This isn't meant as a pure prediction of who the Packers will select in April's draft. Instead, this is meant as a way to introduce you to some of the names who could fill holes on the roster. Our round projections are based on our conversations with three scouts and Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko.
How important is the Senior Bowl? In the last five drafts, the Packers have selected 11 Senior Bowl players, including their top selection three times and eight of their 12 choices in the first two rounds. Casey Hayward participated in the 2012 Senior Bowl, Derek Sherrod and D.J. Williams played in the 2011 game, Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson were part of the 2010 game, B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews and Quinn Johnson suited up for the 2009 game, and Jordy Nelson, Brian Brohm and Pat Lee played in the 2008 game.
For teams running a 3-4 defense, there are practically no shortage of options when searching for outside linebacker prospects.
The challenge is turning those prospects — or, maybe better put, those projects — into legitimate players.
Most of the time, those prospects played defensive end in a collegiate 4-3 scheme. That's true of Ty Powell, an All-American from Harding, a Division II school located in Searcy, Ala.
Powell, however, brings something else to the table. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder was an All-American defensive back in 2010 at DeAnza College, a junior college in Cupertino, Calif.
Background can mean everything. Look at the two rookie outside linebackers on the Packers' roster this season. First-round pick Nick Perry showed some promise but had his share of struggles as he made the transition from 4-3 defensive end at USC to 3-4 outside linebacker under Kevin Greene. Undrafted rookie Dezman Moses, who played linebacker at Iowa before transferring to Tulane and starring as a 4-3 end for two seasons, looked much more natural from Day 1 and became a key player in the rotation.
Powell, who is working at the prestigious IMG Academies Draft Training Program, was a late addition to the Senior Bowl as a linebacker on the North squad. A spectator the first day, Powell made his presence felt immediately the next day. During a one-on-one pass rushing drill early in practice, he won two reps and was held on the third.
As a senior defensive end, Powell dominated the competition with eight sacks, 15 tackles for losses, four blocked kicks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in 11 games.
That pass-rushing ability is a necessity as he makes the move to outside linebacker. Powell's ability to do more than rush the passer makes him one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.