So here we are at pick 20 and Rashard Mendenhall is still available. I’m generally very much in favor of trading down and I like Ted Thompson’s draft philosophy. But Mendenhall is special. He’s going to be a phenomenal NFL running back. It is worth considering trading up at this point, especially because the cost would not be terribly high. The Redskins have been saying for weeks that they want to move down. Now would be a great time to do it. And remember, this comes from a guy with a huge man-crush on Ryan Grant.
Archive for April, 2008
Brother Steve just texted indicating his desire to move up and snag Mendenhall. I couldn’t agree more. I’d give up our 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick or even one of the second round picks. I think he’ll be that good. I’ll say it again, one of the markers of a great team is one that can not only add need players but also make already decent positions into great ones. Picking up Mendenhall would do this.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that the Packers are now talking to the Giants about trading for Jeremy Shockey. Shockey has been the subject of trade negotiations between the Giants and the New Orleans Saints. Last night, ESPN’s John Clayton reported that the deal stalled when the Saints balked at giving up the 40th overall pick for Shockey, but that getting it done remained “likely.” Now, Mortensen believes that the Packers have entered the talks.
It’s an interesting development. I like parts of it and strongly dislike parts of it. My big concern is that Shockey is, well, a complete asshole. He’s obnoxious, he talks too much smack, his tattoos are heinous, he says stupid things, and he spends way, way too much time flipping his flowing locks back and stroking his own hair. More than that, though, is the fact that Shockey almost singlehandedly kept Eli Manning from emerging as a team leader over the past couple of years. He screamed for the ball after every other play. When he got hurt, Manning was the man, and the Giants won a Super Bowl without him.
So what would Shockey do to a first-year quarterback trying to replace a first-ballot Hall of Famer? Probably nothing positive. Rodgers will have to win the confidence of his teammates early and Shockey yelling at him for missing him on an underneath route would not help that process.
On the other hand, Shockey is very good. He’s injury-prone but when he’s on the field he is tough to stop. For all of the reasons Andy and Aaron have given for drafting a TE early (still a bad idea, in my view) getting Shockey-level talent for a middle second-round pick would be tempting.
I think the Packers will draft Steve Slaton somewhere. I don’t have any evidence for this. I find it interesting that the draft “experts”, for whatever reason, don’t think he’s worth much. I reviewed some of his profile and can’t quite understand why he’s essentially become villified by the draft community. This is a guy who a few years ago finished 4th in Heisman voting.
Here is my very basic thought on the guy. He’d be worth probably a 3rd rounder (though I wouldn’t even mind if we picked him up with one of the 2nd round picks). Here’s why. Think about the last 2-3 years of watching college football. Every single Sat, in highlight shows, you would hear first that West Virginia probably won, then you’d hear Pat White’s name and Steve Slaton’s name and then they’d show some ridiculous run featuring some ridiculous athleticism. He’s played for a very successful program and his supposedly “down” junior year still had him gaining 1400+ yards on the ground with 18 TDs. One article here, indicates that part of the reason his stats may have declined is simply the presence of Pat White who took plays and carries from Slaton. During his monster season a few years ago, Slaton averaged nearly 7 yards per carry. Last year, it was down to 5, which is still really really good. I would argue he probably hasn’t lost a whole lot of his ability, he was just forced to share the workload a bit more when Pat White came onto the scene.
The main reason I believe I have this hunch is that he seems to be one of those players who very simply just plays football effectively and seems to have a good attitude – both characteristics TT and MM look for. I can’t pretend to know anything more about his character, but I would love to pick up a high quality 3rd down back with game-breaking speed and jukability, as it were (the spell check didn’t underline that – perhaps jukability is actually a word?). Plus, he would add some excitment to our team instantly (and possibly even do some kick returning).
Please help spread the rumor that the Packers are going to pick him until it spreads to TT and MM and they realize “wow, how could we not have thought of taking him – let’s take him”. That’s my delusional goal in writing this post.
Here is the question atop ESPN’s Green Bay Packers draft “conversation” board, linked today from ESPN’s front page: “Who will join Brett Favre and company when the Packers pick at 30?
No, it’s not big news. They apparently put the page together on February 25, 2008.
Wilde believes the Packers will have lots of options at #30. McGinn breaks a little news — the Packers have negotiated with Daunte Culpepper but (surprise, surprise) he being a pain in the ass and wants to be a starter. On the draft, McGinn (surprise, surprise) thinks it’s terrible spot. Dougherty raises the possibility of the Packers taking Oregon RB Jonathan Stewart if he slides to #30, something I haven’t heard before but would not mind. Dougherty in particular pays attention to possible tight end selection, naming four different possibilities for the Packers (which, in its own way, makes my point about the relatively even assessments of TEs this year).
All of these writers agree that the Packers will try to trade down if they have an opportunity. McGinn points out that four of the teams in the early part of the 2nd round are candidates for quarterbacks and there’s only one Matt Ryan. The major question is whether they will get antsy and trade with, say, the Redskins at #21 to get the guy they want rather than waiting until the Packers pick. If Atlanta does not take Matt Ryan at #3, that will increase the likelihood of the Packers trading down.
BratsNBeerGuy picks up the discussion about a potential trade with Atlanta and links to a piece by Jay Sorgi at WTMJ. BratsNBeerGuy writes: “Jay Sorgi proposes that the Falcons might want to make a deal with the Packers for the #30 pick to get QB Brian Brohm, though he of the Milwaukee radio goodness thinks that TT might be able to get two of Atlanta’s three second-round picks. I’ll admit it sounds a little unlikely, but if that situation unfolded, TT would than have four second rounders to play with. I could maybe get behind that plan as well.”
I think BratsNBeerGuy is being kind by saying that scenario is “unlikely.” The headline on Sorgi’s piece is a question. “How does four second-round picks sound?” My answer: Crazy.
This NFL draft value chart gives a good idea of how many points each pick is worth. The Packers pick at #30 overall is worth 620. The Falcons picks — 34,37,48 — are worth 560, 530, 420, respectively. So if they were to give us their bottom two second-round picks we would be getting selections worth 950 points. The trade would be lopsided in our favor by some 330 points — basically the equivalent of the 57th pick overall. There is no way Atlanta would do that. It would be the story of the draft and they’d be a laughingstock. Since we have picks 56 and 60, however, we could potentially package one of those (preferably the 60) and trade down that way. (Also, there is no chance the Rams draft Matt Ryan at #2, as Sorgi suggests, unless they have a deal in place to trade him.)
As of Friday evening, there are reports that the Dolphins have given up hope of getting a first round pick for Jason Taylor and would settle for a second rounder. I still think that’s a very high price to pay, but it would bother me less than if we had dealt our first round pick for him. The analysts on the NFL Network thought the Dolphins might have to lower their asking price to a third rounder, in which case it might make sense for the Packers to pursue him. (The Packers have the 28th pick in the third round — 91st overall — and would almost certainly have to throw in another pick or two to make it happen.) Jacksonville is also very interested in getting Taylor and they have picks 58, 71, and 89 to throw around.
Bedard essentially points to one case of a tight end (who was really hyped) not working out completely (though I think Davis may still be a good player in the NFL). I also disagree with Bedard implying that tight end blocking is somehow an unimportant part of the offense. Blocking is a very important of a tight end’s contribution to the offense – and if the TE happens to have good receiving hands, then that’s a huge bonus. Imagine if Martelles Bennett or Dustin Keller were the next Jay Novacek (who was the real MVP during the 90s for the Cowboys.)
Not only do I think a tight end can be a valuable (1st round worthy) pick to make, but I think in the Packers case, it could be an especially smart one. I’ve begun to think McCarthy may be somewhat of an offensive genius. There is a lot going on up in that rather large melon offensively. I think pairing Donald Lee with a quality TE partner could have an especially huge impact on the overall offensive production because it would enable McCarthy to open things up even more for Rodgers. Think of all the combinations we could have with 2 quality receiving TEs and the 5 receivers we already have. Endless. Imagine a 2nd and goal from the 3 with the mobile Rodgers at QB, TE Martellus Bennett lined up in the backfield in front of our drafted RB Steve Slaton, with Donald Lee on the line, Jennings, Driver, and Jones wide. No defense could account for the all of the play options that would be possible.
Andy’s wrong. Tight end is not a premium position. Unless you have an opportunity to draft someone like Kellen Winslow, I would never pick one in the first round.
Greg Bedard had this to say in his Packer Insider chat today: “Vernon Davis only backs up my thinking on the TE position: it’s highly overrated. Davis was a workout wonder. Who cares if the guy can run a 4.38 when he blocks more than half the time? The Giants spent a first-round pick on a TE and the team won a Super Bowl without him.”
UPDATE: Bedard also hinted that the Packers would have news about the QB position shortly, but nothing terribly exciting. Here’s hoping it doesn’t involve Daunte Culpepper.
Check Brother Steve’s pre-draft analysis below. Very well done and I have to say, despite disagreeing somewhat on what the Packers’ needs are, I think you’re pretty much dead on assessing these players.
I agree very much on Rashard Mendenhall. See this February post saying the same. I know he’s become a reach at this point which is a shame because he would have been a steal. I’m confident he’ll become a fairly dominant runner in the NFL. I also agree on Keith Rivers, Harvey, Otah, Mayo and Felix Jones. I would be excited to have any of these players on our roster. Brother Steve made a good point about possibly picking up another back later in the draft. I think Steve Slaton could be a better back than is presently projected. He is a game-changer and I think he’ll be pumped to try to prove people wrong (because he’s been chewed up in pre-draft speculation).
I do still disagree on tight ends. Sure, there have been some later round picks who have succeeded at tight end (go Wisconsin, Owen Daniels), but that’s true of QBs, RBs, and every position (see Donald Driver). I guess I just believe that with the right guy, the right fit, there’s a better chance that a quality tight end can be had toward the front of the draft and that he’d be more likely to have an impact on our offense and game-planning. I think it’s worth a first round pick.
But perhaps the most interesting part of Steve’s pre-draft analysis was this line referring to Philip Merling: “He sounds like a character from Masterpiece Theater.”
Would it be absurd for me to conclude from this reference that Brother Steve does indeed watch Masterpiece theater, the very same program that a recent Jane Austen series was played on?