The of­fen­sive, de­fen­sive prospects for the Pack­ers’ first pick

Team can fill needs at cor­ner, line­backer

Packer Plus - - News - ROB REISCHEL SPE­CIAL TO PACKER PLUS

Matt Ryan to Julio Jones for a 73-yard touch­down. Ryan to Jones again for a 5-yard TD.

Ryan to Mo­hamed Sanu and Devonta Free­man for scores. Even Ryan with his feet, run­ning for a 14-yard TD.

The NFC Cham­pi­onship Game three months ago was one of the more em­bar­rass­ing per­for­mances in Green Bay Pack­ers his­tory. At­lanta piled up nearly 500 yards of to­tal of­fense, Ryan threw four touch­downs and ran for a fifth, and the Fal­cons ham­mered the Pack­ers, 44-21, in a game that wasn’t as close as the fi­nal score in­di­cated.

“We didn’t stop them at all de­fen­sively,” Pack­ers coach Mike McCarthy said af­ter­ward.

If Green Bay har­bors any hope of win­ning the next Su­per Bowl, it must up­grade its de­fense. Im­mensely.

The Pack­ers have one of the poor­est col­lec­tion of cor­ner­backs and need help at out­side line­backer. For­tu­nately for Green Bay, those are po­si­tions of strength in this draft.

The Pack­ers’ first pick is at No. 29. Here are six play­ers Green Bay could po­ten­tially select to help a de­fense that re­mains an Achilles heel.

QUINCY WIL­SON CB, Florida (6-1, 211)

Cor­ner­back is the great­est weak­ness on Green Bay’s ros­ter and Wil­son could pro­vide im­me­di­ate help.

Wil­son is big, phys­i­cal and has ideal size to play cor­ner­back now, and po­ten­tially move to safety down the road. Wil­son ran a medi­ocre 4.54 40-yard dash at the NFL com­bine and had 14 reps of 225 pounds.

Wil­son, who left Florida af­ter his ju­nior sea­son, had three in­ter­cep­tions in 2016 and re­turned one for a touch­down. Wil­son also had 33 tack­les, 31⁄ 2 tack­les for loss.

Ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus, Wil­son played 735 snaps in 2016 and al­lowed just 16 re­cep­tions on 46 tar­gets (34.8%). That ranked first in the SEC and fifth na­tion­ally.

“I feel like I’m the best, with­out a doubt. No ques­tion,” Wil­son told re­porters dur­ing Florida’s pro day last month. “What sets me apart is they’re look­ing for big­ger guys now and I feel like I have the best com­bi­na­tion of fluid hips, agility, all of that, speed all put to­gether in one. I feel like there’s guys that run faster, 4.3, 4.4, but they don’t move how I move or did what I did on film this past year.”

T.J. WATT OLB, Wis­con­sin (6-4, 252)

Re­mem­ber when Clay Matthews wreaked havoc on a weekly ba­sis. Many be­lieve Watt — who has a mo­tor compa- rable to Matthews — can do the same thing as early as 2017.

Watt (6-4, 252) is big­ger than Matthews (6-3, 240) was com­ing out of USC in 2009. Watt also has slightly larger arms (331⁄ vs. 8 321⁄ 4) and sub­stan­tially big­ger hands (11 inches vs. 91⁄ 2).

Matthews edged Watt in bench press reps (23-21) and 40yard dash time (4.67 vs. 4.69). But Watt held the edge in the three-cone drill (6.79 sec­onds vs. 6.90), the 20-yard shut­tle (4.13 sec­onds vs. 4.18), the verti- cal jump (37 inches vs. 35.5) and the broad jump (128.0 inches vs. 121.0).

“It’s great. Any­time you get com­pared to a great player like that it’s a great com­par­i­son,” Watt said of be­ing com­pared to Matthews. “I per­son­ally don’t shape my game af­ter any­one else.”

Watt played just one full year at out­side line­backer at Wis­con­sin and went wild with 111⁄ 2

sacks, 151⁄ tack­les for loss and 2 63 tack­les. Watt then de­cided to join broth­ers J.J. and Derek in the NFL and left Wis­con­sin af­ter his mem­o­rable ju­nior sea­son.

“What I bring is just my work ethic,” Watt said dur­ing the NFL com­bine in Fe­bru­ary. “I know it’s a cliché, but I do have a mo­tor that’s non­stop. I’m just al­ways go­ing af­ter the ball. I’m al­ways go­ing to give the team that takes me ev­ery­thing I have.

“To be hon­est with you it doesn’t mat­ter where I’m drafted or who I’m drafted to. Ob­vi­ously it would be great to be a first-round draft choice, but sec­ond, third, fourth it re­ally doesn’t mat­ter. It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter where I go. Wher­ever I go I’m go­ing to keep my mouth shut and just work as hard as I can and play ball.”

KEVIN KING CB, Washington (6-3, 200)

King has rare size for the po­si­tion, and his length makes it ex­tremely tough for re­ceivers to win 50-50 balls at their high point.

King had the top times of any­one at the NFL com­bine in the three-cone drill (6.56 sec­onds) and the 20-yard shut­tle (3.89 sec­onds). King ran the 40yard dash in a siz­zling 4.43 sec­onds, but many scouts in­sist his play speed isn’t nearly as good as his timed speed.

King lifted 225 pounds just 11 times and needs more strength to com­pete at the line of scrim­mage. King also played for exPacker Hardy Nick­er­son at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oak­land.

“Not too many guys are used to hav­ing that con­stant pest on them, nasty and long,” King said at the NFL com­bine. “And I’m go­ing to get the ball. When the ball’s in the air, that 50/50 ball isn’t re­ally 50/50. There are big­ger guys in this league, and you’ve got to go up and get the ball.”

CHIDOBE AWUZIE CB, Colorado (6-0, 202)

Awuzie has an im­pres­sive com­bi­na­tion of size, speed (4.43), ath­leti­cism and foot quick­ness. Awuzie’s tack­ling has been ques­tioned by many scouts, but he can play in­side or out and has also ex­celled on an is­land.

Awuzie also has a unique abil­ity to get to quar­ter­backs, post­ing nine ca­reer sacks at Colorado, in­clud­ing eight in the last two sea­sons.

“I’m just a ballplayer,” Awuzie said. “I al­ways have the men- tal­ity of ‘See ball, get ball.’ No mat­ter where I’m lined up, whether it’s sack­ing the quar­ter­back: get the ball, I’m go­ing to tackle him. If the ball’s in the air, I’m go­ing to tackle him on a play. And that’s the way my men­tal­ity is.”

CHARLES HAR­RIS DE/OLB, Mis­souri (6-3, 253)

Har­ris had 301⁄ tack­les for 2 loss and 16 sacks in the last two sea­sons. Har­ris has de­cent speed (4.82), but has got­ten too eas­ily en­gulfed by larger tack­les.

Har­ris, a for­mer bas­ket­ball stand­out, didn’t be­gin play­ing foot­ball un­til his ju­nior year of high school and seem­ingly has a high ceil­ing.

“I feel like my nat­u­ral abil­ity, my up­scale (up­side) is just amaz­ing,” Har­ris said. “I feel like I’m still raw at the game, I’m young at the game. I think coaches all know that I’m yearn­ing to learn more, I’m ea­ger to be bet­ter. I’m ea­ger to be great.”

TRE’DAVI­OUS WHITE CB, LSU (5-11, 192)

White was a four-year starter at LSU, a school with a long his­tory of pro­duc­ing top-shelf NFL cor­ners.

White is one of the top cover cor­ners in the draft, but lacks run-sup­port phys­i­cal­ity. White runs well (4.47) and fol­lowed No. 1 re­ceivers for much of his time at LSU.

“I have a great mind­set,” White said. “The way I ap­proach things just know­ing the po­si­tion I play is all about short term mem­ory. I have that. You’re go­ing to get beat. But I’m go­ing to win more than I lose.”

KIM KLEMENT / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Florida Ga­tors de­fen­sive back Quincy Wil­son has the size to play cor­ner­back at the pro level, but his speed may make him more of a fit at safety at some point. The Pack­ers will al­most cer­tainly look to up­grade the cor­ner­back po­si­tion in the NFL draft.

JIM DEDMON / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Mis­souri’s Charles Har­ris chases South Carolina quar­ter­back Jake Bentley. Har­ris is small, but does have 16 sacks over the last two sea­sons. Though his game is still raw, he could fit a need at out­side line­backer for the Pack­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.