Jersey Al’s Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Analysis #1- TRADE DOWN! All Green Bay Packers All the Time

This will be the first in a series of reports where I will be analyzing the upcoming 2010 NFL Draft from a Green Bay Packers perspective. This first article will focus on general needs and a potential  strategy to meet those needs.

The NFL mock draft season is upon us, and while I am a contributor to what I consider one of the better NFL draft sites, from my viewpoint, it’s too early to be making predictions about who the Packers will draft. Of course, it’s still fun to do, but there are still so many other questions to be answered. Will there be a salary cap? Will the Packers be able to re-sign most of their own free agents? Will Ted Thompson dip his toes a bit deeper than usual into the free agent waters? Will Thompson look to trade from a position of depth to fill a need? Can players coming off of IR be counted on for 2010?

So what we will focus on here is exploring the right draft strategy for the Packers. For the purpose of this discussion, we are going to assume the Packers roster will be very close to how they finished the season, with the addition of Patrick Lee, Will Blackmon and Jason Spitz coming off of IR. It would take a miracle for Al Harris to be ready in time and Aaron Kampman’s situation is so up in the air, I’ll leave them out of the equation for now.

The Packers’ needs positions are basically 5: : OT, CB, OLB, S, RB.  The main thing to consider is, will the Packers be drafting to make a run at the Super Bowl THIS year, or will they continue to build long-term depth? I propose that there is a way to do both. Ted Thompson needs to go back to his previous draft day m.o. and TRADE DOWN.

Most draft experts have been reporting a significant drop in talent level after the first 20 players, with a fairly flat plateau of talent over the next 30-40 spots. Drafting at the top of that range is a poor value. At #23, will there be a top-flight impact player like Clay Matthews available at any of the Packer’s needs positions? CB Joe Haden will be gone. OTs Okung, Davis and Bulaga will be gone. S Eric Berry will be gone. The only possibility would be at OLB, with Brandon Graham probably gone, but Ricky Sapp, Sergio Kindle and Jerry Hughes still available. It’s very likely, however, that one of these players would be still be available 10 -20 picks later. So why not address multiple needs?

Possible trade partners could be Tampa Bay, holding picks 35 and 44 or  New England, with picks 42, 47 and 53, among others. For example, a trade of the Packers first (#23) and fifth (#150) round picks for Tampa’s second (#35) and third (#67) is pretty equal value according the the trade charts. That would give the Packers a total of 4 picks in the second and third rounds (#35, #56, #67 and #86). That’s an opportunity to pick up four of the best 100 players in the country. Of course, there would have to be someone high on Tampa’s wish list at 23 for them to be interested.

Looking at the Packer’s needs, most people would say that left offensive tackle is the most glaring need. The odds are pretty slim, however, of landing a player at #23 that can step in and start at LT immediately. If you don’t believe that, I’ve done some research and will present the results in an upcoming article. So the question is, do the Packers use their #1 pick on an OT that may need a year or two of bulking up and seasoning? The answer depends on Chad Clifton. If Clifton is back for another year, then perhaps you can afford to pass on an OT in the first round. That is, unless someone like Bulaga or Davis falls into your lap. Regardless, Selvish Capers, Ciron Black, Jason Fox, Roger Saffold are all good prospects and one of them will be there for the Packers in round 2.

But let’s go back to what the Packers are feeling for 2010. Do they think this is THE year to make a run at the Super Bowl? If it is, then I would first be looking  for an impact pass rusher to compliment Clay Matthews. Despite the progress made overall by the defense in 2009, lack of a pass rush against the better quarterbacks was the single factor that most impacted and defined the Packers season.

And in my opinion, that was also the main difference between the Packers and the Super Bowl Champion Saints. In big games against top quarterbacks, the Saints were able to significantly pressure those quarterbacks, throw off their timing and physically wear them down. The Packers gave some great quarterbacks a mostly free ride and lost games they could have won.

So, while it’s still early, my initial thoughts on strategy would entail re-signing most of the Packers’ own free agents, addressing one of the five needs through free agency, and accumulating 4 picks in rounds two and three to address the other 4 needs.

In most years, this would be a strategy that could fit in nicely with Ted Thompson’s way of thinking, although he rarely admits to drafting for need. In 2009, he reversed course out of necessity. The Packers were switching to a 3-4 defense so the impetus was there to make picks at the two most important 3-4 positions, NT and OLB.

In 2010, the Packers are on the cusp. The transition to a defensive roster of 3-4 style players must continue and they must find a way to protect the quarterback. There are various other strategies that could address those issues and possibly vault the Packers into the “Big Game”. Much can and will change between now and draft day, but this would be my approach based on what we know right now. Of course, tomorrow is another day…


You can  follow Jersey Al on Facebook and Twitter .

Jersey Al Bracco is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for You can find more of Jersey Al ’s articles on several sports web sites: NFL Touchdown , Packers Lounge , Packer Chatters & Bleacher Report .

45 thoughts on “Jersey Al’s Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Analysis #1- TRADE DOWN!

  1. I’m a pretty regular visitor to your site, and I almost had a heart attack logging on to the site today. Excellent work on the new site.

    Go Pack Go!

  2. Harris and Kampman are doubtful and up in the air, but you failed to give any thoughts on Justin Harrell. At this point I am not sure what shape Harrell could be in even if his back is healed. He may be a none factor for another year while he gets into football shape. IMO Spitz has a good chance to surprise everbody in that his back is more of a problem and it will an issue by the end of camp.

  3. Dilligaff – It’s pretty hard to say anything intelligent about Harrell. I think you answered your own question, though: probably a non-factor (which is why I ignored him).

  4. I was under the impression that this draft was pretty deep considering the uncertainty of the CBA. A lot of the underclassmen have enlisted ensuring more talent at later picks, so I would agree with the trade down. Normally I wouldn’t want that with a team that is only a few pieces away from SB contention & trading down to get lesser players wouldn’t make sense to me, but I think there should still be some very good players at the end of rd 1 & into 2. Acquiring another pick & still grabbing a quality talent that can impact the team this year. This team is a few players away from the next level, so lets hope Ted makes the right moves this draft that put the Pack over the top where they belong.

    Congrats on the site, its about time! I always wondered why you never really had a site that you could call your own. Don’t have to worry about that now.

    GO PACK GO!!!

    2011 Super Bowl or Bust!!!

  5. Congrats on the new site i look forward to checking in regularly. As for the draft i dont mind which way ted goes but i think if he picks as well as last years draft it will be a good thing for the pack.

  6. Good Kid – Thanks for stopping by. You hit on a point I was going to address but decided to leave out to see if anyone picked up on it. Normally when a GM thinks the team is very close, you might go for that one big impact player. So my strategy might seem opposite of the norm. But if you look at the draft board, that big impact guy is probably not there at #23, so instead, look to improve several positions of need.

    As for why it took me this long to put together a decent site, anyone that does this will tell you it’s a lot more work than you would expect. It took me months just to get this far…

  7. Somebody has to replace Crosby. A new visitor to this site, and I’ll be back. Thanks Aaron.

  8. I agree, provided desperate teams don’t reach for need and bump a better talent to the Packers at the #23 spot. There are several 2nd/3rd round kids capable of having an impact (Carrington/Arkansas State, Saffold/IU, very deep corner class into the 2nd) and little high-impact that’s likely to slip past 20.

    Question for you: I realize the Packers don’t need a TE, but Hernandez/FL is so athletic he assumed Percy Harvin’s former position in the FL offense. He’s a raw but willing blocker, incredible athlete (he’s a more athletic, faster Dallas Clark) and can have an immediate imapact. He will quite possibly be there for the Packers in Rd. 2. Would you pull the trigger?

    I’m just trying to imagine 2 TE sets with Finley and Hernandez on the field.

  9. Zero, Thanks for stopping by. Things are still new around here, but I’m slowly getting it up to speed.

    I’m going to do an article in the next week or two on the subject of Crosby. I have some strong opinions on that…

  10. Chris,

    Wow, that is a tough question to answer. My initial reaction would be no, but I’d have to study Hernandez some more. Chances are good, though, that Thompson will draft someone pretty high that is not one of their needs – he’s done it several times…

  11. This is great, Al. You are now the 3rd Packers Blog I have bookmarked, along with cheeseheadtv and packerpalace. See ya around here.

    And this is a great post. I don’t pretend to have a clue about draft prospects, but I will be following the ’10 Packers draft intently, because I happen to think this could be the year to make it to the big game..especially if Minnesota needs a new QB.

  12. You were slumming on Pelissero’s chat today. What are your takeaways? What about the (speculative) Jenkins trade chatter?

  13. Chris is “slumming” what that is called? LOL Anyway, the Jenkins trade stuff is just hypothetical stuff – TP even said as much. There’s no serious info on that that I’ve heard.

  14. I kid, Jersey Al. I was the one that brought up the notion. I realize it’s a hypothetical, but makes sense on a lot of levels.

    This will be an interesting draft and more jockying for position and potential trades considering the lackluster free-agency due to the CBA.

  15. Great to be able to add you to the list of mandatory Packer reading.

    This year the draft may have a lot of little known diamonds buried deep under the hype. Trading down makes all the sense in the world to me. After the absolute disasters against the Steelers and Cards and the poor defencive play agaisnst the Queens, Many hole in the CB and S positions need shoring up with better talent than what is on the team now. Go for some of those speed guys that may pay dividends with a little coaching. Might even find a KR if they’re lucky.

  16. To Al and Chris,

    “I’m just trying to imagine 2 TE sets with Finley and Hernandez on the field”.

    Another TE to pair w/ Finley is 6’7″ Jimmy Graham who may last til the Packers 3rd round pick. What a red zone nightmare they would be. Your thoughts?

  17. Hey Al, What about Derrick Grahm of Wisconsin at TE to replace Lee. Needs a bit of work on blocking but never drops a ball and had decent speed?

Comments are closed.