30

April

Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Draft — Sixth Round, No. 186: LB D.J. Smith

With the 186th pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Appalachian State linebacker D.J. Smith.

Smith measures 5-10, 240 pounds with 32.2″ arms. He posted a 4.75-second 40-yard dash, 20 bench-presses and a 31″ vertical leap.

College history

Smith has been one of the more productive linebackers in college football over the past four seasons. A four-year starter at Appalachian State, Smith racked up over 500 tackles and nine sacks in 50 career starts.

Smith was also a three-year All-American selection, including two First Team picks his final two seasons. In those last two years, Smith was a final for the Buck Buchanan award, given to the best defensive player in the FCS.

Commentary

Most fans wanted this position addressed much earlier (I not being one of them), but the Packers finally got their outside linebacker.

Smith is a well-built defender and has the production and experience to add competition to the position. He doesn’t seem to have the pass-rushing skills that would warrant starting on the outside, but the Packers obviously saw something in the way he was always around the football.

Video (DJ Smith is #9)

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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15

May

The Green Bay Packers 2010 Draft Through the Evil Blue Eyes of a Cowboy

by Guest Author, Thomas Hobbes

Packer fans, here’s a different way to look at the recent NFL Draft:

An interesting piece of information just came to my attention, namely a photo was recently leaked of Jerry Jones during the NFL draft in front of the Dallas’ Cowboys’ big board .

More importantly, Cowboy fans with no lives have spent hours working out the players listed in the majority of rounds one through four. I’m sure Jones is livid that his board was exposed (Luckily for the Cowboys it looks like the picture was taken while the draft was going on, so its unlikely that any other teams gained any unfair information).

Here is what Cowboys fans have been able to determine:

Round 1
1. Sam Bradford
2. Gerald McCoy
3. Ndamakong Suh
4. Russell Okung
5. Trent Williams
6. Eric Berry
7. Rolando McClain
8. Joe Haden
9. CJ Spiller
10. Mike Iupati
11. Dez Bryant
12. Earl Thomas
13. Bryan Bulaga
14. Sean Lee
15. Jared Odrick
16. Jason Pierre-Paul
17. Derrick Morgan
18. Kyle Wilson
19. MaurkicePouncey
20. Navorro Bowman
21. Jahvid Best
22. Tyson Alualu
23. Jermaine Gresham
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Round 2
1. Devin McCourty
2. Demaryius Thomas
3. Koa Misi
4. Jerry Hughes
5. Brandon Graham
6. Nate Allen
7. Morgan Burnett
8. Taylor Mays
9. Dan Williams
10. (covered name)
11. Kareem Jackson
12. Ryan Matthews
13. Brian Price
14. Rob Gronkowski
15. Brandon Ghee
16. Jimmy Clausen
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Round 3
1. Sergio Kindle
2. Anthony Davis
3. Corey Wooton
4. Patrick Robinson
5. Dexter McCluster
6. Joe McKnight
7. (covered name)
8. -
9. -
10. Colt McCoy
11. Taylor Price
12. Lamarr Houston
13. D’Anthony Smith
14. Damian Williams
15. Eric Decker
16. Thaddeus Gibson
17. Corey Peters
18. Rodger Saffold
19. Toby Gerhardt
20. Golden Tate
21. Brandon LeFell
22. Amari Spievey
23. Mike Neal
________________________

Round 4
1. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
2. Javier Arenas
3. Vladimir Ducasse
4. Ed Dickson
5.
6. Clay Harbor
7. Perry Riley
8. (plate removed)
9. Torell Troup
10. Carlton Mitchell
11. Mike Johnson
12. John Jerry
13. Linval Joseph
14. Major Wright
15. Dominique Franks
16. Larry Asante
17. Tony Moeaki
18.
19. Ben Tate
20. Kam Chancellor
21. Andre Roberts
22. Myron Lewis
23.

30

April

Breaking Down the Green Bay Packers 2010 NFL Draft Picks

If you’re looking for a straight-to-the-point, no-nonsense breakdown of each Green Bay Packer draft choice, I have just the article for you. Written by guest author Pigskin Paul, this synopsis will give you the key points you need to know about each new player. Enjoy!

ROUND 1    PICK 23    BRYAN BULAGA/OT/IOWA/6’5/315                   PPP RANK #11

So did the PACK get the steal of the DRAFT when BULAGA fell to them at PICK 23? Probably not. Did they get great value at the Pick? Sure did. Is he the next FORREST GREGG in Green Bay? No, he’s more likely to be the next CHAD CLIFTON. And that’s something they have been trying to find and Draft for the past 5 years. He has more technique and athleticism than BARBRE. He is more ready to step in and produce than BRENO.

A big part of the job for Personnel People is to find good replacements for aging,  quality players. BULAGA will play LT, and do so very well, for a decade in Green Bay. He certainly has as much talent (if not more) than CLIFTON, who has been good enough to fashion a ten year NFL career, and even get to the Pro Bowl. He does not have as much athleticism, or upside as BRUCE CAMPBELL, the COMBINE Wonder Boy, but he is much more of a sure thing to play, and play well, soon. Great value at the Pick!

ROUND 2   PICK 56    MIKE NEAL/DE/PURDUE/6’3/295                        PPP RANK #128

NEAL may be the guy to make, or break the PACKERS 2010 DRAFT. He was a solid college player, on a mediocre defensive team at PURDUE. He is a cut, physical specimen who is weight room strong, but with a maxed-out frame. It will be the task of the PACKERS strength and conditioning staff to increase his stamina, and translate more of that pure strength into functional, football strength.

After the PICK I pulled out tape of both the SHRINE and SENIOR BOWL games to watch NEAL. The Coaches must have liked his work because he played as many, or more, snaps than any other DL in both games. He is incredibly quick off the ball, and it doesn’t look like he is guessing all the time. His biggest weakness was getting overwhelmed and buried when double-team blocked on the inside. I think the PACKERS Scouting Staff projected his talent outside to the 5-technique and they believe they have a potential starting player. I like the fact that he stays on his feet, and will pursue the ball down field. He also seems to have a good feel for where the play is going. I had him ranked as a Round 4 Prospect as a 4-3 scheme, 3-technique DT, but I can see more value from him in the move outside.

28

April

Green Bay Packers 2010 NFL Draft: The Reasons Behind the Picks

By Guest Author, Thomas Hobbes

So now that the NFL draft is officially over, tons of fans will converge on Packers web sites to air their grievances about not drafting a particular player or reaching for another.  They will hand out grades to teams and players alike; argue with other fans about what should have happened, and how the analysts have no idea what they are talking about.

I frankly am uninterested in such things; you’re typically not going to find out how good a draft class or a player is for 3-5 years and a player’s success has a lot to do with the team and the environment they get drafted in.

Nevertheless, every team drafts a player with a role in mind, and in this article I hope to analyze what role I think each player was drafted for; I am not concerning myself with what I think will likely happen, I have not placed a grade or an analysis of each player’s potential for a reason.

Bryan Bulaga – Projected Left Tackle – Round 1 – Pick 23 (23)

Rationale: A no-brainer pick for the Packers.  Unfortunately, the pick is so enticing and so logical that it gives Thompson no chance to maneuver in the 1st round. Fortunately the Packers didn’t over think the pick and grabbed a top 10 talent in an area of huge need without having to overspend.

I’m curious as to what Thompson would have done in hindsight if he had known that Charles Brown from USC would be available in the 2nd round.  I doubt Thompson could have drafted both, since Brown is projected only to be a left tackle.

Obviously Bulaga will have every opportunity to play left tackle; his position and contract will entitle him to that much, but Thompson could have gone to rush linebacker (Jerry Hughes of TCU or Sergio Kindle of Texas) in the 1st instead.  My personal opinion is that Thompson made the right choice, the value was simply too good to pass up.

Mike Neal – Projected Defensive End – Round 2 – Pick 24 (56)

Rationale: Probably the most contested pick of the draft for the Packers, the response on Bleacher Report was almost immediate starting with “who?” a huge amount of googling, followed by “I don’t get it” and then finally “uh ok, I get it but I don’t like it”.

25

April

Green Bay Packers 2010 NFL Draft, Day 3 – Backwards Thinking

As day 3 of the 2010 NFL Draft came to a close, I  thought about the the selections the Packers made and quickly realized one thing:  I like these picks better in the reverse order of which they were taken.

5A) TE, Andrew Quarless, Penn State, 6’4″ – 252 lbs.

5B) T/G, Marshall Newhouse, TCU, 6’4″ – 319 lbs.

6) RB, James Starks, Buffalo, 6’2″ – 218 lbs.

7) DE, C.J. Wilson, East Carolina, 6’3″ – 290 lbs.

If Ted Thompson makes these selections on the planet Htrae, also known as Bizzaro World, where everything is opposite as it is on Earth, then they make perfect sense to me. But in our reality, I like them better backwards. Let me explain.

Prior to the draft, I had done some research on C.J. Wilson and really, really liked what I had seen on tape and read about him. He was a very productive player in college, with with 27 sacks, 45½ tackles for loss, and 35 quarterback pressures. He was also a good student, good citizen and a team leader. I had him down as a mid-round sleeper.

I had also come across the name James Starks in my pursuit of possible late round running backs for the Packers and found him quite intriguing at the time.  Starks has top-notch athletic skills, and is his school’s record-holder for rushing yardage (3,140), rushing touchdowns (34) and points scored (222), despite playing in just 36 games. Injuries are a concern, but he seems to be a very well rounded player – speed, bounces off of tacklers, gains positive yardage, a good receiver. Starks could be a great find for the Pack.

Newhouse I’ll admit to knowing very little about before today, but already the Packers plan to use him in the God-forsaken dual G/T role, so I’m automatically not that enthused. I do see that he made a few third-team and honorable mention All-American teams as a tackle, so that’s encouraging. He also had the pleasure of competing against Jerry Hughes every day in practice, which he says helped make him a better player.

24

April

For Green Bay Packer Die-Hards ONLY – NFL Draft 2010 Day 3 Live Blog

If you’re here today, a tip of the hat to you. You, my friend, are a DIE-HARD Packer fan.

Enjoy the Live Blog…

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You can  follow Jersey Al on Facebook and Twitter . Visit Jersey Al’s Packers Blog for more in-depth Packers commentary.

Jersey Al Bracco is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

23

April

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Day 2: Depth and Versatility Rules

As day 2 of the 2010 NFL Draft comes to an end, it’s safe to say Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson has made some interesting choices.

Mike Neal, a defensive tackle name only a true draftnik or Purdue Boilermaker fan would know, was chosen in the second round to provide depth on the defensive line. This was a surprise to most everyone, including Neal, who said he had “no clue” the Packers were interested in him. But remember, Mike Montgomery is gone, Jarius Wynn is just not the right fit for 3-4 DE, Johnny Jolly has a court date and Justin Harrell – well, he’s Justin Harrell. A lot of question marks there. Throw in Jenkins, Jolly and Harrell (no snickering) all being in the last year of their contracts, and a warm DL body was needed.

Thompson then traded up in the third round to grab the next object of his desire, safety Morgan Burnett of Georgia Tech. Another position where depth was needed, as the Packers depth chart shows only Derrick Martin, Khalil Jones (a converted WR) and the indomitable Jarret Bush as an emergency fill-in. Seems to me Burnett is already 3rd on the safety depth chart without having played a down yet.

But beyond just providing depth, these picks were also about versatility.

During an telephone interview with the Packers media, Neal mentioned that he has played defensive end, 3-technique, 5-technique and even nose tackle. Ted Thompson said of Neal, “We think he fits very well into our system. He played defensive tackle mostly in college. He’s almost ideally suited to play the 3-4 defensive end. We feel like he’ll be a good asset for us in our sub packages rushing the passer from the inside.”

Reading through various scouting reports on Neal, this sentence stood out to me: He has a variety of very effective pass rushing moves from the inside that often collapse the pocket enough to cause bad throws from the opposition. Certainly something the Packers need, wouldn’t you say? Let’s hope he can do it.

Neal was a player that was originally pegged to go in rounds 4 or 5, but rose dramatically up the scouts’ draft boards after strong performances in the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine game and the NFL Combine.

You can get the full details on him here:

Mike Neal Profile