The Green Bay Packers are coming from a disappointing season. 8-7-1 is not a good record when you have arguably the best pure QB in the NFL but is an understandable record when your team was plagued by so many injuries as the Packers last season. Still they made the playoffs winning the NFC North. The playoff game was a tough one where they fought till the end but a better balanced team, the 49ers, beat them.
In the offseason the Packers re-signed QB Matt Flynn (filling the need at backup QB), RB James Starks, FB John Kuhn, TE Andrew Quarless, NT B.J. Raji, OLB Mike Neal, CB Sam Shields and FS Chris Banjo. They also signed DE Julius Peppers. They lost WR James Jones to the Raiders, C Evan Dietrich-Smith to the Buccaneers, OT Marshall Newhouse to the Bengals, DE C.J. Wilson to the Raiders and FS M.D. Jennings to the Bears. Other free agents that have not signed yet include QB Seneca Wallace, RB Kahlil Bell, TE Jermichael Finley, DE Johnny Jolly, NT Ryan Pickett, ILB Robert Francois and ILB Jamari Lattimore.
Looking at their moves it's clear that TE, ILB and S are their biggest needs. They miss a proven starter at both 3-4 DE positions too but Datone Jones (2013 first round pick) and Mike Daniels (best defensive grade in the entire defense by PFF at 22.4 overall) look reliable for those positions. WR can also be considered a need at 21. There could be more reliable WRs available but Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb look like a very good 1-2 punch there and young guys like Jarret Boykin, Myles White, Chris Harper also add to this, at least, average WR group. So the possibility for drafting a WR looks good at later picks.
This brings me to the top three positions I mentioned, TE, ILB and S. With the best safeties gone (Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix), Jimmie Ward is the best safety available. At TE, Eric Ebron is gone as clearly the best TE. Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jace Amaro are still there but I don't see that much value at No. 21 for them. At ILB, the best prospect is CJ Mosley, who is available. He fills a great need and adds that coverage at the ILB position that has been missing in the Packers' defense.
I'm thinking of picking the BPA (like Ted Thompson, Green Bay's real GM) and it was a big surprise to me that such a great player, a top 10 player, like Anthony Barr is still available.
So with the 21st pick in the 2014 Arrowhead Pride Mock Draft, the Green Bay Packers select
UCLA OLB Anthony Barr
Questioning this pick would be the addition of Julius Peppers in the offseason on the opposite side of Clay Matthews, but the Packers don't plan to use Peppers at full time there, as it says in this article from Yahoo! Sports.
"When the Green Bay Packers signed Julius Peppers, it raised a few interesting questions. One being: where would Peppers, traditionally a 4-3 end, play in the Packers' 3-4 scheme? Peppers is expected to play an "elephant" position in the Packers' defense, which head coach Mike McCarthy revealed at the NFL owners meetings.
What exactly is en elephant?
"'Elephant' is a term used for a multiple-position player along the defensive front," McCarthy said, according to the Journal Sentinel. "Julius will be part of that group. The specifics I'd rather get into once the players find out, once we go through it with the players."
Peppers is 34 so taking his replacement is not a bad idea as Barr looks like the real deal in this year's draft full of very good pass rushers.
Barr is powerful and athletic, a rare specimen with highly disruptive force. He has the potential of producing double-digit sacks for many years in the NFL. Still, he is far from a finished product and may take some time for him to develop completely. As a junior, he ended up with 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. In 2013, he finished with 10 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. He won the Lott Impact Trophy, first team Walter Camp All-American and first team All-Pac-12.
He is the type of rare athlete with very good production that I couldn't pass up at No. 21.
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