Green Bay Packers Needs: Pre-Draft
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?
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.
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.
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.