Mailbag: Packers and Montee Ball

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
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Most of you weren't happy with my selection for the Green Bay Packers in Tuesday's #bloggermock draft. The truth: Neither was I.

Generally speaking, I'm convinced the Packers would like to upgrade their defensive line this offseason. But when the Packers' No. 26 overall pick arrived in our mock, seven defensive linemen had already been chosen -- four tackles and three ends. Safety sounds like a logical target, but at that point two of them had already been drafted and there is no consensus on the third-best at that position.

Offensive line is also possibility, and two of the targets we've seen in many mock drafts -- Syracuse's Justin Pugh and Florida State's Menelik Watson -- were available. But would the Packers make an offensive lineman their top choice for the third time in four years? Logical or not, that prospect gave me some pause.

My only opportunity in this exercise to trade down was to take the No. 35 overall pick from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for an additional fifth-rounder. I didn't see the value there. That left me staring at the possibility of selecting the fifth-best defensive tackle (based on the Packers' 3-4) in the draft. In the end, I chose Georgia defensive tackle Johnathan Jenkins, who I figured to be the best defensive lineman remaining.

My biggest mistake was admitting that the choice was a guess rather than the result of deep insight into facts that few people actually know. Perhaps you would prefer posing rather than honesty. Regardless, one position I never really considered was running back, prompting this question to the mailbag from Jacob of Caledonia, Mich.:
Is there a reason no one is talking about the Packers taking a chance on Montee Ball in the first round? They need a running back and have had no luck later in the draft so why not go for it? He was a proven winner and workhorse at Wisconsin and the fans would love to have him go from Wisconsin to Green Bay. I realize they need a DT as well but it seems like those are a lot easier to come by later in the draft.

As it turns out, the general consensus is that none of the running backs in this draft are certain first-round picks. That includes Alabama's Eddie Lacy, whose life story we posted Tuesday on the blog. Ball is well known by Packers fans after his college career, but our friends at Scouts Inc. have placed a third-round value on him.

That's not to say Ball wouldn't be a fit for the Packers. It just shouldn't be necessary to use a first-round pick to get him.

The Sport Science video, meanwhile, gives us a feel for why Jacob and others would love to see Ball with the Packers: His powerful lower body.

Earlier: Packers general manager Ted Thompson has drafted more running backs than you think.

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