Top-nine mock draft: Packers land Jackson

Packer Report publisher Bill Huber provides his thoughts on how the top of the draft will play out and who will be available when the Packers are on the clock with the ninth selection.

Who will the Packers select with the ninth pick in the draft? To figure that out, you need to know who will be going in spots one through eight.

Packer Report publisher Bill Huber puts his months of draft research to work (and puts a bunch of names into a hat) in figuring out how the top of the first round will unfold on Saturday.


Detroit — Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia: You can't win without a quarterback. The Lions know this better than most franchises, since they haven't had one in eons. And no, Eric Hipple doesn't count. (Meanwhile, somewhere, Matt Millen is shaking his head and saying: "Fools should have taken Crabtree.")


St. Louis — Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia: The Rams just jettisoned ancient and ailing Orlando Pace. You don't get rid of a left tackle, even a past-his-prime one, without getting one to replace him. Monroe is the best run blocker among the elite tackles, and the Rams figure to be a more physical team under new coach Steve Spagnuolo.


Denver — Mark Sanchez, QB, USC: Kansas City owns the No. 3 pick and holds all the cards in this draft. With Seattle, which picks next, reportedly interested in Sanchez, this will be a hot commodity. Denver has picks Nos. 12 and 18 and needs a quarterback after sending touchy-feely Jay Cutler to Chicago. But will the Chiefs deal with a division foe? Hey, if the Packers can make a trade with the Vikings, why not?


Seattle — Jason Smith, OT, Baylor: The Seahawks need lots of things, including a quarterback, but that's no longer an option. Their line was awful last season and Matt Hasselbeck isn't exactly Mr. Indestructible anymore. Smith is a tremendous pass blocker.


Cleveland — Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: The top defensive player in the draft falls in the laps of the Browns. They could go a different route, depending on whether they trade Braylon Edwards.


Cincinnati — Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: The Bengals lost T.J. Houshmandzadeh in free agency, leaving only Chad Numero Uno, Brett Favre's pal Laveranues Coles and everyone's favorite former Packer, Antonio Chatman, at wide receiver. Carson Palmer will be thrilled that he won't have to throw the ball 50 times a game to good, ahem, friend Ocho-Stinko.


Oakland — Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri: Raiders owner Al Davis ditched his "Commitment to Excellence" years ago. Instead, he's committed to finding guys who can run fast. Fortunately for Mr. Jumpsuit, Maclin can run and catch.


Jacksonville — Andre Smith, OT, Alabama: A certain defensive tackle from Boston College would be inviting here, but the Jaguars had the worst offensive line in football last year ... and let their left tackle depart in free agency. The Jaguars like to be physical on offense and Smith is physical.


Green Bay — Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU: Nose tackle B.J. Raji and left tackle Michael Oher are on the board, as are the 3-4 outside linebackers. But Jackson is the safer pick, fills a major need and gives the Packers a strong defensive front.

Editor's note: Come back later this week for an in-depth feature on Jackson which will explain this pick in further detail.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.


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