What happens to well-meaning writers when the NFL Draft gets pushed out two weeks? Nothing good, that's what. Especially when one develops what can only be described as an addiction for simulated mock drafts on recently discovered Web site fanspeak.com. Not just first-round mock drafts. Full-out, seven-round drafts that likely require a seven-step program for me to get over.
Welcome to the Mockpocalypse.
But if insomnia-laden late nights (though 2 a.m. is technically morning) laying on the living room floor watching NFL Network and doing a dozen of these simulated mocks have shown me anything, it's that the Packers can come out of the draft with some true impact players to help them make a Super Bowl run. Not in a year or two. But right now.
Simulated mocks are working off a generally recognized "big board." For all my drafts, I went with WalterFootball.com just to keep it apples to apples. How close that is to Ted Thompson's big board is anyone's guess. But whatever back-end algorhythm gets used accounts for individual team draft needs and who is taken in ensuing rounds. That mathematical part of the equation is beyond my journalistic grasp. But there were definitely some interesting Packers-related themes that emerged.
— Only once was Alabama safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix available. Same with North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard. For any of those players to drop to Green Bay in the first round means that, despite the nitpicking of eligible quarterbacks, there has been a run that's dropped those other players down.
— Louisville safety Calvin Pryor was available at No. 21 overall in a third of all simulations. It's hard to think Green Bay would pass on him.
— Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier was available at No. 21 in half of the simulations, though in those scenarios, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley was typically gone. However, in one random simulation, he was shockingly there in the second round — much like Eddie Lacy magically dropping to Green Bay last year. Who do the Packers prefer if both are there and Clinton-Dix, Pryor and Ebron are gone? My guess is that Shazier, with his ability to play inside or out and his 4.38 speed, gets the call.
— Only once was Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward still there in the second round, but he was always available when the Packers picked in the first. Ward was my choice in my Packer Report mock draft. I love his versatility and nose for the ball. Is No. 21 overall too high to take him? According to most draft boards, it is. But if you can't trade back and think he's the next Nick Collins, you take him.
— In the later rounds, Washington State safety Deone Bucannon – a player with better stats than any safety in the draft – was almost always there in the second, and occasionally in the third. A Shazier-Bucannon combo to lead off the draft instantly upgrades Green Bay's defense.
— Despite his own optimism, no one knows what will happen with tight end Jermichael Finley. I'd bet the under on him returning to Green Bay. But if the Packers are looking for a tight end in the second round, Texas Tech's Jace Amaro should be available. With more than 100 catches last year, he was basically a 265-pound slot receiver. That skill-set helps the Pack at tight end and receiver.
— In the third round, center Weston Richburg from Colorado State and Marcus Martin from USC were always available. If the Packers want to hedge their bet on J.C. Tretter as their next center, Richburg and Martin are nice insurance.
— Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith is a guy the Packers are rumored to be very high on. High enough to grab him in the second round, as some (like me) have speculated? Well, late-night simulation says you can get him in the third round every time. If you're feeling lucky, he's been there half the time in the fourth. Green Bay likes Smith as an outside linebacker.
— On Day 3 of the draft, Green Bay can easily grab some players they've shown interest in, including San Jose State quarterback David Fales in the fifth and sixth rounds and Michigan State inside linebacker Max Bullough. With two fifth-rounders, Green Bay could tab both.
— Seventh-rounders are a crap shoot, but given the need to upgrade the safety positions, extra bodies are a plus. Minnesota safety Brock Vereen (the younger brother of Patriots' running back Shane) is there for the taking.
— There's plenty of wild cards, too. Players who might seem too intriguing to pass up if they're sitting there. Cheeseheads would love to see Green Bay grab Wisconsin Badgers receiver Jared Abbrederis with their compensatory pick at the bottom of the third. With James Jones gone to Oakland, a receiver makes sense and it's a deep group this year. Penn State defensive tackle Daquan Jones, a big body reminiscent of Notre Dame potential first-round pick Louis Nix III, could be had in the third. And Kent State running back Dri Archer blistered the turf at the Scouting Combine in February with a 4.26 40-yard dash. Do the Packers need a 5-foot-8 speed back? Not especially, though he returns kicks, too. But if they think he's a great value in the fifth round, it's possible.
Here's my "best" simulated mock heading into the real thing. I think the Packers would be ecstatic if the real thing worked out the same. I'll be happy just to finally get some sleep. And if I can't do that, I can always make a late-night call to "Jake" from State Farm Insurance. Aaron Rodgers would like that.
No. 21 S CALVIN PRYOR, LOUISVILLE
No. 53 ILB C.J. MOSLEY, ALABAMA
No. 85 WR ALLEN ROBINSON, PENN STATE
No. 98 DT DAQUAN JONES, PENN STATE
No. 121 WR DONTE MONCRIEF, OLE MISS
No. 161 C GABE IKARD, OKLAHOMA
No. 176 QB DAVID FALES, SAN JOSE STATE
No. 197 ILB MAX BULLOUGH, MICHIGAN STATE
No. 236 S BROCK VEREEN, MINNESOTA
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W. Keith Roerdink has covered the Packers since 1992. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.