The Green Bay Packers could have drafted T.J. Watt at the end of the first round.
They got his sidekick with the first pick of the fourth round.
Green Bay got its outside linebacker, grabbing Vince Biegel with the 108th overall selection, a pick acquired when the Packers bypassed Watt by trading out of the first round in a deal with Cleveland.
Outside linebacker was a major area of need for the Packers, who lost Datone Jones and Julius Peppers in free agency and have envisioned Clay Matthews moving around the defense this season. At No. 108, the Packers took Biegel over Auburn’s Carl Lawson. Biegel, an outside linebacker in Wisconsin’s 3-4 scheme, had four sacks and six tackles for losses among 44 tackles; Lawson, an oft-injured but incredibly explosive defensive end in Auburn’s four-man scheme, had nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for losses among 30 tackles.
Biegel was the team's fourth pick of this draft. All four have come on defense. The Packers fielded phone calls from teams wanting to move into the pole position of Day 3 but, as was the case on Friday when they stayed at No. 33 to get Washington corner Kevin King, general manager Ted Thompson didn’t want to miss out on Biegel.
“I think Ted wanted to draft this guy,” senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith said.
Biegel, a native of Wisconsin Rapids, opened his senior season by recording one sack against LSU at Lambeau Field.
“It was a tremendous experience. Obviously, I grew up in central Wisconsin and it was a great experience to kind of live that childhood dream,” he said at the Scouting Combine. “Little did I know I would be playing in a Badger uniform but, nevertheless, it was a great experience. One that I know I will take with me for a really long time.”
Biegel said he was in contact with the Packers throughout the draft process.
“I grew up in the state of Wisconsin,” Biegel said during his conference call moments after being drafted. “I dreamed about being a Wisconsin Badger first -- and then obviously became a Badger -- and I dreamed of one day playing in the NFL. If you looked at old pictures of me growing up, it was all green and gold. I was a Cheesehead. To be able to say I played Wisconsin football in high school football, college football and now in the NFL, this is every Wisconsin kid’s dream.”
He was third-team all-conference as a junior (66 tackles, eight sacks, 14 for losses) and second-team as a sophomore (7.5 sacks, 16.5 TFLs, two forced fumbles.
Biegel (6-3 1/4, 246) had a strong Scouting Combine with a 4.67 in the 40, 4.30 in the shuttle, 6.92 in the three-cone drill and 21 reps on the bench. For comparison, Watt (6-4 1/2, 252) ran his 40 in 4.69, posted a Combine-best 4.13 in the shuttle, a 6.79 in the three-cone and put up 21 reps. Lawson (6-1 3/4, 261) ran his 40 in 4.67, posted a sizzling 4.19 in the shuttle but a plodding 7.46 in the three-cone, and led the edge-rusher class with 35 reps on the bench.
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.