I consider this is because Green Bay might be starting a new trend - they played in a base nickel formation for 55% of their snaps last year. That means 2 down linemen and either five linebackers or DBs - they mixed it up. It's a natural response to the proliferation of spread offenses, and the Steelers put 2 men down a fair bit last year as well. With Cullen Jenkins probably leaving, putting Taylor next to Raji would give them a great 2 man front which could allow them to occupy lots of blockers and free up their linebackers to make plays. With the nickel being their base set last year (when it's over half of the plays, it's your base), putting up two nose tackles would give them a lot of space eating without sacrificing too much against the run. Taylor could be a possibility if they think he could play end on some snaps - Vince Wilfork did it in New England. Sorry this explanation is so long, but I had to explain it.
Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State - There's no doubt the Packers need another defensive end. Jenkins might be leaving, Jonathan Jolly is in serious legal trouble, and Pickett is basically done. Mike Neal played fairly well last year, but their need is pretty great at defensive end and Ted Thompson always go best player available, so Heyward, who could be BPA at 31, would be a good fit in Green Bay. He's versatile with all the talent in the world - inconsistency brings him down, but we have to face that the Packers are a strong organization with great leadership and they might be able to break him of that.
Benjamin Ijalana, OT/G, Villanova - After cruising the Packer's blog here on SB Nation, the consensus seems to be that their offensive line is their number one need. Ijalana is not the best player available by any means, but he is the best offensive linemen available. For a team that needs a left tackle and a guard, Ijalana would offer them some versatility and depth in his rookie reason and they can groom him to take over his second year.
Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh - Another legitimate contender for best player available, Baldwin would also fit a need. Donald Driver is getting older, and while Greg Jennings is entrenched as the number 1, James Jones is leaving and Jordy Nelson (while talented) has a lot of problems with drops. Baldwin would give Rodgers a great receiver talent with good speed and great size. Again, I think the Packers wouldn't have a problem handling his ego concerns either.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois - This team needs a running back. Ryan Grant is getting old and can't stay healthy, and James Starks seems talented, but they need some depth and a pass catching backer. Leshoure is talented in that area, in addition to having little wear and tear. Most importantly, he's very talented, being very much a prototypical NFL back in terms of size and speed. He's in the second because of character issues and because he hasn't played very much, so the game film on him is short.
Danny Watkins, G, Baylor - Everyone knows about Watkins. First round talent. Athletic. Played tackle so he should be able to handle pass rushers coming from the inside. High character guy. Unfortunately, he's also going to be 27 in the middle of the season. That' s not going to both teams in lower rounds, but it's tough to spend a first rounder on a guy who might have a shorter career than most players you're drafting who are 21-23. On the other hand, he is skilled and the Packers need a guard pretty badly.
Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa - Christian Ballard is a talented guy who would be pretty good in a 3-4. He could sneak into the end of the first, but he's been mocked all over the place from what I've seen. While I'm fairly high on this guy, and he is a possibility to the Packers, I don't think it's going to happen.
So who do they pick? Frankly, I'm upset with the mockers above me for leaving so much good talent here on the board and making things difficult for me. Seriously everyone, have some consideration for the poor Superbowl Champions. I'm chopping off Ballard, Watkins, and Leshoure in the first cut. Running back can wait, Watkins is a better pick lower down and isn't the BPA, and Ballard is just going to too high for my taste here. I'm going to cut Clayborn as well - I just can't see him on the Packers and I've always thought he was a bit overrated. I doubt the Packers have him very high on their board, though I could be wrong. Ijalana is next - despite the need, there's no argument in which he could be best player available and the needs on defense are too great.
That leaves Taylor, Heyward, and Baldwin. As much as I think Baldwin would flourish in Green Bay, I see Taylor and Heyward as better players and probably higher on TT's board, not to mention filling a greater need.
I think I'm going to go with something unconventional and take Phil Taylor. I really think the Packers might be onto something with this 2-4-5 formation. Using 3-4 personnel, it gets a bunch of defensive backs on the field to counter the 3 receiver/spread formations we are seeing so often. It also puts big space eaters up front and lets the linebackers, the lifeblood of the 3-4 and the best pass rushers on the team, remain on the field. Putting Taylor and Raji up there at the same could really give them something special. They already use that formation on most of their plays - why not cater to making it even better?
BTSC 2011 Community Mock Draft Selections:
- Carolina Panthers -- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
- Denver Broncos -- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills -- Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
- Arizona Cardinals -- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
- Cleveland Browns --
'The Snow Cone Machine'A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
- San Francisco 49ers -- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
- Tennessee Titans -- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
- Dallas Cowboys -- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
- Washington Redskins -- Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
- Houston Texans -- Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
- Minnesota Vikings -- Tyron Smith, OT, USC
- Detroit Lions -- JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin
- St. Louis Rams -- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
- Miami Dolphons -- Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Brooks Reed , DE, Arizona
- New England Patriots -- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
- San Diego Chargers -- Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue
- New York Giants -- Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois
- Indianapolis Colts -- Cameron Jordan, DL, California
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
- New Orleans Saints -- Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
- Seattle Seahawks -- Jake Locker, QB, Washington
- Baltimore Ravens -- Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
- Atlanta Falcons -- Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
- New England Patriots -- Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
- Chicago Bears --Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
- New York Jets -- Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
- Green Bay Packers -- Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor