This is Part 6 of our Green Bay Packers seven-round mock draft. Our picks for the first four rounds were vetted by three NFL scouts to make sure our selections have a good chance of being available. Picks in the final three rounds are being based on a combination of player rankings at NFL Draft Scout and Optimum Scouting and the opinions of two scouts.
In our mock, the Packers replaced T.J. Lang in the first round and filled critical needs at cornerback in the second round and outside linebacker in the third round. We added another cornerback in the fourth round and got a running back with Green Bay's pick in the fifth round. Now, the Packers are back on the clock with the fifth-round compensatory pick they received for losing Casey Hayward.
After losing Julius Peppers and Datone Jones in free agency, the Packers were left with little proven depth at outside linebacker behind veteran starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. Kyler Fackrell had two sacks and nine tackles as a rookie third-round pick. Jayrone Elliott had one sack and 13 tackles in his third season. Reggie Gilbert spent his rookie season on the practice squad.
If the plan is to move Matthews around the defense, as coach Mike McCarthy has said throughout the offseason, then the Packers need capable outside linebackers. After taking Alabama’s Ryan Anderson in the third round, we take another outside linebacker with pick No. 184 overall. Utah’s Hunter Dimick was a surprise Scouting Combine snub after leading the Pac-12 Conference with 14.5 sacks and 20 tackles for losses. Those figures ranked third and 10th, respectively, in the nation. In ProFootballFocus.com’s pass-rushing productivity metric, which measures sacks, hits and pressures per pass-rushing snap, Dimick ranked right behind Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, who potentially will be the No. 1 overall pick, and right ahead of Kansas State’s Jordan Willis, who could be a first-round pick.
At 6-foot-3 and 274 pounds, he’s got the size to potentially take over the elephant role that Peppers and Jones played the past two seasons. There’s no doubt he’s got the power after putting up a whopping 38 reps on the 225-pound bench press. That was more than any player at the Combine.
“You know, I had a chip on my shoulder not getting invited to the Combine,” Dimick told reporters in Salt Lake City. “I wanted to make a statement and show my strength and speed and be able to go and get 38 (reps) on the bench and beat everyone else that did get invited. It reconciles it a little bit.”
Dimick, who was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end, has some physical limitations — namely, 31-inch arms. According to the Deseret News, he was timed as fast as 4.69 seconds in the 40 with a 28-inch vertical at Utah’s pro day.
“I just feel like people got the impression for some reason that I was slow and couldn’t change direction very well,” Dimick said. “I felt like I did a good job today of showing that’s incorrect, and that I’m overall just a good athlete.”
Whether scouts share that “good athlete” opinion will ultimately determine where Dimick winds up in the draft.
“Dimick is an enigma as his strengths (power and leverage) are as prodigious as his weaknesses (athleticism and change of direction) are liabilities,” reads the scouting report at PFF. “There are few players with such a distinct breakdown, but Dimick’s production is difficult to ignore. He was snubbed from the NFL Combine, but expect Dimick to find a roster spot as a mid- to late-round pick.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban said Anderson brought the hate to the Tide’s fierce defense. Dimick, the school’s career leader with 29.5 sacks, brought the toughness.
“He’s the toughest guy I know, man. Nothing fazes him,” said Isaac Asiata, who is one of the top guard prospects in this draft. “He’s the definition of hard work in my true, honest opinion. His work ethic is second to none. He really sets the standard. ...
“That’s all he ever does (is work). He doesn’t talk. No matter what it is, he’s not complaining. What he cares about is getting the work done and getting better. I think that’s great and it’s going to carry him far, far in life.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.