Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
After a relatively quiet Free Agency, the Green Bay Packers still have a few question marks at starting positions and several concerns looking further down the road. Although you can take a look at the Packers roster and pick out several players you'd want starting on your favorite team, there are several areas were the Packers can instantly improve.
Green Bay's Needs: TE, OLB, DL, OL, and ILB
Ever since Jermichael Finley's injury in 2013 the Packers have been without a quality TE. Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers haven't been able to fill the shoes of the once dynamic playmaker. Richard Rogers' yards per catch actually went down in his second year while playing with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. In the offseason the Packers signed Jared Cook who will give them a bump in production but is entering his 8th year in the league and not a long term solution at the position. The TE class in 2016 is very light at the top and the only prospect who could even be considered for a first round pick is Hunter Henry from Arkansas, but he is more likely to be a 2nd round pick.
Even with Clay Matthews returning to OLB next year, there still are questions at the position. Julius Peppers is 36 and there were rumors he was considering retirement. The packers re-signed their 2012 1st round pick Neal Perry to who finished strong last year a 1 year deal. After these 3, there isn't much of any depth at OLB. With Clay moving around the defense, and a lot of uncertainty for 2017, OLB could become a big problem if not addressed. Although the Packers will miss out on the top OLB prospect, Myles Jack, they might have a shot at a few other 1st round prospects, including Darron Lee and Leonard Floyd.
Going into the start of the 2016 season, the only thing certain on the Packers defensive line is Mike Daniels, who recently signed a 4 year extension worth $42 million. BJ Raji is taking a "hiatus" and filling in for him will be Letroy Guion and Mike Pennel, who is serving a 4 game suspension. The only other options on the DL for the Packers are Josh Boyd, who missed 14 games last year, and Datone Jones, both 2013 draft picks, who together have a combined 86 tackles. Luckily for the Packers, it is a deep draft for the D-line and they could go any number of routes depending on who is available when they're on the clock.
Last year the Packers dealt with a few injuries along the OL. Right tackle Bryan Baluga has career knee issues and left tackle David Bakhtiari missed time with an ankle injury. Bakhtiari, along with guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, and reserve OT JC Tretter will be free agents in 2017, leaving a big question mark at the position down the line. If there's a offensive lineman on the board the Packers like, they could pick him, but with the defensive depth in this draft, they have a shot to fill a current need at other positions with talent.
The Packers biggest need is Inside Linebacker. Last year the Packers had Clay Matthews play the position and although Clay's play was effective, he is still much more valuable playing the outside and being able to rush the QB. Aside from Clay, the Packers have 2 young ILB prospects. The first is Jake Ryan, a 4th round pick in 2015. In his rookie year, including postseason, Ryan played in 16 games (7 starts including 2 postseason) and recorded 57 tackles, 38 of them being solo. The second is Sam Barrington. A 7th round in 2013, Barrington injured his foot in the 1st quarter of the Packers week 1 game against the Bears and was placed on IR. The previous year, Barrington 80 tackles, 51 solo, and 1 sack in 16 games (9 starts including 2 postseason). The top rated ILB in the draft is Reggie Ragland, a senior out of Alabama. After Ragland there isn't too much top ILB talent in this draft, with less than a hand full of prospects expected to go in the first two days. Packers fans would love for him to drop to them come April 28th.
Reggie Ragland is an instinctive cover and run-stopping 6'-1" 247lb ILB from Alabama. Coming into the season Ragland was asked to do a little more without Landon Collins behind him and he sure stepped up. Reggie led the Tide with 97 tackles and had 6.5 tackles for loss while also breaking up 6 passes on his way to winning SEC Defensive Player of the year and a National Championship. Reggie could hear his name called as early as #11 with the Bears, Bills, Falcons, Redskins, and Packers showing interest.
Draft Breakdown in Championship Game
Draft Breakdown vs. Georgia
The Green Bay Packers are ecstatic that Reggie Ragland is still on the board at 27. The top ranked ILB and SEC Player of the Year will instantly fill in and start in their 3-4 Defense as Clay Matthews moves back outside.
2016 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Titans (ablesser88) - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss - [Explanation]
2) Browns ( Genius) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State - [Explanation]
3) Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) - Jared Goff, QB, Cal - [Explanation]
4) Cowboys (kamjam) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State - [Explanation]
5) Jaguars (drc242) - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State - [Explanation]
6) Ravens (rohan915) - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon - [Explanation]
7) 49ers (LAOJoe) - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA - [Explanation]
8) Eagles (slickpablovick) - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - [Explanation]
9) Buccaneers (OneBucFan47) - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky - [Explanation]
10) Giants (Paulie97) - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida - [Explanation]
11) Bears (Kiko's Delivery Service) - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State - [Explanation]
12) Saints (kylebruneault) - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson - [Explanation]
13) Dolphins (wildcatlh) - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State - [Explanation]
14) Raiders (Luxury_Used_Vehicles_By_Braman) - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State - [Explanation]
15) Rams (NowWhat?) - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis - [Explanation]
16) Lions (bri g) - Jason Sprigs, OT, Indiana - [Explanation]
17) Falcons (thealien2696) - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State - [Explanation]
18) Colts (ei78) - Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame - [Explanation]
19) Bills (naderg43) - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville - [Explanation]
20) Jets (Quacking_Eagle) - Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia - [Explanation]
21) Washington (TheCoxishere) - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama - [Explanation]
22) Texans (jeppsforst) - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU - [Explanation]
23) Vikings (WScott151) - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss - [Explanation]
24) Bengals (burkhart_b) - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor - [Explanation]
25) Steelers (theaction) - Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia - [Explanation]
26) Seahawks (tfrank9811) - Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech - [Explanation]
27) Packers (sports00fan00) - Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama - [Explanation]
28) Chiefs (jawmo) -
N/A) Patriots - Cheaters
29) Cardinals (big DUB) -
30) Panthers (zatch2k) -
31) Broncos (JALupowitz) -