Day 2 Lookahead

Packer Report and NFL scout Dave-Te' Thomas examine the top remaining players at positions of need. The Packers have the 53rd, 85th and 98th picks. With that third-round compensatory selection in his pocket, perhaps Ted Thompson would consider moving up.

Here are some names to remember at positions of need for Friday's second and third rounds of the NFL Draft. The Green Bay Packers own No. 53 of the second round and Nos. 85 and 98 of the third round, with the latter being a compensatory selection for losing Greg Jennings in free agency. The "best available" listing is based on NFL scout Dave-Te' Thomas' rankings.

Wide receiver

Best available: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt; Marqise Lee, USC; Davante Adams, Fresno State; Allen Robinson, Penn State; Donte Moncrief, Mississippi; Cody Latimer, Indiana; Paul Richardson, Colorado; Dri Archer, Kent State; Martavis Bryant, Clemson; Jarvis Landry, LSU.

Outlook: Packers general manager Ted Thompson has made a living on second- and third-round receivers, with home runs on Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in the second and James Jones in the third. Matthews (6-3), Robinson (6-3), Moncrief (6-2), Latimer (6-3) and Bryant (6-4) all have size. Lee and Archer (a 5-foot-8, 1773-pound college running back with incredible speed) would upgrade the Packers' return game. From what we've been told, the Packers think especially highly of Matthews and Latimer, and there were rumors that the Packers might grab Lee in the first.

Dave-Te' says: Marqise Lee is regarded by many as a top-flight receiver, but I still question if it was all the nagging injuries or a player caught up in his press clippings that led to his mediocre 2013 season. I swear, he looked so uninspired at times, and the joke is, if $50 was left in the middle of the field and no one was around, Lee would still not go after it?

Tight end

Best available: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington; Troy Niklas, Notre Dame; Jace Amaro, Texas Tech; C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa.

Outlook: Seferian-Jenkins is far and away the top prospect at the position. It would be a shock if he gets to the Packers at 53 but with a third-round compensatory pick in his pocket, perhaps Thompson feels like he can put together a package with No. 53 and No. 85. Niklas and Fiedorowicz are known for their blocking; Amaro is a tight end in name only. With either of the third-round picks, Fiedorowicz could be a strong consideration. While he caught only 30 passes for 299 yards as a senior, he did score six times to spark an impotent passing game. He was penalized only twice — tops among the top six tight ends — and had no drop or fumbles. Thomas compared him to Dallas Clark.

Dave-Te' says: Some say Seferian-Jenkins is like Tony Gonzalez, but the ex-Atlanta tight end is not as physical a route runner as the Husky, who can line wide and threaten a deep secondary like Gonzalez can. He has very good separation ability after the catch and the ideal frame you look for in a tight end. There is no question that his receiving skills are NFL ready, as he excels at securing the off-target balls and working free after coming up with the big grab in tight areas. He can play out on the flank and also has good success when playing with his hand down. He plays with good aggression and constantly creates challenges for second level defenders. Hands down, there is not a more impressive player in the college game and his work ethic and production are ideally suited for a team that features a medium-range passing game.


Best available: Pure centers — Weston Richburg, Colorado State; Marcus Martin, USC. Other possibilities — Joel Bitonio, Nevada.

Outlook: Thomas said the Packers were among the teams considering Richburg. Not only is he considered the best center in the draft, but he's played every position on the line in starting all 50 career games. Martin started at guard for two seasons before going to center in 2013. Thomas compared him to former Bears standout Olin Kreutz. Bitonio has five-position flexibility but probably doesn't make it to No. 53.

Dave-Te' says: Richburg accounted for 18 touchdown-resulting blocks for a ground game that reached the end zone 37 times in 2013. Since The NFL Draft Report began compiling offensive line statistics in 1980, he is the only center in the Mountain West Conference to have gone through an entire season with such excellent statistics. Add in the fact that he averaged nearly 15 knockdown blocks per game, you have to wonder what Rimington Trophy voters were thinking when they named Florida State's Bryan Stork the best center in college football for the 2013 campaign.

Defensive line

Best available: NT — Louis Nix, Notre Dame; DaQuan Jones, Penn State; Ego Ferguson, LSU; Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech. DE — Ra'shede Hageman, Minnesota; Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame; Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina.

Outlook: Nix should be gobbled up quickly in the second round and Hageman and Tuitt don't figure to get too close to Green Bay's spot at No. 53, either. The more likely options would be Jones, Ellis or Quarles in the third.

Dave-Te' says: Ellis demonstrated that you need not be fooled by his girth — this is a player with quick feet who generates more than enough power to consistently walk the blockers back into the pocket — all traits that have some likening his skill level to that of Vince Wilfolk, especially for the way he can easily overpower blockers and pressure the pocket.

Inside linebacker

Best available: Chris Borland, Wisconsin; Brock Coyle, Montana.

Outlook: Borland, who piled up a whopping 410 tackles and 15 forced fumbles during his career, is a brilliant linebacker. But at 5-foot-11, does he have three-down appeal? And if he doesn't have three-round appeal, would it be worth the investment of a premium draft pick? Coyle, Montana's leading tackler the last two seasons, had a pro day to rival any linebacker at the Scouting Combine. He's been one of the fastest risers heading into the draft.

Dave-Te' says: I'm more concerned about the high mileage Borland has on his body, as the bumps and bruises are mounting and with the way he dives into tackles, that questionable shoulder issue of his is certainly going to come into play on draft day, as not every team has taken the medical "red flag" away from his name.

Outside linebacker

Best available: Carl Bradford, Arizona State; Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech; Trent Murphy, Stanford; Kyle Van Noy, BYU; Scott Crichton, Oregon; Kony Ealy, Missouri; Chris Smith, Arkansas; Jordan Tripp, Montana; Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas.

Outlook: There's a ton of talent here. Bradford and Smith could also play inside linebacker. Crichton and Ealy project to the elephant position. Murphy might be the name to remember. He's as tough as nails, athletic, unbelievably productive and excelled in Stanford's 3-4 scheme, so there's plenty of film of Murphy doing the kinds of things he'd be doing in Green Bay's scheme.

Dave-Te' says: Closing on the quarterback is where Murphy's speed is most evident. He has shown excellent spin-move action to play off blockers when engaging them up field. His ability to escape with suddenness allows him to apply backside pressure. He has that burst that consistently surprises a lethargic blocker. When left out on an island, he is very capable of delivering the knockout blow to the quarterback. He does get out of control, at times, but you would rather that he plays with a relentless motor than just pick his moments.


Best available: Keith McGill, Utah; Phillip Gaines, Rice; Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska; Jaylen Watkins, Florida; Pierre Desir, Lindenwood; Bashaud Breeland, Clemson.

Outlook: Cornerback isn't a major need, especially with Micah Hyde no longer needed to play safety on a full-time basis. The need is more long term, with Tramon Williams and Davon House entering their final year under contract. Our list includes the defenders with the Packers' preferred size. McGill and Jean-Baptiste are 6-foot-3; Gaines has big-time athleticism; Watkins is strong, fast and can play safety, too; and Desir has intriguing upside since he's never received top-shelf coaching.

Dave-Te' says: Jean-Baptiste is an imposing figure. The bigger the wide receivers and pass-catching tight ends get in the NFL, the bigger the premium defensive coaches are putting on their scouts to find tall, physical cornerbacks to counter. Few cornerbacks in the Big Ten Conference showed the inside-the-box tackling skills that he possesses.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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