In less than one month, the top football prospects will gather in New York City for the 2014 NFL draft. Since January, the Houston Texans have been on the clock, as they hold the number one overall pick.
The reigning NFC North division champion Green Bay Packers hold the 21st overall pick and have many ways they can go with their selection. While they could wait to see if the player they want will fall to them, what would happen if their players are no longer on the board? Does general manager Ted Thompson trade back, trade up, or remain at pick 21? Here is my answer.
The Packers need to fill three positions in this year’s draft. They need a tight end, safety, and a middle linebacker. The good news is that this year’s draft class is extremely deep, so if the Packers can’t get their number one guy at each position, they can wait and get a solid player in the future rounds. So, instead of trying to trade up and giving away draft picks, I believe that Thompson needs to trade down from pick 21.
Three guys the Packers are looking at are tight end Eric Ebron, middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. If none of these players are available when the Packers pick comes, Thompson can afford to trade back and start stocking up picks. Tight end Jace Amaro has been considered as first round pick, but the rise of Ebron has started to slide Amaro down the mock drafts.
At the safety spot, Jimmie Ward from Northern Illinois is a good pass defender, something that the Packers’ safeties struggled with for most of last season. At linebacker, Ryan Shazier would be a nice pickup if the Packers decide to move down in the draft. Shazier has the speed and coverage skills that would be a nice compliment to A.J. Hawk.
Unless if the Packers get a wonderful deal that would allow them to trade up and get Jadeveon Clowney, by far the best player in the draft, they should not trade up and give up picks. This draft class is extremely deep, and the Packers could find some very good gems in the later rounds. Finding late round gems just happens to be Ted Thompson’s strength. This year he should be able to find many of those gems.