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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Green Bay Packers pick Benardrick McKinney

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With the 30th overall pick in the 2015 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Green Bay Packers GM Nka727 selects ...

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Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State

When you think of the Green Bay Packers, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Aaron Rodgers? Brett Favre? The 2010 playoffs? For me, it is all of the drama created by Brett Favre not being able to make up his mind while a stud in the making sat on the bench. Waaaaaaaaay down the list of things that come to mind when I think of the Packers is the defenses they have put on the field over the last decade. When you really take things into consideration, many of the defensive players they have had have played pretty damn well but there really hasn't been a player they could rally around, a true leader.

Clay Matthews has been a huge success in Green Bay, but with all of the injuries he has had over the years can you honestly say he leads the defense? Was that ever a responsibility he should have been given? More often than not when you talk about Green Bay's defense the conversation is full of question marks and uncertainty. Did you know that in 2010 when they won the Superbowl their defense was ranked 5th in the league for yards allowed and 2nd in least amount of points allowed? As much as this league has turned pass-happy, the numbers never lie, and defense will win you championships.

I don't want to dance around this too much longer, I am sure you can all tell where this is going. The Green Bay Packers have some big holes to fill when it comes to their defense, and more holes to come as players begin to age. With that said, I believe the Green Bay Packers will select Benardrick McKinney, Inside Linebacker, Mississippi State. I will also say that I believe the Packers will take more than one inside linebacker this year simply because their depth is atrocious. Depending on who you talk to, listen to, or the articles you read, this may be a bit of a reach or it may be a great value. With Eric Kendricks off the board it will be tough to find someone that could come right in and make in impact for your team.

First, the highlights:

Next, the spider graph:

His strenghts: Tall, proportionally built inside linebacker with ability to play outside. Has thick, powerful legs. Good straight-line speed to chase. True take-on linebacker who can meet linemen head-on or beat them to the spot and leverage his gap with above average play strength. Scrapes and stalks while using length and powerful hands to keep himself free and clear of blockers. Steps into hole and fires into running back, finishing with wrap-up tackle. Able to run downfield in seam with tight ends. Aware of cutback lanes and rarely runs himself out of the play. Shows very good attention to assignment. Seems to have a nose for the play and is frequently in the mix. Has value on special teams and as a blitzer. Has adequate football intelligence.

His weaknesses: Plays high and is lacking suddenness. High center of gravity causes clunky change of direction in space. Foot quickness in tight quarters is below average and limiting. Instincts against run are there, but tends to fight his feet and marginal agility. Has trouble clearing the trash near his feet and labors against cut blocks, losing lateral momentum. Potential liability against the pass. Looks stiff when asked to cover in space and gives away too much separation to routes in his area in zone coverage.

His stats: 243 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 8 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble in 3 years.

At ILB he is compared to players like Rolando McClain, Sean Lee, and Brian Cushing. The real reason I think the pick is McKinney though is because he has the ability to move outside and rush the passer. When you consider his size and athleticism he could very easily move outside to give Julius Peppers a break, or let Clay Matthews move into middle for a very obscure defensive front. We know first-hand that you want to find mismatches on the field, so why not take a guy that is 6'5" and can run a 4.6 40?

Don't take my word for it though:

"I think as you look at your defense, it should be based off of personnel — where you want to get the matchups, trying to get what you feel is your best group on the field and trying to match it up to their personnel," Capers said. "For example, the Eagles, you know it's going to be fast pace, a lot of tempo and a lot of quick passes on the outside."

The bottom line with McKinney is that he will instantly make your run game better. He may miss on some tackles when trying to make a big hit, and he may not be the best in coverage, but those are things that can be taught and the ever so popular size/speed combo is not. McKinney is explosive, he can reach you from a mile, and if you're not looking he will make you pay. If you can take a guy this big, this fast, this instinctive and make him angry... he will terrorize offenses for years. Add in the fact that he can play inside, outside, and possibly DE for the Packers furthering their ability to adjust according to the offenses they face, and he becomes a no brainer in my mind. Now, this doesn't mean they don't take another linebacker in 2015, they absolutely need to, but someone has to be the anchor for this defense, and he absolutely fills that need. Plus, someone has to put Adrian Peterson in check.

2015 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (slickpablovick) - Jameis Winston, QB, FSU - [Explanation]
2) Tennessee Titans (mchiodo) - Leonard Williams, DE, USC - [Explanation]
3) Jacksonville Jaguars ("Snax") - Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, UF - [Explanation]
4) Oakland Raiders (kylebruneault) - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - [Explanation]
5) Washington Redskins (BigTimeTMZ) - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - [Explanation]
6) New York Jets (4thand26) - Kevin White, WR, WVU - [Explanation]
7) Chicago Bears (rohan915) - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson - [Explanation]
8) Atlanta Falcons (GMinTraining) - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington - [Explanation]
9) New York Giants (Grandpapa Joe) - Landon Collins, S, Alabama - [Explanation]
10) St. Louis Rams (deg0ey) - Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa - [Explanation]
11) Minnesota Vikings (ablesser88) - Trae Waynes, CB, MSU - [Explanation]
12) Cleveland Browns (djcunningham) - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville - [Explanation]
13) New Orleans Saints (del.champion) - Shane Ray, DE, Mizzou - [Explanation]
14) Miami Dolphins (drc242) - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU - [Explanation]
15) San Francisco 49ers (SleepingDuck) - Randy Gregory, OLB, NU - [Explanation]
16) Houston Texans (JaviYL) - La'el Collins, OT, LSU - [Explanation]
17) San Diego Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) - Bud Dupree, OLB, UK - [Explanation]
18) Kansas City Chiefs (jimmyrustler) - Andrus Peat, OT, Standford - [Explanation]
19) Cleveland Browns (NowWhat?) - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas - [Explanation]
20) Philadelphia Eagles (sports00fan00) - Jaelen Strong, WR, ASU - [Explanation]
21) Cincinnati Bengals (Zach_The_Gamecock) - T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt - [Explanation]
22) Pittsburgh Steelers (KJ Brophy) - Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon - [Explanation]
23) Detroit Lions (KamiKazeJEDI) - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin - [Explanation]
24) Arizona Cardinals (ItownBallers22) - Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA - [Explanation]
25) Carolina Panthers (AndyMcNabb) - Shaq Thompson, LB, UW - [Explanation]
26) Baltimore Ravens (dceagles) - Byron Jones, CB, UConn - [Explanation]
27) Dallas Cowboys (kamjam) - Kevin Johnson, CB, WFU - [Explanation]
28) Denver Broncos (WubbaLubbaDubDub) - Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon - [Explanation]
29) Indianapolis Colts (ei78) - Cameron Erving, C, FSU - [Explanation]
30) Green Bay Packers (Nka727) - Benardrick McKinney, LB, MSSTATE - [Explanation]
31) New Orleans Saints (SwoopThereItIs) -
32) New England Patriots (naderg43) -