As I write this, we sit on the eve of the 2010 NFL Draft.
That being the case, it’s time for me to put on my Ted Thompson cap and pretend I’m running the draft room in Green Bay. Yeah, this should be fun.
Before we tee this thing off, a few ground rules:
- I am not going to predict any trades for the Packers. I’m going to assume, for the purposes of this post, that they will keep all eight of their picks. It’s impossible to predict which, if any, trades will happen.
- I kept it original, meaning I don’t have Green Bay taking any of the players I assessed to the other NFC North teams on Monday.
- I took need into account more than anything else. Of course, Thompson doesn’t do this very often. Still, it seemed like the best way to attack this thing.
With those rules out of the way, let’s begin.
Day One: At pick No. 23, the Packers will definitely have some options, which is a good thing. They could snag their left tackle of the future, as at least two of the top six offensive tackles should still be available. They could look for an impact outside linebacker or corner, as well. Ultimately, I had to ask myself the following: Which need is the greatest? Quickly, I crossed corner off the list. That left me with two positions, of course, and one more question: Who do I have more faith in – Brad Jones or Chad Clifton? While we don’t know if Jones is the guy to go opposite Clay Matthews, we do know that Clifton is money in the bank to miss at least three or four games next season. Depth is needed for the short term. And Clifton’s age makes finding a long-term solution crucial (job No. 1 for the organization, as a whole, over the next 10-15 years: Protect Aaron Rodgers). That made finding an answer easier. I’ve been saying USC’s Charles Brown should be the pick and I’m not backing off that now. He – hopefully – won’t make much impact right away. He needs a year to get stronger and fully learn the pro game. But, if called into duty in the event of a Clifton injury, I think he’s good enough to hold down the fort for a stretch or two. And come 2011, he’ll take the left tackle job and own it for the next 10 years.
Day two: Even though I just got done saying that outside linebacker is a bigger need than cornerback, there are more top-notch corners available in round two than there are OLBs. Charles Woodson and Al Harris aren’t getting any younger, and outside of Tramon Williams, the rest of the youngsters are unknowns (or Jarrett Bush). The character issues worry me a bit, but there’s just something about Oklahoma State’s Perrish Cox that I love. He’s got fantastic balls skills, knows how to play zone defense and would cure Green Bay’s return woes reeeaaal quick. Plus, I have faith that Woody and Al can keep him in line. If Pat Lee can finally stay healthy, the Packers will have great depth at that position this season and could have a nice trio for the long-term with Cox, Lee and Williams.
Now we’re in round three and it’s time to find an outside linebacker. I’ve waited longer than a lot of people would simply because I think Jones will make a nice leap next season. But the team still needs insurance in case Jones fails. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking to have him lasting this long, but South Carolina’s Eric Norwood would make for a great selection. He’s a bit undersized (just 6-feet, 1-inch), but he proved – in the top collegiate conference in the nation – that he knows how to rush the passer (and he’s a great tackler). Between Jones and Norwood, the Packers will find someone to pair opposite Matthews. I’m certain of that.
Day three: So far, I’ve covered what I feel are Green Bay’s three biggest needs. There’s one more spot that must be addressed, though: Strong safety. Atari Bigby shows flashes, but is often inconsistent or injured. As a fourth rounder, Kansas’ Darrell Stuckey brings a lot to the table, particularly for a 3-4 strong safety. He’s a great tackler and zone cover man, with excellent toughness and sub 4.5 speed. He needs to be more consistent playing the ball, but he can easily improve there (especially being around guys like Woodson, Harris, Williams and Nick Collins).
The Packers have two picks in round five – one being a compensatory selection – and with the first of those, I think Green Bay should address the running back position. The idea of bringing in Brian Westbrook doesn’t do a whole lot for me, frankly, simply because he’s one hit to the head away from having to call it a career. I know he played in Division II – and ran a 4.68 40 – but Wayne State’s Joique Bell is very intriguing to me. He can hit the extra gear in a hurry, which makes him faster than his 40 time would suggest. He’s got great vision, good hands and he’s tough. He completely dominated DII last season, rushing for over 2,000 yards. He’d make for a nice No. 3 back.
With the second fifth-rounder, the Packers must look at their d-line. Cullen Jenkins will be a free agent after next season and Johnny Jolly could be in jail. Kentucky’s Corey Peters tends to take plays off from time-to-time, but he’s also very strong and great at using his hands to either control blockers or move them out of the way. If the consistency issues get cleaned up, he could be a starter in a year or two.
In the sixth round, Green Bay needs to simply look a couple of hours south to find its selection. Wisconsin’s O’Brien Schofield was pegged as a mid-round pick after a 12-sack 2009 campaign and strong showings in the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl practices. Then, however, he tore his ACL later on in the Senior Bowl practices, wrecking his draft status. He’ll likely have to spend the entire season on injured reserve, but once his knee fully heals, he’ll be an impact player. He brings great value this late.
With their final selection, I think it’d be fair for the Packers to snag a quarterback. It’s becoming very clear that the team is grooming Matt Flynn in the hopes of trading him after the 2010 season, something Ron Wolf loved to do in his day. That being the case, they should probably select their next Matt Flynn. Green Bay brought in Tennessee’s Jonathan Crompton for a visit recently and he’s got enough upside to warrant a seventh-round selection. I can’t find much fault with that pick.
So there you have it, gang. That’s what I would do if I was Ted Thompson. As always, feel free to comment.
Finally, this is our second-to-last post before draft night. Our last post will be a three-man cage match mock draft, featuring Adam, Gene and myself. That will be up Thursday morning, so make sure to look for it.