Draft Thoughts – here we go

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  • I have tried to rank each position in terms of need: HIGH, MEDIUM, LOW.

Offense:

  • QB  –  I wonder a bit if Matt Flynn will draw some trade interest after his performance in New England last year. Clearly, if there is one thing McCarthy has done, he’s cemented his reputation as a stellar developer of QBs. Rodgers is off the charts but Flynn looked so good and so poised for a huge game last year, other teams have to be thinking that QBs under McCarthy’s regime may simply have a better chance of performing well in the NFL. I would still like to see us take on another young QB for development. If Rodgers stays mostly healthy, we could still develop another young guy as potential trade bait down the road. Again, with McCarthy’s QB reputation growing, this could make sense.  MEDIUM-LOW
  • RB  –  I heard “Sparky” on 1250 WSSP local sports radio the other day going on about how Ryan Grant’s days in GB are numbered. And eventually stating Grant will be released/traded, whatever – just not playing with the Pack this year. That’s ridiculous. Grant will come back and split the load with James Starks who proved he can play and play in big games. I think the team ought to consider drafting a shiftier back. I’ve been saying this for years I know, but it’s time we do it. With both Grant and Starks in the fold, we have our huge solid backs. No need for more guys of that mold. We need a fast, tough-to-get-your-hands-on dude. Brandon Jackson did a decent job as the 3rd down back, and as tempting as it will be to repeatedly say “well, it worked last year”, we have to remember that staying the same doesn’t work well in the NFL because teams figure you out. So, I’m guessing we’ll part ways with Jackson and I’m hoping we go after a shifty, fast guy who can make people miss. Ideally the guy would have good hands and be a quality blocker as well. MEDIUM-HIGH
  • WR – It will be interesting to see what happens with James Jones. If he is retained, I can see sticking with the core 4 guys, but I can also see drafting for the future. Driver is getting older and had injury issues bothering him for much of last year. Jennings and Nelson are very good and young. I think we should try to keep Jones but not overpay for him. He can be very good, but he can also frustrate. Either way, I think we should be looking for a big WR who can add to the mismatches our WRs/TEs already cause. If we had a huge dude at WR on the field when Finley is on the field, it would be difficult for defenses to figure out how to match-up – especially considering they’d also have to defend the other WRs and RBs. But I would be particularly interested in a huge guy at WR to enhance our red zone scoring options. We drew up some nice plays last year to our WRs, but having a big guy in there to add to the overall repertoire of red zone plays would be helpful. Can’t resist, want a crazy thought (that essentially contradicts what I wrote above)? What about trading for the Panthers’ Steve Smith who is apparently packed and ready to go? Though he has an attitude, I think he’s at that stage in his career when he just wants to win and adding him into the mix would be crazy. MEDIUM.
  • TE – With Finley and two young guys back, it’s tempting to consider this position settled. But I did not like our TE production when Finley went down. Yes, not throwing to TEs may have opened the passing game up for our WRs some, but I’m not sure how much faith Rodgers has in Crabtree and Quarless. They are young so maybe those relationships will just continue to develop. (And the good news is that these guys now have real NFL experience.) But I can see the team taking a flier on a very raw TE with huge potential upside – especially a guy most other teams may not regard highly. Kind of like the Finley scenario. We aren’t desperate for a new TE, but we could use some depth in case Finley goes down again. MEDIUM-LOW
  • O-LINE – The line figured things out toward the end of last year. They are built more for pass protecting than run blocking. At the end of the year, they seemed to have a much better feel for how to best work with the mobile Rodgers behind them. And considering a few of the guys are younger like Sitton and Bulaga , it would seem there is a sound nucleus to build off of. But I remain concerned about the left side of our line in particular. Colledge remains iffy and Clifton (who was very good last year) is quite literally on his last legs. I can see the Pack focusing on drafting tackles/guards this year (right or left as Bulaga could eventually play either). I think TT believes this is an area of real need and though he claims not to draft for need, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pack grab 2-3 O-Linemen this year. HIGH.
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11 Responses to “Draft Thoughts – here we go”

  1. Dave in Tucson Says:

    I agree there’s no question the Packers have to keep Grant. As good as Starks was in the playoffs, he hasn’t even played half a season yet. He needs to prove that he can be durable and productive over the long haul.

    As for Brandon Jackson… I think he’s really underrated by the fans. Yeah, he’s never going to pass Grant (or likely Starks) on the depth chart. But he’s a solid, productive player (other than Jennings, the only player to put up over 1000 yards rushing and receiving in 2010).

    With Grant, Starks, Jackson and Kuhn, I think the Packers are stacked at RB right now, and can easily afford to focus on other, more critical areas in this draft.

    P.S. One more tidbit in BJax’ favor. Remember this?

  2. Travis Says:

    There are always things that you could say oh I wish we could get this or that… such as a speedy back. But going after something like that I think does not do much for this team in beneficial ways. We are not meant to be a running team.

    We should be able to run the ball fairly well due to the strength of our passing game. We don’t need a top running back, and I think pairing Grant and Starks is more than enough. If we made it through last year with what we had, this would be considered a huge upgrade.

    I 100% am against getting rid of Grant. That would be a huge error on TT’s part. The league has turned into a dual RB league. No RB can carry the full load. I love Kuhn, and I really think B Jack does help the team in many ways. Can we keep those 4? I hope.

    B Jack does a great job in a role position, he’s not our main focus/guy.. but like last year showed, you need guys in the background to produce.. and thats how I think of B Jack. We know what we can get from him. Kuhn, is a huge morale factor on this team. He seems like an awesome guy, very fun, very easy going. This team is in a great spirit with him in the game, and I think that did wonders last year. I wanna seem him back.

    But in terms of adding a speedy back. No. Sorry I disagree. If anything, use that pick on a speedy wideout. A Deshaun Jackson type player. I’ve always… ALWAYS wanted a Calvin Johnson type WR.. a monster in size and so athletic. But to have a guy who can stretch the field and big play potential added to our offence. I may drool a few times this season.

    In the end, if we go offense early, it must be OL, or a fast shifty WR/Huge Physical WR. Nothing else. I agree with whatever ted does, he knows what he’s doing. But if he takes something other than those two on offense early.. I’ll really be hoping he found that gem.

    Draft is around the corner, and I’m pumped. Draft day is a huge day for Packer fans. Whose will be the next gem we pick up. It’s so exciting.

  3. Daybreak Doppler: First One’s Always The Hardest | PocketDoppler.com Says:

    […] Packer Geeks with some Draft Thoughts – here we go. […]

  4. Dave K Says:

    For good teams, this draft isn’t about this year. It is about the next 2-5 years. So, what are the needs two years from now? Three years from now? That is almost impossible to answer due to free agency, player development, injury, etc… For example, look at the draft a year ago when one of the biggest ‘needs’ everyone chirped about was CB. The gnashing of teeth that occurred when TT didn’t draft a CB was deafening. How would be compete against teams like AZ or the Saints without a better CB?!! Tramon developed into a premier CB and TT finds Sam Shields after the draft and he makes an outstanding nickel CB. Not a huge ‘need’ anymore per the fans. Things change fast on a NFL roster and chasing ‘needs’ in the draft is what bad teams do. Good stable teams draft the BPA more times then not because needs in the future are so hard to predict.

    That being said, I do think ‘need’ comes into play a number ways for TT. One, when he is picking from a pool of players that all have similar grades especially in the middle rounds then you obviously pick the player at a ‘need’ position or you trade out of that spot. Second, you might pass on the BPA because he just won’t have a shot at making the roster this year at that position. This plays a bigger role in later rounds. TT probably doesn’t draft a FB in round 6 knowing he isn’t going to push Hall, Kuhn, or Quinn out of a roster spot and it would be a waste of pick. Third, I think certain positions are at such a premium they may bump BPA down the list. As TT likes to say, God only made so many 300 lb men who can move fast. Certain positions (LT, DT, CB) are just harder to fill in this league and you might take a lesser player at those positions over taking the BPA.

    As far as this draft and Packer needs, I do not see a real need at any position which is a testament to what TT has done for this roster and how the coaching staff has developed players. Maybe a first round 3-4 OLB could push Zombo and Jones for a starting spot or maybe first round LG could compete for a starting job if Colledge isn’t back but most likely even a first round OLB or LG spends a good share of next season on the bench. (Like Clay Matthews in year one!) The Packers will need to get better in order to repeat. No doubt about that but that improvement most likely won’t come from rookies regardless of who they draft this year at #32. Even Raji and Matthews played well but didn’t have a huge impact in year one.

  5. Joe Says:

    We have a real need at tackle. It is both a short term and long term need. The duct tape will only hold so long. Bulga can’t play RT and LT at the same time.

    As for RB. Jackson is a quality third down back. He runs the screen extremely well, pass blocks better than any other back on the roster and can work the draw with some success. We should keep him.

  6. Dave K Says:

    Joe, you don’t think Lang can play RT if Bulaga has to replace Clifton?

    Let’s hope a tackle worthy of round 1 falls to us at #32. It’s almost always a need position. I don’t think there is a team in the league that doesn’t need either a RT or LT. This league needs 64 guys that play RT or LT and there might be 40 that can do it consistently against NFL DE’s and OLBs.

    No one thought Bulaga would fall to us last year and he did. Maybe if some teams trade up to get an over-rated QB and it causes a stud T to fall to #32!! Or, maybe TT trades up a few spots to nab one that slips into the 20’s

  7. RayMidge Says:

    I agree with everyone about B. Jax . . . great 3rd down back, especially as a blocker. that should not be overlooked. I think he wants to see if anybody wants to give him a shot as a starting, every-down type back, but I hope he returns to the Pack. That said, I too would like to see a smaller, shifty back get a chance in this offense. Noel Devine from W.Va?

    In my opinion everything on this team has to be geared toward getting the most out of Rodgers’ prime years. He is one of the premiere weapons in the NFL and should be for the next 5-10 years. So my preference is to make sure he is protected and has good weapons to throw to. My priority would be OL and WR. I would like to see the best available OL taken in the first round, or even a trade down out of the 1st to get a quality OL in the middle second and a few more picks.

    From what I have read about this draft it seems that TT will be able to find a quality WR in the middle rounds. Two guys who seem to fit (based on what I read about them) are Tandon Moss from Ind. and Niles Paul from Neb. who may be available in the 3-4 rounds. All of the WRs TT has drafted are smart guys, good hands, good game speed and good at running routes/making adjustments. TT is good at drafting WRs precisely because he knows what to look for and what is overrated at that position. With James likely to get offered starting money elsewhere, this is a good time to bring in another WR.

    I think TT will draft a QB in the late rounds, following the Ron Wolf model of always-take-a-QB.

  8. Joe Says:

    I think Lang is a question mark at this point. I’d feel a lot better with some serious competition at that spot in camp and there are 3-5 first round quality tackles in this draft class. We ought to have a shot at one of them.

  9. Nick Says:

    I actually think a solid TE to either compliment Jermichael or serve as a crutch were he to leave or continue to get injured would be fun. the guy from WI would be great to have in the 2 or 3rd round.

    Past that, O Line is where we should be focusing. Depth plus young blood is always good in the trenches.

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