Packers have plenty of Day 2 options
GREEN BAY - Hours of waiting afforded the Green Bay Packers plenty of options to choose from at pick No. 29 on Thursday night, and general manager Ted Thompson took none of them.
Thompson, overseeing his 13th draft, traded out of the first round in a deal with the Cleveland Browns to obtain pick Nos. 33 and 108.
It means the Packers will have the first overall pick of the second round Friday night, and an extra fourth-round pick. And more importantly, it means all of the Packers’ needs still remain.
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Here are a few prospects still available after the first day who might figure into Green Bay's plans:
CB Chidobe Awuzie: No matter what the Packers decided to do in the first round of this year’s draft, the possibility of selecting more than one cornerback was basically a given. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers, whose passing defense ranked 31st in the league in yards allowed, could use plenty of help.
In drafting Awuzie, the Packers could secure a player with similar versatility to defensive back Micah Hyde, who signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Buffalo Bills. Awuzie told reporters at the scouting combine he played as many as six positions at Colorado — both perimeter corners, nickel, dime, safety, inside linebacker — and toyed with his body weight to match.
Though he started 42 games at cornerback in college, some scouts view him as a potential free safety in the National Football League. Awuzie (6-0, 199) ran an impressive time of 4.46 seconds at the scouting combine.
“Physical guy, team leader, has his degree,” one scout said. “He’s put together.”
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ILB Raekwon McMillan: Asking the Packers to slog through another season with the trio of Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez and Joe Thomas at inside linebacker would be playing with fire. All three have their deficiencies; all three were exposed at times last year.
McMillan was a two-year starter at Ohio State and racked up 221 tackles in the last two seasons combined, including 11 for loss and 3½ sacks. Because he’s a big-bodied player at 6-2 and 241 pounds, there are questions about his speed and athleticism to be a true three-down player at the next level. His 40-yard dash time of 4.64 seconds is almost identical to that of Ryan, who ran 4.65 coming out of Michigan.
Still, scouts love McMillan’s intelligence (28 on the Wonderlic) and the leadership role he held at Ohio State.
“He’s going to have to watch his weight, but at the end of the day I think he can play every down,” one scout said. “Excellent leader. Everybody listens to this guy. Football is very important.”
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RB Samaje Perine: For all his flaws, there’s something to be said about the raw power of running back Eddie Lacy, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent. Lacy, a second-round pick in 2013, ran for more than 1,100 yards in each of his first two years in Green Bay.
In terms of physical stature, Perine might be the player who most closely resembles Lacy in this year’s draft. At 5-10½ and 232 pounds, Perine is “built like a brick (expletive),” according to one scout, and broke Billy Sims’ career rushing record at Oklahoma, finishing with 4,122 yards and 49 touchdowns.
Should the Packers want a more powerful complement to converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery, taking Perine in the second or third round would be a fine option.
DE Tanoh Kpassagnon: By saying goodbye to outside linebackers Datone Jones and Julius Peppers, both of whom departed in free agency, the defense also lost two of its primary interior pass rushers on second and third down.
Kpassagnon (6-7, 286) was a hidden gem at Villanova whose measurables compare favorably with those of Peppers (6-6, 287), and at least one scout sees legitimate on-field similarities, too. “I compared him to Julius Peppers, the basketball player that’s still raw,” one scout said. “He could turn out to be the best of all of them because of his height, arm length (35⅝), hand size (10⅝).”
At Villanova, Kpassagnon played as a defensive end in a 3-4 system, and adjusting to more of a stand-up role in Green Bay would be a challenge. But if the Packers are looking for a player who fills the DE/OLB hybrid role, someone who can put his hand in the dirt for obvious passing downs, Kpassagnon could absorb the snaps dedicated to Peppers and Jones.
OLB Vince Biegel: Even as Biegel’s college teammate, T.J. Watt, garnered all the attention from the national media, two scouts told the Journal Sentinel they believed the less-heralded pass rusher from Wisconsin is the better player.
Biegel (6-3, 245) has similar measurements to current Packers’ edge rushers Jayrone Elliott (6-3, 252) and Kyler Fackrell (6-5, 245), two players expected to play much bigger roles this season. And like both of them, Biegel has the potential to contribute immediately on special teams thanks to his motor, tenacity and intelligence.
“Plays hard, technique sound and got a little edge rush,” one scout said. “Just a solid, overall player. I could see him getting in the second round.”
Added another scout: “Good backup. Like him on my team. His pass-rush production was due more to effort and technique than skill.”
Biegel finished his collegiate career with 191 tackles (39½ for loss) and 21½ sacks.
ROUND 1: Traded No. 29 to the Cleveland Browns for pick No. 33 (second round) and pick No. 108 (fourth round).
ROUND 2: No. 33 overall (from Browns)
ROUND 2: No. 61 overall
ROUND 3: No. 93 overall
ROUND 4: No. 108 overall (from Browns)
ROUND 4: No. 134 overall
ROUND 5: No. 172 overall
ROUND 5: No. 182 overall (compensatory pick)
ROUND 6: No. 212 overall
ROUND 7: No. 247 overall