With the rush of free agency in the rear view mirror it is time to switch our focus to the NFL Draft, specifically team draft needs. In this article we look at the Green Bay Packers draft needs for 2016 as we move towards the April 28th first round from Chicago. 2015 was a disappointment for the Packers. Sure, they still made the playoffs but when expectations are that you’ll bring home another Lombardi trophy then simply getting to the divisional round is not enough. After a typically quiet free agency period from General Manager Ted Thompson the Packers look to the draft to solve some of the more glaring issues with their roster. So what are they? And who might be on their card when it gets handed over to Roger Goodell?
This has been a problem area for a while now. The Packers tried to solve it by moving Clay Matthews inside, but all that has done is rob them of his pass rushing and put Matthews at a disadvantage as he tries to get to grips with the requirements of the position. Drafting someone who can legitimately play that spot is a must for the Packers moving forward. While there may not be a perfect fit at #27 when the Packers are on the clock the likes of Scooby Wright III, Kentrell Brothers or Nick Vigil would certainly help the Packers defense and free Clay Matthews up to start tormenting quarterbacks from the edge again.
The Packers have been pondering an upgrade here for a while now, but with BJ Raji retiring in the off-season it looks like their hand will be forced come draft day. Alabama’s Jarran Reed looks to be a good fit. While not your typical enormous nose tackle he is still 307 lbs his is superb against the run and better against the pass than one might think. If he is gone then Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler would also be a good candidate to take in the first round for Green Bay.
While their starting 5 are pretty good across the board some depth would be nice. Last year as everyone but Josh Sitton missed at least one game in the regular season the re-shuffled and replacement-filled line was a serious danger to Aaron Rodgers’ health. While using a first round pick on depth isn’t likely they could look at players like Auburn’s Shon Coleman (OT) or LSU’s Vlad Alexander (OG) on day 2 to protect against a similar situation limiting the offense once again.