How many mock drafts have you checked out? How many positional ranking lists have you pondered? Maybe a scouting report or two? The draft is less then a week away. The NFL Draft might be one of the greatest marketing wonders of the world. Three days of TV coverage, on two Networks, with Parties at most home Stadiums and so much out there you can’t swing a dead cat and not hit something related to the NFL draft.
And I have to admit, I love it.
The amount of buzz created this time of year about everything football is quite amazing when you consider not that long ago, Well at least in my time as a Packer fan, which to some would be a long time ago, the draft was a much different affair. The year the Packers won the first Super Bowl, Vince had twenty two picks in 17 rounds. And that year of 1967 was the first year of the combined draft. The NFC and AFC had got that point to end the bidding war between the two Leagues for the Top prospects.
Today a player had better be a Super Star out of the box or that “B “ word gets tossed out there pretty quickly. We will also all hear what team had the best grade in the draft. That is the one thing out of today’s draft that makes me mumble short worded sentences that Jersey Al won’t put on his site.
Come back in a couple years and lets see who really did what. When you look at Ted Thompsons drafts over the last four years, they have been shaping up nicely.
I will not start a whole discussion on BPA and need. But I will add a link to what might be the best example of a NFL grading system you will find on the net, this is from someone that was a NFL scout. What we don’t know, is what each team puts the most emphasis on in generating those grades, but it shows the degree’s of rankings worked up on these prospects.
The Packers are in a very good position as a team with its roster. There is not one position that HAS to have a starter out of this draft class, that cannot be said for a lot of NFL teams. Other then QB and one OLB, every position can be upgraded over time and development of a 2013 draft pick or from that last 4 drafts. When you pick where the Packers do, the prospects will have warts of some sort. The NFL draft is one thing that everyone gets wrong, from the fan that knows nothing but that the Draft is in April, to every GM in the NFL. The part that over looked by many fans is what will that player be in a few years. These prospects are still growing boys.
So what I have put together is a look at both offense and defense. This piece will look at who Ted Thompson may have his sites on for the offensive side of the ball. I hear defense, defense, defense for draft picks, I don’t believe we will see a repeat of last year. The defense showed marked improvement in all stats over 2011, but was given a big black eye by the best teams in the NFL. But what we also see, is the offense falling from #3 to #13 in total offense. That has to be addressed.
Lets look at a player many have the Packers taking at #26, Tyler Eifert. I question if he will still be available, but if there, he would be my highest rated player and the BPA at this point in the draft. That would be a run to the podium with the card pick.
He and Ertz are the only two TE’s I would draft and Ertz would have to be the second.
I don’t like any of the running backs at #26 but sure like them later in the draft. I am not fan of Lacy, at least not where he will be drafted. I don’t think he is a first round talent and I question what he will do in the NFL. The RB’s that I think fit the Packers and are worth a later pick are Le’Veon Bell , Joseph Randle, , and I will give you a my sleeper pick at RB, Latavius Murray UCF., check out those testing numbers of a BIG back at 6-2 + and 223#, that is speed, quickness and agility. I have brought up, Ball, Christine Michael , Lattimore and Wood from Notre Dame before. Ball is just a good all around back, that has been highly productive, but lacks top physical ability.
Wide Receiver there really isn’t anyone that excites me at #26. But the WR class is deep in this draft. My favorite and he does come with warts is Justin Hunter, 2nd round, even a move up in the second, or TT does trade down in the first and gets a extra 2nd. He could very well go later in the first, but is that hype now? Hunter would be another run up to the podium pick for me, in the second. At his size and speed with a 39.5” vertical, the Packers don’t have a WR like him.
After Hunter there are a number of WR’s that warrant consideration.
And a little later in the draft, there’s Aaron Dobson and Chris Harper. There are a number of very Late Round and/or priority FA signings at WR that have been linked to the Packers, with Eric Rogers of Cal Lutheran being one.
At OT there is talent that would be worth that #26 pick, but none that IMO could come in and start right away at LT or RT. With the majority of the NFL dressing seven offensive linemen on game day, you have to have versatile Linemen that can play multiple positions. There are a number of that type of Prospect that I really like in this draft. Prospects that can play G/OT, C/G and some that can do all three.
I also question the depth at Center and Guard. Behind Evan D Smith, Sitton and Lang there is nothing but UDFA’s, some talented linemen, but all need work. Mike McCarthy made the statement that the left side of the line needs to get better. I would like to see Barclay worked at Guard to push Lang, having been a LT in college it would be a good move for him. The question is the two OT’s from the practice squad in Datko and a return from I.R. for Sherrod.
And there is one Full back prospect that caught my eye. He played TE, HB, FB at Harvard, Kyle Juszczyk. I think he can be a better Kuhn, faster, quicker, great route runner and de-cleats LB’s in the hole.
Thanks for this post to draft-season contributor Don Christensen, known as “Yoop” on the TalkinPackers forum.