What do the Packers need to improve their defense?
How about a stud pass-rushing outside linebacker and a mammoth nose tackle?
Check and check, at least in our ongoing Scout.com publishers mock draft.
After using the Packers' first-round selection on Florida State defensive end Everette Brown, who would move to the outside linebacker position opposite Aaron Kampman, I had a dream-come-true choice in the second half.
San Jose State's Jarron Gilbert, a natural 3-4 defensive end with a big upside, and Ron Brace, the mammoth Boston College defensive tackle, were available when the Packers were on the clock with their second-round pick, No. 41 overall.
I went with Brace. Why? Repeatedly since he's been hired, new defensive coordinator Dom Capers has noted the importance of the nose tackle position. So did Pittsburgh Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert while talking about building a 3-4 defense.
"It all spills off of him, so you have to have that one big guy in the middle who just can occupy that space and allow everyone else to do their job," Colbert said last month at the Scouting Combine.
Brace will never be a playmaker, but he's durable (33 consecutive starts), and at 6-foot-3 and 331 pounds, he's a beast to move. He showed his strength at the Combine by finishing sixth among defensive linemen with 32 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
"The one thing that I wanted to go down there and show them was that I'm not just a big slug," Brace told our Ed Thompson recently. "I have good feet. I think they could see that in our position drills because I'm really light on my feet. I think it kind of surprised some people how athletic I am."
If the draft unfolds in this manner, the Packers' defense would look pretty darned good.
First, with Capers pulling the strings, the Packers have a proven coordinator calling the shots.
With Kampman rushing off one edge and Brown off the other, the Packers' 25th-ranked pass rush would be dramatically improved. And that pass rush would help the pass defense improve as a whole.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport