The Green Bay Packers have eight picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 29 in the first round April 27 in Philadelphia.
Often overlooked in free agency is what a team does re-signing key players. While the Packers did lose guard T.J. Lang and versatile defensive back Micah Hyde, general manager Ted Thompson managed to re-sign Nick Perry, which is a shot in the arm for the defense.
While the draft is expected to yield help at cornerback and possibly on the offensive line, the depth at running back this year could land a top threat that would replace the departed Eddie Lacy.
Here is a look at the Packers' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season. Below that are key personnel moves made this year and the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2017 picks.
FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .2012 . .2013 . .2014 . .2015 . .2016
TOTAL PICKS . . . .8 . . . . .11 . . . . .9 . . . . .8 . . . .7
STARTERS . . . . . .2 . . . . . .3 . . . . .3 . . . . .4 . . . .1
BACKUPS . . . . . .0 . . . . . .2 . . . . .3 . . . . .3 . . . .6
OTHER TEAMS . . .2 . . . . .3 . . . . .2 . . . . .0 . . . .0
OUT OF LEAGUE . .4 . . . . .3 . . . . .1 . . . . .1 . . .0
Top three draft needs:
1. Cornerback: The return of Davon House to Green Bay after he bolted in free agency in 2015 for a starting job with the Jacksonville Jaguars doesn't heal a wounded position for the Packers. General manager Ted Thompson bid adieu to veteran standout Sam Shields early in the offseason in the wake of his repeated concussions, and integral defensive back Micah Hyde signed a free-agent deal with the Buffalo Bills. The absence of Shields for all but the opening game reared its ugly head throughout last season, culminating with the defenseless display on the back end against Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in the Atlanta Falcons' 44-21 NFC Championship rout. Though House should step right in as a starter, the Packers still could use a ready-made contributor early in the upcoming draft as they continue to wait on the development of young prospects Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter.
2. Running back: General manager Ted Thompson fortified the team's bread-and-butter passing game by signing not one, but two big-play tight ends in free agency with Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks. That's good news for Aaron Rodgers, who has an abundance of options on the receiving end of his throws. Yet, the Packers have counted more key personnel losses than gains so far this offseason, and one of the big departures happened at running back. Eddie Lacy, thought to be a bell cow in the team's backfield for many years, is looking to get back on track after two subpar, injury-plagued seasons by joining the Seattle Seahawks. Coupled with the release of James Starks shortly after last season, that leaves the Packers with converted wideout Ty Montgomery and the re-signed Christine Michael as their top two ball carriers going into the spring workouts.
3. Guard: The Packers are faced with plugging in a starter at right guard for the first time since they shifted stalwart T.J. Lang there from the left side in 2013. That's because Lang's productive eight-year run in Green Bay is over after he cashed in as a free agent with a big contract from the rival Detroit Lions. Head coach Mike McCarthy has asserted that veteran Bryan Bulaga, who has experience playing guard, won't be moving from his longstanding spot of right tackle. Yet, the team's investment of a second-round draft pick in natural tackle Jason Spriggs last year may prompt some necessary line tinkering, unless Thompson hits on a capable interior player in the draft. The only viable options on the roster are versatile backup Don Barclay, recently signed first-year player Justin McCray and Kyle Murphy, a tackle who essentially had a redshirt rookie season as a sixth-round draft pick.
1/29: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (5-10, 203, 4.49)
2/61: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson (6-1, 199, 4.40)
3/93: Trey Hendrickson, DE/OLB, Florida Atlantic (6-4, 266, 4.65)
4/134: Jordan Morgan, G, Kutztown (Pa.) (6-3, 309, 5.36)
5/172: Deatrich Wise, DL, Arkansas (6-5, 274, 4.92)
5/*182: George Kittle, TE, Iowa (6-4, 247, 4.52)
6/212: Nathan Gerry, SS, Nebraska (6-2, 218, 4.57)
7/247: Austin Carr, WR, Northwestern (6-0, 202, 4.61)
Now it's your turn. NFLDraftScout.com is ready to help with its list of the top 1,000 prospects in this draft.
--Frank Cooney and TSX NFL team insiders contributed to this analysis.