The 2013 NFL Draft is now two weeks old, and this column might be a day late and a dollar short, but I don't think this is a topic that should be swept under the rug and ignored.
I previously questioned whether the Packers lost out on selecting now St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey with the 93rd pick in the third round of draft.
Now it's time to speculate whether the Packers made a mistake in misjudging the market for centers in the fourth round.
The Packers entered the draft with center as an obvious need. Evan Dietrich-Smith signed his one-year restricted free agent tender in early April and enters the season as the only legitimate center on the team's roster.
There was an opportunity for the Packers to sign Dietrich-Smith to a multi-year extension during the offseason, but either they or Dietrich-Smith chose not to.
Perhaps "EDS" wants to test the free agent market next season, but more realistically, the Packers declined to offer more than a one-year deal, or at least offered less than what Dietrich-Smith was seeking.
Essentially, Dietrich-Smith enters a "prove it" season. His future with the Packers will lie largely on how he performs in 2013. If he wants to sign a long-term contract with the Packers, he's going to have to earn it.
But the Packers also entered the draft knowing they don't have a center locked up beyond 2013. At the very least, you would think they'd be looking to add depth, a just-in-case insurance policy at the center position.
The third day of the draft would seem to be the perfect time to add such a player, a low-risk alternative who could possibly become a starter a year down the road.
The Packers entered the fourth round with three draft choices: 4.12, 4.25 and 4.28.
With the 10th choice in the first round, pick 107 overall, the Tennessee Titans took California center Brian Schwenke, so the Packers didn't have the opportunity to take the second true center to come off the board after the Dallas Cowboys took Wisconsin's Travis Frederick in the first round.
Two picks later, Green Bay made Colorado tackle David Bakhtiari their first of three fourth round picks, passing on taking either Alabama's Barrett Jones or USC's Khaled Holmes.
If the Packers were banking on either Jones or Holmes being available with their second pick in the fourth round, they missed out.
Jones was selected by the Rams with pick 4.16 (113 overall), and Holmes was taken by the Indianapolis Colts with pick 4.24 (121 overall), exactly one slot before the Packers took J.C. Tretter with pick 4.25.
There's speculation that the Packers will convert Tretter into a center just as they've done with other college left tackles in the past, but the question is whether Tretter is the consolation prize. Did they really covet Jones or Holmes?
Admittedly, this is all speculation on my part. The Packers got their man with the first pick in the fourth round in Bakhtiari. They had the opportunity to take Jones or Holmes at that point and decided to take a pass.
But will it end up being a mistake?
When Dietrich-Smith is a free agent a year from now, it's worth asking whether the Packers will have to overpay simply because they have no other choice.
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