Offensive Line – Need here is fairly obvious. We do not have 5 quality starters at the moment and we do not have depth behind them. Spitz still has potential and if he can fill in for Colledge, we may end up being a bit better than the previous couple years overall. But if Tausch, Sitton, Wells, Spitz or Clifton get hurt, we’ll be in trouble. Only Lang seems like someone who could come in and provide positive help. But one real concern I have is whether or not we have the COACHING to draft young linemen and then groom them. For several years our line play has not been that great. That last couple haven’t been horrible, but not great. So I’m unsure if we’re just drafting duds of if we not teaching quality players effectively.
Tight End – Donald Lee is OK but as his pass-catching role diminishes and in light of the fact that he doesn’t seem like that great of a blocker, I wonder if it’s time for someone else to see more time opposite Finley. I’m not sure if Havner is really developing as a full-fledged TE or if they plan to continue to use him only as a TD machine. Finley is great and will continue to be great. Fantastic draft pick by TT. I can’t pretend to know the first thing about Devin Frischnecht or Tom Crabtree, the other TEs on the roster – but I’m beginning to think right now, we could use an outstanding blocking TE opposite Finley. Maybe Havner, Frischnecht, Lee or Crabtree can develop in that role but I’m not sure. It may be an area to explore in the draft.
Wide Receiver – We are still solid at WR. Donald Driver seems to continue to defy age. Greg Jennings is now one year removed from the I-just-signed-a-monster-contract-so-I’m-going-to-scare-everyone-by-being-mediocre-right-after-signing-it stage – and my guess is he’ll be a beast again this year. James Jones and Jordy Nelson are two quality guys to have in the #3 and #4 WR positions, though I have to say, I thought Jones would be better than he’s been. Still, we look good here. I still believe we could use either a super quick, slot type WR and model his use after how the Patriots use Wes Welker. This guy could also help our return game. Or, on the flip side, I would mind picking up a brutishly strong dude who could drag defenders down the field like Sterling Sharper used to. I do expect TT to snag some sneaky good guy here as he seems to enjoy drafting WRs.
Running Back – While I’d still like to take a chance on Westbrook (though Nick is right, waiting until after the draft would probably be advisable), this may be a draft we could nab a quality shifty guy. Yes, I’m somewhat obsessed with shiftiness, but mostly because these kinds of players can be really effective (i.e. Darren Sproles), but also because I think for our team, it would complement Ryan Grant and his running style well. I still like Ahman Green and believe his signing last year was a good one. Brandon Jackson is apparently very good at blocking on passing downs and a decent receiver so cutting him outright could be tough. Lumpkin seems to be sticking around so he must still have some potential and DeShawn Wynn may have the best overall running instincts of any back on the team (though other areas are problematic). IWhile there will be plenty of competition in camp this year if the team only keeps 3 RBs, I do think this is a position we should target in the draft – ideally a super athletic shifty dude.
Punter – we should bring in a few veterans as well as some promising young guys and make this a big-time competition this summer. Field position has been an issue over the last few years and it’s time that TT place a bit more emphasis on finding a quality punter. I don’t care if he’s a rookie or a 45 year old veteran – I just want someone who is consistent and who will help out our defense by pinning opposing offenses deep in their own territory.
Kicker – I still like Mason Crosby. He works hard, is decent on kickoffs and overall, he has a nice leg. But I remain concerned about his overall accuracy on FGs, which of course is his primary duty. His career accuracy percentage is 78.4%, which isn’t horrendous but it’s not that good either. In his 3 year career he’s made 100% of his FGs from under 30 yards – which is solid, though most kickers are pretty automatic from that close. Much more concerning though is that his career percentage from 30-39 yards is only 81.8% which is comparatively poor. From 40-49 yards, his career percentage is 66.7% which is also not good. And his +50 yard percentage is just 47.1% which is really weak compared to other kickers. Most concerning to me though, is his overall FG percentage has declined in each of his first 3 years starting at 79.5% and ending at 75% last year. Again, I’m not sure I’m ready to cut him, but I sure would consider bringing in some competition.
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You get the picture. Last year’s draft yielded Lang and he has potential to move up. Beyond him the team is sorely lacking in O line depth. Clifton and Tauscher will likely miss time in the upcoming season. Remember the first eight games. Cliftion was still working out the stiffness from surgery, Tauscher wasn’t there, Spitz was playing center. 32 of the 51 sacks were chalked up. TT chose not to address the O line, or anything else for that matter , in FA.
Certainly CB and S are also needs. There seems to be a plethora of talent in this years’ draft so some skill should be available deep in the draft.
Like last year, my approach would be fix the weakness in the O line.
Oline is a definite area of need. We should be getting one in the first 2 rounds. And Andy I’ve been thinking the same thing with our Oline coaching. I have a strong feeling it’s time to give the Oline coach the boot, because years of bad Oline play needs to change.
Tight end is pretty unlikely I think but it sure wouldn’t hurt to have a really good blocking TE to go with Finley.
WR is a possibility. But unless someone really slides I don’t see getting one early. Besides, Jennings was a 3rd rounder I think, and Driver was a seventh. It doesn’t have to be early to get a star. This year is also suppose to have incredible depth, so that means there will be gems found in the later rounds. I think a tall big strong WR would be perfect, but a Deshaun Jackson type or Percy Harvin certainly would add alot to our WR core, and Offense for that matter.
Now I’m confused why you left out CB/S/OLB. We will be drafting a monster pass rusher for OLB. Mark that down. It will terrorize teams having him and Clay rush the QB all day long. QBs like Favre, (Warner, I know he retired), Roethlisberger, etc won’t be throwing for 400/500 yards on us. We had tons of picks last year, and this could mean more to come. And sacks, possibly qb fumbles. This will make our defense strong.
CB is also a concern. Healthy, we may be able to last a year without drafting one. But taking that risk, could mean one thing. The same as it did the end of last year. Defense getting lit up. Over and over. Could really use help. We got Woodson, we got Harris but we don’t know how Harris will play this season. We also got Tramon who we also lost last year, but same as Harris, we don’t know how well he will play after that injury last year. Pat Lee gets hurt every year, so if he can finally settle in and be healthy, that would help. If we have an opportunity at a great corner, I’d expect us to take one.
Last is Safety. Lacking depth. Collins paired up with a strong big physical safety could be a nightmare of a safety tandem. Teams will not want to play our defense if we get a pass rusher to go with Clay, and a very good safety to go with Collins. Very likely we look for a safety in the draft.
Punter we should look at, at the 7th round. Bring in one, sign UFAs. Your right, a big competition is needed at punter this summer. TT this was one of your bad calls by releasing Jon Ryan, now it’s time to get serious and find a real replacement.
K, doubt we’ll use a pick (rather it be a punter) but, UFA for sure or a veteran to push Crosby and make him earn the top spot. We need better out of him. I agree with you Andy, he’s not terrible, but we need more from him and it’s about time we push him to reach the level we need.
RB I am going to say we will be drafting one. And it’s going to be a quick shifty back. If we don’t we need to really look into Westbrook, it can’t be that hard to get him to sign a reasonable contract. We need one with speed, and is very shifty. Having that with Ryan Grant will improve our running game especially if we get a solid line this year.
Since when is Brandon Jackson a decent receiver? In fact, he is awful trying to catch a pass coming out of the backfield. Ahman Green is the best the Packers have for that purpose, and that says a lot.
Perhaps I overstated B Jackson’s pass catching ability. But I wouldn’t say he’s “awful” either.
Ron – Nice catch. It’s rare for TT to even admit this. Maybe he figured that it’s fairly obvious to most Packer fans that these are areas of need that he didn’t feel stating it was too risky. I do hope we can pull in 2-3 OTs and DBs from this draft.
Yeah I mean, we need an OT. They don’t even need to start this year, just for depth if Clifton or Tauscher go down.
The issues on the line is OT and its depth. We have Clifton and Tauscher healthy at the moment, but should they go down, we had no backup. Colledge was terrible at OT so we need him to stay at guard at least for this year. So if Tauscher or Clifton goes down, we got Lang, and at least one OT from the draft. We need just one OT I think.
And Lang can help at guard should Colledge go down. One OT in the draft should be enough for this year. It would be nice if we could get a very outstanding line, but I think we can manage on a 2 yr plan to get it to a high standard.
And a “2yr” plan seems the best way now that I think of it because we can address a few areas on defense. We NEED someone opposite Clay and I’m really thinking it will be our first round pick. Then we also need to pick up a CB and S and then we should be good for defense. That then should allow us to get a fast RB somewhere in the draft which Green Bay are apparently focused on doing. Then late in the draft a QB and a P are probable picks.
I agree, we need an OT. But just one might be enough (as long as we don’t get one very late, we need one that is at least decent coming in). Then another defensive focused draft. I just want it to be Thursday!
You may not say Jackson is awful, but I’ll say it. And it’s true.
I’ve started to wonder whether the reason the Packers don’t pass to their backs is because they don’t have the proper personnel- or whether the reason they don’t have backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield is because the Packers simply don’t have that as part of their offensive strategy. I’m beginning to lean toward the latter.