2016 NFL Mock Draft: February edition
27th Pick – Green Bay Packers (10-6)
Reggie Ragland – ILB
Alabama – Senior
6-1, 259 Pounds
I never liked playing Clay Matthews (who is a natural pass-rusher) at inside linebacker, so I when I saw that I still have Reggie Ragland (arguably the best inside linebacker in the draft) available, the Packers had to have him. Clay Matthews filled in admirably, playing as an every down linebacker, and still putting enough pressure on the opposing quarterback. Jake Ryan also had a pretty good year, playing very well as a read-and-react type of player. Julius Peppers seemed to find the fountain of youth, playing very extensively (might have been the downfall for the pass-rush), and I think he still has something left in the tank. The Packers already started their free agency by resigning Letroy Guion, spelling the doom of B.J. Raji even though he had a great year with the Pack. The defense is going to be collecting some big pieces, so this will be an interesting off-season.
Reggie Ragland is a big, roaming, and intelligent inside linebacker who provided leadership for the Crimson Tide during his final two season at Alabama. I don’t want to automatically crown him the starter, due to the team still having Sam Barrington, but they really could if they wanted to. He has great range, shows athletisism, and makes great wrap-up tackles on the edge. Ragland does have limited reps at Alabama, due to the overall depth there, but it is known as linebacker-U. Don Capers always finds good positions for his players, don’t be surprised if Ragland is a rotational guy his first couple of years, so he can learn the playbook.
Really, the Packers have a lot of guys that they are going to be looking at to see if they should keep or cut the cord. Many, including James Jones, John Kuhn, B.J. Raji, Mike Neal, Nick Perry, Casey Hayward, and one of the strongest legs in the NFL, Mason Crosby. The Packers do have some cap space to play with, so it will be interesting to see the Packers spread the love within the organization. I do think that the Packers find a way to keep Nick Perry with the group of linebackers. The way they groomed Nick Perry, that is probably the way the Packers will treat the next future linebacker, and the Packers would be smart in doing so.
Player Comparison: Karlos Dansby – Cleveland Browns
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