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Green Bay Packers Needs: Pre-Draft


Chris Licata
While other teams indulge in the free agent frenzy, the Packers have remained relatively quiet this offseason, primarily re-signing their own in-house free agents. With the 2016 NFL Draft quickly approaching, which positions should the team address? | Photo Credit: Adam Hunger - USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson and staff have not strayed too far off their usual offseason course. The winter months have been highlighted by numerous re-signings, a few notable departures and even a surprise free agent acquisition (hello, Jared Cook). The Packers, under Thompson’s tutelage, have long made their standing through the NFL Draft. With a roster already capable of making a deep playoff run, Green Bay is just a couple pieces away from potentially representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. Which positions should they target in the 2016 draft?

Inside Linebacker

As was mentioned in the first edition of this team needs series, the Packers coaching staff has already hinted at moving Clay Matthews back to his previous outside linebacker position this season – a move that would leave the interior unit thin and inexperienced once again.

A fan-favorite choice for the Packers’ 27th overall selection is Alabama’s Reggie Ragland. While the draft process is unpredictable, both Ragland and the Packers have expressed interest in one another early on. Other Day 2 linebackers who could fit the mold for Green Bay is Missouri’s Kentrell Brothers and Ohio State’s Joshua Perry.

Outside Linebacker

Matthews’ move to the outside should boost the talent and depth at the position, but only for the short term. Julius Peppers is likely in his final season with the Packers and Nick Perry was only brought back on a one-year contract. It appears highly unlikely that Mike Neal will be re-signed, leaving only Jayrone Elliott behind the core three.

One way or another, the Packers must add young talent at the linebacker positions. Some OLB prospects of interest could be Georgia’s Jordan Jenkins, Boise State’s Kamalei Correa and Southern Utah’s James Cowser.

Offensive Tackle/Guard

The offensive line unit was porous in 2015, surrendering 47 sacks (5th worst) and 104 QB hits (8th worst). If that isn’t enough to warrant a draft pick, three major pieces of the Packers front line – Josh Sitton, TJ Lang and David Bakhtiari – have expiring contracts in 2017. JC Tretter, Josh Walker and Lane Taylor are quality backups along the interior, but Green Bay has virtually no depth at the tackle positions.

Keep an eye out for Joe Haeg (North Dakota State), Joe Dahl (Washington State), Reese Odhiambo (Boise State) and Connor McGovern (Missouri).

 

Chris Licata is the Director of NFL Draft Content for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter (@ChrisLicataPFS) and Google+. For more Packers content from PFS, follow our @spot_packers Twitter account.


Lauren Lapaglia likes this
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I still think the offensive line is an underrated need the Packers are facing this year. Sure, that position is likely set for 2016, but looking forward it is definitely a concern. It's hard to imagine a scenario in which Sitton, Lang, and Bakhtiari (or even just Sitton and Lang for that matter) all return in 2017. Finding a young player who can take a year to develop behind the current starters would be a huge benefit moving forward. 

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26 minutes ago, Sean Blashe said:

I still think the offensive line is an underrated need the Packers are facing this year. Sure, that position is likely set for 2016, but looking forward it is definitely a concern. It's hard to imagine a scenario in which Sitton, Lang, and Bakhtiari (or even just Sitton and Lang for that matter) all return in 2017. Finding a young player who can take a year to develop behind the current starters would be a huge benefit moving forward. 

I'm with you Sean. I think the Packers are smitten with Josh Walker as a future starter, but even if that's the case, depth is still needed.

I'm interested to see where GB places the value of Sitton, Lang and Bakhtiari following this season. If you could only re-sign two of the three, who would you choose?

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42 minutes ago, Brandon Lang said:

@Chris Licata Im interested in your thought on West Virginia's Kwiatowski, Wisconsin's Schoebert and Scooby Wright.  Think the Packers would jump on any of those guys in the 2nd or 3rd?

Prepare to be disappointed. In Round 2 or 3? Heck no with a capital "H". Maybe in rounds 5-6 at the earliest.

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1 hour ago, Chris Licata said:

Prepare to be disappointed. In Round 2 or 3? Heck no with a capital "H". Maybe in rounds 5-6 at the earliest.

Not disappointed, just curious.  I've heard Kwiat's name getting thrown around some podcasts and Scooby has been talked about for a while now even though he has a lot of red flags.  I agree though.

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19 hours ago, Chris Licata said:

I'm with you Sean. I think the Packers are smitten with Josh Walker as a future starter, but even if that's the case, depth is still needed.

I'm interested to see where GB places the value of Sitton, Lang and Bakhtiari following this season. If you could only re-sign two of the three, who would you choose?

Sitton and Lang.

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10 hours ago, Brandon Lang said:

@Chris Licata Im interested in your thought on West Virginia's Kwiatowski, Wisconsin's Schoebert and Scooby Wright.  Think the Packers would jump on any of those guys in the 2nd or 3rd?

I'm at UW and watching Schobert was a ton of fun. Solid playmaker, and his athleticism and instinctive play could make him fourth-round material for someone. Second and third round is a little early.

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