Nolan Murphy’s 8th Annual NFL Draft Preview
Nolan resides in West Palm Beach, FL, where he co-hosts ESPN WEST PALM’S #MikeandMurph. Follow him @TheNolanMurphy on Twitter, Instagram or NBMURPHY ON Snapchat. His Floridian tan is still pending. Similar to his Millionaire status.
The Packers; my friends and family and the Green Bay Packers – those are the only things that has been along for the ride through my high’s and lows, since February 26th, 1991. They have never left me wanting more or asking for my money back.
My Dad, Fred, topped the most recent of thousands of Packers conversations we have had, where I was explaining my 2017 Super Bowl aspirations and how THIS was our year by saying “You say that every year.” Well, Damnit Fred, you taught me to love this team and I have never, will never, go into a game or season without seriously picturing or at least convincing myself that we could win the Super Bowl. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, I appreciate the wisdom St. Vincent. And yes, I refer to the Packers as “we”
The NFL Draft has been the unofficial start to the Green Bay Packers season since Ted Thompson took office in 2005. NFL Free Agency typically comes and goes without a signing. It’s like going to a local bar, hoping to hook up with your high school crush, but instead, getting turned down by the town slumpbuster.
For those who have been reading these previews or listening to me predict the draft in my parents’ basement for years, thank you! For those who are first time, new time, Welcome! For those who hate my writing and me being a homer #BlessUp,
The NFL Draft is no longer on a Saturday and Sunday, the buzz has grown into a three-day event featured by two amazing standalone primetime spots on Thursday and Friday night and then hastily covered on Saturday. Whether it will be the quarterbacks falling or the drafting of Joe Mixon, come that first bell of round one, we all will be on our toes trying to figure out which star, or bust, will be on our team for the next four years before leaving in free agency.
Without further ado, a tradition unlike any other in the history of grammatical errors my 8th* annual NFL Draft preview (*I took 2016 off to become a South Floridian).
What to know: The Packers have eight picks and I would expect them to acquire more, Teddy T may be more than willing to trade out of pick 29 in the 1st round if one of the quarterback needy teams wants to move back into the 1st round.
Five Positions of Need:
Pass Rusher: So long Father Time, Julius Peppers. I never expected that one spring morning in 2014 when we signed you off the scrap heave from Chicago that we would milk three more years of production out of your Hall of Fame career. T.J. Watt of Wisconsin and bloodline of the best defensive player in the NFL, J.J. Watt of the Texans has been rumored to Titletown. This would leave Badger honks clamoring and giddy. Derek Bennett of Tennessee reminds me of James Harrison, I will do an extra prayer on Thursday he has diluted urine and slips in the draft. Nick Perry signed a long term low risk deal, that the Packers will make him earn every penny of. Clay Matthews finds him at a crossroads for his Packers career. Matthews can’t play the middle and not produce again in 2017 with a team option coming for the 2018 season, 30 years of age and another $10+ million cap hit.
Running Back: We have all heard the Packers dropped back on a higher percentage of plays than any team in 2016. We can’t hope another Ahman Green falls into our hands via trade. Eddie Lacy’s departure to Seattle will sting if he scores 10 TD’s for the Packers biggest rivals in 2017. Knowing Eddie, he will eat too many fried grasshoppers at Safeco Field and may end back up with the Packers in 2018. I’m not comfortable going into the season with Ty Montgomery and Christian Michael. I will send a new broom to whatever Witch put the spell on Dalvin Cook’s 2017 draft stock over the last few weeks if he falls to the Packers at 29. Wisconsin running back Corey Clement to me could be one of many middle round Badgers along with outside linebacker Vince Biegel who may be staying in state. Oklahoma’s public relations nightmare Joe Mixon may be too much of a risk for the front office, but if his skills outweighs his baggage I’m sold.
Cornerback: A great pass rush could make the construction of Dom Capers’ toupee and Ted Thompson’s current pitiful secondary be a distant memory. I expect bounce back junior campaigns from Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall, both 2015 successful draft picks. The Packers would be smart to hit the Alabama pipeline again if cornerback Marlon Humphrey is available at 29 or early in the 2nd round. I don’t stay up late enough on early Sunday mornings to watch the Pac-12 standouts Fabian Moreau (UCLA), Kevin King (Washington) or Chidobe Awuzie (Colorado). I did YouTube scout Awuzie Tuesday and fell in love and he could be a potential Micah Hyde replacement. If the Packers graded out current Ohio State cornerback Gaeron Conley high in the draft process and have the current intel that he’s 100% of innocent of his pending rape charger, he’s a steal.
Offensive Line: Losing T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton in one calendar year hopefully will work out for Ted Thompson the same way cutting ties with Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera did in 2004. I loved another buy low signing Wednesday by the Packers of former All-Pro guard Jahri Evans, fire up the brat grill and bring that man to Kroll’s. Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp never stood out to me during the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl, just sayin’. 2016 draft pick Jason Spriggs is ready and I think the Packers will pick two linemen who can swing through multiple spots on the line.
Additional: I just need to get this on paper, but the Packers are going to pick a quarterback on Day 3. I see you Brad Kaaya from the “U”. Tight ends I think could still be addressed with either Clemson’s Jordan Leggett or Wyoming’s Jacob Hollister. Ted Thompson has had so much success drafting impact wide receivers starting Day 2 and beyond, I’d love to land USC’s Juju Smith-Schuster, Baylor’s Ishmael Zamora or East Carolina’s Zay Jones.
Murph’s Packers Top 5 Big Board:
- DE-Derek Barnett-Tennessee
- RB- Dalvin Cook-Florida State
- DB- Chidobe Awuzie-Colorado
- DB-Gaeron Conley-Ohio State
- DE- Malik McDowell -Michigan State
See you all at Super Bowl 52 as we host the first ever Super Bowl in East Dakota!