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2016 Draft Needs: Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers have made the playoffs the last 7 seasons in a row. However, they regressed on offense in 2015 and have some defensive holes. Let’s take a look at the Packers draft day needs for 2016. The Packers have pick 27, 57, 88, 125, 131, 137, 163, 200, and 248 for a total of nine picks.

Starting Holes

Inside Linebacker (2)

Sam Barrington returns from injury and Jake Ryan was drafted in the 4th round in 2015. However, the Packers could use an upgrade from both players with a starting caliber inside linebacker in one of the two spots. Reggie Ragland probably won’t fall to 27 but anything can happen. Scooby Wright III, Kentrell Brothers and Joshua Perry are day 2 options for Green Bay. The Packers biggest weakness is ILB coverage. The rookie LB must be able to cover TEs and backs.

Defensive End/Nose Tackle

The Packers re-signed Letroy Guion but lost Raji to temporary retirement. Josh Boyd returns from injury but Mike Pennel is suspended the first four games. Mike Daniels is a great DE and Datone Jones can rush the passer but doesn’t play many run defense snaps.

The Packers need a versatile run stuffer and pass rush DE in this draft or even a nose tackle to relegate Guion to depth. Jarran Reed, Andrew Billings, Austin Johnson or Vernon Butler could be in play at pick 27. Jonthan Bullard could sneak into the conversation at 27. Chris Jones and Kenny Clark are possible Round 2 picks. This is a deep DT class and the Packers will try to upgrade the trenches after losing a starter and struggling against the run in 2015.

Future Needs

Offensive Line

David Bakhtiari, JC Tretter, Josh Sitton and TJ Lang are all free agents next year. The Packers could use some picks to bolster their offensive line. Jason Spriggs or Germain Ifedi are possible at pick 27. Shonn Colemam, Le’Raven Clark or Jerald Hawkins could be Round 2 picks. Cody Whitehair is a guard option on day 2. Joshua Garnett and Christian Westerman could be Round 2 or 3 guard prospects to wear the green and gold. The Packers will try to re-sign some of their own but adding a young player for 4 years in the draft is an easy way to upgrade.

WR

Jordy Nelson is coming off an injury (knee). James Jones is a free agent. Davonte Adams struggled in year 2. Jared Aberrderris showed some flashes but is oft injured. Janis has speed but needs to improve his route tree and didn’t have many targets (14 in regular season). Cobb is a good slot WR. The Packers could use one more WR. I doubt Ted Thompson would take a WR at 27 but Round 2 or 3 is possible with plenty to choose.

Outside Linebacker

Julius Peppers is a free agent next season and well-aged at 35. Mike Neal is a current free agent and Nick Perry hits the free agent market again in 2017. Datone Jones may stand up more but is a DE. The Packers could use some fresh blood at OLB. Noah Spence could fall for character concerns to 27. Leonard Floyd could be the 27th pick. Kamali Correra is a day 2 option.

Tight End

Jared Cook was signed as a one year stop gap from the Rams. Richard Rodgers hasn’t impressed but is serviceable. The Packers could use a long term answer at Tight End. Hunter Henry in Round 2 makes a lot of sense.

Running Back

Eddie Lacy has a big prove it 2016 upcoming after trimming down this offseason. Lacy is a free agent after 2016. The Packers re-signed James Starks who is 30. Green Bay should add a young back to their stable even though Lacy and Starks will carry the load this season.

Summary

Green Bay has plenty of picks (9) to add to their defense and future needs. Thompson has work to do after sleeping through free agency for the millionth year in a row but the Packers are in pretty good shape.