The 2009 NFL draft is upon us. Excitement is building among Packer fans everywhere and everyone has an opinion.
My informal poll of Packer fans everywhere has produced the following results - Packer fans want defensive linemen.
The primary object of their desire is B.J. Raji.
Packers fans get very excited talking about him. They say he's the beast we need to anchor our new 3-4 defense. But what if he's gone before #9 (a very real possibility). Well, maybe then we'll trade down a bit in the first round, take a defensive end, then take a nose tackle in the second round, all while picking up an extra draft pick. Sounds easy...
"Maybe in the second round we'll get Ron Brace, Raji's teammate at Boston College or perhaps Peria Jerry of Ole' Miss. Either way, we'll have a 300-pound brute who can contribute and help our new 3-4 scheme be a huge success!”
What do I say? I say - slow down there folks, you're jumping to conclusions. I admit I've had some great discussions/debates with other Packer fans about how we can best help our team. We all know poor defense is what caused our woeful season in 2008.
And yet we all (except for the worst pessimists among you) have hope. We have a brand new coaching staff on defense, led by the ultra-experienced and well-respected Dom Capers.
He has hired a great staff, including Carolina's former defensive coordinator, Mike Trgovac. How many teams can claim two defensive coordinators on their staff?
We have a new strength and conditioning coach, Dave Redding. He is a 23-year veteran of NFL weight rooms and a member of the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame. A Hall of Fame coach, dammit!
And you're going to love his philosophy — he's not about how much players can lift or how many reps they can churn out. His primary concern is building endurance. His aim is for players to have as much energy on the last play of the game as they did on the first play. Beautiful.
We all sat and watched in horror last year as Green Bay's defense collapsed at the end of games, especially in the second half of the season. This new approach to training can only help, right? So, we have hope.
Now, all we need are some players to fit our new 3-4 defense. A stud defensive lineman would be great, specifically a nose tackle. Some 300-pound immovable object that can tie up centers and guards at the same time, freeing our linebackers to do their jobs unblocked. Where better to get this player than the first round of the draft?
Yes, one of the best 32 players in the country can be the centerpiece of our defensive line next season. Imagine it.
Except, I don't think it's going to happen. Don't ask me to explain why I think this. I don't have any inside information. I haven't bugged the Green Bay war room, haven't hacked their computer systems, and haven't been spotted in the dumpsters outside Lambeau Field.
It's just a feeling I have — something inside me. I'm usually pretty accurate when I get those feelings. For example, I had a March Madness feeling to take Michigan State as my NCAA Champ (As Maxwell Smart used to say, missed it by THAT much!).
At the Green Bay-Seattle playoff game in the snow, after Seattle went up 14-0 and the fans at Lambeau were stunned into silence, I looked down at the Packers' bench and I just got a feeling in my stomach (and it wasn't the brats and Miller Lite) that Green Bay would end up blowing them out. Hooray for my feeling!
Unfortunately, the next week, when the game against the Giants went into overtime, a bad feeling came over me that a fumble or interception would lose us the game. Boo for my feeling!
Now that I've established my unquestionable credentials as far as feelings go, I have to get this off my chest—the Packers' first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft is going to be a tackle — an OFFENSIVE TACKLE. It's just a feeling I have...
(But I hope I'm wrong.)
Jersey Al's Packers Blog can be found here.