Packers’ pass rush will get help at 14

By Chris Havel
Special to Event USA
GREEN BAY, Wis. –  North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb is the top pass rusher in the April 26-28 NFL Draft.

Green Bay should have at least one of four top “front seven” defenders to pick from

Get Your Tickets for All Important Sports and Concerts! Buy Tickets Now >>

Chubb will be long gone by the 14th pick.
Fortunately, the Packers are in a decent position with the 14th overall pick to draft a premier “front seven” defender. Most mock drafts have the usual fare of overrated quarterbacks, one great running back (Saquon Barkley of Penn State), a few offensive tackles and a couple of defensive backs going early.
That means the Packers should be able to stay put at No. 14 and still land one of the draft’s top defensive players. They may even end up getting one of the premier pass rushers.
Here’s hoping that one of these four players will be on the board when Green Bay turns in its draft card to the commissioner:
** Harold Landry, edge rusher, Boston College
Landry is 6-3, 252 with exceptionally long arms and a dynamic first step. He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash, which is plenty fast. His 24 reps at 220 pounds in the bench press were really good. His and his 4.19-second time in the 20-yard shuttle was all-world.
Landry started nine games as a sophomore before blossoming as a junior with 16 ½ sacks, 22 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles. His senior year was slowed by an ankle injury, but he still played well and finished with five sacks.
He has a terrific first step and his burst suggests he could develop into a big-time pass rusher. However, he needs to develop a second move and improve his technique.
Some NFL scouts compare him favorably to Vic Beasley and Bruce Irvin. The Packers would be thrilled with either.
** Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker, Virginia Tech
Edmunds, the son of ex-NFLer Ferrell Edmunds, has exceptional size and quickness. He is 6-5, 253, with long arms to go with his rangy frame.
He ran a 4.54 40-yard dash at the combine and did 19 reps at 220 pounds in the bench press. He is a tackling machine, recording 109 in his junior year, including 14 tackles for loss, 5 ½ sacks and three forced fumbles.
Edmunds played inside linebacker for the Hokies, but his athleticism and speed should allow him to be a force as an edge rusher. Clearly, Edmunds would fit nicely into Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme.
He possesses All-Pro talent with the ability to spin out of blocks and still make plays. One scout compared him to – get ready for this – Brian Urlacher in terms of athleticism, size and range.
The Packers could only hope.
** Marcus Davenport, defensive end, UT-San Antonio
Davenport, at 6-6, 264, ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine. He also put up 220 pounds an impressive 22 times. His 4.41 time in the 20-yard shuttle was good for a man his size.
A small-school player, Davenport turned heads when he notched 11 tackles, 1 ½ for loss and a sack against Texas A&M. He was at his best when the competition was fierce.
Davenport, a junior, has a ton of potential, although opinions range all over the place. He has been projected anywhere from the early-to-mid first round on into the early second round.
One scout compares him to the Vikings’ Danielle Hunter.
Again, the Packers could only hope.
** Roquan Smith, linebacker, Georgia
Smith is likely to be gone by the 14th pick. However, stranger things have happened and the Packers could get lucky.
Some believe Smith’s size is a detriment – he’s 6-1, 236 – but has long arms, huge hands and runs a 4.51 40-yard dash.
He’s a sure-fire first round pick. The question is when?
Smith is instinctive and elusive enough to thwart bigger players, but whether he can rush off the edge in the NFL is doubtful.
However, he has the lateral speed and striking ability to be an impact inside linebacker the likes of which Green Bay hasn’t seen in forever.
Again, the Packers could only hope.
Fortunately, it only takes one of these four players to be available at No. 14 for it to be a banner first day of the draft.