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Packers Draft Podcast: Safety is Green Bay's "No. 1 Need"

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Packers Draft Podcast: Safety is Green Bay's "No. 1 Need"

On Friday I joined host Jimmie Kaska on the "Water Cooler" at Eau Claire's 1400 AM WBIZ. We talked about the NFL Draft in-depth for two segments, in which we discussed the Packers' approach taken by general manager Ted Thompson and then broke down a few of the top prospects in this year's position by position. Of particular attention is the part where we discuss the secondary, where I call safety the "No. 1 need" for the Packers.

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Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and an editor at Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

Comments (64)

Drealyn Williams's picture

No it's not.

QOTSA1's picture

I think safety is a need, but I would say defensive line is the Packer's #1 need.

Worthy will likely start on the PUP list, Jolly may not be in NFL shape yet, and Neal and Daniels seem more like pass rush specialists than every down D ends. And Raji, Pickett, Wilson and Neal are all free agents next year.

Drealyn Williams's picture

Bingo! Other than Raji,every other DL is a 1-trick pony -- and some are just serviceable.

Stroh's picture

Problem is there aren't any JJ Watts in this draft that are gonna be every down playmakers. Just more of the same one-trick ponies, only maybe a little better than what we have now. That to me isn't worth taking in the 1st round. Only possible exception IMO, is Kawann Short. Other than possibly him, I don't every down players, so I don't see the point of using a 1st on a part-time player.

Drealyn Williams's picture

A 1-trick pony isn't bad if that person is really good at it. The problem is the 1's on the roster aren't that good in the 1 area they're here for. There are 4-5 DL that can go in the 1st. If drafted,that effects the role of Raji. Allows him to move around if need be (I believe he's more effective away from NT) or sits/relieves him. If not DL,then OL,LB or the right partner to trade down.

Stroh's picture

Even IF, and I don't necessarily agree, your using a 1st rd pick on what amounts to a Part Time player! Sorry but even if its an upgrade your still only getting a Part Time player! Is a Part Time player worthy of a 1st round choice? I personally, don't think that a 1st is ever worth using on a part time player! Maybe that's just me, and your OK w/ that. I don't know... But I NEVER think a 1st round pick should be a Part Time player. Ever! I would rather gamble on a player that is a Boom/Bust guy than use a 1st on someone I know will never be more than a 1 or at most 2 down player.

Drealyn Williams's picture

Out of that 4-5,2 of them bring more to the table. Quit saying "part time" player. A run-stuffer plus being able to collapse pass pockets doesn't sound like a "part time" player. Bruce Irvin sounds more like a "part time" player. And even he made some noise with the Seahawks (different scheme - I know).

Stroh's picture

No I won't stop saying it. I don't think there are any really good 34 DL that are every down players. Raji is a far better pass rusher/pocket collapsing DT than any of them. They all have holes in their game and would not either stand up vs the run or would offer nothing in pass rush. I am not thrilled w/ the idea of using a 1st round pick on what amounts to a part time player.

packeraaron's picture

It's an investment. Just because a guy is a "part time player" at first doesn't mean he always will be. Matthews was a "part time player" at first as well. That turned out ok.

Stroh's picture

Aaron... When Matthews got on the field after a hamstring injury, he was a FT player. And I don't think any of the DL in this draft w/ the exception of a one or two would be full time players similar to Raji.

Only ones I see that MIGHT be FT are Syl Williams and Kawann Short. Those are the only 2 I see that have the ability to play run and pass and stay on the field the majority of downs like Raji would.

Morgan Mundane's picture

amen

Drealyn Williams's picture

*High five*

Jake's picture

Like I've said before.. Maybe not on paper, but O-line may just be the teams number 1 need. We don't need our franchise QB taking 50 sacks every year. He can't do that his entire career and expect to play this well into his 30's.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Hopefully we will have two first round tackles in the mix this season... That's without the draft. "Hopefully".

Ma Linger's picture

My sentiments exactly. The Pack will face the 7 best pass rushing teams in football. The cream of the crop this year. If Rogers can't pass due to O line play, this team is toast. Kiss the season goodbye before it starts.
Start with getting Rogers protection, then go for trying to actually pass rush yourself.

Chris's picture

Safety is no where near our number 1 need. With Sherrod coming back this year (hopefully) and Barclay playing well on the right side at the end of last year that gives us 2 tackles with the ability of replacing Newhouse( Sherrod and Bulaga). That pushes O line down the need list. D line and rb are on the top of the list imo.

Stroh's picture

Only OL I would take in the 1st IF, big IF, he's there is Jonathan Cooper. He would be an almost immediate starter at either LG or C. I don't see either as a major need, but he would be too talented to pass on, unless Alec Ogletree is still available too.

Drealyn Williams's picture

You'd pass on Fluker and keep Bulaga at RT?

Stroh's picture

I would pass on Fluker no matter what. Like I said, the Packers aren't a run 1st power blocking team. Fluker is a poor pass blocker and would be a poor fit for the Packers blocking scheme. He can power some DE, but Packers don't look for big/huge power blockers. They want guys that can move and block on the move and are pass blockers more than power run blockers.. That's not Fluker's game. Its like taking Warmack over Cooper. Warmack is a power player, but if you don't use a power scheme, what good is he if he can't block as good on the move but Cooper can?!

Drealyn Williams's picture

That's why we have coaches -- right?

Stroh's picture

Hows Carimi doing in Chicago? He's been a bust as a RT, cuz he doesn't have good feet and isn't a mobile OT. Fluker is exactly the same in many respects. You can't teach a big guy to be light and quick on his feet. Either he is or he isn't and Carimi wasn't and neither is Fluker.

redlights's picture

Dline is about equal to Safety; but Safety is up there because Burnett is also in his contract year. A capable starter creates leverage against a cap breaking contract.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Has Morgan done anything to warrant a cap breaking contract? I like the kid, but I sure as hell hope he hasn't reached his ceiling, he needs to improve.

Drealyn Williams's picture

You're right on.

KurtMc's picture

Without a pass rush, we're in a scoring contest. That does win games, not the playoffs. Need QB pressure.

D-line, O-line, then safety. My two cents

PackerNation's picture

The Packers were near the top of the league in sacks last year, but gave up over 700 rushing yards in our last three games.

jmac34's picture

I think the headline should be safety will probably give the best value per need. I am not a huge fan of any of the DLineman that are supposed to be there.

Evan's picture

I think that's spot on. I'd say DL and S are 1A and 1B. It all depends how the 1st round falls.

Stroh's picture

But if a playmaker like Ogletree is on the board I think he would trump DL and Safety!

cow42's picture

you're worse with ogletree than i am with kaepernick.

dude is too slender to play 3/4 ilb.

enough already.

we get it...

you like ogletree.
you only think short fits as a 3/4 DE (because he has long arms for his height).
you wouldn't go anywhere near fluker.
cyprien's too slow (but vaccaro's not - even though they ran about the same 40 time)... still trying to figure that one out.
hunt as a 4/3 DE.

time to come up with something new, bro.

Stroh's picture

Ogletree is already a ready made 34 ILB! He played it at U Ga... He is up to 242 and at 6'3 is only an inch taller than Bishop and is the same wt.

Go look at that game vs Bama and the stuff he made man on man vs Lacy! Does that look like a guy that is too sleder to play ILB? He plays fast and he plays physical. He can run sideline to sideline to make plays and is terrific in coverage vs TE and RB.

Ogletree has to clean up some areas of his game, like taking correct angle and not getting stuck on blockers but he has the traits to be an incredible playmaker vs the run and the pass, not to mention putting the likes of Kaepernick on his ASS.

packeraaron's picture

Ogletree might be the most overrated player in this draft.

Stroh's picture

Bases on what exactly Aaron? Or is that just your opinion?

PackerNation's picture

Better safety play against SF would have prevented two of the long scoring plays and I agree that safety is a major need.

But....when you start passing up better football players to take a player that plays a position you "need" you start creating problems for yourself.

If Kenny Vacarro is available at #26, great. If not, and we can't trade down, then you take the best player you can get at #26, even if that player plays a position where you're already in good shape.

cow42's picture

yes.

Drealyn Williams's picture

So,Walden had a memorable game against the 49ers??? Better coaching and more talent opposite Clay would have prevented those 2 long scores.

PackerNation's picture

Walden played poorly and he's gone. He figured prominently in two long plays, but he was not involved in the long pass to Gore.

Better coaching and more talent opposite CMIII is important, and perhaps Perry fills that void. But CMIII isn't blameless in that debacle....initially, he rushed too far upfield and was pushed out of the play by the tackle. Kapernick took off running and the only guy with any chance at all was Neal and that was a huge mismatch.

I understand that Matthews is our key pass pressure guy. But against a guy that can run like Kaepernick, he can't just run himself out of the play like that.

NashvillePacker's picture

I think Eric Reid is slightly undervalued. He's a good athlete and would bring a physical presence to the secondary. JJ Wilcox and Phillip Thomas intrigue me for day 2 picks.

Stroh's picture

I like Reid and Thomas too. Same as you Reid possibly in 1st and Thomas possibly in 2nd. Wish Thomas was a little faster, but he's a proven playmaker.

madmanJack's picture

we NEED a big ass kicking DE. i would go datone jone or trade down and get Hunt. S later in the draft.

Shawn's picture

My Mock
1. Matt Elam - S Florida
2.Travis Fredrick - C Wisconsin
3.Brandon Williams - DT Missouri Southern
4.Aaron Dobson - WR Marshall
5.1 Mike Gillislee RB Florida
5.2 William Gholston DE Michigan ST
6. Ryan Otten TE San Jose St
7.....

cow42's picture

sorry but...

elam = too small
frederick = too slow
gillislee = too small
gholston = dickhead (and too small for 3/4 DE)

1.eifert te nd -2 te sets would be sweet. prep for 88's dpart.
2.bell rb msu -3rd and 1's
3.williams dt mo.s.s -pickett's replacement. help stop the run
4.wilcox s ga.so. -another return option. bumps mdj off roster
5a.quessennberry ol sjsu -can back up all 5 spots. groom as C
5b.bass. mo.w.s. -depth. matthews/perry/moses/bass=nice
6.johnson ilb 'bama -cheeper/better aj hawk. thumper
7.harper wr ksu -they don't need another jennings - they have cobb. they're going to need another jones after this season

no flash.
just solid, physical football players

lebowski's picture

Don't discount Fredrick just because he can't run a blazing 40. The guy is big, strong, smart as hell, and would immediately upgrade our O line. You can say he has to be quick getting to the second level, blah blah blah. How often does a center have a clear run 5 yards down field to block a linebacker? He's got to be able to handle a big nose tackle first and foremost.

Stroh's picture

Problem is the Packers blocking scheme needs Centers w/ mobility! Frederick in the 2nd is great value for a team using a power blocking scheme, the Packers don't. Wells became a Pro Bowler cuz he was mobile not becuz he was a great Center that could handle NT by himself.

lebowski's picture

and he was so undersized the Packers tried to replace him every year.

Stroh's picture

But he DID develop into a Pro Bowl Center. Early they were trying to replace Wells, but he kept getting better and they weren't trying to replace him the last 3 years. Give EDS, who has Rodgers support a little time and he might develop just like Wells did.

cow42's picture

i like frederick.
i just don't think they'll go C that early.
r1 and r2 are for guys who you hope can come in and at least contribute during their first year. mccarthy doesn't like playing young/inexperienced centers.

seems like their plan at C has been to get guys and train them.

te's and rb's (even if they aren't starters) can contribute from the get-go.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

Frederick gets leveraged much too easily. He can not handle the point vs. a 3-4 consistently. 4th rounder at best.

Shawn's picture

I don't understand why everyone wants to take offensive weapons in the first and second rounds. I think we have proven by now that you can have the best QB and great receivers and still have trouble moving the ball if the O Line can't block.

cow42's picture

so you'd be ok taking the 7th best offensive lineman with your first pick... as opposed to taking a higher ranked/more talented player... just because you have a "need" at the position.

that method will get you a whole bunch of mediocre starters.

who would you be looking to draft @ #26?

assuming the best 3 OT's and best 2 OG's are gone (because they will be)...

you gonna go with fluker (who may be gone as well)? careful - he's a questionable pass blocker.

you gonna go with watson? big time project.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that in a perfect world the best OT in the draft would be available when the Packers pick. but if he's not (which he won't be) then they should simply pick the guy who rates highest on their board.

every position group on the entire team could use an upgrade (save P and QB).

awesome article by mcginn...
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/21/3356349_p2/bob-mcginn-packers-need...

couldn't have put it any better... the Packers are too soft to contend right now...

Stroh's picture

That can change quickly tho. Get a Jolly or another DE like him, get Bishop back who brings a real tangible physical element and Perry is a huge step in the right dirction. Montoree Hughes in the 4th or Nick Williams in the 5th/6th would bring the size we lack at LDE and enable us to use Pickett and Raji at NT exclusively, where they belong.

Yes we need to get bigger and more physical but it doesn't take that many player to change it and some of the players we need might already be on the team.

One DL from Jolly or a draft pick, 2 LB from Bishop, Perry, Manning are already on the team. Get a guy at Safety to spread the attitude in the secondary and thats already a major makeover w/ out taking years.

The TKstinator's picture

Just trust Ted. No GM hits a home run on every pick. I repeat: No GM hits a home run on every pick. Just because we browse through some mock drafts, watch some college games, and love the Packers does not mean we are as prepared as Ted. Not even in the same universe.

I have evolved to this: I don't think it's wise to get my little heart set on Eddie Lacy, Barkevious Mingo, or any other particular player, or even any particular position. Just bring in good players that help GB win games. And be patient. We all know that "instant" draft critiques are stupid. It takes at least a few years to REALLY evaluate a draft class. Ron Wolf once said something similar to this: "Just because a player has 'DT' listed after his name does not mean he has solved your defensive line situation." Amen, Ron.

Keep the faith, brothers and sisters!

cow42's picture

and while we wait rodgers get older and older and older.
and the window gets smaller and smaller and smaller.

gotta do better than 1 draft hit per year (as tt's done over the last 2 drafts - cobb, hayward).

if you're gonna draft and develop... AND ONLY DRAFT AND DEVELOP... then you better improve your drafting... and you better start actually developing.

THEMichaelRose's picture

I would argue it'd be pretty difficult for the Packers to really do much better at drafting. Maybe to you, the last two drafts were not good, after an average of 18 months to judge each player. (Somehow you just assume Nick Perry is not a hit).
It's cool if you want to criticize Ted or be worried about the losses of all his deputies, but don't come on here trying to convince us your 8-pick mock would be the ideal way to begin solving the franchise's apocalyptic fall from grace.
What makes it more asinine is how you just list every small school guy as if no one else knows them. Why does everyone on here think Brandon Williams is just going to be available whenever we want to take him? Have the other 31 teams not heard of him? Same with Bass and Quessenberry.
More asinine is giving each player some role on the team for now or in the future, because all 8 picks are assured of sticking and basically exceeding the expectations of their draft slot.
Looking back I wonder if Ted's post-2011 draft notes looked anything like this:
6-1: Schlauderaff - tough guy, depth for interior OL.....6-3: Elmore - High motor and work ethic, someday replace Walden

Ma Linger's picture

The NFL Bleacher report as us taking Elam at 1. Their thinking, Woodson is gone, this guy is too good a player to pass on and is a good physical player and tackler.

Funny they have us taking another safety at our 2 pick then and OG at our 3rd pick.

Wow that means we have to get a pass rusher, running back, outside linebacker or receiver with out last 5 picks and were getting lone in the draft by then.

IMHO its going to take several drafts, good drafts, to fill holes and get playmakers you need for a SB run. I don't call in re building, its more restaffing: getting rid of any deadwood, replacing it with playmakers.

cow42's picture

careful!

that sort of opinion ("IMHO its going to take several drafts, good drafts, to fill holes and get playmakers you need for a SB run.")

will get you labeled a "troll" in a heartbeat around here.

The TKstinator's picture

Ted has said that a team is always one injury away from having a "need" at any given position. I tend to think he knows what he is talking about. Furthermore, to his credit, I think he could give a flying flark about what any of the fans think he should do.

hump's picture

for the twentieth time!! the green bay packers will never win another superbowl with m.d. jennings at starting safety nor with jerron mcmillian at starting safety. we had our chance with 7 or 8 in free agency for reasonable price but........BOOK IT!!!! ted is drafting for need again this year like last and safety will be the pick, Harrison smith would look pretty good in green and gold right now!!!

Stroh's picture

We won a SB w/ Charlie freakin Peprah as a starting Safety, if we can do it w/ him we can do it w/ Jennings or McMillan!

cow42's picture

"We won a SB w/ Charlie freakin Peprah as a starting Safety"

never mind that he was playing next to nick collins.

BURNETT IS NO COLLINS!

they need to drat a "collins" so burnett can be the "peprah".

packeraaron's picture

"BURNETT IS NO COLLINS!"

No. But he's close. Collins wasn't "Collins" right away either.

Drealyn Williams's picture

Uh oh. I'm having 2nd thoughts on that Safety from Texas. He looks like a good prospect. But I want to give the Burnett/McMillian combo a real chance. BTW,is that guy a Free Safety or Strong Safety?

Stroh's picture

Vacarro can play either, just like Burnett. He would be an outstanding compliment to Burnett and allow Capers to disguise a lot more than he can now. He is also pretty quick and can match up vs some slot recievers and TE. He would be a great pick at #26, but I give it less than a 10% chance he falls to us.

Drealyn Williams's picture

He also brings some toughness and big hits. I'm not buying any other Safeties in the 1 round

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