Mock drafts: Experts target Packers' needs

Aaron Nagler
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Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt (42) fires up the crowd during the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at  Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Oct. 1, 2016.

With the NFL scouting combine only a week away, NFL draft talk is starting to pick up steam. (Of course, the true obsessives never stop talking about it, but that’s another story.)

Obviously, NFL draft talk is always accompanied by many, many mock drafts. Some are informative, some are entertaining and the best ones are both. Each week, I’ll try to do a roundup of the best ones and give you their takes on which players they like for the Packers.

On to the mock drafts!

First up, Vinnie Iyer has his first mock up for the Sporting News:

His pick for the Packers makes a lot of sense:

Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA

Former Bruin Datone Jones and former Trojan Nick Perry are both free agents from Green Bay's 3-4 edge, and the potential of losing both makes pass-rush production a high priority for the Packers. McKinley is a high-effort player who would mesh nicely with the relentless Clay Matthews.

Steve Palazzolo is already on his fourth (!!) mock draft for Pro Football Focus:

Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

Green Bay adds an athletic linebacker to the defense, as Cunningham has the range to make plays in zone coverage while attacking blockers in the run game as well as any linebacker in the draft class. He has to cut back on the missed tackles, as he’s missed 34 over the last two seasons, but he also led all Power-5 linebackers with 56 solo runs stops in 2016. Cunningham adds much-needed athleticism to the middle of the Green Bay defense.’s Chad Reuter has a four-round (yes, four-round) mock:

Reuter’s picks for the Packers address several needs for the Green and Gold:

29. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

61. D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas

93. Joe Mathis, OLB, Washington

130. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland

Green Bay missed the length and athleticism ofSam Shields this year. Tankersley could become just as effective.

Another stalwart, Daniel Jeremiah, has the Packers taking a hometown favorite:

T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin:

The Wisconsin native doesn't have to travel far. He would provide some punch to the Packers’ pass rush.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has a two-round mock draft up that also addresses some glaring needs:

29. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

61. Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State

The Dean of the Draftniks, Mel Kiper Jr, goes against the grain a bit with his first-round selection for the Packers:

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Taking nothing away from Ty Montgomery, the Packers should be looking to draft some help in the backfield. McCaffrey is a great weapon in the run game and also could be an option for QB Aaron Rodgers in the passing game. With Rodgers, it's simply about finding capable weapons to surround him with. We all know McCaffrey qualifies as one.

Will Brinson has a mock for CBS Sports that provides the Packers with help in an area of obvious need.

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

Sam Shields was just released, and Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy watched the secondary get smoked repeatedly down the stretch of 2016. Green Bay has to add more talent and depth in the defensive backfield.

Obviously, a few of these mocks will be updated (several times) over the next two months leading up to the draft, and we’ll bring you all the latest each week here at

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