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Packers Takeaways from the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine

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Packers Takeaways from the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine

The 2014 NFL Combine wrapped up Tuesday following several days of interviews, medicals and workouts in Indianapolis.

Here's some takeaways from the Green Bay Packers point of view:

Versatility on Defense

No, the Packers won't be intentionally getting smaller along the defensive line, and a full-time switch to a four-man front isn't in the works. But it's crystal clear that head coach Mike McCarthy is demanding a more multiple, personnel-friendly look from Dom Capers' defense moving forward. That vision can take on many shapes, including Nick Perry's role expanding to include an "elephant" type position, Micah Hyde shifting around the secondary to keep him on the field, or a mix-and-match blitz package that includes more variety than we saw in 2013. Maybe part of the plan includes re-signing B.J. Raji and giving him more freedom to be an attacking player. It finally seems the Packers are dumping the idea of fitting square pegs into round holes and focusing on how to best maximize each unique talent they possess on defense. Novel concept. Maybe this draft will feature a few true 3-4 players, too.

Flooded Receiver Market

From the top down, this is one of the better incoming classes of receivers. By the time workouts wrapped up in Indianapolis, you could count as many as a dozen receivers with first-to-second round ability. It's very possible that when the Packers come on the clock at No. 21 and No. 53, a receiver will be the best player available. GM Ted Thompson could very well pull the trigger on a pass-catcher at either spot, especially if the value is overwhelming. Given the emergence of Jarrett Boykin and the stunning depth of this receiver class, it's not difficult to understand why the Packers are more than comfortable letting James Jones test the open waters as a free agent. Nelson-Cobb-Boykin-Rookie X looks like the most likely top-4 at receiver next season.

First Things First

Per Adam Caplan, the Packers are focusing on their in-house free agents before getting serious about contract extensions with veterans still under contract. It's not a surprising strategy, as the Packers are bogged down with picking through which of their own unrestricted free agents they want to bring back. There's still much sorting out to do with the likes of Sam Shields, B.J. Raji, Jermichael Finley, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Matt Flynn and the enormous group of expiring contracts. Don't expect much movement on the extensions for Jordy Nelson and/or Randall Cobb until this early summer, when free agency and the draft have been completed. The Packers have plenty of time to get both players signed to longer deals.

Hyde's Next Frontier

The Packers want to up the snap count for Micah Hyde, the surprising fifth-round rookie who played primarily as the nickel and dime back last season. The easiest way for his playing time to increase is to evolve his role to include snaps at safety, especially in the base defense. McCarthy stressed his desire for Hyde to be a "three-down player," which will require some cross-positional training. Maybe the Packers see him as a poor man's Charles Woodson, who was capable of playing safety in the base defense and slot corner in subpackages. Hyde is certainly a strong enough tackler. However, don't cross off safety as a need just yet. Hyde doesn't possess great speed or quick-twitch athleticism. Cross-training him at safety is a strong way to improve his versatility within the defense, but the Packers still need a serious talent infusion at the position. Drafting one in the first two rounds should still be on the table.

Speaking of Safeties...

This is a strong, relatively deep class of safeties. There isn't a can't-miss player, like an Ed Reed, Earl Thomas or Eric Berry. But both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are top-40 picks, capable of starting immediately and making an impact at the backend of Green Bay's defense. You want a rangy, more Thomas-esque safety? Clinton-Dix is for you. You want a physical, tone setter like Kam Chancellor? Pryor is your safety. And this draft has some attractive later round options, such as Deone Bucannon, Jimmie Ward, Tre Boston, Terrence Brooks and Kenny Ladler. Unless the Packers make a splash in free agency and sign a veteran safety, one needs to be plucked from this incoming class. There's really no excuse for sitting on your hands again this year.

Quarterback Depth

The Packers want to bring four quarterbacks to camp, which hopefully means Matt Flynn is likely to return and a late-round pick will be used on a developmental player. Scott Tolzien has a bigger than expected arm and enticing potential, but going into this summer with him as the unquestioned No. 2 quarterback is just begging for 2013 to repeat itself. Maybe the lesson was learned. A quartet of Aaron Rodgers, Flynn, Tolzien and Rookie X sure beats the socks off the merry-go-round of quarterbacks Green Bay shuffled through last summer.

Money to Spend  

Based on a salary cap projection of $132 million, the Packers could be looking at over $34 million in available cap space. A big chunk of that will go to re-signing free agents, such as Sam Shields, B.J. Raji and the rest of Green Bay's in-house options. Another $5 million will be set aside for the incoming draft class. But from there, Ted Thompson should have the necessary cap space to make a few moves in free agency. I'm still very hesitant to buy into the idea that he will deviate from his typical operating procedure and get serious in unrestricted free agency. But if there were ever a year, this must be the one. The two areas most likely for him to spend have to be at safety and along the defensive line, where the Packers have obvious needs and the market appears to have reasonable options. Amazing that just one year after signing Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews to blockbuster deals, Thompson still has the freedom of ample cap space. Let's see if he uses it.

Zach Kruse is a 25-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covered prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (107) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Derek in CO's picture

Good post Zach. My thoughts, depending on one big thing: Jermichael Finley. If he can get cleared and we resign him, TE is not as big a priority. I wouldn't be against bringing back Charles Woodson for low cost just to tutor Micah Hyde in a transition to safety. Having said that, I still think we have to draft a safety, ILB, DT, and TE with our first 4 picks, not necessarily in that order, not including possible trades. You know TT likes his trades.

Hank Scorpio's picture

I would love to see the Packers bring Woodson back for 1 yr @ $2-$3 mil. He's a known commodity who won't have any issues adapting to Capers' system.

Back that up with moving Hyde and a draft pick no later than a 4 and it is the kind of big swing at Safety that I think is required. But it wouldn't burn them from making big moves to help other areas.

They would still have cap space to sign a big-time play maker at ILB, which is another area of huge need, IMO. Maybe opposing passing offenses would no longer treat the middle of the field like their personal play area.

ArodMoney's picture

"Hyde doesn’t possess great speed or quick-twitch athleticism"

Hyde ran a faster 40 and had same 10yd split as Calvin Pryor. May not be great speed, but Hyde's certainly got enough.

Kevin's picture

Color me still skeptical that TT will participate heavily in Free agency. If I were a Packer writer, I would still plan my vacation for the first week of the FA period.

ATS's picture

1 Pryor/Buchannon S L'ville/WaSt
2 Adams WR Fresno
3 Attaochu OLB GaTach
3c Fiedorowicz TE Iowa
4 Jones ILB FlaSt
5 Fales QB SJSU
6 Carrethers DT ArkSt
7 Britt OL Mizzu
7c Boston S UNC

Evan's picture

That'd be a pretty excellent draft.

I don't know about WR in the 2nd (I'd rather go ILB higher) but overall that strikes me as very realistic.

Derek in CO's picture

I think this is the year Ted trades up again for 2 first rounders, just like 2009

Evan's picture

I don't know - this draft is so deep that trading up like that wouldn't seem to be a very good value play.

L's picture

I'm thinking similarly; unless someone really stands out that TT wants I just don't see the value in doing so this year.

ATS's picture

"I think this is the year Ted trades up again for 2 first rounders, just like 2009"

Problem is I think there are only like 7 premier players (not counting QB's) that would be of interest to the Packers...

Clowney
Mathews
Robinson
Watkins
Mack
Barr
Ebron

And all those guys are pretty much out of reach (would cost too much to go that high).

Maybe Ebron.

So who would he be trading up for?
Mosley?
Not sure why I'm not sold on this guy.
Nix?
A WR?

Stroh's picture

Don't see trading up. More likely down. 3 2nd would be great.

THEMichaelRose's picture

That decision was made because of how badly they wanted Clay Matthews. They drafted a NT in Raji, and they wanted an edge rushing OLB in Matthews, as they transitioned defenses.

It will NEVER happen again. Best player available. This year's needs won't be next year's needs, so you preserve picks and give yourselves as many shots on goal as you can to find guys that can actually stick.

Stroh's picture

That they had both Raji and Matthews ratedin the top 10 overall and cconsidered Matthews at #9 but took Raji instead. When Matthews fell into the 20's the value of giving the extra picks was worth it go get what they considered another Top 10 player.

I agree another move like that won't happenagain. It was also that year we wereswiswitching to the 34 so we needed an OLB and to a lesser degree a 34 NT.

BradHTX's picture

I agree that it's more likely that TT trades out of round 1, possibly for a 2 an 4, but I could see a scenario where he then packages a 3 and 4 to move back up, winding up with 3 in round 2. I'd be all in favor of this as it sounds like a draft that is deep from the second half of round 1 through, what, round 3?

ATS's picture

Which ILB would you want?

Evan's picture

If this question is for me - I have no idea.

Stroh's picture

Christian Jones... 2nd or 3rd rd pick. Like Mosley but not as instinctive.

L's picture

I'm liking the thought of Yawin Smallwood for ILB, but can't say for sure until his Pro Day.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Mosley, Shazier, Borland, Kirksey and Jones are the ILB's I would like to see.

ATS's picture

When I think of Borland trying to cover an NFL TE I shudder.

THEMichaelRose's picture

I don't think Adams is the WR the Packers want. Jordan Matthews is a Packers receiver. High level of college production, good route running and hands, with some breakaway ability.

Stroh's picture

Donte Moncrief! Love this guy... Fast, big (6'2 220+), physical, able to separate and beat press coverage. He has legit #1 WR w/ some development. Give him 2 or 3 years and he can take over Jordy's role as the #1 WR.

BradHTX's picture

I think there is no way the Packers can wait on a DL until the 6th with Raji, Pickett, Wilson and Jolly all FAs.

piccione88's picture

Ditto on the depth being a deterrent to trading up. With all the depth that this draft has, I could see TT trade down unless someone he is absolutely crazy about drops to #21. 5 picks in the 2nd, and 3rd round could net a lot of talent this year.

Cole's picture

If it weren't for his 2010 season and his draft position Raji would've been cut after 2011. He's one of the worst d-lineman in the league at this point. He's not getting resigned.

Evan's picture

"If it weren’t for his 2010 season and his draft position Raji would’ve been cut after 2011."

I agree Raji isn't getting re-signed, but to just throw away his 2010 season (one of the all-time greats for a NT) seems silly.

ray nichkee's picture

If we can get a guy like eric berry (safety last year) in the first round go for it. Otherwise I don't see any of these safetys being a plug and play instant answer to the defense. We will all see what the packers brass thinks with free agency and the draft. I say get some d linemen and some mean ass muther effin linebackers that can run the sidelines. Easier said than done but I can't see any of these safeties making that emediate impact that everybody wants.

Stroh's picture

There are no Eric Berry's in this draft at Safety. Not even close... Sign a FA like Clemons, Jenkins or even Byrd if he reaches FA. I doubt it will happen but if Byrd makes FA, I would make a big push to get him in GB and try to sign him immediately. Pay him 7M if you have to... Otherwise a vet FA at Safety to bridge for a couple years while Hyde and Richardson develop.

Idiot Fan's picture

It's pretty obvious what needs to happen - bundle all of our draft picks, trade up to #1, draft Clowney, play him at safety. Boom: Super Bowl.

BradHTX's picture

But would he wear a wedding dress like Ricky Williams?

starr57's picture

Plenty of LBr's already on the roster, they just need to stay healthy.

When are some going to realize, there are no sure things when drafting, teams that ARE EXPECTING IMMEDIATE HELP from the draft are those that are usually drafting in the top 10 every year.

Everyone hoping Ted does it different this year, gonna be a lot of disappointed fans, again.

With this years reported depth, I will not be surprised to see Ted trade out of the 1st rnd, and go after multiple 2nd and 3rd rnd guys. buy then using his lower picks to trade up.

I would love to see the Packers with 4 2nd and 3rd rnd picks(preferably all 4 2nd rndrs) by the end of the draft.

Packers have plenty of talent coming back, what they need is depth from rookie class that can develop into starters down the road.

ATS's picture

I agree.
Need as many 2/3/4th round picks as possible.

Stroh's picture

Is that you Pat?

THEMichaelRose's picture

As far as free agency goes, I say let Raji walk, let Pickett go, and hand some of that money to Paul Soliai. 30 years old. True NT.

Evan's picture

Red Bryant kind of intrigues me (if he ends up getting cut, which is expected).

THEMichaelRose's picture

He'd fit the bill too.
I guess my main point is, we know what Raji is (underachiever, wants big $), and Pickett has given us a ton but is aging. We should not look in-house for our NT starter.
NT is a spot you can plug someone in at, their job is the same league-wide, no need to worry about learning a scheme. Don't spend a top pick on it. Just pick up someone you trust to do it Day 1, and be consistent week to week.

Evan's picture

True.

I do hope/expect them to re-sign Pickett though. Probably not a starter anymore, but a good part of the rotation. And he should be pretty cheap.

Evan's picture

Talking of the d-line, good Jolly news.

@RobDemovsky
Jolly had fusion surgery of the C-5/C-6 vertebrae. Same surgery as Sean Richardson had.

@RobDemovsky
Jolly and his agent @jackbechta are optimistic about his return. Was a great story last season.

Idiot Fan's picture

Agreed. Good veteran presence too.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

I do hope Jolly comes back. Not only an inspiration to the team, maybe the Best DL we have. JMO

packattack1988's picture

@LAS VEGAS-TOM Mike Daniels would like a word with you.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Another D-lineman I would like to see them go after is Arthur Jones. 28, would provide a good 5 years for the Packers. Would be a good fit in our defense as well..
Not a NT, but would be a good fit at DE.

THEMichaelRose's picture

Definitely a great player. Will be too sought after though. Still young with upside.
We all know Ted won't go after any of these guys. Dare to dream.

Albert Lingerfeld's picture

Sound more like MM is trying to makes pig ears into silk purses. Moving Perry to OLB didn't work because he doesn't possess the mental ability to know run coverage versus pass coverage in enough time to be effective.
You can move Hyde anywhere you want. Can he tackle and cover 6'5 receivers the North Div is loaded with. Our 5'10 guys aren't very good at that.
Ha Ha Dix would just be another one of them short guys that can make plays sometimes.

4thand1's picture

Hater

William's picture

If the packers go for a WR early as 3rd round, I would love to see them pick brandon coleman i think he can develop into something special sitting behind jordy and cobb & to topit off with rodgers throwing to him.

L's picture

Still hope TT kicks the proverbial tires on these Free Agent Safeties:

FS Malcolm Jenkins
FS Louis Delmas
SS Chris D. Clemons
SS Mike Mitchell

They’re all young and have shown promise with their coverage skills.

Besides these more known players the Packers should also do what they do best and bring in a lesser known player — perhaps someone who might not of been able to get an opportunity to demonstrate his skills on the field outside of a few sub-packages because he was behind a star player or solid starter.

Evan's picture

Delmas is a nice player, who just can't stay healthy. I think we already have too many of those.

I read recently that he was only practicing one day a week last year in an attempt to keep him healthy. It worked, but that doesn't seem like a tenable situation.

All that said, I don't think TT has any choice but to dip into FA for a safety this year. The situation is that dire, imo.

THEMichaelRose's picture

If they dip into FA for one, it'll be near the veteran's minimum for someone who can play replacement level football if Burnett or our Day 1/2 draft pick is hurt.
Banjo or Richardson should and will not be our next man up.

Evan's picture

"If they dip into FA for one, it’ll be near the veteran’s minimum ..."

I don't think so.

Stroh's picture

Delmas has major knee problems and rarely practices. Has missed many games but he's a big injury risk. Jenkins ans Clemons or Byrd if he makes FA.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I think it will be more like a Clemons or Jenkins if they go into free agency.

ray nichkee's picture

Malcolm and clemons would be ok for the right price. Having an ok safety FA is not much bettet than getting a good safety in the draft for a few years and watching him learn. At least maybe you can score on a draft pick and have him produce a bit longer. Safety is always a gamble. It is one of the hardest to predict, the least paying, and the least gratifying. I love a good safety. Your team is about to get burned and who comes out of where? Damn that was a good hit. I would say draft chuck cecil again but isn't he the poster child for the new (unessesary IMOA) penalties? Damn I miss good football. I wish the packers were good back then. If you can't take a hit go be a secretary.

TXCHEESE's picture

If Richardson can stay healthy, I really like his chances. He's long and fast. If he can show he has ball skills, he could be another Ed Reed type of safety. Draft Buchanon and you have good mix of thumper and center fielder.

4thand1's picture

I think Richardson has a good upside. If he's going to make strides it has to be now. All we can do is let this play out. Gonna be fun any way you slice it.

Icebowler's picture

I'm hoping we can get NT Nix in the first round and a S in the second or third. I'm not sure Josh Boyd is ready to be our 1st string NT. Two free agents I would like us to go after are FS Jenkins (Saints) and DE Wootton(Bears). Wootton played both DT & DE in the 4-3, so I think he'd be a great 3-4 DE, just like Cullen Jenkins made that transition for us when we switched. I think we should move Perry to the right side where he played great last year. Clay played on the left side his rookie year and did well. He may have a few less sacks but I think he would have more interceptions and tackles.

Stroh's picture

He's only listed at 270, but w/ his height and length he could probably gain 20+ lbs. I doubt he would want to play in GB and become mostly a 2 gap player before being allowed to pass rush tho. Good idea if he's interested, but I just doubt he'll interested in playing in a 34 D.

Icebowler's picture

If Wootton is "all about the Ring" he might be. He is a high motor guy like Daniels. If he thinks he'd be better off on Rodgers team than Cutler's he might.

ray nichkee's picture

If we can get nix at 21 I will be hooting and hollering like a little girl. (Maybe) OK, I over did it there but if you see me at a bar I will be buying drinks, even to bears and vikings fans. Somehow there is no lions fans and I don't need to whonder why. I don't know off hand who is out there in FA but we need a brandon chillar type guy to lite a fire under the linebackers.

packeraaron's picture

I'm with you Ray. Nix would be a great get.

ATS's picture

Having a hard time jumping on the Nix bandwagon.

Would he be more than a 2 down player?

Can he rush the passer from the inside better than D. Jones and Daniels? If not, then you're drafting a guy in R1 that you're going to ask to take up blockers on run downs.... can't you find a guy later on that can do that?

How is he different than Raji?

MarkinMadison's picture

He's a lot cheaper than Raji.

MarkinMadison's picture

Let me just add that if the Packers go the Nix route I would hope that they would still be able to add a S and a LB for the $8M/yr that Raji turned up his nose at; if they do the whole defense may be a lot better off. Could be a more interesting spring than some think.

Evan's picture

With how much the cap went up this off-season, they can certainly afford a 1st or 2nd tier FA safety.

ATS's picture

"With how much the cap went up this off-season, they can certainly afford a 1st or 2nd tier FA safety."

Cap went up for everyone... which means everyone has more $ to spend... which means all FA's prices just went up... which means situation hasn't changed much.

Evan's picture

"Cap went up for everyone… which means everyone has more $ to spend… which means all FA’s prices just went up… which means situation hasn’t changed much."

True enough.

I wonder how much it'll affect FA prices.

I was just thinking about how there's been so much talk about the Rodgers/Matthews contracts and whether or not the Packers can afford to re-sign Shields and their other priority free agents while also dipping into FA. With the extra cap space, there shouldn't be any issue.

Bert's picture

My only concern with Nix is his knee. I'm just not sold on drafting a pre-injured NT given our history with injured players and the general wear and tear on the NT. I'm for just drafting a top-notch caliber guy who can play and stay healthy regardless of position.

Jordan's picture

No way do packers take Nix. Not a 3 down player.

Lars's picture

Get the back end of the D fixed first, a TE to replace Finley then worry about a one dimensional fatty like Nix.

As we see with the disappearance of Raji the past few seasons, Datone Jones' problems with keeping his weight and Nick Perry's ill-fit at OLB---simply drafting the best available DLineman virtually every year in the first round isn't getting it done.

If they do go that route I expect it to be a player of Hageman's size to put at 5-tech. The packers also need to redraft the OLB position Neal and Perry one (a converted 4/3 DT and the other a converted 4/3 end occupied last year. Different year, same old needs.

Jordan's picture

It all starts with controlling the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense. If the Packers can't control the line of scrimmage, things will get ugly real fast.

Packers will take Anthony Johnson at 21. A steady diet of brats, Italian sausage, lasagna, and cheese will have him at 325 by September.

They'll line Anthony Johnson up everywhere. 3 down player.

I don't think they'll take Nix even if he were to be there.

Stroh's picture

Hageman is still my odds on favorite to be the pick at #21. Not enamored w/ the Safeties that high, except Clinton-Dix and he'll probably be gone. Beyond that I don't see Mosley falling to the Packers. The one place is if they sign a FA starter at Safety and move Hyde as well to shore up the Safety, a CB would make a lot of sense w/ Tramon's contract ending after this year.

Comes down to Hageman (possibly Tuitt) at DE or Justin Gilbert IMO.

4thand1's picture

If it looks like Ebron or Mosley will fall to 21, TT will wait. Either its BOP or TT trades down.

Bert's picture

Given the supposed depth of this years draft it might be tough to trade down and get good value in return. Teams may be wanting to hang on to their 2nd and 3rd round picks unless there is a guy they want badly at #21. I would rather see TT take the BPA at #21 assuming there is a quality player to be taken. We sure could use an impact #1 for a change regardless of position.

Stroh's picture

I don't think he'll look at TE. Could be wrong but the talent on the DL IMO will prevail. As Thompson always says, God only made so many really Big guys and you gotta get them when you can.

Trade down makes a lot of sense too. But finding a trading partner will be difficult. Don't think there's too many teams that'll be looking to move up and have multiple picks late 1st and thru the 2nd. A deep draft usually lends itself to a lot of teams wanting to move down rather than up.

The TKstinator's picture

When GB took Rodgers they didn't NEED a qb.
When they took Jordy they didn't NEED a wr.

When they pick at 21 (or trade down), we just have to trust that if the player pans out (which may take more than just his rookie season) it really doesn't have to fit a position we think they need.

In Ted we trust? Sure.
Does he bat 1.000? No. No GM does.

Evan's picture

"When GB took Rodgers they didn’t NEED a qb."

I'd disagree. Maybe not an acute need, but they definitely needed to start grooming a replacement.

Bert's picture

The point is that quality trumps immediate need. Has to if you're gonna build a sustainable roster.

Evan's picture

No argument there.

Jordan's picture

I think TT tries to draft a quality player at a position of need especially in first 3 rounds. After that, he focuses on value. If the packers were in a position to do BPA in first 3 rounds, he'd do it. The packers don't have that luxury based on current roster (as of today ).

OT was a position of great need in 2010 due to Clifton's age and bad knees. Also with difficulty replacing tauscher (Barbre, Giacomini).

Rob Gronkowski was BPA and now All-Pro. Packers already had a healthy Finley. Finley got injured. Bulaga did a great job blocking Harrison and Woodley in XLV. Packers win XLV without Finley and Gronk.

It was the right choice to take position of greatest need instead of BPA especially when it's OL or DL.

Stroh's picture

Gronkowski had plenty of talent, everyone knew that, but he also had MAJOR injury issues. Which is why he fell into the 2nd. You don't want Thompson to draft injury-prone players do you? Cuz that's what Gronk was and in a HUGE way. Had back surgery while in college and has continued to have injury problems. Bulaga on the other hand had never been injured in college. Bulaga was generally rated in the top 15 overall and fell to the Packers. It was very much a value pick and BPA to draft Bulaga, it was also a need pick. Happens that sometimes need and value meet!

Tundraboy's picture

Agree. Thats why Ebron is damn tempting,

4thand1's picture

Yes, ol #4 was getting long in the tooth. What a time everyone went through. Never thought it would get even better.

The TKstinator's picture

Ok.

Bert's picture

Sorry Jordan. But if you have an immediate need going into the draft, odds are that you will still have that need after the draft. The odds of drafting a guy who will actually provide an immediate upgrade to an immediate need aren't very good. Go with BPA.

Jordan's picture

Surely you don't think Mike Neal was the best player available when TT drafted him in second round of 2010. Jimmy Graham was still on the board. Navarro bowman was still available too.

Packers had Finley, Donald Lee, Hawk, Nick Barnett, Bishop. TE and ILB weren't positions of immediate need.

Under ideal conditions, it's always best to draft BPA. Unfortunately ideal conditions don't exist that often.

Stroh's picture

Hindsight is great isn't it? Its easy to be a perfect GM in hindsight, not so easy when you don't have that luxury. You don't know where the Packers had Neal rated and he wasn't even a need at the time. They still had Cullen Jenkins. Don't let that stop you tho... Just like your Bulaga/Gronk comparison, your wrong again!

Jordan's picture

Lol. TT does not always draft BPA. That's my point and opinion. Yes they did need DE. Just because you don't see the need, doesn't mean it's not a need. ;). I saw the need. Packers were thin at DE.

Go back to either 2013 or 2012 draft interview with TT on packers.com.

He said "I tried not to reach too much". "Reach" implies drafting for need. The word "reach" is not in someone's vocabulary if they strictly draft BPA.

TT typically drafts BPA at a position of need in the first 3 or 4 rounds. That's not set in stone. But in my opinion, that's what he does.

In my opinion, Neal was BPA at a position of need. He was already strong enough to immediately contribute to the 2010 season. Not many players are as strong as Neal coming out of college. And for that reason, it was a good pick.....since the Packers were by no means in rebuild mode. They needed someone who could contribute at DE immediately.

Stroh's picture

Preparing for the possibility that Jenkins was going to be leaving isn't a "need". Its forecasting and looking ahead. People call that planning, rather than allowing a "need" to arise and then dealing w/ it.

Jordan's picture

Based on my observations, whenever TT deems there to be a strong need at a position, he will double dip in the draft. 2010 is just one example. Neal in the 2nd and wilson in the 7th. Early and late. 2010 is just one example of many.

Too early to say what packers strong needs are at this point. We'll have to wait and see what happens with free agents.

Good thing Jets cut Howard green when they did in 2010. That doesn't happen every day. ;)

Where was Jolly in 2010? How bout Justin Harrell? TT ain't no dummy.

4thand1's picture

GM shitstains. Hurry up free agency this off season crap sucks. Need something concrete to hash over.

4thand1's picture

Getting interesting. The Packers are waiting til the last minute to tag anyone.

Stroh's picture

They aren't going to tag anyone. Maybe Shields but I even doubt that too. Finley? Not w/ neck surgery. EDS? Hardly worthy.

DraftHobbyist's picture

Great article. I disagree with a few points, but that is to be expected when talking about the draft and FA. For instance, I think S and TE are the most likely spots to spend money in FA. We have depth DL's, and elite DL's don't come along in FA too often. When they do, they cost a fortune.

ray nichkee's picture

Where is this depth at dl?

ray nichkee's picture

I've had some time to look at free agents available and I think arthur jones looks good and so does solai (NT miami, probably spelled wrong). Red bryant at the right price. Get some big dudes and rotate them. There are very few 3 down lineman that can take on 2 guys at a time. One guy that looks interesting is d jackson ILB cleaveland. Put jones at backup line backer inside and outside until we can phase him out or he improves. These guys should not come at top dollar.

4thand1's picture

Depends on what other owner's & GM's are willing to over pay on FA's. I'd be happy to spend on Byrd or Ward. How many big dudes can you put on a 53 man roster? Would be nice if they would expand the 53 man roster by 2 or 3. A couple cheap extra bodies would always help.

Tundraboy's picture

I was thinking the same thing last year with all the $%^&*%* injuries. Why 53

4thand1's picture

Looks like Shields will be testing FA. No deal. They're taking the James Jones route with him.

ray nichkee's picture

EDS, jolly, pickett, shields. At least 2 of these guys will be back. there will be a totally different look on D but some will come back. I know EDS is a center.

Tundraboy's picture

Strength up the middle , same as Baseball.

Tempting with Ebron, some WR's , really is. But Priority has to be Playmakers at ILB and Safety and DL whatever order forthe first 3 rounds.

Last year was a joke and at times embarassing. By the end of the year the middle of the field was our undoing. No pressure and prevent style Capers on top of all that, They played hard at the end, but I have never seen a team that was so exposed and vulnerable. Every play was nail biting.

Adding that with Jolly I hope, the real BJ, Daniels and if anybody at all steps up (Perry,Worthy etc etc). That alone with be a huge improvement. I have a good feeling that they see that. This draft is going to be fun!

Tundraboy's picture

Oh and one more thing. They HAVE to sign Shields. That is a given. Stupid not to last year.

Stroh's picture

They tried last year just could agree on terms. Shields will get done nit worried at all.

ray nichkee's picture

The way this is looking it will be a worst case senario for one side. He will either sign a huge deal with green bay west (the queens) or come back to the pack with his tail between his legs. Or something like that. I think everyboby wants him back though. We could be worse without him. I love the homegrown goods. If I hear the pack resigns him and nobody is around I will high five a mirror.

Brian Stecker's picture

I loved this article. It spelled out what the Packers focuses are and how they will attack it. I would love to see an article on where you see the Packers heading with free agents added to the team, also which draft picks that would be the best bet.

Personally I would enjoy seeing Ted Get Clinton Nix, and Trading back into the first round and getting another Defensive lineman like Haggerman or Dix 3.

The TKstinator's picture

All TT has to do is figure out NOW which players are going to miss time due to injuries next year and load up on those positions. Sounds pretty easy if you ask me.
Or, he could try to get as many good players at as many positions as possible, while maintaining a healthy salary cap and the ability to extend the contracts of players deemed to be core players. Oh, and not overpaying players who will in hindsight be considered disappointing.
Yep, easy stuff.

ray nichkee's picture

Don't worry bud, I got TT a crystal ball for xmas. We are in good hands now. I also got him a hamstring dna tester so he can tell who has invincible hamstrings. We are superbowl bound for sure.

The TKstinator's picture

Most excellent.

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