Packers stock up again on D, including Wisconsin's Biegel
Posted at 5:19 PM, Apr 29, 2017
and last updated2017-04-29 18:19:18-04
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Growing up, Wisconsin native Vince Biegel rarely posed for pictures without wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey.
His childhood dream has come true.
The Packers selected Biegel, a Wisconsin Badgers linebacker, with the first pick of the fourth round of another defense-heavy NFL draft.
"If you looked at old pictures of me growing up, it was all green and gold. I was a cheesehead, and I was as probably the most Wisconsin as you can be," Biegel said. "So to be able to say I played Wisconsin football in high school football, college football and now in the NFL, this is every Wisconsin kid's dream."
A lingering offseason memory in Green Bay is the blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game.
Adding speed and length to a secondary maligned by inconsistency and injuries was one priority. The Packers hope they've done that in part by drafting Kevin King, a 6-foot-3 cornerback from Washington, with the first pick of the second round on Friday.
Biegel checked off another box for the Packers, who needed someone with pass-rush ability after Julius Peppers (Panthers) and Datone Jones (Vikings) left in free agency. Biegel also fits into the team's recent philosophy of drafting players with the potential to play multiple positions. They think he can play inside, too.
The days of using primarily a base 3-4 defense on early downs are slowly disappearing in the pass-happy NFL.
"It's all kinds of different people out there and different substitutional patterns," general manager Ted Thompson said Friday.
Other notes from the draft for Green Bay:
BIEGEL'S DAY: Biegel might have been overshadowed in 2016 by fellow Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt, who was taken in the first round by Pittsburgh, but he appears to be a good fit in a position of need for the Packers. Listed at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, Biegel said he looked up to Clay Matthews, an ideal role model given that the Packers' star pass-rusher also has experience playing inside.
MOVING AROUND: The Packers' other second-round pick, North Carolina State safety Josh Jones, has also played cornerback. He could be a replacement for Micah Hyde, who excelled in a cornerback-safety role the past four seasons before leaving in free agency for Buffalo. Jones might also be able to play a hybrid safety-linebacker role similar to the one that veteran Morgan Burnett filled last season.
"So we went (into the draft) with the idea of trying to find some more defenders, especially versatile guys like Josh that can switch from safety to corner to whatever," Thompson said.
WHAT A DAY: Possibly no pick in the draft had a better day than Packers' third-round selection Montravious Adams. The Auburn defensive end was drafted on Friday night, about six hours after his girlfriend gave birth to the couple's first child, Montravious Adams, Jr.
"There (are) really no words I can say," Adams said Friday. "It was just, a lot of blessings, just coming from my son (being born) and then the Packers calling me."
IN THE BACKFIELD: The Packers shifted to offense later in the fourth round and filled another need by taking BYU running back Jamaal Williams. He ran for school records of 3,901 yards on 726 attempts over four years. Listed at 6 feet, 212 pounds, Williams has similar measurables to Ty Montgomery, the converted receiver who turned into the starter in the backfield after Eddie Lacy got hurt in October. Lacy left for Seattle in free agency. The Packers like Williams' strong lower body and ability to make tackles.
"He's durable and he's a tough kid," Packers college scouting director Jon-Eric Sullivan said Saturday. "And I think up here in the elements, he'll be a good get for us when it gets cold."
In the fifth round with the 182nd overall pick, Green Bay added another back in Texas El-Paso's Aaron Jones. He was ranked fourth in the FBS with 1,773 yards rushing in 2016.
The Packers' other picks on Saturday:
--No. 175 DeAngelo Yancey, WR, 6-2, 201, Purdue. Packers had traded down three spots with Denver for this pick and an extra seventh-rounder (238th overall).
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