I’ve decided to reignite a draft day tradition by highlighting my preferred targets for each of the Packers’ 2017 NFL Draft selections. I use that term “tradition” quite loosely, as I only went through this exercise on the Draft Days in 2011 and 2012. My excitement for this class — and for the back half of Aaron Rodgers’ career — has me feeling obligated, however, to show my Cheesehead pride and step into Ted Thompson’s big shoes.
On the morning of one of my three favorite days on the football calendar, full of anticipation for one of the best draft classes in recent memory finding homes, I feel compelled to re-visit a draft topic I haven’t covered in years. In 2011 and 2012, when I was admittedly a much more avid blogger, I studied the skill position players to create my personal ranking for the top skill talent available to NFL teams. The results can be used as a rough guide for dynasty drafters, though as it’s pre-draft, it focuses solely on skill sets and developmental upside, without accounting for team fit and early-career roles. It’s purely about individual talent.
I’m going to be completely embarrassed when many of these picks are wildly off target since I’ve pored over tape, measurables and a wide variety of opinions for roughly 125 players over the last few weeks to produce the shrewdest mock draft I possibly could. Okay, embarrassed is a stretch, but I did really put in my homework, and along the way, I concluded a few things:
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last mock for the Cowboys, but not much has changed in terms of the team’s needs. The secondary is the primary concern, while the pass rush, o-line, and tight end spots could all use a boost. (My first mock of the year, done pre-Combine and mostly horribly out of date now, is here.)
I deliberately zagged when I’d previously zigged on a couple of the earlier picks here, just to see how the player pool shook out, but for the most part I think the talent haul ended up being similar to the prior mock. It might take a couple more weeks, and the completion of all the Pro Days, for there to be any significant changes in rankings that might radically alter how these mocks play out.
This one was done using Fanspeak‘s own Big Board, with the user-voted team needs.
Free agency has picked up a nice second wind over the last two days, with Thursday bringing a couple of fairly notable signings and visits on the offensive side of the ball, as well as a big name on defense finding a new home. Let’s dive into what changed in the NFL landscape over the last 24 hours:
The NFL has rightfully gained a reputation of having a 365-day-a-year news cycle, and Wednesday served as a fitting example. On what was the sixth full day of the new league year and free agency period, transactions were still transpiring at a fairly brisk clip around the league. Here’s a more in-depth look at who landed where Wednesday and very early Thursday:
With the Combine and the initial wave of free agent signings now done, Dallas’ shopping list heading into the draft has become a little clearer. The return of Terrance Williams removes the need for an early WR, but the secondary still has some glaring holes with Nolan Carroll being little more than a depth option. The offensive line suddenly has a couple of openings, and La’el Collins can only fill one of them. The pass rush is still a concern, and the Cowboys still need to start grooming a replacement for Jason Witten (unless you believe all the optimistic talk starting to bubble up about Rico Gathers).
With all that understood, I went back to Fanspeak for my second mock of the draft season (the first can be found here), using Fanspeak’s big board and the fan-voted team needs to guide the selections for the other 31 clubs. The Cowboys, during Will McClay’s tenure running the show as the team’s draft guru, have focused on SPARQ stars from power conferences, so that’s where I’ll direct my attention.