A daily roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – With two straight wins and the opportunity to put themselves in the playoffs with two more, the NFL draft might be the furthest thing from Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s mind.
What takes place over the next two weeks and perhaps beyond, depending on what happens Sunday against Pittsburgh and in Week 17 against Chicago, will affect where the Packers pick and who will be available to them. But as things stand right now, the Packers would have the 18th pick in the draft.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his first 2014 mock draft on Wednesday, and while the entire first round is available only with Insider access, here’s a look at what he sees for the Packers:
Projected pick: Tight end Eric Ebron (6-4, 231), North Carolina
McShay’s analysis: "Ebron has a chance to be a star. I'm not saying he's Jimmy Graham, but Ebron does possess a lot of the same qualities as the Saints TE. And to me Ebron's the only guy on that level in this draft class. He is a mismatch for defenses because of his ability to stretch the field with his speed and then box out defenders and adjust to the ball in the air with his excellent body control. He will fit best as an 'F' tight end early in his career, but has the size potential (he added nearly 20 pounds this past offseason) to develop into an adequate in-line blocker down the road. Also, this pick would make a lot of sense for the Packers considering the uncertainty surrounding Jermichael Finley's future with the team."
In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
McCarthy offered nothing definitive about whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers would return this week from a fractured collarbone, but perhaps this was a telling comment: “We’re going to take the same process or a similar process that we took last week.” If things go the way they did last week, then Rodgers won’t be cleared.
Despite the fact that Rodgers’ situation is a daily topic of conversation, several of his teammates said it hasn’t had an impact on their preparation.
Receiver Randall Cobb returned to practice for the first time since he broke his tibia on Oct. 13, but it looks like he still has a long way to go before he’s ready for game action.
Running back Eddie Lacy has a strong case for NFL offensive rookie of the year. Another strong showing against Pittsburgh might lock up the award – and show the Steelers they made a mistake when they passed on him in the draft.
At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde profiles Lacy and notes that he has finally embraced the comparisons to the Incredible Hulk. Wilde notes that Lacy appears mild-mannered off the field but runs with a noticeable violence on it.
In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Pete Dougherty writes that whether it’s Rodgers or Matt Flynn, the Packers will face a much tougher defense from the Steelers than they did last Sunday, when they played the NFL’s lowest-ranked defense in the Dallas Cowboys. Mike Vandermause’s notebook led with an item about guard Josh Sitton, who continues to play at a Pro Bowl level despite switching from the right side to the left this season.
In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Lori Nickel wrote that the best predictor of whether the Packers will win or lose is turnovers.