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Green Bay Packers: 2017 NFL Combine Players To Watch

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Green Bay Packers: 2017 NFL Combine Players To Watch

“I believe we can run the table.” – Those are the famous words Aaron Rodgers uttered after Green Bay was 4-6 and their playoff odds looked slim. Rodgers backed up his word, and carried the team to a 10-6 record and the NFC Championship Game.

Rodgers did this despite backfield issues and the worst pass defense in the league. The Packers now hold the 29th overall pick and have several needs. Particularly, running back, cornerback, and linebacker come to mind.

The 2017 NFL Combine features hundreds of players looking to showcase their talent. Among the many, there are several that could be perfect fits in Green Bay. Here are a few players that should interest the Packers at the combine.

Christian McCaffrey – RB, Stanford

The Packers backfield was decimated by injuries this past season. Eddie Lacy is an impending free agent and the receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery likely won’t be able to handle being a workhorse just yet. McCaffrey would be a perfect fit for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers has thrived with pass catching backs like McCaffrey. McCaffrey has caught 82 balls in the past two seasons for Stanford. The tailback would thrive in the Packers offense that emphasizes misdirections, outside runs, and slip screens.

He’s the ultimate swiss army knife, as he is deadly both running and catching the ball, and serves as an adequate returner on special teams. McCaffrey is widely regarded as a late-first, early-second round pick at the moment. If McCaffrey has a great showing at the combine, he could suddenly be very high on Ted Thompson‘s wish list. Thompson has a history of drafting defensive players in the first round but McCaffrey could help Green Bay‘s offense become perhaps the deadliest in the league.

Jarrad Davis – LB, Florida

Middle linebacker has been a revolving door for the Packers the past few seasons. Even Clay Matthews has given it a spin, with decent results. Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan played the position relatively well in 2016, but the Packers could use a true stud at the position. Jarrad Davis fits the bill, and could be a perfect fit in Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense. Davis has a high motor and the ability to make plays in the run game as well as being athletic enough to handle himself in pass coverage.

In a draft with so much defensive talent, Davis will have to have a great combine in order to separate himself from the others. With scouts questioning his big-play production (20 TFLs and 5.5 sacks in 38 games), an excellent showing at the combine will be imperative. If Davis shows teams his intriguing athleticism, he could be a very viable option for the late first round. The Packers should keep their eye on Davis if they want a true playmaker on defense.

Fabian Moreau – CB, UCLA

It’s no secret that the play of the Packers corners was putrid this past season. Green Bay was 31st in the league defending the pass. Luckily for the Packers, corner is perhaps the deepest position in this years draft class. Names like Marlon Humphrey of Alabama and Sidney Jones of Washington are likely to be off the board early. This shouldn’t discourage the Packers however, as there will be several gems in the later rounds. One of these gems could be Fabian Moreau of UCLA.

After Casey Hayward‘s departure last offseason, the Packers have been missing a shutdown slot corner. Moreau has quick feet and a knack for breaking up passes that perfectly suits a slot corner. Moreau isn’t a huge playmaker (only 4 interceptions in 3 seasons), but he won’t give up the big plays. With NFL offenses putting more of an emphasis on attacking the middle of the field, Moreau is a perfect fit.

Some project Moreau going as low as the fourth round. If Moreau has a solid combine, particularly showing he has quality hands and solid speed, he could go higher. If Ted Thompson could find his Casey Hayward replacement after the 1st round, that would be a steal.

T.J. Watt-OLB-Wisconsin

Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, and Datone Jones are all slated to be free agents. The Packers will likely resign at least one of them, and Perry in particular should be a priority. Peppers, even if retained, is not an every-down linebacker and Jones has not lived up to his first round selection.

Watt would likely be a first round pick another year but with so many exciting edge rushers in this years class he will likely not be selected until at least the second round. While he is not necessarily an athletic freak like his All Pro brother, he does have a lot going for him. Watt is 6’5″ 245 lbs and has a relentless motor. Not only this, but he had a very productive year for the Wisconsin Badgers this past season with 11.5 sacks. Wisconsin runs a very similar defensive scheme to the Packers so Watt could be a very good fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker

Watt has been a popular choice in mock drafts for the Packers, both because of his fit and also because he is a Wisconsin native. However, there are still questions as to whether the Badgers star is first round worthy. Watt‘s ability in pass coverage has been brought into question, as well as his ability to get through double teams and contain. This stems from skepticism about his lower body quickness and strength. If he shows at the combine that he has solid lateral quickness and strength, he could move up draft boards enough to be worthy of the 29th overall selection.

 

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