INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 19: Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson speaks to the media during the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 19, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Packers 2016 Draft preview: Ideal picks in all seven rounds

Year after year, the longest and most speculated offseason in all of sports occurs in the NFL. The draft is a loose placeholder for those needing a football fix to cure their offseason blues. In between the end of the season and the draft, college prospects endure extensive questioning, analyzing, and investigating from 32 teams. So much so, one has to wonder whether a restraining order against some of these scouts might be deemed necessary. Prospects move up and down draft boards on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Infinite versions of mock drafts are formulated over the course of two to three months just to be scrapped when the real draft happens and all hell breaks loose.

Hate it or love it, it’s an annual tradition. The conclusion is near, however, as we have officially reached NFL Draft Eve. It’s a bit ironic that all the pre-draft antics are a certainty leading up to the NFL Draft, which is possibly the most uncertain event in sports. Among all the unknown resides another annual certainty that should excite Packers fans: Ted Thompson owns the draft.

Thompson catches a lot of flak from the general public regarding his obedient nature in free agency and addressing positional needs, but the Packers’ general manager shines brightest during the draft. The surprisingly tumultuous offseason has shaken up the Packers roster giving Thompson little room for error to fill more draft needs than previously anticipated. Thankfully, it looks like the draft should be of assistance.

If you are unfamiliar with the draft this year, here’s some quick hits for you to catch up on.

  • Quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are (almost certainly) going to go 1-2 in the draft, with both the Rams and Eagles unloading draft picks to move up into the first two spots.
  • In each instance the first two picks were traded, the third pick was also traded in the same draft. The Chargers hold onto the now-coveted third overall pick, giving them first pickings at anyone in the draft outside of Goff and Wentz. Do not be surprised if they haul in more draft picks and fall back in the first round for teams like the Dolphins, Ravens, or 49ers.
  • Defensive line is the deepest position in the draft. Anywhere from five to eight, maybe nine, defensive linemen drafted in the first round – ends and tackles included. (This is where Packers fans nod their head in approval as the defensive front depth is extremely thin).
  • Inside linebacker is the weakest position in the draft. Outside of Alabama’s Reggie Ragland, there has been no noise of any other inside linebacker being taken in the first round. (This is where Packers fans shake their head in shame as Green Bay’s inside linebacker depth is slim).
  • Safety-outside linebacker hybrids players will be highly desired. This is the new trend in football, guys that can jump between playing in the box and covering center field.

Now that you’re caught up with the basics, here are the ideal picks for Green Bay in all seven rounds.

Round 1, Pick 27

NT Andrew Billings, Baylor – It’s no guarantee, but the talk of Titletown has been Green Bay snagging a defensive lineman with the 27th pick. There are several possibilities as to which defensive tackle will fall to Green Bay – Jarran Reed, Vernon Butler, Sheldon Rankins, A’Shawn Robinson, Kenny Clark, and Billings – and it seems all of them would be great picks. But Billings is a dual-threat beast on the line finishing fifth in his draft class position stopping the run, according to ProFootballFocus, and a perpetual bull rusher in the pass game. He can immediately produce in the middle of the line, pairing with Mike Daniels as a nasty front line tandem.

Alternate options: ILB Reggie Ragland, TE Hunter Henry, trade back for more picks

Round 2, Pick 55

OLB Kamalei Correa, Boise State – A defensive end in college, Correa’s smaller size (6’3″, 243) does not suit the weight needed along the line. He is, however, a perfect fit on the outside as an edge rusher in the Packers 3-4 defensive scheme. With Julius Peppers aging, Mike Neal not re-signed, and Nick Perry’s uncertainty, more depth on the outside is needed and Correa offers a great value pick at the back end of the second round. He racked up 27 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in his last two years in college and was even asked to drop back in coverage.

Alternate options: RB Kenneth Dixon, S/OLB Su’a Cravens, DT Vernon Butler

Round 3, Pick 88

SS Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah – Killebrew has a solid frame (6’2″, 217) similar to Morgan Burnett that can thump in the box as a great tackler. A four-year starter, Killebrew racked up 243 tackles in his last two years that plays well in coverage. Just as Micah Hyde transitioned from a safety to a nickel corner, Killebrew could follow suit and also be a potential replacement with Hyde’s contract set to expire after 2016.

Alternate options: RB Paul Perkins, DT Javon Hargrave, OLB Joe Schobert

Round 4, Pick 125

RB C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame – It may seem early to draft a running back with Eddie Lacy slimming down and James Starks re-signed, but Prosise is a playmaker that can catch the ball out of the backfield and makes plays in space. Green Bay lacks a Forte-esque back that can excel at receiving, creating mismatches with linebackers and opening the field for Jordy Nelson and company. He has acceleration to win angles against defenders downfield and good vision to run behind the Packers line.

Alternate options: DT Sheldon Day, TE Jerell Adams, ILB Scooby Wright

Round 4, Pick 131 *compensatory pick

ILB Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia – Packers fans are anxious about the status of Green Bay’s middle linebackers, but they should be excited if Thompson snags this gem. Kwiatkoski is a hard-nose, all-around linebacker that finished fourth in stopping the run and sixth in pass coverage among inside linebackers, according to ProFootballFocus. He can fill the void of a dime inside linebacker with his ability to cover and work behind Sam Barrington and Jake Ryan, with a chance of earning a starting role.

Alternate options: DT Adolphus Washington, OLB Jaylon Smith

Round 4, Pick 137 *compensatory pick

G Graham Glasglow, Michigan – The middle rounds have been an offensive linemen goldmine for Ted Thompson and the Packers in recent drafts. Four of the five Packers starters on the offensive line were taken in the fourth (TJ Lang, Josh Sitton, David Bakhtiari) and fifth (Corey Linsley) rounds. Graham Glasglow fits the Packers zone blocking scheme and provides offensive line depth, especially considering Sitton and Lang have contracts expiring after the upcoming season.

Alternate options: OT Kyle Murphy, WR Robby Anderson

Round 5, Pick 163

OT Joe Haeg, North Dakota State – Again, Thompson works magic in the middle rounds with offensive line. Haeg is a very solid tackle with natural ability and excelling as a pass protector, allowing only four pressures last season. With David Bahktiari also set to hit the market after the 2016 season, more depth on the line would be a smart move and this is the place Thompson likes to do it.

Alternate options: G Vadal Alexander, TE Tyler Higbee

Round 6, Pick 200

TE Thomas Duarte, UCLA – Essentially a wide receiver, Duarte has Jordan Reed-like size that will create problems over the middle of the field. He’s a fluid route runner with solid hands and has the speed to win on seam routes against linebackers. He doesn’t have the traditional tight end attributes in his size and blocking ability, but another weapon for Aaron Rodgers never hurts and Duarte would be a steal in the sixth round if he can produce at all.

Alternate options: ILB Nick Vigil, G Anthony Fabiano

Round 7, Pick 248

P Drew Kaser, Texas A&M – Tim Masthay had an abysmal year last year and needs some competition to kick him back into gear. Kaser holds the A&M record for yards per punt average at 46.3 yards, breaking Shane Lechler’s record.

Alternate Options: P Tom Hackett, CB Daryl Worley

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