I‘m not going to lie and say I have a good feel for every prospect in the upcoming draft. Heck, there are more than enough people who do that on a daily basis. But of the 50 or so players I’ve studied, here are 10 who for a variety of reasons are being a bit undervalued less than two weeks before the big event:
1) JABRILL PEPPERS – General manager Ted Thompson recently called Micah Hyde one of his favorite players. Well, think of Peppers as a much much much more talented version of the former Packer and current Bill. I know he doesn’t have a natural position and only intercepted one pass at Michigan, but he’s going to make an impact at the next level. In Green Bay, he could line up at slot corner, dime linebacker or safety. And while he wouldn’t be a starter in 2017, he’d be on the field all the time – and that includes as a dynamic returner on special teams.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 25 and 35
2) JOE MIXON – The former Oklahoma star is only on this list because of a repugnant off-the-field incident in 2014. Otherwise, he’d be a certain No. 1 pick. Simply put, there’s not a better all-around running back available in the draft. Since I wrote extensively about Mixon a few weeks ago, I won’t repeat myself here.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 35 AND 60
3) JARRAD DAVIS – The Packers just missed out on Ray Lewis at the end of last century, and while this former Florida star isn’t going to be one of the greatest defensive players in league history, he has a chance to be really good. Davis timed very well at his pro day (4.62), and he plays even faster. In fact, he’s more fluid than just about every defensive back on Green Bay’s current roster. He also plays with a Mike Daniels type of intensity. Adding Davis would finally give the defense a three-down inside linebacker, and just as importantly, it would mean not having to watch Blake Martinez or Joe Thomas masquerade as a starter.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 25 and 40
4) CARL LAWSON – He seems to be behind fellow outside linebackers Takkarist McKinley (UCLA), T.J. Watt (Wisconsin) and Charles Harris (Missouri) on most boards, but I think the former Auburn star will be better than all of them at the next level. Since I wrote extensively about Lawson last week, I won’t repeat myself here.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 35 and 50
5) ADOREE’ JACKSON – I got the chance to see him live last season and came away impressed. The former USC star probably isn’t big enough to be on Thompson’s board, but he should be. He can flat out cover – something that can’t be said about the majority of players in Green Bay’s secondary. Jackson has the skill set to be one of the top slot corners in the NFL. He’s also a dynamic returner and a potential weapon on offense, where he actually started a game at wide receiver against Utah as a sophomore in 2015.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 25 and 40
6) LARRY OGUNJOBI – The extremely raw and extremely talented former North Carolina Charlotte star won’t go until day 2, but he has a chance to be better than some of the players who’ll be selected in the first round. In my opinion, he’ll make more of an impact in the NFL than Robert Nkemdiche, whom the Cardinals drafted 29th overall a year ago. It might take some time, but Ogunjobi would eventually be a great fit in Green Bay’s defense as an end on early downs and as an interior pass rusher in the nickel and dime.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 75 and 100
7) RYAN ANDERSON – Thompson loves Alabama players, and here’s another good one. Anderson won’t go on day 1 because he lacks prototypical size and speed, but he’s going to be a very solid starter at outside linebacker for a long time in the NFL. He has enough strength to hold the point vs. the double team and set the edge, and he should get 6 to 8 sacks a season by sheer effort alone. I also think he could project inside. And while his ceiling might not be as high as some others, the odds of him being a bust are low.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 40 and 60
8) WAYNE GALLMAN – A slowish 40 (4.6) will likely push the former Clemson star to day 3, where some team will get an absolute steal. Gallman isn’t flashy, but he does a lot of things well. As a runner, he allows blocks to set up and then hits the hole hard. And while he won’t score many 60-yard TDs, he’ll manage to avoid negative plays. As a receiver, he creates separation and catches the ball naturally. The one area of his game that needs work is pass protection. He must improve his technique to avoid being overpowered at times.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 120 and 150
9) PAT ELFLEIN – Some team will get a 10-year starter at center or guard on day 2. The Big 10 Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2016 isn’t going to impress anybody in shorts and a t-shirt, but like another former Ohio State star, Corey Linsley, he’ll impress everybody on the field. Elflein has no real weaknesses, although he does labor at times in the open field. There are plenty of O-linemen in this draft with higher ceilings, but none – and that includes likely No. 1 picks Forrest Lamp and Ryan Ramczyk – come with less risk.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 45 and 70
10) JALEEL JOHNSON – Thompson hit the jackpot with another former wrestler from Iowa on day 3 of the 2012 draft, and while this young man is certainly no Mike Daniels, he does have a chance to be a solid starter in the NFL. It’s just going to take some time. Johnson did only 19 reps at the Combine, so getting a lot stronger will be his top priority as a rookie in 2017. Fortunately, he’s already blessed with strong hands, a powerful punch and a motor that never stops – three traits that all quality interior defensive linemen possess.
PROJECTED TO GO BETWEEN 100 and 140