With the 2016 NFL draft set to kick off in about three weeks, the mock drafts are being revised at a furious pace. But most still agree that the Green Bay Packers will address one of two major areas of need in the first round: defensive line or linebacker.
ESPN.com posted Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock draft version 4.0 on Wednesday and the longtime NFL draft analyst stuck with the same player he had the Packers taking in his previous version: outside linebacker Kamalei Correa of Boise State.
Kiper’s assessment of the Packers’ pick: “A high-energy speedster coming off the edge looks great on this defense, and the more you watch Correa, the more you see the potential for him to help a pass rush right away. He can take some pressure off Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.”
Also Wednesday, Pro Football Focus posted a three-round mock draft that has the Packers addressing their defensive-line needs in the first round, and then taking a linebacker and a tackle with their next two picks.
Here are PFF’s projections for the Packers’ selections in the first three rounds:
First round: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor: “Green Bay adds some bulk up front in Billings, who is fantastic when asked to play straight ahead and beat up the man right in front of him. There’s some work to be done to polish up his game, but Billings can push the pocket and clog the middle in the run game (No. 10 run grade in the nation in 2015).”
Second round: Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin: “Schobert has been incredibly productive the last two years, leading the nation in pass-rush productivity despite an undersized frame. His fourth quarter against Iowa was one of the more dominant performances in college football in all of 2015.”
Third round: Kyle Murphy, T, Stanford: “Murphy provides offensive tackle depth for the Packers as his solid, yet unspectacular style saw him grade at +23.9 last season, good for ninth in the country.”
Interestingly, PFF’s mock draft has Correa – Kiper’s choice for the Packers in the first round – going in the third round to the Steelers with the pick immediately after Murphy. PFF also has Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee – widely considered a first-round talent, and a possible Packers selection if he lasts that long -- falling to the third round. PFF analyst Steve Palazzolo makes it clear that his mock draft is about pairing good players with the proper scheme fit and is based on what he would do as the general manager of each team.
PACKERS DRAFT PICKS
DAY 1 (THURSDAY, APRIL 28)
First round: Pick No. 27
DAY 2 (FRIDAY, APRIL 29)
Second round: Pick No. 57
Third round: Pick No. 88
DAY 3 (SATURDAY, APRIL 30)
Fourth round: Pick No. 125
Fourth round: Pick No. 131*
Fourth round: Pick No. 137*
Fifth round: Pick No. 163
Sixth round: Pick No. 200
Seventh round: Pick No. 248
*Compensatory pick; cannot be traded.