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With Their First Pick In The 2011 Draft, The Packers Select...

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With Their First Pick In The 2011 Draft, The Packers Select...

I realize there hasn't even been a down played in the 2o10 regular season, and I'd be getting way ahead of myself by talking about the 2011 draft. The purpose of this exercise is more to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the current team.

With an entire training camp as evidence, most observers of the Green Bay Packers know where the team could use some help. It doesn't take a genius to see some potential pitfalls that could plague the 2010 version of the Packers.

Certainly, things may change over the course of the season given unexpectedly strong or weak performances and/or injuries. But let this only serve as a primer as to where the Packers may go in search of help in the draft or free agency (depending on the CBA) next offseason...

  • Inside linebacker: With A.J. Hawk scheduled to make around $10 million next season, he figures to be let go prior to 2011. And even in the event that he may re-structure his deal, there's no reason to think the Packers couldn't use an upgrade at the position. Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop are also waiting their turn, but they have their weaknesses as well. Besides, Bishop is scheduled to be a free agent after this season, and there's no guarantee he's coming back. And even if he does, Bishop would be the youngest player at inside linebacker in his fifth year in 2011, and the Packers could use some new blood at the position.
  • Outside linebacker: The performance of Brad Jones will go a long ways towards determining how much of a need outside linebacker will be by next season. But even if Jones exceeds expectations, the top backups remain Brady Poppinga and Frank Zombo who don't exactly install fear in opponents. Because outside linebacker is such an important position in the 3-4 defense, the Packers need more depth and another playmaker at the position in case of injury.
  • Cornerback: Much like outside linebacker, the performances of Brandon Underwood, Sam Shields and Pat Lee will determine how much emphasis the team places at cornerback this upcoming offseason. The early returns are dubious at best. While Shields has displayed a lot of potential, neither Underwood nor Lee did anything during the preseason to think that they can be positive contributors in 2010. By chance that one or more of them exceed expectations, cornerback will be further down the list of needs.
  • Safety: The Packers are seemingly set with Nick Collins and Morgan Burnett as their starting duo. Beyond them, Charlie Peprah and Derrick Martin have only shown to have value on special teams. It would be nice to have draft a rookie to develop that could possibly turn into a starting caliber player down the road.
  • Running back: At a position that takes as much abuse as running back, it's always good to have another option in your back pocket. The Packers would beat the odds if they make it through the entire year with only Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson at halfback. Sixth-round draft choice James Starks remains an option, but he hasn't had live contact in any game since the end of the 2008 season.
  • Return specialist: The Packers are undertaking a risk with starting cornerback Tramon Williams on punt returns. Meanwhile, Jordy Nelson and Brandon Jackson have yet to show a spark on kick returns. With Will Blackmon gone, there's a job available for a guy that can both be reliable catching the ball and provide a threat returning it.
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (32) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

CSS's picture

Von Miller, Texas A&M OLB. He would have been my favorite in this years draft had he entered. I had him as 1B next to Brandon Graham.

But, he could be long gone since the Packers will be selecting #31 overall (couldn't resist) :)

hyperRevue's picture

Why #31?

CSS's picture

Ugh, damn 1 next to the 2, I need an edit button.....

hyperRevue's picture

haha

alfredomartinez's picture

superbowl champs duh? no wait that would mean we lost right

hyperRevue's picture

Yep. Unless the Pats get stripped of another 1st round pick between now and the draft.

CSS's picture

Or Buffalo plays soooo poorly they forfiet the franchise mid-season, leaving only 31 teams....

PackJoe's picture

According to todays roster we look shallow at Corner back and Special team, especially returners.

So unless Shields, underwood or bush or someone has a wonderful year Min of 5 games with abv 40 points by opposition.

PackJoe's picture

Brian Carriveau: Cornerback:performances of Brandon Underwood, Sam Shields and Pat Lee will determine how much emphasis the team places at cornerback this upcoming offseason.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bveERoRsXCI&hd=1
Some Shields Preseason Highlights

alfredomartinez's picture

von miller, bruce carter, jeremy beal, mark herzlich (all decent OLB) mike pouncey out of florida, and jimmy smith out of colorado (a corner and a safety) is the few names that come to mind, but i guess i should watch more footage and find out more value on other unknowns...

hyperRevue's picture

Unless Morgan Bennett is the next Ahmad Carrol, I can't see the Packers drafting a #3 safety in the first round. Corner or OLB are the obvious needs today and will in all likelihood remain.

Chad's picture

The big Catch-22 that I think many people overlook is this:

No matter who you draft to build depth, they will all still be rookies.

The first round (or two) of the draft might produce some immediate playmakers, but even that is not guaranteed. So until they've had time to develop, 1st year players don't do much to increase the *quality* of the depth, just the depth itself.

If you want true quality depth, you either have to build up your drafted players over a couple years or acquire veterans from outside the team.

Tarynfor12's picture

TT will be trading back big time next draft unless the rookie salary cap dictates moving up fast and furiously.

sammer's picture

Number of times TT has traded out of the first round since joining the Packers: one.

Tarynfor12's picture

If Bulaga wasn't there at 26,he would have traded back last year.
Salary cap for rookies will change the process next year.

PackersRS's picture

NO WAY you can affirm that. Absolutely no way. Reports were that MM liked McCourty a lot, so he could've snatched him with the 1st.

Tarynfor12's picture

No one could confirm anything unless they were in the war room.I would find it very hard to accept that MM and TT would go CB in first,OL was the target and if there wasn't one they liked ,a trade back was emminent in MY OPINION which is what is offered in here by almost all.

Tarynfor12's picture

Besides,McCourty was a late 2nd or 3rd rounder and who knew NE would take him at 27.PLEASE!!!

CSS's picture

McCourty was never a late 2nd or 3rd round player, he was graded much higher than that, you're making things up.

Tarynfor12's picture

Right,you show me on any draft analyst board where McCourty was a 1st.His value may have risen during the draft,but on draft day he was late 2nd or early 3rd.

CSS's picture

Scouts Inc. had him at 29th overall and 4th at his position:
http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft/player/_/id/25388/devin-mccourty

Mel Kiper had him at #20 on his Big Board (subscription required):
http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft10/insider/news/story?id=5024683

I can’t find the link at the moment, but Mike Mayock had him as a ‘bubble’ first round pick the entire time.

You’re dead wrong on this one, try not being so bold with the predictions and call-outs

Adam Czech's picture

I'm becoming more and more convinced that in today's NFL, you need to spend your 1st round picks solely on a QB, pass rusher, LT, or CB (in that order).

That said, Thompson should just pick the best player left on the board at those positions every year, regardless of who we already have (with the exception of QB). The rest of the draft can be used to fill roster holes.

Brooklyn81's picture

I would like to see us grab a speedy rb in the early rounds

deelux's picture

Need schmeed.

TT has shown the path to success is to always get the best fullback/tight end available. Har.

dgtalmn's picture

Not that sure Hawk is gone that easily. Looking at recent history with players and when it should be time to go (i.e., Harrell), I'd say Hawk is here to stay. New contract would solve the money issue and I do not see Hawk being a diva.

lars's picture

ILB is a good place to start, then safety. And, you can never have enough FB's and TE's.

Asshalo's picture

Maybe in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th: Christian Ballard, Iowa. 6"5 295. Big wing-span, bats down a lot of passes.

He'll be a better value than Iowa's Adrian Clayborn (assuming he goes high first round) and he fits the 3-4 better too.

nerdmann's picture

Let's face it. Every year, TT allows a major weak spot on this team. But you know what? The weaknesses are getting thinner. Our offensive line last year was much thinner than our OLB or CB situation this year. The year before that, it was defensive line. The year before that, it was at RB, and Grant appeared out of nowhere.
It's getting to the point where I think we'll be ok even with these weak links in the chain.

WoodyG's picture

This is an easy call ....... RB ..... RB ..... RB ...... You draft elite RBs, you can't develope them ...... Look for GBs starter at RB in 2011 to be a 21-yr. old straight from the college ranks.

MexPack's picture

How about drafting Casey Matthews to play ILB with big bro CM3?

Phil's picture

I would like to see the Pack draft Alex Henery, the punter/kicker from Neb. If we could get someone who can do both, or either, really well, why wouldn't we?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfCedROWWog

andrew harman's picture

i think hawk will resign to a different contract next season and although i think we could use an upgrade over bishop.. the onlly reason why i think we draft a inside linebacker is if we think barnett starts losing a step he is 29. so it is possible.. but its unlikely i think both hawk and chillar will look a lot better this year.. so i dont think this will be the year we draft a linebacker.. i say u see a corner in the first a runningback in the 2nd one of them will hopefully can return.. in the 3rd we will probably see an olb and after that we will get a safety to go behind nick collins on the roster

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