Illinois junior defensive end Whitney Mercilus projects as an NFL linebacker and several experts he will be on the Packers draft board. ICON
The following is a collection NFL Mock drafts from various sources around the web. Most mockers are thinking linebacker or a defensive lineman for the Packers at the 28th pick, given the obvious holes and comments made by Mike McCarthy and others following the season.
ESPN Mel Kiper Jr. Whitney Mercilus, LB, Illinois
It was masked somewhat by reputation, but no team in the NFL had a lower sack rate than Green Bay during the regular season. And it was on display again in the playoffs -- the Packers simply can't create pressure without bringing blitzers, leaving the secondary vulnerable. Mercilus (pronounced "merciless") played to that description at Illinois this past season. I see him standing up as an outside linebacker after playing with his hand on the ground in college. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, he has a good profile for the position, and he really knows how to get to the quarterback. The question on him is he really exploded this season, so the body of work is lighter than some, but the Packers need to find some pass-rush help and Mercilus is a good value here based on his current grade.
Sports Illustrated Don Banks Andre Branch, OLB-DE, Clemson.
Branch played defensive end for the Tigers, but he projects to a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. The Packers didn't get enough pass rush last season, and they need someone who can create some heat opposite Clay Matthews.
FootballFutures.com Whitney Mercilus, LB, Illinois
Mercilus blew up this year with 16 sacks, despite only having two career entering the year. He is still a developing talent, but one the Pack would like to have rushing the passer opposite Clay Matthews.
WalterFootball.com Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
It's not exactly an earth-shattering revelation that the Packers need help across from Clay Matthews. Erik Walden and the other rush linebackers were largely ineffective last year. Perhaps Green Bay's pass defense will improve in the wake of an upgraded pass rush.
The Packers are getting a major steal here in Nick Perry. He could easily go much higher than this.
Swoopsnest.net Jerel Worthy, DE, Michigan State
The Packers sorely missed Cullen Jenkins' presence up front in 2011, and could opt to draft his replacement here.
DraftCountdown.com Nick Perry OLB USC
Green Bay already has one of the most dynamic outside linebackers in the league in Clay Matthews but an upgrade is clearly needed on the other side. After striking gold with Matthews, why not try the Trojan program one more time? USC’s Nick Perry played defensive end in college and racked up 29.5 tackles for a loss and 21.5 sacks in three seasons but he is undersized and may have to transition to outside linebacker at the next level
NationalFootballAuthority.com Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Barron is a hard-hitting, ball-hawking safety in the mold of the deceased Sean Taylor. With the Packers’ obvious issues on defense, they could do much worse than this future star late in the first round.
DraftKing.com Michael Brockers, DT, LSU (6'6" 305)
Brockers left LSU as a redshirt sophomore, but what he lacks in experience he more than makes up for with size and ability. He would add depth to the front line of the Packers 3-4 scheme with plenty of playmaking ability.
CBSSports.com (Writer Dane Brugler) Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State:
Despite All-Pro Clay Matthews rushing the passer, the Packers finished 27th in the league with only 29.0 sacks in 2011, and another feared front-seven defender would be an asset. Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox isn't a great pass rusher, but he projects as an ideal five-technique end in a three-man front. He would help occupy blockers and create pass rush lanes for Matthews and other rushers on the Packers' roster.
SBNation.com Fletcher Cox, DE, Mississippi State
The Packers defensive front end struggled this season. Nobody among their front three has the ability to pressure passer, much less help out in the run game. Fletcher Cox can do both. His strength will be a big asset in putting pressure on opposing offensive linemen
CBSSports.com (writer Rob Rang) Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska:
General manager Ted Thompson loves to use high picks to fortify his offensive and defensive line. Crick is a bit off the radar of many fans due to the fact that he missed virtually all of the 2011 season with a torn pectoral muscle, but he remains highly regarded in the scouting community due to his consistency, size and versatility. At 6-4, 285 pounds, he has the bulk necessary to set the edge as a defensive end in Green Bay's 3-4 scheme.
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