Surveyed some mock drafts today to see who some experts had the Packers picking at No. 28 overall, and it looks like they have a good understanding of the Packers' needs and the draft's strengths, if not always the kind of player GM Ted Thompson is likely to take. At least at this early stage, three weeks before the draft, it's looking like there will be one or two players who figure to interest the Packers at each of outside linebacker and defensive end when the team's pick comes up at No. 28 overall. ESPN.com's Mel Kiper had the Packers taking USC outside linebacker Nick Perry. That looks like a real possibility. I've talked to three scouts so far about some of the players at that position -- the details will be provided in the Press-Gazette's position-by-position series starting the week before the draft -- and all three spoke highly of Perry. None described him as a great player, but all considered him a good 3-4 OLB prospect and a guy who should go late in the first round. ESPN.com's Todd McShay and SI.com's Don Banks had the Packers taking Clemson OLB Andre Branch. A logical choice but at this early stage I question whether he's a guy Thompson will like. Branch has the talent to go that high, but the two scouts I've talked to about him said he gives spotty effort. That doesn't sound like the kind of guy Thompson would invest a first-round pick on. Chad Reuter and Bucky Brooks, both of NFL.com, had the Packers taking Alabama OLB Courtney Upshaw. An interesting pick and a guy that warrants close examination. He's a big (280 pounds), tough, physical pass rusher off the edge, a real football player in that regard. But the two scouts I've talked to so far about him weren't sure whether he can play 3-4 outside linebacker. He's not dynamic and not fluid in space, and neither scout was sure he was quick enough to handle the coverage responsibilities in a 3-4. They didn't say he wasn't, but they had reservations, and neither works for a 3-4 team. They liked him as a 4-3 end, though. It's also unclear whether Upshaw will be available at No. 28. Some people seem to think he'll go in the middle of the round, and one report said Cincinnati is interested in him at No. 16. But one scout I talked to thought Upshaw might not go until the end of the first round, maybe early second. Russ Lande of aol.SportingNews.com had the Packers taking Penn State defensive end Devon Still. That's a logical guess also, because he has a great 3-4 body (6-4 7/8, 303) and is a talented guy. But one of the two scouts I've talked to in-depth about Still thinks the guy doesn't play hard and doesn't love football. Again, if others I talk to feel the same way, then I'm guessing Thompson might not invest a first-round pick on him, the God-only-made-so-many-athletic-big-men-theory notwithstanding. Need to do more research on him. Wes Bunting of NationalFootballPost.com had the Packers taking Alabama safety Mark Barron. A solid guess and a guy I'm sure they'd strongly consider if he's there. He's not as fast as Nick Collins but makes plays and has a pro body and is an excellent leader. But at least at this point it's sounding like he Barron will go closer to the middle of the first round than the end of the round, because this is a weak draft at the top for safeties, and he's the best one.
A look at some mock drafts
Nov. 6, 2013
About this blogGet Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.
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