Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Packers 53 Man Roster 2016

Packers 53 man roster
The 2016 NFL off season has unofficially drawn to a close. The Packers have their 90 man roster. Now here is my attempt at predicting the 53 man week one roster, although I have no idea what Ted Thompson is really thinking.

Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley, Joe Callahan(PS)- The Packers lost Scott Tolzien to the Colts this off season. Brett Hundley now slides into the backup role, which is what the Packers thought he would eventually become when they drafted him. Callahan heads to the practice squad.

Running Backs:
Eddie Lacy, James Starks, John Crockett- In case you missed it, and my best friend Jon Schwartz hasn't because I've been giving him a play by play all off season, Eddie Lacy has been dropping weight by the day. He weighed in at the beginning of the Packers off season workouts 18 pounds lighter. Starks returns as the backup. However, Ted Thompson did nothing to address the Grand Canyon sized hole at the third running back position, so John Crockett will get another chance.

Aaron Ripkowski- It appears as if the John Kuhn era has come to an end in Green Bay. Ripkowski, one of the Packers 2015 6th round draft choices, appears poised to take over the role.

Wide Receivers
Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis- Yes, you are reading this right. Seven receivers, which would be an NFL week one record. For various reasons, the Packers aren't ready to cut ties with any of them, and by only carrying two quarterbacks and a running back this season will allow them to carry seven receivers.

Tight End
Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo- Cook will be a tremendous upgrade in the passing game. However, the Packers needed to add a blocking tight end late in the draft and failed to do so.

Offensive Line
David Bakhtiari, Brian Bulaga, Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy, T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton, Lane Taylor, J.C. Tretter, Corey Linsley- The Packers offensive line could stay healthy as a cohesive unit all of last season. When they are together, they are one of the best in the league. I think Brian Bulaga loses his job to Jason Spriggs before the season is over.

Defensive Line:
Datone Jones, Dean Lowry, Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Letroy Guion, Christian Ringo- The Packers needed to address this line in the draft, and did. Clark will take over for B.J. Raji in the middle, whose stunning retirement almost put the Packers in a bind. Dean Lowry will be a nice rotational player. Ringo, a 2015 late round draft choice, will join the rotation this season.

Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Jake Ryan, Sam Barrington, Blake Martinez, Kyler Fackrell, Jayrone Elliot, Nick Perry, Joe Thomas, Carl Bradford- This is a mean bunch as a rotational unit, kind of like a pack of wild dogs, and they only got deeper in the draft with the editions of Martinez and Fackrell. The Packers will attempt to move Matthews back outside full time this season.

Defensive Back:
Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinton Rollins, Ladarius Gunter, Daniel Robertson, Micah Hyde, Morgan Burnett, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Chris Banjo- This is a deep, deep secondary. Ladarius Gunter looks to be yet another in a long line of Ted Thompson un-drafted free agent gems. He will step into the fourth cornerback role, vacated by Casey Hayward.

Long Snapper:
Rick Lovato

Peter Mortell: I fully expect the former Minnesota Golden Gopher to beat out Tim Masthay, who is aging fast.

Mason Crosby- One of the best in the business, but isn't getting any younger, look for the Packers to potentially replace him in a year or two.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Packers 2016 Draft Review

Packers 2016 Draft Review
The 2016 NFL draft came and went this weekend, just in case you didn't notice, although it was hard not to. Here is my review of each selection the Packers made this weekend.

Round 1: Kenny Clark/DT/UCLA- There are some people, specifically fans of the Packers division rivals, who want to believe the Packers reached for Clark. But, if you listen to the real analysts, ESPN, NFL Network, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, etc., they all agree the Packers made an excellent choice here, and I choose to join them. Ted Thompson's first round selections have been spotty in recent years at best. He needed a good, safe, solid selection, and he got it. Kenny Clark is already a big, strong body who is only 20 years old, so he will only get bigger and stronger over the next few years. He is a big body, perfect fit, has scheme familiarity because what UCLA ran defensively is almost a carbon copy of what the Packers base defense does, and is an outstanding human being. This is a great choice for Thompson.

Round 2: Jason Spriggs/OT/Indiana- Thompson made a rare move here and decided to move up to select Spriggs. Some see this as looking ahead to 2017, when four of the Packers offensive lineman are free agents. I choose to look at this from another angle. This selection tells me Thompson is as tired of Brian “play four games and “ow I broke my elbow”” Bulaga as I am, so he is ready to wash his hands of Bulaga and move on.

Round 3: Kyler Fackrell/OLB/Utah State- Thompson needed to refresh the Packers linebacking unit a little in this draft. He did that with Fackrell, the first of two linebackers. Fackrell, much like Clark, is a perfect scheme fit and is a rush linebacker suited for this 3-4 zone stunt Dom Capers and the Packers are famous for.

Round 4A: Blake Martinez/ILB/Stanford- The Packers needed an inside linebacker from this draft and they got one. Yet another perfect scheme fit as well. Martinez is a smart playmaker who does nothing but rack up tackles and plays hard, smash mouth football, something the Packers haven't had in the middle since Desmond Bishop.

Round 4B: Dean Lowry/DE/Northwestern- Here we are, yet another perfect scheme fit for the Packers defense. Thompson really focused in on that in this draft. Lowry is an excellent fit for 3-4 defensive end and will b e a nice rotational player.

Round 5: Trevor Davis/WR/California- For the last six months I have harped and harped on the Packers needing to come away from this draft with more speed at the wide receiver position as well as why it was so important. Did Thompson ever accomplish that with this selection. If you have never seen Trevor Davis run, go watch this video of him tearing up the place. Yeah he's really, REALLY fast.

Round 6: Kyle Murphy/OT/Stanford- Murphy is a smart, high character player who played in am NFL offense at Stanford. That usually equals NFL success. Look for Murphy to perhaps be a starter for the Packers in a couple of years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vikings 2016 Mock Draft | Taylor Decker Most Likely First Pick

Taylor Decker Vikings Draft

We are inching closer and closer to the 2016 NFL draft, which will take place next weekend, April 28-30. Here is my final edition of my Vikings mock draft.

Round 1: Taylor Decker/OT/Ohio State- Even with the off season signing of Andre Smith, offensive tackle is still top priority for the Vikings in this draft. The Smith signing along with the return of Phil Loadholt means the Vikings can bring Decker along slowly. Decker is a pass-blocking specialist who could very well be the team's long term answer for Teddy Bridgewater's blind side.

Round 2: Pharoh Cooper/WR/South Carolina- The first two selections of this mock draft don't change much from the previous editions. Cooper is still exactly what the Vikings need, a polished route runner.

Round 3: Jeremy Cash/SS/Duke- This is where this edition of my mock draft starts to shake up a little compared to previous mocks. In my last one, it appeared that it was all but certain that George Iloka was headed to Minnesota. But that didn't happen, so now the Vikings turn to the draft to fill that spot in the secondary next to All-Pro Harrison Smith. Cash is a coverage specialist who fits perfectly as the centerfielder alongside the line of scrimmage skills of Smith.

Round 4: Jatavis Brown/OLB/Akron- At 5'11”, 227 pounds, this is the ultimate definition of the undersized weak side linebacker in a 4-3 zone run scheme. Brown is undersized but about athletic as it gets and plays with tremendous instinct.

Round 5: Roger Lewis/WR/Bowling Green- The Vikings need to come out of this draft with at least two wide receivers they can plug and play now. Lewis is a small-school veteran with a lot of experience. He runs routes well, is a good athlete, and can have an immediate impact at the NFL.   

Round 6: Kieth Marshall/RB/Georgia- Let's take a chance here and go out on a limb, possibly grabbing the long term replacement to Adrian Peterson. Marshall is the full package for a running back. He has size, speed, skill, vision; pass catching, blocking, intelligence. So what in the world is he doing still on the board in round six? Well, he is an injury concern, and he also has an attitude problem. There are some games when he just disappears. If he can grow up and stay healthy, the Vikings will have knocked a grand slam out of the building with this one. 

Round 7A: Conner Wujciak/DT/Boston College- Every team needs rotational depth guys for their line late in the draft. Wujciak plays with a high motor and is just that.

Round 7B: Dom Williams/WR/Washington State- Williams is a project receiver with a high ceiling who could turn into something bigger down the road.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Packers Will Pick a Defensive Tackle in Round One of 2016 Draft

Packers Mock Draft
Well, I wasn't planning on doing a second Packers mock draft this early in 2016, but so much has changed about this franchise since my first set of picks that I decided to produce a second one. All this is subject to the whims and needs of every NFL team, but I'm trying my best to see into the future.

Round 1: Andrew Billings/DT/Baylor- The stunning retirement of B.J. Raji suddenly made nose guard the Packers top priority. Letroy Guion is an okay player, but they need more, and with Mike Pennel facing a four game suspension to start the season, they need A LOT more. Billings is big, strong powerful man in the middle of the field who is hard to take on one on one. Billings would fit perfectly in the Packers scheme.

Round 2: Sterling Shepard/WR/Oklahoma- I originally had Will Fuller in this spot, but he is rising fast, really fast. So is Shepard, out of the third round and into the second. Shepard has straight line speed and is a burner over the top, which as I have harped on 48 million times, is something this offense simply can not go without.

Round 3: Dominique Alexander/ILB/Oklahoma- I still like the undersized but athletic Alexander in this spot for the Packers. He brings desperately needed speed, athleticism, and coverage skills to a linebacking unit that badly needs them.

Round 4A: Jason Fanalka/DE/OLB/Utah- The Packers grab the fast rising Jason Fanalka out of Utah, a college defensive end who translates extremely well to the next level as an rush linebacker in a 3-4 zone stunt.

Round 4B: Daniel Lasco/RB/California- The Packers have Lacy and Starks, one of the best running back combinations in the league. Problem is, they have a big gaping hole in the third spot. Time to fix that. Lasco is a speed demon who is a big play waiting to happen, and would fit perfectly as the third running back in this offense.

Round 4C: Sheldon Day DT/DE/Notre Dame- The Packers need to shore up their defensive line depth in this draft. Day has the explosiveness to play inside or out in this scheme.

Round 5: Ben Braunecker/TE/Harvard- Even with the signing of Jared Cook, the Packers do need to add a tight end at some point in this draft. Braunecker is a smart kid from Harvard who is a skilled blocker.

Round 6: D.J. Reader/DT/LSU- Reader, the biggest defensive lineman in this draft, has off the chart potential. Problem is, he has yet to play up to it. Maybe the Packers can get him to do just that.

Round 7: Kevin Hogan/QB/Stanford- One of the more surprising moves this offseason so far was the Packers losing backup quarterback Scott Tolzien to the Colts. Brett Hundley will slide into the backup role, but the Packers will need to add another quarterback this offseason. Hogan is a highly intelligent winner from Stanford who would fit well.