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2014 NFL mock draft: Troy Niklas to Green Bay Packers at No. 53

With the future of Jermichael Finley still up in the air, the Packers may look for a replacement quite early in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is not only a free agent, but is coming off of a career-threatening spinal injury that led to fusion surgery in October. Assuming his departure even if his NFL career continues, Evan "Tex" Western of Acme Packing Company addressed the Packers' tight end position with his second-round pick in our mock draft.

Team Player Pos. Ht Wt Class
53. Packers Troy Niklas, Notre Dame TE 6'7 270 JR

"We were holding out hope that Louis Nix or Deone Bucannon would fall to the Packers in round two, but with them off the board, our focus had to turn elsewhere. With this pick, the Packers find a big 6’6 target for Aaron Rodgers who can attack the seam, be a red-zone weapon, and block effectively in the running game.

Niklas’ arrival would make the assumed loss of Jermichael Finley less painful, and would help to solidify the tight end position for the Packers for the foreseeable future. His blocking ability would help Eddie Lacy’s production and should allow Mike McCarthy to be more versatile and aggressive with his play-calling in the running game. Niklas would be the most complete tight end the Packers have had in many years."

Dan Kadar, SB Nation's NFL Draft analyst, has some thoughts and opinions to share on the Packers' mock draft pick of Niklas:

Given how the board has fallen, it's hard to find too much fault in this choice. One arguable player is Florida State safety/cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. Getting a solid target with upside for Aaron Rodgers with the 53rd pick in the draft is a nice grab, however. Niklas is an incomplete prospect, but his potential makes him intriguing. He can be a red zone asset straight away and help provide more running lanes for Lacy.

A pick for the Philadelphia Eagles, by way of our friends at Bleeding Green Nation, is coming your way at noon ET.

Top 5 players remaining

# Player Pos. College Ht. Wt.
35 Demarcus Lawrence DE Boise State 6'3 251
39 Antonio Richardson OT Tennessee 6'6 336
41 Scott Crichton DE Oregon State 6'3 273
43 Lamarcus Joyner S Florida State 5'8 184
45 Ja'Wuan James OT Tennessee 6'6 311

2014 SB Nation NFL writers' mock draft results

Packers picks

Rd # Team Player Pos. College
1 21 Green Bay Packers Ryan Shazier LB Ohio State
2 53 Green Bay Packers Troy Niklas TE Notre Dame