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Point of Veau: Packers Defense Gets Little Immediate Help Outside of Clinton-Dix

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Point of Veau: Packers Defense Gets Little Immediate Help Outside of Clinton-Dix

You don't need to know much about football to know the defensive side of the football was the weak link in Green Bay last season.

And yet, through their first four picks and three rounds of the NFL Draft, the Packers have given their defense little immediate help outside of the obvious and justifiable selection of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round.

Yes, it's difficult to argue with the selection of wide receiver Davante Adams in the second round. Based on the Fresno State product's raw skills and college production, he has the looks of a potential No. 1 receiver in the NFL.

But by the time the third round was done Friday, the Packers added an overlooked sleeper on the defensive line and another toy for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

If general manager Ted Thompson hits on these selections, he'll once again be hailed as a football savant, but it's hard to see at this juncture how the Packers' third-round selections are going to make the Packers defense better in 2014 if they have any aspirations of going any deeper in the playoffs than they have in any of the last three seasons.

In Khyri Thornton, the Packers picked a player that's already 24 years old. As someone who was invited to both the NFL Combine and the NFLPA All-Star Collegiate Bowl, Thornton isn't a quantity that's an unknown to professional football evaluators, but he was selected far higher than probably anyone outside the Packers organization anticipated.

The view from afar is that the inside linebacker position on the Packers roster is in need of an upgrade in talent. Sure, there was a major dropoff in talent the moment Ryan Shazier and C.J. Mosley came off the board, but it's not as if there aren't going to be other inside linebackers selected between now and the end of the draft.

The Packers could have had their pick of who they feel is the best inside linebacker still available in the third round, and there's guys still available that aren't considered chopped liver between Carl Bradford, Shayne Skov, Lamin Barrow, Max Bullough and Jordan Zumwalt.

In the secondary, players like Antone Exum and Pierre Desir appear to have such high ceilings that they'd be difficult to pass up.

Maybe the Packers don't hold these players in such high regard or maybe they feel they'll still be available later on. Perhaps they feel the 2014 edition of the Packers got all the help it needed between the additions of Clinton-Dix, Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion.

Obviously they felt Thornton and tight end Richard Rodgers were too good to pass up, otherwise they wouldn't have selected them.

One line of thinking is that the Packers could have waited another round or two to grab both Thornton and Rodgers later in the draft and they'd still be there for the taking. In the meantime, they could have taken someone that could at least compete for a starting job, even if they don't win it.

With the center position still up for grabs, even taking the best interior offensive lineman would have made sense.

But Thompson and the Packers scouting department have their own way of doing things. The "best player available" philosophy is being put to the test.

Between the interviews they've conducted with Thornton and Rodgers, the workouts they've attended, the film they've assessed, the all-star game practices they've watched, the conversations they've very likely had with their college coaches and others that know them, the Packers know these players more intimately than any fan or media member could dream to know.

Let's just hope Ted Thompson gets it right, because visions of Shayne Skov in a green and gold jersey with that mohawk and eye black covering his face and making plays all over the field sure look good in the figment of my imagination.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

Sure we'd like to see certain positional boxes checked off, but, time will tell. Like it always does.

4thand1's picture

You hit the nail on the head when you talk about the process of interviewing, talking to coaches and watching film. Not many people have a clue about teams draft boards. I'm sure the Packers had a lot of players on their board that got picked just ahead of them. TT said Rodgers and Thorton were the BAP left to them. In the end its the Packers call, not ours. Not many people liked the Mike Daniels pick but now love it.

Nick Perry's picture

I was one of them 4th and 1, couldn't understand why TT would draft a DL of Daniels size for a 3-4 defense, now we know. I didn't like the Rodgers pick at first but then I did some snooping, he'll be a excellent fit in Green Bay in time. This draft as a whole is a excellent draft. TT filled needs and got excellent players in process

Tarynfor12's picture

Truly testing the theory "Less is more"

Unless the Packers get what has been highly anticipated from the likes of Perry,Neal,Worthy, and the injection of some Pepper,not to forget that Pickett is either gone or aged,Jolly is a question to be on the team much less making a full season, and with the only front seven addition being a newer version of C.J. Wilson,it would seem that Capers,even with a downsized schematics, once again may be on the chopping block early through no fault of his but by the lack of ability/talent at the front.

The failure of the (ahem) veterans on this defensive team to ascend the steps of play will start the clock of wasted years for Rodgers and the offense.

For any who think the Ha-Ha pick was a saving one...the joke will not be funny if the others are/remain the butt of it.

Brutus10's picture

"wasted years for Rodgers and the offense".

This is starting to become the best decription of the Thompson years. Thompson is on a streak of 4 sub-par drafts in a row which includes this one. Eventually we'll all look back at AR's career after he retires and wonder what would have been if we had only had a more competent GM.

Bearmeat's picture

......Reminds self not to act like Cow....

Remembers that TT has forgotten more about football than I'll ever know.

Gets Pi$$ed off again because CJF, C Jones, Desir, Niklas, and T Brooks were all there for the taking, and we took a 4th WR who isn't going to run by anyone, ANOTHER undersized 5 technique and a slow-ass and relatively weak TE instead.

.....Reminds self not to act like Cow...

Brutus10's picture

".....Reminds self not to act like Cow..."

You just did. However, no matter how you act, the facts can't be changed.

4thand1's picture

Stroh, they want what they want, and they want it right fucking now!

The TKstinator's picture

Because, once again, they are SO MUCH SMARTER AND BETTER INFORMED than the men who are paid millions to do this "for real". And, in addition, they understand the ideas of development and patience. Ask them how division titles and Super Bowl wins they are responsible for. Then listen for the crickets.

4thand1's picture

We get it, you hate TT. You still suck and are wrong 99% of the time.

Brutus10's picture

"But go look at 2011... 2012. Wow. REALLY bad."

Try and get any of these homers to honestly discuss past drafts like 2011 & 2012. ---- They won't because they can't even use cherry picking to justify the 2011 & 2012 drafts.

They run like spineless vermin everytime their TT bro-mance is legitimately threatened.

Jordan's picture

"You don't need to know much about football to know the defensive side of the football was the weak link in Green Bay last season."

You mean the weak link in the playoffs? Packers offense only scored 20 points at home. Packers defense held the 49ers to 23 points without two of their best players (Matthews, shields). Where's the weak link?

The weak link vs Bengals? That would be the offense. The packers defense handed the packers' offense that game.

Those are the facts.

Bengals and 49ers are the only two teams they played with winning records. Go back and watch all three of those games to learn about weak links.

4thand1's picture

Bengals looked so great in the playoffs. Remember James Jones dropping 2 passes in the playoff game. He's gone. The weak link was a 60+ yard fumble for a TD when the Packers were in scoring territory. Oh, and Eddie Lacy didn't play that game. Keep up the negativity, its good for shit.

Jordan's picture

4th and 1,

I'm not sure if you're an idiot, or you just don't understand football, or you didn't re-watch the Bengals game. It's one or more of those three.

But either way, you are the number 1 troll on this blog.

4thand1's picture

You still suck

DraftHobbyist's picture

I don't really think the Packers had a lot of holes on the defense. The major hole was at S, and I think putting Clinton-Dix in there will stop the blown coverages, which will make everybody on defense better. Our upgrades will come from guys like Hayward coming back from injury and Datone Jones getting more playing time.

I'm pretty upset we didn't take FB Trey Millard OKLAHOMA. That guy was a stud. Oh well.

DrealynWilliams's picture


The TKstinator's picture

We all have to remember that as fans, we use hindsight. The coaches and mgt are in the business of projecting and forecasting.
Do we REALLY think we're brilliant when we say things like "Jerron didn't pan out" or "CM's and AR's injuries really hurt"? Sheesh.
Ok then, tell me NOW who is going to get hurt this year and miss time.
Also, tell me NOW who is going to step up and exceed expectations.
Tell me NOW who is going to disappoint.

See what I'm saying? All we can do is make semi-informed guesses, while the coaches and mgt have a crapload MORE info that goes into those "guesses".

Additionally, I find it bothersome to go WAY OVERBOARD in either the optimistic (blatant homerism)
OR the pessimistic (cough, bovine, cough) direction.

Hell, there are a lot of variables, and that is what makes this whole thing fun.

So here is the formula, according to "wise and powerful"TK:
Build the team as strong as possible while minding the salary cap. That's it.

Roll on, GB, roll on!

4thand1's picture

Its all about ratings and $$$$$$. the ratings for the 1st round were off the charts. They were better than the NBA and NHL playoffs games combined. NFL rules.

The TKstinator's picture

I know which players you have high expectations for: the ones wearing San Fran and Seattle uniforms.

Oh wait, maybe San Fran SUCKS since they didn't win the SB either.

What is it about "blind pessimism" that you don't understand?

4thand1's picture

Happy Mothers day, take care of your Moms, buy her a cheese head hat and GOPACKGO!

gary's picture

The 3rd round was a real reach with both picks. They seem like back-up caliber players at best. The 3rd round should be more of your core type player. We will all find out in the coming months. Lets hope for the best.

The TKstinator's picture

Tell that to TT and his scouts.

Time will tell.

Jordan's picture

Ted Thompson drafts for need just like every GM does. They filled needs. They needed depth and are going for draft and develop. Trading down has backfired on TT in the past. It could have backfired on him last year when he traded down, but was still able to grab Lacy. Maybe he learned his lesson.

HankScorpio's picture

I believe "Need" is a tie-breaker but BPA is a guiding principle. Drafting a 3rd WR in the 7th was definitely not a "need" pick. They had 3 solid ones already and had previously added 2 better prospects. ILB definitely was a "need" pick--and we didn't see one.

With a 53 man roster and the ever changing nature of the NFL, it is easy to make almost any position on any team a "need." The Packers are absolutely stacked at CB right now. But Tramon Williams is nearing the end, Shields has been inconsistent at times, Hyde may be moving, there are questions about Hayward's ability to play outside and House is inconsistent. And that's how you make the deepest spot on the team a "need" to justify picking a guy, even as high as round 1 had the right guy been there for them (I'm looking at Justin Gilbert there).

"Drafting for need" and "Picking BPA" are not mutually exclusive. They can, and often do, line up together. Especially if you're the type to worry about lots of different scenarios. That they do often line up doesn't say much about how a particular GM drafts, especially since a team's draft board is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the NFL.

HankScorpio's picture

Haven't we been reading for a couple of years now that rookies just don't offer much help in the Capers defense?

If true, the help would come from year 2-3 guys developing anyways--Jones, Worthy, Boyd, Barrington, Mulumba, Palmer, Lattimore, Hyde, etc. This year's rookie class would be STs guys with any meaningful contribution on defense being a bonus.

And really, while Capers defense might amplify that effect, rookie difference makers are pretty rare anyways.

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