3

March

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations — Offense — Andrew Quarless

1) Introduction: Andrew Quarless, the Green Bay Packers’ 2010 fifth round pick, wasn’t expected to contribute as much as he was forced to this season. Jermichael Finley’s season-ending injury in Week 5 and the decline of Donald Lee put Quarless into the starting lineup — a position he wasn’t mentally or physically ready for.

Despite the unfavorable scenario, Quarless generally made the most of his limited opportunities and didn’t make any glaring mistakes. With an offseason to get more comfortable with the playbook and add some body weight, Quarless could be expected to make a jump in his second year to becoming more of a play-maker for the Packers offense.

2) Profile:

Andrew Christopher Quarless

Position: TE

Height: 6-4    Weight: 248 lbs.

Born: October 6, 1988 in New York, NY

College: Penn State (school history)  (Quarless college stats)

Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round (154th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Very low. With Finley, one of the NFL’s up and coming pass catchers firmly entrenched at starting tight end, many probably didn’t even expect Quarless to see the field. You could see the potential he had athletically early on (much like Finley in 2008), but it was clear that he needed a season or two to mature into a player you could count on to contribute.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: After Finley went down in Washington, Quarless caught a 23-yard pass on the Packers’ final drive of regulation that helped get Green Bay into field goal range. Two weeks later, Quarless caught his first ever touchdown pass — a difficult nine yard catch in the back of the end zone against the Vikings.

In Week 14 against the Lions, Quarless had his best game statistically (5 receptions, 61 yards), but also lost a fumble in the first half that took points of the board for the Packers.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: While much of the offense ran through Finley and the tight end position through the first 5 weeks, the Packers shied away from Quarless once Finley was lost for the season. In fact, Quarless caught as many passes (21) in 13 regular season games as Finley had in his four games and change.

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”.

27

April

New Packers Running Back James Starks – Tuesday Night on Packer Transplants

Live Tonight – Cheesehead Nation presents the post-draft edition of Packers Transplants.  Packers draft choice James Starks will be interviewed and Tony Pauline from Sports Illustrated and TFY Draft will be discussing the Packers Draft. As usual, I’ll be a guest panelist on the live blog. Join us for some great Packers entertainment.

If you can’t make the show, you can come back anytime and watch the replay…

Start Time: 9:00PM EST, Tuesday, April 27.

See you there!

LIVE BLOG:

PACKER TRANSPLANTS:

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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.

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

22

April

Complete Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Coverage – Live Blog

The fine folks over at Cheeshead TV and RailBird Central will be providing full-blown NFL Draft coverage from a rabid Packers-centric perspective. They will be reporting live from the NFL draft itself at Radio City Music Hall and from the Lambeau Field Packers draft party. I will be participating as a guest panelist in their live blog, where you will be able to follow and converse with a bevy of  knowledgeable Packer fans.

If you’re a Packer fan, and you’re really into the NFL Draft, this is the place to be:

<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=f4b5a4f06e” mce_href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=f4b5a4f06e” >NFL Draft Round 1</a>

In addition to the Live Blog, Brian carriveau of Railbird Central will be hosting a call-in talk show from 11 to 12 PM EST on Thursday evening on BlogTalkRadio. Chat or call in to rant or rave about the Packers selection in Round 1: