Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke highly of Donald Driver this week, giving no indication that the team plans to cut the 37-year-old any time soon. Of course, McCarthy wasn’t going to come out and say that Driver will be off the team shortly, so take the coach’s praise for Driver with a grain of salt.
Actually, McCarthy had a general quote about the Packers WR philosphy that I think actually hurts Driver’s chances of being a Packer in 2012. McCarthy said:
“We don’t just try to get four receivers or five receivers and stop there. You want to get as many as you can.”
This is bad news for Driver because it tells me that the Packers won’t hesitate to draft a WR if they see one they like. No, WR isn’t a position of immediate need, but Ted Thompson doesn’t draft strictly based on need. If there’s a WR he likes and feels is a good value for the round he’s drafting in, he’ll take him.
But let’s say Thompson doesn’t draft a WR. Driver’s main competition would be Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel, both practice squad players last season that other teams tried to sign away from the Packers. Would Thompson keep a 37-year-old over two up-and-comers?
Now lets say Thompson drafts a WR, maybe an unpolished guy in the fifth or sixth round. Based on McCarthy’s above quote and past history, I don’t think Thompson would hesitate to do so. That’s more competition for Driver and yet another young player in the wrestling match for a roster spot.
Whether the Packers draft another WR or not, they could choose to keep six WRs, perhaps all five from last season and one of the young guys. This is the option I dislike the most.
The future seems bright for the Packers at WR. Greg Jennings (if they extend him), Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb appear on track to be contributors for a while. James Jones is decent enough and Jermichael Finley is basically an extra WR. Packers WRs have also manged to stay healthy the last couple of seasons. There’s no reason to stockpile an extra WR by keeping six on the roster.
The Packers could use that roster slot for defensive backs, where they might have to replace Nick Collins, plan for Charles Woodson’s departure sometime in the near future and have a backup plan if Sam Shields keeps regressing.
If they don’t use that slot on an extra defensive back, they could probably use it on the defensive line or at linebacker. We don’t need to rehash the Packers anemic pass rush or the struggles of A.J. Hawk to explain why.
If the Packers end up keeping Driver, that’s fine with me. If they feel he’s a better option over the younger guys, then great. I just hope they don’t keep six WRs to do so.——————