Packers mock draft

Prediction on whom the Packers will select in the NFL draft

The 2006 NFL draft is about 24 hours away. Ted Thompson is poised to conduct his second draft as Packers general manager. A lot has happened this week in Green Bay. Brett Favre announced he would be returning for 2006 and also the Packers signed defensive back Charles Woodson, along with defensive tackle Kenderick Allen.

The Packers currently have seven picks in the draft. I would expect Thompson to trade down at some point to acquire additional picks. There is also a reasonable chance that Javon Walker could be traded for an additional pick or picks.

However, for this mock draft, I will utilize Green Bay's current picks:

1) TE Vernon Davis (Maryland)
Favre gets a welcome back present from Thompson. Davis brings the ability to stretch the defense with his great combination of size and speed. Davis and Bubba Franks will form a formidable duo at tight end just like Keith Jackson and Mark Chmura did when Favre was collecting his MVPs. The selection of Davis would also minimize the potential loss of Walker to the passing game.

2) LB Thomas Howard (UTEP)
Howard brings a nice combination of size and speed. He has a chance to be an instant starter, but he would definitely upgrade special teams at the very least. Howard needs to improve his technique in a couple of areas, but his productivity and potential are big pluses. Howard has excellent play-making ability as well, as he is always around the football. He could develop into a three-down linebacker.

3) RB Brian Calhoun (Wisconsin)
Calhoun is the perfect back for the West Coast offense. He is not only a gifted running back, but catches the ball extremely well. He is one of those backs that never seems to take a big hit and can hit the home run at any time.

Calhoun could fill in immediately as a third-down back. The Packers did re-sign both Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport to one year deals, but both are coming off serious injuries and won't be ready until training camp. The Packers also have Samkon Gado who showed some flashes last year, but is still a relative unknown.

Calhoun could be the long-term answer at running back, but for now he would be a change of pace back that could also be utilized in the passing game.

4) 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, quick slants and wide receiver screens to the house. Hester will elevate not only the special teams, but also offense and defense with his ability to alter field position.

5a) G Mark Setterstrom (Minnesota)
Setterstrom has a very solid history in the zone blocking scheme. He is a good athlete that is an excellent technician. Setterstrom is very quick to the block and he can angle off defenders effectively. Setterstrom needs to get stronger, but has an intriguing future in the NFL. I also expect that the Packers will start either Kevin Barry or Mark Tauscher at one of the G positions, with the other starting at right tackle.

5b) QB Bruce Gradkowski (Toledo)
Gradkowski has nice mobility and is a very accurate passer. His skills seem perfect for the West Coast offense. Gradkowski also has good arm strength and he consistently hits his receivers in stride. Gradkowski also has an excellent work ethic and he plays through pain. Gradkowski is a little undersized at 6-1, but his mobility helps him overcome that issue.

7) K Stephen Gostkowski (Memphis)
The Packers already have a number of kickers on the squad competing for Ryan Longwell's spot, but Gostkowski is a very intriguing kicker. As a senior, Gostkowski was 10-10 from beyond 40 yards and was also 3-3 from beyond 50 yards. Gostkowski, who made a pre-draft visit to Green Bay in mid-April, has also been a very consistent, which is a key component for a kicker in the NFL.

Bob Fox is a longtime Packers fan and frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.


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