Final 7-Round 2016 NFL Mock Draft for the Green Bay Packers

Ted Thompson 2016 Combine

Yes, Christmas in late April is right around the corner. We are just three days from the 2016 NFL draft, which begins on April 28 and runs through April 30.

By now, Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers have put together their draft board. NFL scout Chris Landry always says that if teams set up their draft board properly, it will guide you through the entire draft.

Landry feels that Thompson and the Packers are one of the best in the NFL at setting up their board.

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, when it comes to all the NFL draft material I put out, I rely heavily on the insight and information I receive from Landry via our conversations and also the data I get from his fine website.

Through my conversations with Landry and by gaining key data from his website, I have had some success throughout the years doing mock drafts for the Packers. For instance, I was correct in my projection that both both cornerback Quinten Rollins and linebacker Jake Ryan would be selected by the Packers in my final mock draft last year.

This will be my final mock draft before the festivities begin on Thursday night. In my first mock draft, I had the Packers selecting tight end Hunter Henry of Arkansas in the first round. However, after the signing of free agent tight end Jared Cook, I believe the Packers will definitely look to shore up at another position in the first round.

That is not to say that the Packers still won’t be looking to select another tight end later in the draft.

In my second mock draft, I had the Packers selecting inside linebacker Reggie Ragland of Alabama. That is still a very distinct possibility, especially with the Packers looking to move Clay Matthews back to the outside at linebacker.

In my third mock draft, I had the Packers taking defensive lineman Vernon Butler of Louisiana Tech. That also is a good possibility, because veteran B.J. Raji is taking a hiatus from football in 2016.

But enough of looking back, it’s time for my final 2016 NFL mock draft for the Packers.

Round 1: Linebacker Reggie Ragland (Alabama)

Reggie Ragland

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 247 pounds

The Packers will have a number of options in Round 1 of the 2016 NFL draft, but if linebacker Reggie Ragland of Alabama is still on the board at pick No. 27, the Packers should definitely consider taking him. Landry sees Ragland as the best inside linebacker in the draft.

“Well, I think Reggie Ragland is a better version of C.J. Mosley,” Landry told me last week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “He’s got great range. I do think he’s a three-down linebacker. I think he can do a lot in blitz looks as well. He’s going to be an outstanding player.”

Alabama was ranked third in total defense and first in rushing defense in the FBS. Ragland was a big reason why.

In the past two seasons with the Crimson Tide, Ragland had 197 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 10 pass breakups, one interception, four sacks and three forced fumbles.

Ragland is a downhill, physical linebacker at the point of attack on the inside on running downs, plus can blitz well, both from the inside and outside on passing downs. He also had a good week at the Senior Bowl, as he also showed solid coverage skills.

At the combine, Ragland ran a 4.72 in the 40-yard dash.

Plus, adding to all that, Ragland thinks he will become a member of the Packers, per this story by Chase Goodbread of 24/7 Sports.

“I did meet with them, and they talked to me about that they needed a linebacker on the inside,” said Ragland. “And if they had the opportunity, I think they would. But I’m not sure. It all depends when draft day comes.”

Round 2: Defensive Lineman Chris Jones (Mississippi State)

at Davis Wade Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Starkville, Mississippi.

Height: 6’6″

Weight: 310

Defensive lineman Chris Jones of Mississippi State is an intriguing prospect who has excellent size and natural power.

Jones is strong in his hands and upper body and he utilizes those assets to shed blockers. Jones also has quick feet. He has the ability to collapse the pocket rushing the passer, as he had 34 quarterback pressures in his career.

Jones is also solid stopping the run, as he has the agility to scrape down line of scrimmage and look for the ball carrier.

In his career with the Bulldogs, Jones had 94 tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks.

Even with his great size and talent, Jones has not played up to his expectations, as he was former 5-star recruit coming into college.

This is where working under a defensive line coach like Mike Trgovac will really help him. Trgovac will make sure that the fire is always lit under Jones. As will his defensive linemate Mike Daniels.

Like they did with Ragland, the Packers have already met with Jones.

Jones is better suited to play the 5- technique (defensive end), but can also play the 3-technique (nose tackle).

The Packers need to add some help on their defensive line, especially with B.J. Raji taking a hiatus from football in 2016. Add to that, Mike Pennel is suspended for the first four games of the regular season due to violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

The good news for the Packers regarding their defensive line is that the team re-signed Letroy Guion in free agency, plus Josh Boyd will be back this season after spending the 2015 season on injured reserve. In addition to that, the Packers really like the upside of Christian Ringo, who spent the 2015 season on the team’s practice squad.

Round 3: Offensive Tackle Kyle Murphy (Stanford)

Kyle Murphy

Height: 6’6″

Weight: 305 pounds

Stanford runs a pro-style offense and they run a very good mixture of plays in both the passing game and the running game. The offense was very successful, as once again the Cardinal won the Pac-12 conference and the Rose Bowl.

Kyle Murphy was a big reason why. Murphy played left tackle in 2015, plus played right tackle in 2014.

Murphy was named first team All-Pac-12 in 2015 and second team All-Pac-12 in 2014.

Murphy is very consistent with his blocking in the running game, plus is also steady with his pass blocking.

The Packers desperately need some quality depth and a swing tackle at offensive tackle. Although he was re-signed (most likely to compete at guard), Don Barclay is certainly not the answer at the tackle position. Barclay gave up nine sacks just by himself in 2015, playing in place of both Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari when both were injured.

Bulaga has been injury prone his entire career in Green Bay, while Bakhtiari had both knee and ankle injuries which hampered him almost all of the 2015 season.

The Packers need a quality replacement on hand if either go down due to injury. Murphy can fill that role, plus has the ability to move inside as well if needed.

Round 4: Linebacker Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame)

Jaylon Smith

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 223 pounds

Before his devastating knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl versus Ohio State, Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame was considered the best linebacker in the country.

Dr. Dan Cooper, the surgeon who performed the procedure on Smith’s knee reconstruction, is optimistic that Smith will fully recover. That being said, right now Smith can neither raise his foot nor swing it out to the side, and it is not a given he gets those abilities back.

That is why he will most likely slip to the third day of the draft.

Landry talked to me about Smith’s medical status.

“Let me remind people,” Landry said. “There is not a better player in this draft than Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame.

“You are talking about a guy who could be the first pick or the second pick or third pick of the draft if he was healthy. If you are in a position, maybe like Bob’s Packers or somebody like that, I mean you are talking about an elite player.

“You would have to redshirt him, as he’s not going to play next year. But if you are willing to do that and be comfortable enough as an organization to do it, and then medically do you feel good, with the the doctors being comfortable saying that this guy is going to be fine in a year, it’s just going to take time, he is well worth the wait.”

Like they have done with both Ragland and Jones, the Packers also had a meeting with Smith prior to the draft.

Smith had a fantastic three-year career in South Bend, as he had 284 total tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.

Before his injury, Smith ran a 4.44 in the 40.

Round 4 (compensatory):Running Back Kenyan Drake (Alabama)

Kenyan Drake

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 210 pounds

By adding running back Kenyan Drake, the Packers will add  a very talented running back, who is not only pretty good toting the rock, but also is a big threat catching the football. Drake is also an outstanding kick returner.

In addition, the Pack will be adding another back from Alabama, which is where Eddie Lacy hails from. Drake played second fiddle to Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry at running back for the Crimson Tide, but was very effective when he got his opportunities.

Drake ran for 1,495 yards (6.4 average)  and 18 touchdowns in his career at Alabama, plus had 46 receptions for 570 yards (12.4  average) and four more scores.

Drake showed his kick returner prowess in the national title game versus Clemson, when he returned a kick for 95 yards and a score late in the game.

Drake showed of his speed at the NFL Scouting Combine, when he ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash.

Drake would be the heir apparent to James Starks as a compliment to Lacy, as No. 44 came back to the Packers on just a two-year deal after he tested the free agency market.

The Packers expect Lacy to come back with a vengeance in 2016 after a disappointing 2015 season. No. 27 was obviously carrying too much weight this past season, but has become much leaner thanks to working out with Tony Horton and utilizing his P90X workout.

The Packers expect Lacy top look more like the player he was in 2013 and 2014, when he averaged 1,159 yards rushing (4.4 average) and 10 touchdowns. Lacy also averaged 38.5 catches per season and two more scores in those two years.

I anticipate Lacy to have another big year in 2016, as he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017. At that point, I believe the Packers would re-sign Lacy and that Drake would be an excellent partner to pair with No. 27 at running back into the future.

Round 4 (compensatory): Linebacker Jatavis Brown (Akron)

Jatavis Brown

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 222 pounds

Jatavis Brown of Akron was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2015, which was the same honor cornerback Quinten Rollins of the Packers received in 2014 when he played for Miami (Ohio).

Brown had a fantastic season in 2015 for the Zips, as he 116 tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, one interception and four forced fumbles.

Brown led the way on the Akron defense which was third in the country versus the rush.

With the addition of Brown, the Packers will definitely be adding some speed to their defense. On his pro day, Brown was phenomenal, as he showed off his strength and speed. He had an outstanding 33 reps in the bench press, plus ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash.

I asked Landry if Brown’s performance on his pro day had him moving up his draft board.

“Yeah, I do,” Landry said. “I did a little more work on him which you’ll see in the scouting reports that I’m working through. His [Brown’s] workout caused me to do a little more work.

“He’s not moving up a whole lot, but I think he has some value. I still think he’s a guy that may go maybe as high as the third, but certainly he deserves to be in the fourth round, the 5.5 group. He’s at the top of my 5.4 group now, with Dadi Nicolas of Virginia Tech.”

Round 5: Tight End Tanner McEvoy (Wisconsin)

Tanner McEvoy

Height: 6’6″

Weight: 230 pounds

Tanner McEvoy was used like a Swiss army knife by Wisconsin. The 6’6″, 230-pound McEvoy played quarterback, safety and wide receiver for the Badgers. In three years with the team, McEvoy showed how athletic he was at these positions.

At quarterback, he wasn’t a great passer, as he had just five touchdown passes versus six interceptions for 709 yards. But when it came to running the football as a QB, he was very dangerous. McEvoy ran for 706 yards on just 82 carries (8.6 average) for eight touchdowns.

McEvoy got to play some wide receiver at Wisconsin in 2015, and he had 10 catches for 109 yards. The reason his stats were so low was because he was a starting safety for the Badgers, as he had six interceptions, which was second in the Big 10 and sixth nationally.

Most scouts think McEvoy would be better suited to play tight end in the NFL due to his size and athleticism. Those attributes would also be a big reason why he would also excel on special teams.

Chris Landry had this to say about McEvoy:

“He [McEvoy] is an athletic guy,” Landry said. “I think he can play tight end. He’s a project. I think he’s more of a later-round guy. But I do have him and I’ve done a lot of work on him this spring.

“I do think he does have some value later in the draft. I’ve got him as a fifth-round guy and I’ll update my boards in a little bit. I’ve got a 5.4 grade on him and I think he and a couple other kids, like the [Darion] Griswold kid from Arkansas State, have a lot of ability.

“They’ve [Wisconsin] done a really good job with tight ends in the past. They understand blocking, which is important. He’s not a guy who is going to be a great receiver, but I think he can develop into more of a polished receiver and understand blocking.”

Like the Badgers did, the Packers can utilize McEvoy in a number of ways. Besides being a special teams stalwart, McEvoy can be groomed at tight end (even with the recent signing of Jared Cook), plus can help out on defense at times.

McEvoy would also be an intriguing prospect to play linebacker on passing downs, where he could cover running backs and tight ends. He has the size, speed, hands and track record to excel there.

Round 6: Offensive Lineman Nick Ritcher (Richmond)

Nick Ritcher

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 305 pounds

Nick Ritcher was the best player on the offensive line for one of the best football programs in the FCS at Richmond.

Ritcher certainly has the quick feet to play the offensive tackle position in the NFL, but he might be a better fit to play inside when it’s all said and done.

Nick’s dad Jim was a 16-year NFL veteran, who played with the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons. Jim mostly played center in the NFL.

The Packers need to add to their depth and talent on the offensive line, at both guard and tackle. Both left guard Josh Sitton and right guard T.J. Lang played through injury issues in 2015 and both will be unrestricted free agents in 2017.

Ritcher definitely has the lineage and ability to add some talent to the Pack’s offensive line, no matter the position.

Round 7: Quarterback Jeff Driskel (Louisiana Tech)

Jeff Driskel

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 234 pounds

With the loss of quarterback Scott Tolzien via free agency, the Packers will be looking for a third quarterback to play behind starter Aaron Rodgers and backup Brett Hundley.

Hundley was truly fantastic in his chance to shine in the 2015 preseason for the Packers. All told, Hundley posted a passer rating of 129.7 based on 45 completions on 65 attempts for 630 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception last summer.

It would be nice if the third quarterback has a strong arm and good mobility, just like Rodgers and Hundley have.

Jeff Driskel of Louisiana Tech has those attributes. Driskel played in the Senior Bowl this year and he threw a late touchdown pass off his back foot late in the game.

Driskel played most of his collegiate career with the Florida Gators before transferring to Louisiana Tech. In his career with both Florida and Louisiana Tech, Driskel threw 50 touchdown passes versus 28 picks for 7,437 yards.

Driskel also rushed for 972 yards and had 14 touchdowns.

In his one and only year at La Tech, Driskel threw 27 touchdowns passes versus eight interceptions for 4,026 yards.

7 thoughts on “Final 7-Round 2016 NFL Mock Draft for the Green Bay Packers

  1. I love the first six picks! Ragland could be the best ILB in Green Bay since #66 roamed the middle for the Green & Gold. Jones has the size (6’6″ 310 lbs.) and athleticism Thompson is always looking for at the DE position. I personally know Kyle Murphy and his family. Like Jones, Murphy was a 5-star HS recruit with size (6’7″ 305 lbs.), smarts (4.0 student) and versatility. He played TE in the jumbo package in his sophomore year, RT his junior year and LT in his senior season at Stanford. Murphy’s initial kick slide and strong hands are his strengths in pass protection, but he’s got some work to do in the weight room and with his second level technique, but Kyle is not afraid of work and will be an upgrade at swing tackle for the Pack. If Jaylon Smith can get back to 95% of where he was before the injury, he’s going to be a dynamic player. All three fourth round picks ran sub 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. That’s adding some much-needed team speed for the Packers. If Thompson follows your template, there will be some very happy Packer fans on Saturday night.

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    • I appreciate the kind words, Jeff. In the first round, I believe Ted Thompson will look for the best available linebacker or defensive lineman. If Reggie Ragland is still there at No. 27, then I would think Thompson will pull the trigger. It would be very interesting if both Ragland and Darron Lee were both available at that point. But I don’t see that happening. If Ragland and Lee are both gone, I think it would come down to the best player (if still on the board) from the likes of Vernon Butler, Kenny Clark, Andrew Billings and Noah Spence. Or what if Jarran Reed falls? I don’t see any of the top four offensive tackles falling to No. 27 and although I like a player like Jason Spriggs, I wouldn’t take him over the defensive players I just mentioned.

      Last year in my final mock, I had the Packers selecting linebacker Stephone Anthony in the first round. The Packers could have had him, but went with defensive back Damarious Randall instead. Randall had a fine rookie year, but so did Anthony, who made the All-Rookie team. He was tied for the rookie lead with 112 tackles and was solid versus the run and the pass. That would have solved the problem that the Packers now have at ILB. Ragland would also solve that problem if the Packers select him on Thursday night.

      Speaking of Kyle Murphy, Chris Landry has him ranked with a 5.9 grade (3rd round value), which is the same grade he gave Jerald Hawkins and John Theus. I would think that the Packers would be very pleased if they could get any one of those offensive linemen in the third round.

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  2. Bob: Good mock, but I have some concerns about it. First, IOM, it is more likely than not that Ragland will be gone when we make the 27th overall selection in the 1st round; Jones, when we select in the 2nd (some analysts have him as a late 1st/early 2nd round pick); and Driskel in the 7th. Drake may also be gone before we select in the 4th. Second, I hope that Ted T. doesn’t “roll the dice” on Jaylon Smith. Even if Smith does recover, the chances are that he will never be the same player he was before his injury. Sad to say it, but I believe the probabilities are that this would be a wasted draft pick. Third, I don’t believe that Kyle Murphy is worth a 3rd round pick. Lacking foot quickness and strength, at least one analyst that I know gave him a 5th or 6th round grade. Fourth, I really don’t like the selection of McEvoy, the “Swiss army knife.” A “jack of all trades, master of none” seldom works out in the NFL. Lastly, it is a great idea to select a QB. Driskel is an OK selection but it may take a 5th round pick to get him. Why not take a better QB a round earlier? I’m thinking about either N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett or Arkansas’ Brandon Allen. Given that Brett Hundley has developed so well, Ted may be able to get a 2nd or even a 1st round draft pick for him if Mike McCarthy can develop his replacement.

    Here is my own “final mock” for 2016. A majority of the players in this mock have had team visits which, I guess, is one indicator that Ted is interested in them. I have tried to make the selections reasonably probable, given the Packers’ draft position in each round.
    1) Chris Jones, DT/DE, Miss. St.
    2) Christian Westerman, OG, Ariz. St.
    3) Willie Beavers, LOT, W. Mich.
    4) James Bradberry, CB, Stamford
    4-comp) Beniquez Brown, ILB, Miss. St.
    4-comp) Brandon Allen, QB, Ark.
    5) Roy Robertson-Harris, OLB/DE, UTEP
    6) Bryce Williams, TE, E. Car.
    7) Alonzo Russell, WR, Toledo

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  3. Always good to hear from you, Barton. I based my mock draft largely due to Chris Landry’s draft board. In the years that I’ve been utilizing Chris, either via our conversations or by accessing his website, his grades on prospects are usually spot on. Is he always correct? No. But more times than not, he’s right. Initially, Landry didn’t believe Reggie Ragland would be there at pick No. 27. But lately, the prospect of Ragland being there for the Packers is becoming more likely. We shall see.

    In terms of other players who you have in your mock, Landry gave Chris Jones a mid-to-late second round grade. He also gave the same grade to Adolphus Washington. Landry also gave Willie Beavers a mid-to-late second round grade. In terms of Kyle Murphy, he received a third round grade from Landry, who also gave the same grade to Jerald Hawkins and John Theus.

    In terms of Jaylon Smith, Landry told me that I shouldn’t be surprised if the Packers select him. Or a team like the Seahawks. The medical staff would have to be in complete agreement with Smith’s doctor’s prognosis, however.

    Bottom line, here is the breakdown of player grades per round from Landry:

    1st Round: 19
    2nd Round: 62
    3rd round: 37
    4th Round: 54

    That’s a pretty deep draft, especially from the second round through the fourth. That bodes well for the Packers.

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  4. Well done Bob! I’m hoping Chris Jones falls that far. I’m curious as to why you picked Tanner so early. In reading mocks and doing many, many simulated drafts myself, I think he will be there in the 7th round and might even be available as an UDFA.

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    • Thanks, Rob. I appreciate it. I almost always defer to Chris Landry’s grade evaluations of prospects. And Landry gave McEvoy a 5th round value. Athleticism goes a long way in the NFL. If nothing else, McEvoy should be able to make a real impact on special teams, while he is learning the nuances of playing tight end in the NFL. Although McEvoy didn’t play tight end at Wisconsin, he knows what is expected at the position, both from playing quarterback and wide receiver. Owen Daniels made a similar conversion from quarterback to tight end while he was a Badger. And McEvoy is a much better athlete than Daniels. That being said, Tanner would be thrilled to have the type of career Owen has had in the NFL.

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  5. Pingback: Recapping Day 3 of the 2016 NFL Draft for the Green Bay Packers | Bob Fox

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