Newsline 9 sports team makes NFL draft predictions
With the 2014 NFL draft right around the corner, the Newsline 9 sports team is making predictions for who the Green Bay Packers will pick up in the first round.You can follow draft night coverage on-air or online at WAOW.com. LAUREN MAGIERA'S PICK:
I pick Alabama's C.J. Mosley. Mostly, because I think there is a good chance he'll still be around when the Packers get to their 21st pick. Not that he isn't a threatening player, but I think other teams will pass on him because he's had some major injuries in college.
I see the Packers looking more into his possible future with the team over his past. If paired opposite to A.J. Hawk, Mosley wouldn't have to rush the passer to be effective and his real impact could come against the run to increase stoppage up the middle.
Follow Lauren on Twitter: @LMagieraWAOW
NICK O'BRIEN'S PICK:
It's hard to judge how the teams ahead of Green Bay will pick, but there is one thing for certain; based on needs, there are a lot of players that would make sense for the Packers to grab with the 21st overall pick.
Ted Thompson has said that he will draft the best player available when he and the organization are on the clock Thursday evening, but I have a hard time believing that Thompson will overlook what the team needs. With that being said, I'm predicting that Thompson and the Packers will take care of a defensive need in the first round by drafting Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier.
Shazier isn't the physical specimen that Alabama's C.J. Mosley is, but the former Buckeye is known for being a playmaker that utilizes his speed very well. With more teams in the NFL having quarterbacks that can extend plays with their ability to scramble, having a speedy backer like Shazier would certainly help Green Bay's chances of keeping those quarterbacks contained inside the box.
Mike McCarthy has mentioned that he's hoping for more versatility from the defense in 2014, which is also something Shazier could also provide at the linebacker position.
Follow Nick on Twitter: @Nick_WAOW
BRANDON KINNARD'S PICK:
Most of the Packers needs are on the defensive side of the ball, which comes as nothing new to Packers fans. Like many, I think it's clear that safety is the biggest need for the Packers. They locked Morgan Burnett to a long-term deal before last year, so they're set on that side. However, the two other most recent projects, M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian are no longer with the team. Sean Richardson will return in 2014, but I see his career taking a path similar to that of Jarrett Bush, who established himself as a solid reserve defensive back and an extraordinary special teams player, but was never qualified enough to start.
The top two safeties in the draft are Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama and Calvin Pryor of Louisville. These two will both almost certainly be off the board when the Packers pick at 21. This may leave many to assume that the Packers would look to another position, especially since Ted Thompson loves to sing the "best player available" ballad. However, in the last few drafts, Green Bay has drafted on need in the first round, and then looked at the best player available in the later rounds. Nick Perry (2012) and Datone Jones (2013) are perfect examples of this.
I still like Green Bay to go safety in the first round. Jimmie Ward, a safety from Northern Illinois, is projected by many as possible late first, but more likely second round pick. Still, looking at Perry and Jones, who the Packers reached for in the last two years, I like the Packers to stay put at 21 and select Ward in Thursday's first round.
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