Final 7-Round 2017 NFL Mock Draft for the Green Bay Packers

Ted Thompson 2016 Combine II

Well, Christmas day in the NFL is almost here. Yes, the 2017 NFL draft is just a couple of days away.

In terms of the pre-draft evaluation of prospects, we have now seen the bowl games, the all-star games (the East-West Shrine Game, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the Senior Bowl).

Plus the NFL Scouting Combine has taken place and so have the individual pro days. And now the midnight hour approaches for all 32 NFL teams, which includes the Green Bay Packers.

A lot has changed regarding the Green Bay roster since this draft evaluation process started. While all that was going on, I did three 7-round mock drafts for the Packers.

I did my first mock draft back in early February, my second mock draft in the middle of March and my third mock draft earlier this month.

In terms of how the roster  of the Packers has changed over the past several weeks, a number of players have left via free agency. This includes center/guard JC Tretter, who signed with the Cleveland Browns, defensive back Micah Hyde, who signed with the Buffalo Bills, outside linebacker Julius Peppers, who signed with the Carolina Panthers, right guard T.J. Lang, who signed with the Detroit Lions, running back Eddie Lacy, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks, outside linebacker/defensive end Datone Jones who signed with the Minnesota Vikings and tight end Jared Cook, who signed with the Oakland Raiders.

In addition to those players, the Packers also released cornerback Sam Shields (failed physical-concussion) and running back James Starks.

The Packers have however, re-signed a number of their own players as either unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents or exclusive rights free agents. This list includes outside linebacker Nick Perry, offensive lineman Don Barclay, running back Christine Michael, outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott, outside linebacker Jordan Tripp, linebacker Joe Thomas, punter Jacob Schum, running back Don Jackson, wide receiver Geronimo Allison and fullback Joe Kerridge.

And believe it or not, general manager Ted Thompson has actually utilized free agency to bolster his roster. In fact, Thompson has signed four free agents, which is the most he has signed since 2006.

That list includes tight end Martellus Bennett (formerly of the New England Patriots), tight end Lance Kendricks (formerly of the Los Angeles Rams), cornerback Davon House (formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars) and defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois (formerly of the Washington Redskins).

House was originally drafted by the Packers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft and stayed with Green Bay through the 2014 season, before signing with the Jags in free agency.

The Packers signed Kendricks, House and Francois after each of them were released by their previous teams. That was the same manner in which the Packers had signed players like Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers in the past.

Thompson prefers to sign unrestricted free agents who were previously released by the former teams. Why? Because that way the signing won’t have any bearing on the compensatory draft formula for the following draft.

But when you sign an unrestricted free agent who is still with his current team (like with Bennett), that does factor into the compensatory formula.

Still, the Packers look to get a number of compensatory picks in the 2018 NFL draft, based on the seven free agents that they have lost this offseason, even with the signing of Bennett.

In this final mock draft, just like with the three previous ones, I am utilizing the expertise and insight from NFL scout Chris Landry from both our conversations and also information from his fine website.

I’ve had a pretty decent track record predicting some of the players that Thompson has actually selected in the draft over the past few years.

In my final 2013 NFL mock draft, I correctly predicted that the Packers would select defensive lineman Datone Jones in the first round. In my final 2014 NFL mock draft, I was also correct that the Packers would select wide receiver Jared Abbrederis. I also had the Packers taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round in an earlier mock that year, which is exactly what ended up happening.

In my final 2015 NFL mock draft, like a blind squirrel that finds an acorn, I was right about the Packers selecting both cornerback Quinten Rollins and linebacker Jake Ryan.

And finally last year in my final 2016 NFL mock draft, I correctly predicted that the Packers would select offensive lineman Kyle Murphy of Stanford in the draft.

The great information that I get from Landry certainly has helped me put together these mock drafts. Landry is definitely one of the best in the business in his field, plus he and Thompson go back over 30 years, when Landry was a scout for the Houston Oilers and Thompson was a linebacker on that team.

In this final mock draft, Landry will add a scouting summary about each player I select.

Okay, without any further adieu, here is my final 2017 NFL mock draft for the Packers.

Round 1: Linebacker T.J. Watt (Wisconsin)

t-j-watt-in-cotton-bowl

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 243 pounds

One big reason why the secondary of the Wisconsin Badgers had such an outstanding year in 2016 (except for the second half vs. Penn State in the B1G title game), was the play of the Front 7 of the Badgers.

Nobody was more prevalent in that regard than T.J. Watt. No. 42 had 63 tackles, 15.5 for loss, and 11.5 sacks in 2016, which garnered him second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors.

Watt also had a great workout at the combine. He finished 12th among linebackers in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.69, plus the former Badger also had 21 reps on the bench press which placed him tied for eighth.

But in the other five workout categories, Watt was at or near the top in every one of those drills.

Watt finished second in the vertical jump with a leap of 37 inches. The Pewaukee, Wisconsin native was also tied for first in the broad jump with Jabrill Peppers of Michigan with a jump of 10’8″.

Watt finished second in the 3 cone drill with a time of 6.79. The former Badger also tied for first with Ben Gideon of Michigan in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.13. Finally, Watt finished first in the 60-yard shuttle with a time of 11.20.

In addition to that performance at the combine, Watt also met with the Packers.

Like his brother J.J., who turned 28-years-old on March 22, T.J. first started out as a tight end in college and then became a talented late-bloomer on defense with the Badgers. The comparisons are striking.

Bottom line, if the Packers do select Watt and if he comes anywhere close to the production of his brother J.J. in the NFL, the team would have to be ecstatic.

With the losses of both Peppers and Jones in free agency, plus with the injury issues with Clay Matthews the past couple of years, the Packers need to add some talent at outside linebacker/edge rusher. The Packers like the upside of Kyler Fackrell, who the Packers drafted last year, but you can never have enough pass rushers in today’s pass-happy NFL.

I know that the Watt to Green Bay bandwagon has been growing for weeks now, but I had the Packers taking Watt in the first round in my first mock draft way back on February 10.

Here is a summary scouting report on Watt by Landry:

“A one-year starter at Wisconsin, Watt made the switch to defense in 2015 and became a starter in 2016, standing up as an outside linebacker in the Badgers’ 3-4 base scheme – his 11.5 sacks as a junior ranks fifth-best in a single season in school history. Although he doesn’t play with elite twitch in his hips, Watt’s initial quickness and play speed pop off the screen, using his violent hands and long arms to work off contact. His aggressiveness is a double-edged sword, leading to both positive and negative plays, but his determination, work habits and competitive drive mirror his older brother and will win over a NFL coaching staff. As long as the medicals check out, Watt projects as a starting rush end in a 4-3 or outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.”

Round 2: Cornerback Fabian Moreau (UCLA)

fabian-moreau

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 194 pounds

In terms of the draft, the Packers are catching a break in 2017, as the cornerback position is one of the deeper ones in this draft. That’s why they can select the best player on their board in the first round and still get a talented cornerback later on.

Case in point is Fabian Moreau of UCLA. Just prior to the 2015 season, head coach Jim Mora, Jr. said that Moraeu was a first-round talent. Unfortunately for Moreau, he suffered a Lisfranc injury in his left foot early in the season which ended his year.

But in 2016, Moreau bounced back, as he had 10 pass breakups and two interceptions, as he was named honorable mention All-Pac-12. Before his foot injury, Moreau flashed his talent as a Bruin, as he was second-team All-Pac-12 in 2014, with 53 tackles, three for loss, one interception and eight passes defensed.

In 2013, Moraeu was also named honorable mention All-Pac-12. Similar to Sam Shields, he started out on offense in college, as Moreau was a running back initially, but switched to defense.

Moreau looked fantastic at the East-West Shrine Game and also met with the Packers there.

At the combine, Moreau ran a blistering 4.35 in the 40, plus did well in the vertical jump (38 inches), the broad jump (136 inches) and the 60-yard shuttle (11.45 seconds).

Moreau did suffer a torn pectoral at UCLA’s pro day, but is expected to be ready to go by training camp.

The Packers need some more talent and speed at the cornerback position. Moreau provides both.

Here is a summary scouting report on Moreau by Landry:

“A three-year starter at UCLA, Moreau played mostly left cornerback in press-man and off coverage for the Bruins with some experience inside vs. the slot. Transitioning from offense, he didn’t see meaningful snaps at the cornerback position until the 2013 season and his inexperience shows at times with spotty ball awareness and anticipation. But he is patient and coordinated in press with the balanced movements to attach himself to receivers, making it tough for them to create much separation. Although he might never be a playmaker at the position, Moreau has the athleticism and football character to develop into a reliable NFL press-man starter – possible first rounder prior to his pec injury, now likely a second round projection.”

Round 3: Running Back Marlon Mack (South Florida)

Marlon Mack

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 213 pounds

Marlon Mack was a three-year starter at South Florida, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of those years. In his career as a Bull, Mack rushed for 3,609 yards (6.2 average) and 32 touchdowns.

Mack was also a threat in the passing game as well, as he hauled in 65 passes for 498 yards and another score during his time at USF.

Mack led the All-American Athletic Conference in rushing as a freshman and a sophomore and was named first-team All-AAC in each of his three seasons at USF.

Mack has an explosive burst when running the ball and is very shifty. Has the ability to run away from tacklers, as six of his 15 touchdowns in 2016 went for 43-plus yards.

At the combine, Mack ran a 4.50 40 and excelled in the broad jump with a mark of 125 inches.

Right now, the Packers only have Ty Montgomery as a sure thing at running back. And that is just a year after taking on that position full-time after being a wide receiver his first year with the Packers.

Although the Packers did re-sign Christine Michael as a free agent, he is not certain to make the final roster due to his mental mistakes.

That’s why one or maybe even two rookie running backs could make the Green Bay roster in 2017.

Mack would be a great one-two combination with Montgomery at running back.

Here is a summary scouting report on Mack by Landry:

“A three-year starter at South Florida, Mack was consistently productive for the Bulls with three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, averaging 6.2 yards per rush over his career – leaves USF with 14 program records. He is at his best on stretch and outsize zone designed runs, using his sudden acceleration and controlled feet to bounce between open spaces and race downfield. Mack doesn’t have ideal build, power or patience as an inside runner and is quick to freelance and break runs outside. But that is where he is best on tape, using his instant speed to get east-west and burst outside the hashes. Mack isn’t built to take steady punishment as a feature NFL runner, but he projects as a dynamic scatback – his NFL playing time trajectory will depend on his development as a blocker, receiver and fumbler.”

Round 4: Center/Guard Ethan Pocic (LSU)

Ethan Pocic

Height: 6’6″

Weight: 310 pounds

Ethan Pocic  started 37 games on the offensive line at LSU, 27 at center, nine at right guard and one at left tackle. That bodes well for Pocic about possibly playing for the Packers, as versatility is one of the attributes that Green Bay looks for with offensive linemen.

Pocic was second-team All-SEC in 2015 and first-team All-SEC in 2016, when he also received multiple second and third-team All-American honors.

Pocic knows how to keep his hands inside while pass-blocking and also has nice lateral movement to pick up blitzers or stunts. Even with his size, Pocic has the ability to get to the second-level with ease.

The former Tiger is also athletic enough to be very effective on sweeps and screens.

With the Packers losing both JC Tretter and T.J. Lang in free agency, selecting a player like Pocic who can help out at both center and guard makes a lot of sense.

Here is a summary scouting report on Pocic by Landry:

“Three-year starter who earned Third Team All-American honors in 2016, making 11 starts at center and one at right tackle. Named Second Team All-SEC in 2015 after starting all 12 games at center. Started nine games at right guard in 2014, making three appearances at center when starter Elliott Porter was injured. Started once at center as a true freshman in place of Porter. Stays square, keeps his head on a swivel and effectively seals defenders from the action. Works to bend his knees, has enough strength to turn defenders from the action and is quick out to the second level. Effective with the shotgun snap. Terrific leader on the offensive line. There are a variety of opinions on Pocic as to his next-level potential and the position he’ll play. I see his best spot as OG where he can thrive in a running game that operates in space, but his lack of power will produce some extremely challenging matchups for him at times.”

Round 5: Cornerback Brendan Langley (Lamar)

Brendan Langley

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 201 pounds

Brendan Langley was originally recruited by Georgia as top 25 cornerback nationally.  Played both cornerback and wide receiver for the Bulldogs before transferring to Lamar (FCS) his junior year.

In 2015, Langley had 21 tackles, one interception (for an 86-yard touchdown) and had 11 pass breakups. Langley also played some receiver that year as well, as he had four receptions for 51 yards and a score.

Langley broke out in 2016, as Southland Conference coaches voted him first-team all-conference as a cornerback and punt returner as a senior.

Langley intercepted six passes (tied for third nationally) last season, broke up seven passes and scored twice on punt returns.

Langley also played in the 2017 Senior Bowl.

At the combine, Langley ran a 4.43 in the 40, plus led all cornerbacks with 22 reps in the bench press and was second in the 60-yard shuttle (11.19 seconds).

Like Moreau, Langley adds speed to the cornerback position, plus will also add some much needed help on special teams, both on the return units and the coverage units.

Here is a summary scouting report on Langley by Landry:

“A one-year starter at Lamar, Langley was more of an athlete than football player most of his career, but showed promising development as a senior boundary corner, lining up primarily in press-man and zone coverages. After he was bounced between offense and defense at Georgia and struggled to see the field, he moved on to the FCS-level and often looked like the fastest player on the field – finished his two-year career at Lamar with four touchdowns (two punt returns, one receiving and one interception return). Langley is raw as blue steak with undeveloped cover technique and route recognition, but his size, athleticism and receiver-like skills are foundation traits for a patient team who can cultivate his talent – mid-round developmental target who can eventually earn a roster spot.”

Round 5 (compensatory): Defensive Lineman DeAngelo Brown (Louisville)

DeAngelo Brown

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 312 pounds

In four years at Louisville, DeAngelo Brown had 107 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

Brown was third-team All-ACC in 2016, plus earned an invitation to the East-West Shrine game.

The former Cardinal is an immovable object and eats up multiple blockers, which would be his job in Green Bay on early downs and in short yardage situations. Letroy Guion is running out of chances to stay in the NFL, and Brown would be a solid replacement in terms of stopping the run.

Brown showed his strength at Louisville’s pro day, as he had 36 reps on the bench press. That performance would have topped anyone at the combine.

Here is a summary scouting report on Brown by Landry:

“A two-year starter at Louisville, Brown started every game at right defensive end in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 base scheme, making his living on the interior. He is a double-team magnet and unselfishly takes on multiple blockers to help keep his teammates clean. Brown has the brute strength to reset the line of scrimmage and squeeze through openings to make stops in the backfield, leading the Cardinals with 13.0 tackles for loss as a senior. He doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher and needs to improve his technical skill to be more efficient with his hands. Overall, Brown is a power-packed gap plugger and has NFL starting potential as a nose tackle in both even and odd fronts.”

Round 6: Running Back Joe Williams (Utah)

joe-williams-utah

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 210 pounds

There were a lot of solid performances by prospects during the East-West Shrine Game week, one of which came from running back Joe Williams of Utah. Williams is part of a running back class that is also exceptionally deep in 2017.

That’s why you could still get a quality back like Williams in the sixth round or later of the upcoming draft. Williams had a phenomenal back half of the 2016 season for the Utes in 2016. This was after a slow start to the season and the thought of retiring from football.

But starting in the seventh game of the season for Utah, when the Utes played Oregon State, Williams went on a run that would have put him in the Heisman discussion had this performance been year round.

In six games to end the season, with opponents like Washington and Colorado on the Pac-12 schedule, Williams rushed for 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns. Then in the the Foster Farms Bowl against Indiana, Williams rushed for 222 yards and another score, plus caught a pass for 56 more yards.

Williams also met with the Packers at the East-West Shrine Game.

At the combine, Williams ran a 4.41 in the 40 and finished second among running backs in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.19 seconds.

Williams has had some definite off the field issues, but nothing like the incident which involved Joe Mixon. Based on the way he finished the 2016 season and also with his performance in the bowl game for Utah, not to mention how he looked in St. Petersburg for the East-West Shrine Game, NFL teams are hoping that he has finally seen the light.

In training camp with the Packers, it would probably come down to Williams competing with Michael for the third running back position behind Montgomery and Mack. I also see the Packers signing a couple undrafted rookie free agents at running back to add to the competition.

This is where being above average on special teams can earn you a roster spot.

Here is a summary scouting report on Williams from Landry:

“A one-year starter at Utah, Williams played football at four different programs since high school and didn’t truly show his potential until the final seven games of the 2016 season, rushing for 1,332 yards over that stretch. He has home run speed and explosive gears to gash defenses once he spurts through holes, running with better toughness than expected. Williams doesn’t have a pro body and his lack of play strength is evident, also creating doubt due to ball security and durability issues. His considerable baggage is the main issue after his abrupt retirement as a senior, abandoning his teammates and creating concerns about his commitment to the game. Williams has the pure speed and athleticism that is NFL worthy, but a leopard doesn’t change his spots and his questionable character will push him down draft boards or off them altogether.”

Round 7: Linebacker Eric Wilson (Cincinnati)

Eric Wilson

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 230 pounds

Eric Wilson first played at Northwestern, before transferring to Cincinnati. In three years with the Bearcats, Wilson had 261 tackles, 14. 5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, four passes defended, seven fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown) and six forced fumbles.

Wilson was named All-AAC in both 2015 and 2016.

At his pro day, Wilson had an outstanding performance, as he ran a 4.53 in the 40 and had a vertical jump of 39.5 inches.

The Packers had Wilson in for a private workout.

I see Wilson playing primarily on special teams, where the 29th-ranked Packers need plenty of help. In addition, because of his tackling prowess and speed, he will also push for playing time at inside linebacker, competing with Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez and Joe Thomas.

Here is a summary scouting report on Wilson by Landry:

“A former three-star recruit, Wilson started his career at Northwestern before deciding to transfer to Cincinnati in search of more playing time. After sitting out the 2013 season and spending 2014 as a reserve, he became the starting WILL linebacker in 2015 and led the Bearcats in tackles his junior and senior seasons, posting 100+ tackles and earning All-AAC honors both years. Wilson is a magnet to the football with efficient lateral quicks to mirror the run at the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t hesitate downhill, but is hyper-focused on the ball and late to locate blockers through his peripherals, getting popped backwards. Wilson displays lower body explosion in his tackles attempts, but his stiff hips encumber his ability to redirect, break down and finish tackles in the open field.”

A Scout’s Take on the Top Interior Offensive Linemen in the 2017 NFL Draft

Forrest Lamp

Forrest Lamp

Going into the 2017 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers have a number of positions that they need to address during the draft. The list includes cornerback, running back and outside linebacker.

You can also add the interior offensive line position to the group as well. Especially after starting right guard T.J. Lang and the sometimes starter at center, JC Tretter, as both exited the team via free agency.

The Packers still have a solid offensive line with David Bakhtiari at left tackle, Lane Taylor at left guard, Corey Linsley at center and Bryan Bulaga at right tackle.

But who now fills the hole at right guard is a question, as is who will back up Linsley at center if he can’t play due to injury?

The Packers drafted two offensive tackles in the 2016 NFL draft, but both Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy are not sure bets to successfully make the move inside to guard. When Spriggs did get playing time last year, at both tackle and guard, he showed good foot quickness, but also showed a lack of strength at times.

The Packers hope some time in the weight room will improve the latter situation for Spriggs. It certainly did for Bakhtiari. I believe the Packers see Spriggs as their swing tackle.

Murphy would have a better chance to move inside to play guard in my opinion, as he was able to effectively play both left and right tackle at Stanford. The Packers love versatility out of their offensive linemen. Murphy is also a better run-blocker than Spriggs.

Plus, the Packers did re-sign Don Barclay to a minimum contract to remain as a key backup. Barclay can play all the positions on the offensive line, including center, but would be best used as a backup only.

The Packers also really like guard Lucas Patrick who was on the practice squad last season.

All that being said, the Packers definitely need to address the interior offensive line position in the draft. They need to draft a guard and maybe a center as well. Or perhaps someone who can play both positions.

Speaking of the draft and interior offensive linemen prospects, I had another opportunity to speak with NFL scout Chris Landry the other day on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig Show, which was guest-hosted by Pat Donovan and Aaron Jacobson.

I talked with Landry last week on the same show about the running back class in this year’s draft.

Unlike the cornerback, running back and edge-rusher positions, the classes for interior offensive linemen (guards and centers) are not nearly as deep or talented.

That’s why I wanted to get a read on the top interior offensive linemen in this draft. Prospects who will most likely be selected in either the first round or the second round, if the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson decide to go that route.

I asked Landry about four prospects, Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky, Dan Feeney of Indiana, Pat Elflein of Ohio State and Ethan Pocic of LSU.

Landry talked about each of those linemen, as well as Dorian Johnson of Pittsburgh.

“Lamp is a Zack Martin-type player,” Landry said. “Very athletic. Very smart. Very instinctive. Takes good angles. Best in a zone-blocking scheme. And he is the best interior offensive lineman in this draft.”

Lamp was a four-year starter at Western Kentucky. He started three games at right guard in 2013, before moving to left tackle for the rest of his career with the Hilltoppers. All in all, had 51 career starts.

Lamp was named honorable mention All-Sun Belt as a freshman, honorable mention All- CUSA as a sophomore and then was named first-team All-CUSA as a junior and senior.

Lamp tested out well at the NFL Scouting Combine, as he excelled in a number of drills. Lamp also had 34 sets in the bench press, which tied him for second among all offensive linemen.

Landry has Lamp ranked at No. 18 on his horizontal draft board.

“Dan Feeney is more of a power guy,” Landry said. “He’s more of a pure-guard type.”

Feeney played in a program at Indiana which plays at a up-tempo style. Like his former teammate Jason Spriggs, now with the Packers, Feeney also was named as a first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten as a senior.

Feeney was also named honorable mention All-Big Ten as a freshman and sophomore, named first-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-American as a junior.

Feeney led the way at Indiana for running backs like Tevin Coleman (now with the Atlanta Falcons) and Jordan Howard (now with the Chicago Bears).

Played some right tackle as a senior due to injuries, but playing inside at guard is where he operates best. Some scouts believe Feeney could also play center.

Landry has Feeney ranked at No. 49 on his horizontal draft board.

“Ethan Pocic played center at LSU,” Landry said. “I think he’s more of a guard and can play tackle. He’s played all positions. His strength is his versatility.”

Ethan Pocic

Ethan Pocic

Pocic  started 37 games on the offensive line at LSU, 27 at center, nine at right guard and one at left tackle.

Pocic was second-team All-SEC in 2015 and first-team All-SEC in 2016, when he also received multiple second and third-team All-American honors.

I had the Packers selecting Pocic in the second round in my post-combine 7-round mock draft for the team recently.

Landry has Pocic ranked at No. 76 on his horizontal draft board.

“Dorian Johnson of Pitt is a very underrated player,” Landry said. “He can play right tackle in a pinch, but is primarily a guard.”

Johnson started three games his freshman year, two at left tackle and one at right guard. Since then, Johnson became a regular at left guard where he started 39 straight games.

Johnson was named second-team All-ACC as a junior and then was name first-team All-ACC as a senior,plus was named to a number of All-American teams.

Johnson excelled in the vertical jump and the broad jump drills at the combine.

Landry has Johnson ranked at No. 77 on his horizontal draft board.

“In terms of Pat Elflein, I think he’s a center,” Landry said. “That’s what he is best at. I think he can play guard, but he is the best center in this draft. I think he’s really effective.”

Elflein was first-team All-Big Ten three times in his career with the Buckeyes. In 2014, Elflein started three games at left guard and 12 at right guard. In 2015, played strictly right guard, when he was also a second-team Associated Press All-American.

In 2016, Elflein moved to center and was named first-team All-American.

Landry has Elflein ranked at No. 45 on his horizontal draft board.

“I think all those guys who I mentioned are all [up there],” Landry said. “Lamp is a first rounder and all the rest are second-round values.”

Pat Elflein

Pat Elflein

In terms of what Thompson might do about selecting an interior offensive lineman in this draft, we can look at his history of doing that since he started running the front office of the Packers in 2005.

In his first year as GM, Thompson faced a situation which closely mirrors what has happened to the team over the last year with his starting guards, when both Josh Sitton (released in 2016) and Lang (left via free agency in 2017) moved on from the team. Both Sitton and Lang had achieved Pro Bowl status as Packers before they found new homes in the NFL.

In the 2005 offseason, both Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle left the team via free agency. Rivera had been named to the Pro Bowl three times in his career with the Packers, while Wahle had been named first-team All-Pro by Sports Illustrated in 2003.

The loss of both Rivera and Wahle opened up a big hole in the middle of the offensive line that Thompson tried to correct that offseason.

Thompson selected two guards (Junius Coston and Will Whitaker) late in the 2005 draft, plus signed Adrian Klemm and Matt O’Dwyer via free agency.

The results were not good, as the offensive guard play was horrible. The Packers finished 4-12 in 2005 and Mike Sherman was fired and replaced by Mike McCarthy in 2006.

Thompson looked earlier in the draft in 2006 to add talent to the guard position. Unlike 2005, this time Thompson selected Daryn Colledge in the second round and Jason Spitz in the third round.

Those selections helped to solidify the guard position as both Colledge and Spitz became starters as rookies and remained starters for a numbers of seasons. Colledge started through the 2010 season, while Spitz started through the 2008 season.

The next changing of the guards occurred in the 2008 and 2009 NFL drafts. In 2008, the Packers selected Sitton in the fourth round and then in 2009 selected Lang in the same round.

Sitton became a starter at guard in 2009 and remained as a starter (both at RG and LG) until he released just before the 2016 regular season.

Lang became a starter in 2011 (both at LG and RG) and remained a starter through the 2016 season.

The replacement for Sitton in 2016 was Lane Taylor, who Thompson signed as an undrafted rookie in 2013. Taylor did a solid job as Sitton’s replacement last season.

The center position was manned by veteran Mike Flanagan in Thompson’s first year as GM in 2005, but he was replaced by Scott Wells in 2006. Wells was originally drafted in the seventh round by Sherman when he was both head coach and general manager back in 2004.

Wells remained a starter through the 2011 season, when he left the team via free agency. Thompson tried to solve that issue by signing veteran free agent Jeff Saturday, but towards the end of the 2012 season, it was apparent that the Packers needed to upgrade the position once again, as Evan Dietrich-Smith, who Thompson originally signed as an undrafted rookie in 2009, became the starter.

Dietrich remained the starter through the 2013 season, but then left the Packers in free agency the next offseason.

The Packers found his successor, Corey Linsley, in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. Linsley had faced a spirited battle in training camp with JC Tretter, who the Packers had drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. But Tretter suffered a knee injury which took him out of the competition.

Both Linsley (38 starts) and Tretter (10 starts) were very solid in their play at center over the past three seasons. After Tretter was injured again in 2016, Linsley took over again at center and never looked back. Tretter then moved on via free agency to the Cleveland Browns.

So what does this all mean for Thompson regarding the 2017 NFL draft and selecting an interior offensive lineman? I’m sure he’ll look back on the 2005 draft and ponder if he waited too late in the draft to select a guard that year. Then again, Thompson couldn’t be too disappointed in that draft, as he selected Aaron Rodgers in the first round and Nick Collins in the second round.

My guess is that because the classes for the interior offensive linemen in this draft are not especially deep, that Thompson will select one fairly early in the draft.

Which means that one of the five players Landry discussed in this story could be a Green Bay Packer in 2017.

Post-Combine 7-Round 2017 NFL Mock Draft for the Green Bay Packers

Ted Thompson 2016 Combine

The 2017 NFL draft is about a month and a half away, as it will take place in Philadelphia and will start on April 27 and last through April 29.

In terms of the pre-draft evaluation of prospects, we have now seen the bowl games, the all-star games (the East-West Shrine Game, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the Senior Bowl).

We also recently had the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis which lasted from February 28 though March 6.

The only thing left for the prospects to help improve their draft value is the various pro days for the players, which will be viewed by the the scouts, coaches and front office-types who will be in attendance.

Sometimes, a player’s draft value will be severely compromised during a workout, which is what happened last week for cornerback Sidney Jones at the pro day at Washington. Jones suffered a torn Achilles tendon Saturday during the workout.

Jones was projected to be a first round selection as well.

Anyway, it’s been a little over a month since I did my initial 7-round mock draft for the Green Bay Packers.

A number of things have changed since then for the Packers, as free agency has really affected the look of the roster up until this point.

The Packers have seen a number of their players move on from the team in free agency. The list includes center/guard JC Tretter, who signed with the Cleveland Browns, defensive back Micah Hyde, who signed with the Buffalo Bills, outside linebacker Julius Peppers, who signed with the Carolina Panthers (the team which originally drafted Peppers), right guard T.J. Lang, who signed with the Detroit Lions on Sunday and finally running back Eddie Lacy, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday.

In addition, tight end Jared Cook will not be returning to the team either, as the Packers bolstered that position by signing Martellus Bennett (New England Patriots) and Lance Kendricks (Los Angeles Rams) via free agency.

The Packers also re-signed outside linebacker Nick Perry, as well as reserve offensive lineman Don Barclay. The team also brought back restricted free agent Jayrone Elliott, who signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract on Monday night according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

In addition to that, the Packers also brought back cornerback Davon House on Tuesday in another free agent acquisition. House played the past two years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Packers originally drafted House in 2011 and he stayed with the team through 2014 before leaving for Jacksonville via free agency in 2015.

The free agency frenzy is not over, as I expect the Packers to re-sign more of their own players, as well a couple of other players from other teams.

In terms of other unrestricted free agents on the Packers, you still have defensive end/outside linebacker Datone Jones (visiting the Vikings on Monday), running back Christine Michael and longsnapper Brett Goode, who are all unsigned at this time. I expect both Jones and Goode to re-up with the Packers.

Then you also have restricted free agent linebacker Jordan Tripp, who was not tendered an offer.

Plus there are the exclusive rights free agents. The list includes punter Jacob Schum (signed his exclusive rights contract), inside linebacker Joe Thomas (received tender offer), defensive lineman Christian Ringo (received tender offer), wide receiver Geronimo Allison (received tender offer), running back Don Jackson (received tender offer), running back John Crockett (did not receive tender offer) and fullback Joe Kerridge (received tender offer).

Getting back to the draft. In my first mock draft, I had the Packers selecting outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the first round. I still feel like that the drafting of Watt definitely has a real chance to happen (Watt met with the Packers at the combine), but for this mock draft, I will be selecting different players in each round.

But just like I did in my first mock draft, I selected players who I believe would fit in well with the Packers. Not just because of the schemes the team runs on offense and defense, but also how the player can help the special teams units, which were ranked 29th in the NFL in 2016. My buddy Rick Gosselin does a fantastic job of evaluating and ranking the special teams units for all 32 teams in the NFL each and every year.

One of the reasons I’ve had a decent track record over the years in my mock drafts for the Packers is because I utilize the expertise and insight from NFL scout Chris Landry.

Landry will comment on each and every player I select in each mock draft I do.

Okay, enough of that, let’s take a look at my post-combine mock draft for the Packers in 2017.

Round 1: Cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Alabama)

Marlon Humphrey

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 197 pounds

Marlon Humphrey was a two-year starter at Alabama, where he had 81 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, five interceptions (one for a score) and three forced fumbles.

Humphrey was a Freshman All-SEC in 2015, as the Alabama won the national championship.

Humphrey played in a number of different coverage schemes with the Crimson Tide and he used his track-star speed and athleticism to his advantage. Humphrey is also a very aggressive tackler both in the secondary and in playing the run.

Humphrey recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.41 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. His three-cone drill time of 6.75 seconds was among the best of his position group.

Speaking of the combine, just like they did with Watt, the Packers also met with Humphrey.

The cornerback position for the Packers definitely needs to fortified in the draft and also in free agency. Humphrey would also add much needed speed in the secondary of the Packers.

Landry said this about Humphrey before the national championship game between Clemson and Alabama: “Humphrey steps into the role as Alabama’s lockdown cornerback this season. He’s physical against the run, and he has legitimate track speed.”

Round 2: Center/Guard Ethan Pocic (LSU)

Ethan Pocic

Height: 6’6″

Weight: 310 pounds

Ethan Pocic  started 37 games on the offensive line at LSU, 27 at center, nine at right guard and one at left tackle. That bodes well for Pocic about possibly playing for the Packers, as versatility is one of the attributes that Green Bay looks for with offensive linemen.

Pocic was second-team All-SEC in 2015 and first-team All-SEC in 2016, when he also received multiple second and third-team All-American honors.

Pocic knows how to keep his hands inside while pass-blocking and also has nice lateral movement to pick up blitzers or stunts. Even with his size, Pocic has the ability to get to the second-level with ease.

The former Tiger is also athletic enough to be very effective on sweeps and screens.

With the Packers losing both JC Tretter and T.J. Lang in free agency, selecting a player like Pocic who can help out at both center and guard makes a lot of sense.

Landry said this about Pocic after a Senior Bowl practice: “LSU C Ethan Pocic was up and down today. On one particular snap he was beaten by UCLA DT Eddie Vanderdoes with a swim move. On the next, snap he was able to thwart Alabama DT Dalvin Tomlinson on a speed move inside. Pocic showed the type of adjusting that you like to see after a mistake and looks to take coaching very receptively.”

Round 3: Running Back Marlon Mack (South Florida)

Marlon Mack

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 213 pounds

Marlon Mack was a three-year starter at South Florida, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of those years. In his career as a Bull, Mack rushed for 3,609 yards (6.2 average) and 32 touchdowns.

Mack was also a threat in the passing game as well, as he hauled in 65 passes for 498 yards and another score during his time at USF.

Mack led the All-American Athletic Conference in rushing as a freshman and a sophomore and was named first-team All-AAC in each of his three seasons at USF.

Mack has an explosive burst when running the ball and is very shifty. Has the ability to run away from tacklers, as six of his 15 touchdowns in 2016 went for 43-plus yards.

At the combine, Mack ran a 4.50 40 and excelled in the broad jump with a mark of 125 inches.

Right now, the Packers only have Ty Montgomery as a sure thing at running back. And that is just a year after taking on that position full-time after being a wide receiver his first year with the Packers. With the loss of Lacy in free agency, don’t be surprised if the Packers don’t sign a veteran free agent running back themselves.

Drafting a running back will be a focus of the Packers in the draft and Mack would be an excellent addition. I saw him play many times and Mack is the real deal.

Landry said this about Mack prior to the Birmingham Bowl when USF played South Carolina: “Mack will go down a year or two from now as the steadiest offensive player in Bull history. He’s been a reliable workhorse from the moment he stepped foot on campus, working between the tackles and powering through defenders for additional. The consistency of Mack, who rushed for at least 100 yards in all but three of the games he played in 2015, allowed young QB Quinton Flowers to develop incrementally, without having to overextend himself in the early stages of his career.”

Round 4: Linebacker Vince Biegel (Wisconsin)

Vince Biegel II

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 246 pounds

Vince Biegel  was the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior in high school (172 tackles, 21 sacks). That took Biegel to Madison where he was a four-year starter at Wisconsin and was named team captain his senior year. In his career as a Badger, Biegel had 131 total tackles, 28.5 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, three passes defended and two forced fumbles.

Biegel was named third-team All-Big Ten in 2015 and also second-team All-Big Ten in 2016.

Biegel has excellent quickness around the edge and can diagnose blocks when he dips inside to find the football. Biegel also has nice run-pass recognition and is solid in the running game.  Has also shown decent cover skills. The former Badger plays with a tenacious edge and his motor never stops running.

Biegel was solid in all the drills at the combine and ran a 4.67 in the 40.

At the outside linebacker position, the Packers lost Peppers in free agency and have seen Clay Matthews and Perry miss playing time due to injuries. The team did re-sign Perry and Elliott to bolster the depth. Re-signing Jones is still a possibility, plus the Packers also like the upside of Kyler Fackrell. Still, more quality depth is need at the position, as the Dom Capers 3-4 scheme is based on putting pressure on the quarterback.

Landry said this about Biegel after a Senior Bowl practice: “Wisconsin’s Vince Biegel was hyper aggressive. He is an impressive athlete who needs his athleticism to be honed a bit. Biegel was working tight ends in 1-on-1s and he made a couple of solid plays in coverage. Pass rushing versus tackles was rough today for Biegel, but he’s aggressive and athletic nonetheless. He might be suited to move to an off ball spot.”

Round 5: Cornerback Shaquill Griffin (Central Florida)

Shaquill Griffin

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 194 pounds

Griffin played four years at UCF and started the last two years. In his career with the Knights, Griffin had 113 total tackles, three tackles for a loss, six interceptions (two for touchdowns), 27 passes defended and one fumble recovery.

Griffin played at UCF with his twin brother Shaquem, who only has one hand. Both brothers had big years in 2016, with Shaquem winning the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Year award as a hybrid defensive back/linebacker, while Shaquill was named second-team All-AAC at cornerback.

Shaquill has excellent size, speed and strength for a cornerback. He has the physical ability to succeed in press coverage, plus match receivers stride for stride after their release. Is also an aggressive run defender.

Griffin had a very good combine, as he excelled in a number of drills, which included running a 4.38 in the 40 and having a vertical leap of 38.5 inches.

The Packers need to add speed and physicality to the cornerback position and Griffin can deliver in both areas.

Landry said this about Griffin before the Auto Nation Cure Bowl game between UCF and Arkansas State: “UCF boasts a growing history for developing next-level defensive backs. Griffin has a chance to be the next Knight to play on Sundays. He laid the ground floor in 2015 by starting 11 games, two at safety and nine at corner, and posting 50 tackles, two interceptions and a Knight-high 13 pass breakups.”

Round 5 (compensatory): Defensive Lineman Eddie Vanderdoes (UCLA)

Eddie Vanderdoes

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 305 pounds

Eddie Vanderdoes was a five-star recruit coming into UCLA, but injuries have hampered his time in Westwood. Out of the gate though, Vanderdoes showed the ability he showed in high school, as he was named honorable mention All-Pac-12 and also received Freshman All-American honors.

Vanderdoes followed that season by being named honorable mention again his sophomore year, as he had 50 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

But the former Bruin star tore his ACL his junior year after playing exceptionally well versus Virginia in the season opener. Vanderdoes came back his senior year and was given honorable mention status for the third time in his career at UCLA.

In his career, Vanderdoes had 122 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

Vanderdoes showed off his athletic ability at the combine, as the big man ran a 4.99 in the 40.

Ted Thompson likes selecting defensive linemen out of UCLA, as he drafted Datone Jones in 2013 and Kenny Clark last year. Vanderdoes would add some quality depth to the defensive line, plus would offset the loss of Letron Guion, who will miss the first four games of the 2017 season due to a PED violation.

Landry said this about Vanderdoes after a Senior Bowl practice: “Vanderdoes played exceptionally well today in all areas. He beat opponents with quickness, power and intensity. From the snap he’s tough to stop as he showed a great first step, power in his lower body and he worked his hands incredibly well. Even when it looked like Vanderdoes was outmatched, he won the down.”

Round 6: Linebacker Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Ben Boulware

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 238 pounds

Ben Boulware started his career at Clemson as a special teams demon, before becoming a starter at linebacker the past two seasons. Besides being team captain of the eventual national champion Tigers in 2016, Boulware led by example with his fiery play, as he was named first-team All-ACC both in 2015 and this past season.

In his career at Clemson, Boulware had 261 total tackles, 26.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, five interceptions, four fumble recoveries and seven forced fumbles.

Like Biegel, Boulware is a natural leader and never stops playing hard until he hears the whistle. Boulware is compact, but is fast to the football. He seems to have the knack for making a big play. Boulware has also shown some nice ability in pass coverage. No matter what, you are going to get a terror on special teams.

The biggest area in which Boulware can help the Packers immediately is on special teams, which really need help. Boulware will also push Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas for playing time at inside linebacker.

Landry said this about Boulware after a Senior Bowl practice: “Boulware is not a great athlete but he is a terrific football player. Best in the box, he’s instinctive, shows great anticipation and fires up the field. He’s also nasty and wraps up tackling. He struggles moving outside the numbers and in reverse.”

Round 7: Offensive Tackle Jonathan McLaughlin (Virginia Tech)

Jonathan McLaughlin

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 293 pounds

Jonathan McLaughlin started all four years at Virginia Tech and started 49 games overall. In his freshman year, McLaughlin started all 13 games and was named second-team freshman All-American by College Football News.

In his career as a Hokie, McLaughlin started 26 games as a left tackle and 23 games at right tackle. In 2016, McLaughlin was named third-team All-ACC at right tackle.

McLaughlin has a good wingspan and has quick feet, but needs to become more consistent. He shows good power in blocking for the run game.

McLaughlin is better suited for zone-blocking scheme, and has the physical attributes which could see him move inside to guard in the NFL.

With the Packers losing both Tretter and Lang to free agency, there is a good chance that one of their draft picks from last season, either Jason Spriggs or Kyle Murphy, would move inside from the offensive tackle position to play right guard. Because of that, it would be wise to draft a player who has experience at both tackle positions, plus one never knows when the injury bug will bite Bryan Bulaga at right tackle.

Prior to the East-West Shrine Game, McLaughlin met with the Packers. As did two other players who I had the Packers selecting in my first mock draft, cornerback Fabian Moreau and running back Joe Williams.

Landry said this about McLaughlin after an East-West Shrine Game practice: “McLaughlin displayed strength in his legs when getting into his pass set, as he was hard to move in one-on-one drills and had a great base. He has a lot of length in his arms and legs and uses it well. McLaughlin could stand to improve his quickness in his feet. McLaughlin had a very good day of practice. He was quicker today and was strong in the 11-on-11 period. He is able to stay low through his blocks and has a strong drive in his run blocks.”