24

April

Green Bay Packers Draft Targets: Defense

Packers Defense Draft ProspectsI hear defense, defense, defense fans for this draft. In my other piece on the offensive side of the ball, I stated the offense fell from #3 in 2011 to #13 in 2012. The defense improved across the board in 2012 over 2011, and I expect a lot more of that improvement this coming season. I don’t believe we will see a repeat of last year, but there are needs that have to be addressed in the draft, where in the draft is the big question.

Based on the opinion of many, need and BPA make a convergence in this draft with a number of DT/DE prospects rated around the Packers #26 pick. All of these Defensive linemen have those warts I talked about in the offensive piece.

Lets start with Sylvester Williams,
A some what under rated DT, not as hyped as others right now, but very talented. But there are questions about him, Real concerns? Hype? Misinformation? All in the eye of the beholder.

To continue the Williams theme lets go with Jesse Williams NT/DE Alabama,.  I like this Williams because he can play NT, DE and that 3 technique used in the nickel and dime for the Packers. He is raw and limited in pass rush. Back to these players having questions.

Lets look at Jonathon Hankins,  more warts, but a possibility for the #26 pick, what I don’t like is two years of knee injuries. But quick long arms another prospect that can play multiple spots in the defense.

The player that is getting more and more buzz right now for the Packers is, Datone Jones. He might be the best fit as 3-4 DE in the entire first round. Like the rest of the group of Dlinemen at the #26 pick, he has questions about his effort but there is no question of his ability.

And last but not least is this D-line Prospect.  Rankings on him are all over the map. This is a high risk, possibly high reward pick. Big men with his athletic ability are few and far between, he will be drafted higher then he should be because of that. But I would think he is in the mix. He is a high effort, great work ethic prospect, and is a physical freak, The thing with this pick would be the teams projection of what he could be with development.  Margus Hunt offers the type of player along the defensive line the team does not have now. The question is, when do you draft him.

23

April

Green Bay Packers Draft Targets: Offense

packers draft targets  - Offense

Draft Target Bulls Eye

How many mock drafts have you checked out? How many positional ranking lists have you pondered? Maybe a scouting report or two? The draft is less then a week away. The NFL Draft might be one of the greatest marketing wonders of the world. Three days of TV coverage, on two Networks, with Parties at most home Stadiums and so much out there you can’t swing a dead cat and not hit something related to the NFL draft.

And I have to admit, I love it.

The amount of buzz created this time of year about everything football is quite amazing when you consider not that long ago, Well at least in my time as a Packer fan, which to some would be a long time ago, the draft was a much different affair. The year the Packers won the first Super Bowl, Vince had twenty two picks in 17 rounds. And that year of 1967 was the first year of the combined draft. The NFC and AFC had got that point to end the bidding war between the two Leagues for the Top prospects.

Today a player had better be a Super Star out of the box or that “B “ word gets tossed out there pretty quickly. We will also all hear what team had the best grade in the draft. That is the one thing out of today’s draft that makes me mumble short worded sentences that Jersey Al won’t put on his site.

Come back in a couple years and lets see who really did what. When you look at Ted Thompsons drafts over the last four years, they have been shaping up nicely.

I will not start a whole discussion on BPA and need. But I will add a link to what might be the best example of a NFL grading system you will find on the net, this is from someone that was a NFL scout. What we don’t know, is what each team puts the most emphasis on in generating those grades, but it shows the degree’s of rankings worked up on these prospects.

1

April

Searching for Sleepers: Packers 2013 NFL Draft

Ted Thompson on the Prowl

Ted Thompson on the Prowl

Since Ted Thompson has had final say in who the Packers draft, there have been a number of, WHO?, picks. Nick Collins, Jerron McMIllian, James Jones, Josh Sitton come to mind looking back at different drafts and remembering the comments by many of the sideline GM’s. You could have got this or that player way later and TT should have taken this or that player instead. When you look at these picks and how they have turned out, I give TT the edge over the sideliners.

All of these picks were either smaller school players or players that had little or no buzz about them heading into the draft. For those that don’t know me, I have always been a big fan of these types of players. A college OT that makes the move to OG, a college DE that makes the move to OLB or even ILB like Lattimore now with the Packers. My thoughts have always been that good football players are good football players, it does not matter where they come from or who they played against. Call them reaches or for some flyer picks for this we will call them sleepers. With most of these player there is little of no Video on them, but I will get what I can for your viewing pleasure.

Here are a few that have caught my eye so far in the pre draft process. I am not putting any importance on a position, just prospects I think need a closer look.

Matthew Tucker RB TCU. 6-0 221#, 4.50 40 time, 1.54 ten yard, 35.5” vertical, 4.44 short shuttle and 7.13 3 cone drill, averaged over 5.0 a carry in his career, 3rd all time in TD’s for TCU. When you look at his stats he had his best games against the toughest teams.

Kyle Juszcyzyk Played HBack/ TE/ FB at Harvard 6-1 246# 4.71 40 time, 37” vertical, 10’1” long jump, AMAZING agility with a 4.19 short shuttle and a 6.93 3 cone drill and 24 reps at 225#
Few FB’s have that kind of athletic ability. Having been a Hback/TE he can catch the ball and has experience blocking. Watch the helmet removing block in the video, Runs good routes, Shows he is just a good hard nosed football player. With his versatility he could be a better more athletic Kuhn.

10

February

All Packers Talk Podcast: 2013 NFL Draft Needs

Packers 2013 NFL Draft Needs

Looking towards the 2013 NFL Draft…

The latest “All Packers Talk” podcast gets the Packers’ Draft season underway with a general discussion of positional needs.

In tonight’s edition, we “start the conversation.”

We plan on doing a series of these podcasts, looking closely at this Packers team, position group by position group, and analyzing where improvements are needed. Then, of course, we’ll examine college prospects that could help the Packers.

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Tune in for this expanded coverage of the original Packers Draft Needs Post  and much, much more…

Listen using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

 

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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25

January

If Jennings leaves, Wide Receiver Becomes a Pressing Need

Packers WR Greg Jennings

Packers WR Greg Jennings

Most expect wide receiver Greg Jennings to leave the Packers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Jennings has spent the past seven seasons in Green Bay after being drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. And after 425 catches, 53 touchdowns, two Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl, Jennings’s time in Green Bay appears to be over.

When the Packers played the Minnesota Vikings in week 17, the wide receiver’s sister was critical of quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Twitter, suggesting that Jennings should “take (his) talents to South Beach and get paid.”

Miami is certainly a potential landing spot for Jennings. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was the Packers’ offensive coordinator from 2007-2011. And whether it’s with the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings or another team, Jennings is likely in line for a healthy payday this offseason.

In which case, one of Green Bay’s strongest positions in recent years could become a pressing need.

The Packers saw a preview of life-after-Jennings in 2012, as he only appeared in eight regular season games. In his absence, James Jones and Randall Cobb emerged as key playmakers for the Packers. With Jordy Nelson on one side, Jones on the other and Cobb in the slot, the Packers have a talented trio of wide receivers even if Jennings signs elsewhere.

But having three talented receivers does as much good as having one great quarterback. If the all-too-popular injury bug bites, the team could suffer.

And beyond Nelson, Jones and Cobb, the Packers face a great deal of uncertainty at the position. Undrafted rookie Jarrett Boykin was a pleasant surprise in the preseason and cracked the final 53-man roster in August. Jeremy Ross showed promise as a return man late in the season, but he didn’t make an impact on the team offensively.

Donald Driver was used sparingly in 2012 and is reportedly leaning towards retirement.

At tight end, the future of starter Jermichael Finley is up in the air. Packers beat writer Bob McGinn wrote Dec. 15 that the Packers appeared to be finished with Finley, but the much-maligned tight end improved down the stretch. Following the article’s publication, Finley caught 18 passes in the Packers’ final three regular season games. Finley signed a two-year, $14 million contract last February, leaving the team with a tough decision on what to do with the five-year veteran.

16

March

Assessing the Packers’ Biggest Draft Needs

Ted Thompson Packers

Despite Tom Silverstein’s shocking news that the Packers are interested in former Miami Dolphins’ defensive end Kendall Langford, chances remain high that the Packers instead address their defensive deficiencies through the draft.

In doing so, the question becomes which position should the Packers address first; an outside linebacker to put opposite Clay Matthews or another body to build up a much-needed pass rush. Or what about center if Scott Wells finds a new home via free agency and the Packers come up empty-handed with veteran centers?

Regardless of need, Ted Thompson is likely to draft the best player available when the Packers get on the clock, but it’s worthwhile to play the game.

While the Packers having glaring holes both on the defensive line and at right outside linebacker, addressing the issues of the defensive line will also help to alleviate additional pressure placed on the outside linebacker, as well as the defensive back field.

With a steady pass rush in 2010, the Packers were able to mask their weakness at the right outside linebacker position all the way to winning Super Bowl XLV. When Cullen Jenkins walked out the door to become an Eagle and the pass rush struggled, there were just too many problems to disguise. By fixing one issue, namely the defensive line, the Packers would again be able to compensate for weaknesses elsewhere, if not able to find a solution via free agency or the draft.

The news of Mike Neal’s suspension earlier this week was another hit to the Packers’ defensive line situation. Supposed to be the justification for letting Cullen Jenkins walk for a somewhat affordable deal, Neal hasn’t lived up to the hype and is getting dangerously close to the bust label, or even the Justin Harrell 2.0 label. It appears that Neal is not the answer, and the doubt weighs enough that it’s time to act.

While Langford would be a good addition to the rotation on the line, he won’t offer much in terms of the pass rush, the Packers’ biggest downfall in 2011. He is a run-stopper first and foremost and not known for getting after the quarterback.

The Packers need to address the defensive line and get a lineman who can and will get to the quarterback. That’s not to say if the Packers have a chance at a top outside linebacker they should pass him up, but just that the addressing the issues on the defensive line is a more desperate need.