I’ve had safety penciled in as the most likely pick for the Green Bay Packers with the 21st selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, because they could use a high-impact safety that can shore up the team’s deep coverage. Jimmie Ward is clearly my favorite coverage safety in the class, as he has great instincts, ball skills, and excels in man or zone coverage. He isn’t big, but he doesn’t have legitimate size concerns due to his ability to be physical on defense.
That said, the Packers could go in a number of directions on defense at 21, and I would be surprised if they don’t shore up their D in the first given their issues on that side of the ball and the caliber of prospects available. Inside linebacker is a top option for the Packers as well, and the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that a GM he spoke with yesterday stated that C.J. Mosley “looks like a Packer to him”. Rapoport also tweeted in response to a follower that Ohio State Buckeyes speedy LB Ryan Shazier is another “likely option” for the Packers at 21. Earlier today, Rapoport’s colleague Albert Breer tweeted that Shazier will go higher than some people think.
Shazier is certainly a fast-rising prospect, and there’s actually a chance that he goes before Mosley. Both players excel in coverage, and Shazier can defintiely succeed on the inside but is a more natural fit as a 4-3 OLB. Mosley fits better as an inside linebacker and is generally regarded as a better prospect. While I still think Mosley is better, Shazier is a fast-riser, and Mosley reportedly has some injury concerns.