Last-minute mocks: Who goes to Packers?
After months of conjecture, we're only hours away from the start of the 2016 NFL draft. And the last-minute mock drafts just keep on coming.
Our Ryan Wood predicted the Packers will take Reggie Ragland, the Alabama inside linebacker, and he's not alone: Ragland appeared to be the consensus late choice in a quick survey of several mock drafts posted within the last 24 hours.
Here's a rundown, with each analyst's explanation for his projected Packers pick:
Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
Todd McShay, ESPN.com: The Packers want to move Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker, and drafting a player like Ragland -- who is one of the most pro-ready prospects in this class -- would be a solution there. He'd be a steal at No. 27, too.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Ragland is a dominant run defender and he is underrated in coverage.
Mike Mayock, NFL.com: Ragland is an old-school, downhill thumper. The Packers were ranked 21st against the run last year, but more importantly Ragland allows them to get Clay Matthews back outside.
Mark Craig, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Packers move Clay Matthews back to OLB and replace him inside with the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com: If Reed went much earlier, perhaps as high as No. 16 or No. 19 overall, it wouldn't surprise me. At this point, he's just a tremendous value.
Chris Fedor, Cleveland.com: After B.J. Raji retired this pick became easy -- at least with the position. Picking the player is the real challenge, as Vernon Butler from Louisiana Tech and Alabama's A'Shawn Robinson are also possibilities. However, adding the best run stuffer in the draft is the best way to go.
Vernon Butler, DL, Louisiana Tech
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: A big, bad 3-technique with the skill set to play the nose tackle position on first and second down, Vernon Butler is the name I’ve heard most often associated with the Green Bay Packers. Earlier this week, I projected Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland here, and then I remembered a nugget from a scout who knows general manager Ted Thompson. The Packers general manager doesn’t value inside linebackers early in the draft and would rather wait until Round 2 to get a value pick. That meshes perfectly with the late buzz surrounding Butler.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press: Butler is one of the most versatile defensive linemen in the draft.
Andrew Billings, DL, Baylor
Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus: The draft lines up well for Green Bay to add Billings, whose strength at the point of attack is among the best in the class. Billings can push the pocket in the pass game while blowing up run plays with his power, though he can do a better job of learning to use his hands to shed blocks. His overall grades ranked 13th and 15th in the nation each of the last two years, so if he can improve in a couple of key areas, he has the potential to be a game-changer in the middle of the Packers’ defense.
Nick Klopis, Newsday: The Packers re-signed Letroy Guion to a three-year deal just after the Super Bowl, but B.J. Raji announced that he will step away from football for at least next year, so the Packers still need to find another defensive lineman for their 3-4 scheme. Andrew Billings is a strong, versatile prospect who can be an immediate starter at virtually any spot in any scheme. The former high school weightlifting champion has good size at nearly 6-1 and 311 pounds and has a good mix of speed and power. He can replace Raji at nose tackle, or he can shift outside and play five-technique end.
A’Shawn Robinson, DE, Alabama
Nate Davis, USA Today: DE Mike Daniels needs some help on the Pack’s three-man front. Robinson, 21, has major upside for a defense that hasn’t finished in the top 10 since Green Bay last won the Super Bowl five years ago.
Kenny Clark, NT, UCLA
Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: If it comes down to Butler and Clark, the best guess would be Butler. OLBs Emmanuel Ogbah, Chris Jones and (Clemson's Kevin) Dodd would be considered as well. One thing about GM Ted Thompson: few, if any people in the team's draft room really have a clue until the Packers are on the clock.
Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune: They are moving Clay Matthews back outside where he's best and need to fortify the front seven.