This year’s NFL draft is a perfect fit for the Green Bay Packers, with a deep talent pool of positions of need. One of its biggest needs — pass rusher — has two guys commonly discussed as potential fits with Green Bay at No. 29.
Those guys are Takkarist McKinley of UCLA and T.J. Watt of Wisconsin. Both prospects have been discussed as possible solutions to the Packers’ OLB depth. Here’s how their games might fit with the Packers.
McKinley dropped a bomb when he announced he is set to have surgery that will put him in recovery for four to six months at the combine. McKinley found he had a torn labrum after getting an MRI, an injury he played through the past two seasons. If the Packers feel comfortable with a timetable that could keep him out till training camp, they would be getting a guy that has drawn comparisons to Pro Bowl OLB, Tamba Hali.
At the combine, McKinley’s performance was exceptional. He ran a fast 40 at 4.59, ripped out 24 reps of 225, had a vertical of 33 inches, broad jumped 122 inches and got through the three-cone drill in 7.48 seconds. Most are impressive numbers for a former defensive lineman weighing 265 and standing 6’2”.
Overall I wouldn’t mind hearing his name called at No. 29, but another conversion project out of UCLA might make fans nervous.
Onto the youngest Watt brother T.J. He comes into this draft having spend just two seasons as a 3-4 linebacker, as he transitioned from tight end at Wisconsin.
At the combine, Watt looked good, but not great. He ran 1/10 slower in the 40 than McKinley at 4.69, had 21 reps on the bench, out-jumped McKinley with a 37-inch vertical, broad jumped 128 and had a 6.79 in the three-cone drill. Watt was measured at 6’5” and weighed 243.
There’s a lot of hype around Watt, but I don’t believe he’d be getting as much attention if his last name wasn’t Watt. He comes from a bloodline and is a Wisconsin native, so I can see Green Bay fans falling for him, but I’m not as high on him. I loved watching him on Saturdays, but I wouldn’t reach in the first round and instead hope he would be available in round two.
Who do you guys like? Let me know if there are any other edge players you’d prefer.