Packers Draft Needs: Time to Start the Conversation
The Packers lost to the 49ers in the NFL playoffs. Badly. Embarrasingly. Frustratingly. Think of some other negative adverbs and they would probably also apply.
But in the fast-paced world of the NFL, that loss is already ancient history. We’ve dissected it to death on this site and other media outlets and blogs have done the same. It’s time to move on.
In the coming weeks, the ALLGBP.com staff will have complete reviews and grades of everyone on the Packers roster for the 2012-13 season. We will also begin breaking down prospects in the the April NFL draft that may fit the Packers needs.
This post is meant to start the discussion on what the Packers needs in the draft may be.
If everything was equal, what position group should the Packers focus on when they pick 26th in the upcoming draft? If there was at least one player from each position group on the board when Ted Thompson’s turn came up, and they were all equally talented, which position group should Thompson bolster?
I realize this is a very general and broad question, but remember, we’re just starting the conversation. There will plenty of specific prospect breakdowns and more focused discussion in the coming months. For now, let’s focus on the big picture and moving on from the 49ers loss.
Here’s how I see things.
- Inside linebacker: Yes, Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith should be back, but will there be lingering effects from the major injuries that ended their 2012 seasons early? The NFL seems to be cyclical. Just when we think a position group isn’t as valuable as it used to be, it makes a little bit of a comeback. With the rise of spread offenses and passing attacks, inside linebackers don’t seem as important as they once were. But then you don’t have one and you realize how valuable they can be. It’d be nice to have a linebacker on the inside that can ocassaionaly cover a tight, move well enough to deal with quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Colin Kapernick, and be a solid tackler. Another good inside linebacker would allow Thompson to cut A.J. Hawk and use Brad Jones as a versatile backup and situational player, perhaps at all four linebacker spots.
- Defensive Line: The Packers starting defensive lineman are big and slow. I’d like another guy like Mike Neal. Jerel Worthy was supposed to be that guy, but who knows how his knee injury will impact him next season. B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and C.J. Wilson are good for plugging holes, but they seem to have problems actually making plays when the hole is plugged. More athleticism should help the defensive line put a little pressure on quarterbacks and actually make plays on running backs before they reach the second level.
- Safety: I miss Nick Collins. Morgan Burnett is solid, and Jerron McMillian and/or M.D. Jennings should hopefully keep developing, but if Thompson sees a stud safety on the board, I’d be fine if he took him. Safety is another one of those positions that you don’t appreciate until you don’t have one. A stud safety can improve both the pass defense and run defense.
- Running Back: Thompson hasn’t had much luck taking running backs in the later rounds. Should he try something different and take a running back in the first round? I want to say no, but a guy like Doug Martin (drafted 31st in 2012) sure would look nice in this offense.
- Offensive Line: I like the offensive line as it is. That said, it’s not elite. If there’s a tackle that appears to be an upgrade over Marshall Newhouse or Derek Sherrod, I say go for it. Ditto for a center that would be an upgrade over Evan Dietrich-Smith.