By: Chris Terlop
The Packers have been looking for a pass rusher opposite of Clay Matthews since, well, Clay Matthews emerged as one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL. In the 3-4 defense the outside linebacker is expected to provide the pressure, but having a long, athletic defense end who can provided pressure from the five-technique would make life much easier in Green Bay. In addition to pressure, Colin Kaepernick and the read-option wrecked the Pack in the playoffs, having an end who can help set the edge would go far in containing this new fad.
Dom Capers loves to rotate his D-Lineman through early and often, and with Jerel Worthy out for majority of the season, Ryan Pickett getting long in the tooth, and Mike Neal and CJ Wilson’s injury history, getting another end would be a smart move for Ted Thompson.
DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 271 lbs 40: 4.56 Bench: 21 reps
Notes: Ansah is one of the many players with freakish athletic ability, but a limited amount of experience in this year’s draft. A native of Ghana, Africa, he finally started to match his athletic abilities with improved play on the field, recording 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss this past season. These numbers do not scream top ten pick, but they do show improvement and an increased understanding of the game. If Ansah was able to learn and improve from being a clueless player to a successful end at a Division I college, imagine how much more h could grow. He has played his whole college career relying almost completely on his raw talent, once coached up, he could be an absolute monster. I think the projections of him going in the top 5 are somewhat ridiculous and makes me think teams are so blinded about his athletic ability that they may be forgetting how raw he is. He has the potential to be great, but is far from a safe pick.
Projected: Top Ten Overall
DE Margus Hunt, SMU
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 277 40: 4.53 Bench: 38
Notes: Much like Ansah, Hunt was did not go to college to play football, he started in 2009 after SMU dropped their track and field program in which Hunt threw discus on. He may be THE athletic freak of the draft; bigger, stronger, and faster than Ansah, but much more inconsistent. His length is something the Packers need on their defensive line, especially after seeing what effect long ends can have on not only the passing game, but the running game as well. He has also gotten away on almost just raw ability, Hunt is a project, but may have the most upside of any player.
Projection: Late 1st to 2nd Round
DE William Gholston, Michigan State
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 281 lbs 40: 4.8 Bench: 23 reps
Notes: Wisconsin fans should know William Gholston very well, as the big Spartan was a nuisance to every B1G team that he played over the past four years. There is no question he has the size on a NFL end, and the experience; he was a five start recruit in high school. Ansah and Hunt are better athletes that have not reached their potential due to inexperience, Gholston has not reached his potential and that is troubling. His motor, work ethic, and maturity have all come into question this past season and during the draft process. He would flash at times, but not with the consistency scouts believe he should have. Another prospect, but teams would much rather work with a raw player who is determined than a guy with talent that might just not get “it”. The Packers locker room may be what Gholston needs to push him to fulfill his potential.
Projection: Rounds 4 to 5
DE Joe Kruger, Utah
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 270 40: 4.81 Bench: 24 reps
Notes: I like Joe Kruger. He is a guy that I think could be a steal on day three. Joe is the younger brother of Super Bowl Champion Paul Kruger. The younger Kruger has started the past two seasons and amassed six sacks this past season. Another tall player for a short front for the Green and Gold. Kruger is a good athlete and a very cerebral player, he recognizes plays early and acts accordingly. He, like Gholston, flashed more than being consistently dominant, but for other reasons. He over achieves at times because of his work ethic, not lack there-of. He will be a project, but has special teams experience in the mean time. I think he would be a good late pick up and a fit in Green Bay.
Projection: Rounds 4-6
Others to Watch: DE Datone Moore, UCLA; Cornelius Washington, Georgia; Malliciah Goodman, Clemson
You can hear Chris Monday-Friday on Sportsline and Saturday's at 8 am. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisTerlop