I expect the Packers to add depth at a couple of positions before the draft. Look for LB Ben Taylor of the Cleveland Browns to be an option for the Pack at LB. I also think that C Mike Flanagan will return to the Packers. Look for Ted Thompson to add a veteran CB before the draft as well. The choices could be Ahmed Plummer, Charles Woodson or Ty Law. I also expect the Packers to re-sign either Najeh Davenport or Tony Fisher, if they don't draft a RB. Finally, I expect a certain QB that is probably either golfing or riding a tractor right now to announce he is coming back before the draft.
The likely draft choices for the first five teams in the draft has changed as well since my last my draft. The New Orleans Saints have traded for QB Drew Brees and now don't have to take a QB early. The New York Jets also traded for QB Patrick Ramsey, but they still might pick a QB because Ramsey hasn't exactly set the world on fire since he's been in the NFL. This is the scenario I see going down for the first 5 picks of the 2006 NFL draft if there are no trades to move up or down.
1) Houston Texans - RB Reggie Bush (USC)
2) New Orleans Saints- OT D'Brickshaw Ferguson (Virginia)
3) Tennessee Titans- QB Matt Leinart (USC)
4) New York Jets- QB Jay Cutler (Vanderbilt)
5) Green Bay Packers- DE Mario Williams (NC State)
Right now the Packers have five overall picks, with one each in the first five rounds. I still expect the team to trade down at some point and get extra picks, plus get a couple of compensatory picks for G Marco Rivera and S Bhawoh Jue. Right now I would expect to get a 4th round pick for Rivera and a 7th for Jue. Based on that, here is my latest Packer mock draft.
1) DE Mario Williams (NC State)
Williams, if available, is a no brainer. Williams has an incredible combination of size and speed. Adding Williams to the mix with DE Aaron Kampman, DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and DT Ryan Pickett gives the Packers a very formidable front line. The pass rush combinations could cause offensive lines some real issues. The secondary would improve as well because of the pressure caused by the front four.
2) LB Bobby Carpenter (Ohio State)
Carpenter doesn't get the pub that fellow Buckeye LB A.J. Hawk gets, but he's very good. Carpenter has a great size and speed combination as well. Carpenter has the type of ability to be a 3 down LB. Plays the pass very well. Carpenter is solid against the run and also can blitz well from the edge.
3) KR/WR/CB Devin Hester (Miami)
Hester is probably the most dangerous kick/punt returner to come into the NFL in years. All Hester needs is the slightest crack and he is gone. Hester will most likely get a shot at WR as well, although he also played CB at Miami. The Packers have needs in both areas. I believe Hester would be a great slot WR that could take short hitches and quick slants to the house.
4a) G Rob Sims (Ohio State)
Sims is a very physical G that could be effective in the Packers new zone blocking scheme for the running game. Sims has the versatility to play T as well and he is solid in pass protection. Needs to keep his weight under control and gain more stamina.
4b) CB Marcus Maxey (Miami)
Maxey has nice size at 6-2 and 195 pounds. Has very good speed as well. Plays tall WRs very well. Is a solid tackler in the run game. Maxey needs to work on his technique, but his outstanding athletic ability should help improve that part of his game.
5) WR Jonathan Orr (Wisconsin)
Orr has unbelievable measurables as he is about 6-2, 195 pounds and runs a 4.3 forty. He is the prototype WR that new head coach Mike McCarthy is looking for. Orr has great ability to hit the home run on deep passes, but he needs to become more consistent.
7) LB Tim McGarigle (Northwestern)
What McGarigle lacks in size and speed is made up by his smarts and determination. He can play inside or outside and would be an immediate contributor on special teams.
Bob Fox is a longtime Packers fan and frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.