Just got off the phone with a scout whose positions of emphasis are the defensive line and outside pass rushers, and itís looking like there are several players at those need positions who might be available when the Packers select at No. 28 overall in the NFL draftís first round.
A few players at those positions for sure will be gone by the time the Packers pick, though this draft isnít particularly strong at the very top for pass rushers and defensive linemen: South Carolina outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, North Carolina defensive lineman Quinton Coples, Louisiana State defensive lineman Michael Brockers, Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox and Memphis State defensive lineman Dontari Poe. Illinois outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus probably falls in that group also.
But thereís a big group of 3-4 outside linebackers and defensive ends who will start coming off the board probably in the bottom third of the first round through the middle of the second round. These are some players to keep an eye on in the next couple weeks when thinking about who the Packers might take at No. 28 overall.
At outside linebacker, thereís Alabamaís Courtney Upshaw, USCís Nick Perry, Clemsonís Adre Branch, Marshallís Vinny Curry, Boise Stateís Shea McClellin, Syracuseís Chandler Jones, West Virginiaís Bruce Irvin and maybe Oklahomaís Ronnell Lewis.
On the defensive line, the possibilities are Penn Stateís Devon Still, Michigan Stateís Jerel Worthy, Connecticutís Kendall Reyes and maybe Clemsonís Brandon Thompson.
Some of them will go before the Packers pick, but at least a few should be on board when GM Ted Thompsonís turn comes up at No. 28. You can bet the Packers have given them all a long look this spring.
-- Pete Dougherty, email@example.com