Plans for some upgrades and enhancements at Lambeau Field were made public yesterday. Among the news is a new sound system being installed in time for the new season in 2011. “Installation of the new sound system is slated to begin in May, with cranes becoming visible outside the stadium while they assist with the construction of 16 speaker enclosures around the roof,” writes Mike Spofford of the Packers’ official website. “The new speakers will change Lambeau’s audio technology from a single-point system clustered in the north scoreboard to a distributed system designed to deliver sound more evenly and clearly throughout the stadium bowl.” The article goes on to describe how the new system will minimize the effects weather, such as wind, will have on sound heard by the listener.
Meanwhile, plans for new video boards have been delayed until 2012. “The Packers, however, will hold off on the new video boards,” writes Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “According to a statement, the team ‘determined that it would be more effective, from a planning and fiscal perspective, to have the video boards be a part of the upcoming end-zone projects.’” This coincides with a new entrance gate being constructed on the north side of the stadium in time for the 2012 season and another on the south side in 2013 or beyond.
With a request for a stay by the NFL being denied by a federal judge, it’s been debated what rules will be in place for the Packers during the draft tonight regarding free agency, trades, etc. The response is, nobody knows. “Whether that includes free agency or other rules drawn up even as the draft gets under way Thursday was anyone’s guess,” writes Dave Campbell, published in the Journal Sentinel. “There was no immediate word from the league after Nelson’s decision.” It’s a game of wait and see today.
A list of players who the Green Bay Packers worked out at their headquarters prior to the Draft was published by the Journal Sentinel. We’ve published news of these workouts in this space for the past couple months. But one workout we weren’t previously aware of was UTEP wide receiver Kris Adams. “Big, tall receiver led the nation in yards per catch (22.8) and ranks second all-time in TDs at UTEP (30),” writes Tom Silverstein. “Was honorable mention Conference USA. Caught 47 passes for 1,070 yards and 14 TDs in ’10.” Adams had an impressive performance in this past season’s New Mexico Bowl in which he had three catches for 153 yards with all three receptions going for touchdowns.
A feature article written on Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Bill Nagy was also written by Silverstein. “Nagy is one of what is believed to be about 20 players who made visits to the Packers in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s draft,” writes Silverstein. “The Packers usually only bring in players they’re going to draft in the late rounds or are going to try to sign in free agency after the seven rounds are over.” We had previously reported on Cheesehead TV about Nagy’s meeting with the Packers while at Wisconsin’s pro day.
Respected Packers beat reporter Bob McGinn reports some rumors about prospects the Packers may be interested in, although he gives no sources. Although McGinn is a thorough journalist, reports like this have to be taken with a grain of salt because his unnamed sources could be feeding him misinformation. “Thompson has high regard for Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod, the last of four left tackles on most boards, and might go up and take him if he slips into the early 20s,” writes McGinn. “The cost to move up 10 slots in the first round would be a third-round choice.” It’s also said that the Packers have a keen interest in defensive lineman D’Quan Bowers. If McGinn happens to be right about these rumors, however, he will look like a genius.
In a bit of a surprise, McGinn has Alabama running back Mark Ingram going to the Packers at no. 32 in his mock draft. “The Packers would like to go tackle, DE or ROLB,” writes McGinn. “But when Sherrod and Bowers were taken, they stop the freefall of the top back in the draft.” I have to agree that the Packers would be wise to take Ingram if he falls that far, but I don’t see him slipping to 32.
The mock draft from Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has the Packers taking Brooks Reed of Arizona. “Based on Thompson’s history, especially with first-round picks,” writes Dougherty, “the guess here is he selects Reed, who figures to carry far more value for some teams than others because of his pristine personal background and the all-football mentality that scouts such as Thompson covet when spending first-round money on a player.” The rumor is that Kevin Green loves Brooks Reed like he loved Clay Matthews. Take that for what it’s worth.
Today is “Charles Woodson Day” at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the Packers cornerback has been a donor to his alma mater. “The former Wolverines standout has given his time and money to the Ann Arbor school’s children’s hospital over the years, visiting patients and personally donating to the Champions for Children campaign to build the new Mott Children’s Hospital, which opens in November,” reports the Associated Press. Woodson reportedly threw out the honorary first pitch at the Detroit Tigers game last night.
A pair of stars from the Lombardi era have been added to the Packers’ Tailgate Tour next month. “Pro Football Hall of Famers Forrest Gregg (1956, 1958-70) and Jim Taylor (1958-66) have been added to the ‘Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour’ lineup, an event that raises money for charities in five cities over five days, from May 10-14,” according to the Packers’ official website.
An article about the possibility of the Packers drafting Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston is written by Rob Reischel of the Journal Sentinel’s Packers Plus (subscription required). “I think (Houston) makes a lot of sense for Green Bay,” an NFC scout is quoted as saying . “He’s a perfect 3-4 linebacker. He fills one of their few holes. You get (Clay) Matthews some help. Everything about that pick would make sense.”
In the same vein, Tom Silverstein writes about the possibility of Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod being selected by the Packers. “It’s hard to find big tackles with Sherrod’s kind of agility and quickness,” writes Silverstein. “The Packers aren’t as concerned about run-blocking ability at left tackle as they are with protecting QB Aaron Rodgers. With some work in the weight room and the right motivation from line coach James Campen, Sherrod could be a good fit for the Packers. They have a similar guy in Marshall Newhouse, but Sherrod is more athletic and has played against some very good pass rushers in the SEC. If GM Ted Thompson doesn’t take him at No. 32, he’ll be gone soon after that.”
Special teams are analyzed prior to the draft by Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. “After two years of searching, the Packers finally found their punter last season in Tim Masthay, who essentially won two games for them (the Oct. 31 game at the New York Jets and the regular-season finale at home against Chicago),” writes Wilde. “Between Masthay and long-snapper Brett Goode, who signed a late-season extension, the Packers are set at two of their key special teams positions. After that, though, there is some uncertainty.”
The top 10 draft picks by Ted Thompson are listed by Jason Wilde.
Get Wayne Larrivee’s thoughts on the draft at JSOnline.
It’s a deep year for defensive linemen in the draft says Vic Ketchman of Packers.com.
A feature on former Packer Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is written by Martin Hendricks of Packer Plus (sub required).
Willie Buchanon has an article at Packers.com.
Prototype safeties are listed for the Packers by Thomas Hobbes of AllGreenBayPackers.com.
Count Adam Somers of Ol’ Bag of Donuts as one not excited about the draft.
In the same boat is Michael Rodney of Packer Update.
More on Akeem Ayers comes from Total Packers.