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April

What Holes Remain on Packers Roster After the Draft?

Packers Draft Pick Jerel Worthy

New Packers D-lineman Jerel Worthy should help the team's feeble pass rush.

So all those holes on the Packers defense are patched now, right?

Someone to get after the quarterback opposite Clay Matthews? We got Nick Perry for that.

A defensive lineman to fill the void left by Cullen Jenkins? Say hello to Jerel Worthy.

Defensive backs that can cover and won’t shy away from making a tackle every now and then? Welcome to Green Bay, Casey Hayward and Jerron McMillian.

If only it was that simple. Unfortunately, none of the Packers shiny new toys acquired in the draft have played a snap in the NFL. As excited as Packers fans are to have so many new faces — especially on defense — there’s no guarantee that they’ll make the team any better.

Right now the only tangible asset these draft choices provide is hope. What else does a football team have to sell in April?

But let’s be extra positive and assume that the Packers aced this draft and everyone they selected in rounds 1-4 does what they’re supposed to do and makes the Packers better.

Even if all the rookies fit right in, what other holes remain on the Packers roster?

Inside linebacker
Desmond Bishop is fine, but it’s going to be tough getting through the upcoming season without hurling a brick through my TV if A.J. Hawk doesn’t play better than he did last season. Yes, D.J. Smith and Robert Francois showed promise when they filled in, but it’s still fair to call one of the two inside linebacker positions on this team a hole if Hawk doesn’t bounce back.

Backup interior offensive line
Evan Dietrich-Smith did fine when pressed into action at guard in 2011, but I’d rather not see him snapping the ball to Aaron Rodgers in 2012. Thompson didn’t find a backup center or a center for the future in the draft, which means Dietrich-Smith is likely next in line if Jeff Saturday gets hurt (Sampson Genus also could factor in).

There’s more to playing center than snapping the ball and blocking guys. Centers are usually in charge of setting the pre-snap pass protection, calling out blitzes and acting as the quarterback of the offensive line. Is Dietrich-Smith or some other inexperienced player ready to fill that role on a Super-Bowl caliber team? I’d rather not find out.