Packers Draft Predictions: Nick Perry, Shea McClellin, Whitney Mercilus on Green Bay's Radar?

The packers drafted Clay Matthews with their first pick in 2008. Two years later, he won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award.
The packers drafted Clay Matthews with their first pick in 2008. Two years later, he won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award.

The Packers had one of the best regular seasons in the history of the NFL last season.

Green Bay went 15-1, before losing to the Giants in the Divisional Round of the postseason. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the unanimous MVP of the league, and engineered one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL.

While the Packers had a great season, they still have areas that need to improve. There's a reason they didn't even make it to the NFC Championship Game. While Green Bay possessed some of the most explosive weapons in the league, they had a lot of trouble on defense. They will certainly look to upgrade those areas in the draft.

Here are the Packers biggest needs heading into the draft, as well as some players they might target.

Pass Rusher

A lack of a solid pass rush may have been Green Bay's biggest weakness on defense last year. The Packers had just 29 sacks during the 2011 season, putting them at 27th in the league. In their playoff loss to the Giants, Green Bay sacked Eli Manning just once, allowing the quarterback plenty of time to hit open receivers.

Nose tackle B.J. Raji had a disappointing 2011 campaign, recording less than half the amount of sacks he picked up in 2010. All Pro Clay Matthews had an even bigger drop off. He had just six sacks in 2011, compared to 13.5 the previous season.

Expect the Packers to take the best pass rusher on the board when they pick at number 28 overall. Defensive end/linebacker Nick Perry out of USC could be Green Bay's number one choice late in the first round. If he's not available, either defensive end Shea McClellin from Boise St. or Whitney Mercilus from Illinois will likely be taken by Green Bay.

The Packers will probably be looking for a pass rushing linebacker soon after round one. Nigel Bradham from Florida St. and Terrell Manning out of NC State will be targets for Green Bay at pick number 90 in the third round.

Defensive Back

When the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, their secondary was very good. The same can't be said for last year. They were adept at creating turnovers, leading the league with 31 interceptions, but opposing teams were able to move the ball down the field with ease.

Green Bay was last in the NFL, allowing 4,796 yards through the air. In their postseason loss, Eli Manning threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams will remain the team's starters, but they could use a servicable backup.

The Packers probably won't select a defensive back in the first round, but will look to add depth in the second. There's a good chance Green Bay will select either cornerback Josh Robinson from UCF or Jamell Fleming out of Oklahoma with the 59th pick in the draft.

Join the Discussion