Five Who Could Be No. 27 for Packers

Yes, it's far, far too early. But keep these names in mind for the Green Bay Packers to fill needs (or potential needs), starting with inside linebacker Reggie Ragland. Every player has a story, and these are a taste of what's to come in our upcoming Scouting Combine Research Series.

Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama (6-1, 259): Ragland is the consensus best inside linebacker in the draft. Scouts surveyed wouldn’t rule out Ragland getting to Green Bay’s spot at No. 27 but thought it more likely than not that the team would have to look elsewhere to get Clay Matthews out of the middle. As a senior, he was a first-team All-American and the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award (nation’s top linebacker), Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year) and Nagurski Trophy (Defensive Player of the Year). After starting on the weak side as a junior, Ragland excelled at middle linebacker as a senior with a career-high 102 tackles. He added 2.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for losses and seven passes defensed.  Ragland anchored a defense that entered the playoffs ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, No. 1 in rushing defense and No. 2 in total defense. At the Senior Bowl, he showed his versatility by playing outside linebacker. Ragland might have been a first-round pick last year, when he had 97 tackles and was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award. "I decided to stay and in the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to stay because I wanted to become a smarter player before I went to the NFL,” he said at the Senior Bowl. That league is a grown man's league. Those guys have families to feed and I don't want to go in there half-stepping because I don't want to mess up somebody's family. So I wanted to be the smartest person I could be before I take the next step." As a kid, he got sage advice from his parents. School comes first. Girls come later. "Reggie knew he had to answer to me," Ragland Sr. said. "That's one of the main reasons he stayed in line was because he always knew he was going to have to answer for whatever he did out there. He'll tell you one of the reasons he didn't do anything was because he knew what would be waiting on him once he came home." He’s a big guy now; he was a big guy when he was little, too. "When he was little and in diapers, everybody thought he was three or four years old," his mom said. "People said, 'Why does that boy still have diapers on?' This kid wasn't even a year old yet."

Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas (6-5, 253): Underclassman. Henry enters the draft as the most accomplished tight end on the board. He was a consensus first-team All-American and the winner of the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end. He caught 51 passes for 739 yards and three touchdowns. Easily the most memorable of those catches was this one that helped beat Ole Miss in November. His big season came on the heels of 37 receptions for 513 yards in 2014 and 28 receptions for 409 yards and four touchdowns in 2013. Henry is one of 13 tight ends in SEC history with 100-plus catches. His path to becoming an NFL tight end started when he was a freshman in high school. During the fall, he played offensive tackle. His movement on the basketball court, however, caught his coach’s attention. He was moved to receiver before finding a home at tight end. His father, Mark Henry, played on the offensive line for Arkansas. He had a chance to play in the NFL but decided to become a minister, instead.

Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama (6-3, 311): After two years of junior-college ball, Reed was an instant starter during his two seasons at Alabama. He earned all-SEC accolades both seasons, including second-team honors as a senior, when he recorded 57 tackles, including one sack and 4.5 tackles for losses. Reed was an anchor for a defense that ranked No. 1 against the run entering the playoffs. Reed started his season with a bang by tallying five tackles vs. Wisconsin and helping hold the Badgers to just 40 rushing yards. In 2014, he had 55 tackles, including one sack and 6.5 tackles for losses. Reed was born big. At birth, he was 10 pounds, 7 ounces. He’s always been a prodigy, too. He skipped crawling and started walking at 7-and-a-half months old. "I knew then something would come from that," his mom, Anjanette, said. "I believe that was the beginning of what we have now in him being an athlete." Reed was a linebacker in high school before moving to the defensive line at Hargrave Military College. From there, it was to East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Miss. It was a trying time for Reed, and he almost gave up football to return home. "He had to go the way he's gone to make him the type of person he is now," Anjanette said. "Sometimes when things are given to you, you don't appreciate them quite as much. The fact he's had to work for everything he has done to get to where he's at, he's appreciated that road he's had to travel."

Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn (6-6, 313): Underclassman. Coleman is one of the best stories in this draft. Or any draft. He was a prized recruit out of Olive Branch High School in Memphis, Tenn. In March 2010, a few weeks after signing his letter of intent to go to Auburn, the unthinkable happened: He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Coleman received his medical treatment at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis for two years. He missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons and redshirted in 2012 as he regained his strength. “I always knew I’d get better,” Coleman said at the time. “I always knew I’d play again.” Even when the chemotherapy’s toxicity was at its highest point, Coleman kept working out. When he was cleared to begin practicing in April 2012, he was 295 pounds — 10 pounds heavier than he was in high school. In 2013, he backed up Greg Robinson, who went No. 2 in the 2014 draft. In 2014, he was in the starting lineup. "I never doubted it," Coleman said before his first start. "Faith, that's been one of the biggest things that's just kept striving me forward, with my family, and just working hard. Where I'm from in Memphis, you really don't see a lot of people even get to college or the spot that I'm in. My hometown really showed me that you have to work hard for anything that you want or desire." Coleman started at left tackle in 2014 and 2015. He was a second-team all-SEC choice this season.

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU (6-2, 195): Doctson spent his first collegiate season at Wyoming before transferring. In three seasons at TCU, he caught 180 passes for 2,785 yards (15.5 average) and 29 touchdowns. That includes 79 receptions for 1,327 yards (16.8 average) and 14 touchdowns this season, when he was a Biletnikoff finalist and a consensus first-team All-American. Despite missing the final three games with an injured wrist, he finished fourth in the nation in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns. He joined Michael Crabtree as the only players in FBS with six consecutive games of 100-plus receiving yards and two-plus touchdowns. His mom is a vice-chancellor at TCU. “My mom has taught me to never be satisfied, that there's always room for improvement.” That’s not why he left Wyoming, though. He did that to be nearer to his ill grandfather. His playing at Wyoming caught TCU’s attention after it elected not to recruit him out of high school.



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