Jersey Al’s Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Analysis #3- SUDDEN IMPACT! All Green Bay Packers All the Time

This is the third in my series of articles examining potential draft strategies for the Green Bay Packers. I’ve previously identified the Packers five primary needs positions to be OT, CB, OLB, RB and S.

In Article 1, I proposed the Packers resign their own free agents, sign one free agent from another team to address one need and trade down to obtain four picks in rounds two and three to use on the other four needs.

In Article 2, I looked at trade-up scenarios and the types of players that would make that a worthwhile strategy. A potential game-changer like CJ Spiller, would be one example.

In this article, I will examine possible draft strategies assuming the Packers do not make any trades.


This strategy says you take your highest rated player available, regardless of position or need. This is usually the strategy that Ted Thompson employs. Although it would appear he may have strayed from this strategy a bit in 2009, selecting players strictly at positions of need (no picks at WR, for example), Thompson will tell you those players were at the top of their board at the time.

While I believe it for Clay Matthews, I’m not sure about BJ Raji. Was Raji really rated higher than Michael Crabtree on their value board? Or did they catch wind of difficult contract negotiations to come? Or did Thompson succumb to the needs of the ensuing defensive alignment changes? We’ll probably never know the real truth, but regardless, it sure worked out just fine.

This particular draft strategy can sometimes have fans pulling their hair out. For example, in 2008, selecting wide receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback Brian Brohm with the first two picks? I liked the trade down and was OK with the Nelson pick, but saw no reason to use a second round pick for a player that even in a best case scenario, would just be Aaron Rodgers’ backup. With the benefit of hindsight, we now know exactly how bad that decision was.


A slight modification of best player available, this method allows you to eliminate certain players if their strengths and/or style of play don’t fit into your system.

Here’s an interesting NFL Network video with Charlie Casserly taking the GM’s viewpoint while Steve Mariucci and Jim Mora give you the coach’s perspective.  Definitely worth a view.

While Casserly espouses a strict best player availiable approach,  Mariucci and Mora want players that make sense for their system. As Mora states, if you are a cover 2 team, picking a cover corner, even if he’s the best player, does not help the head coach win.

Does Ted Thompson use this modified approach? Absolutely. 2009 was surely the best example. With the Packers changing defensive systems and a roster full of players drafted to play the 4-3 and man coverage, Thompson needed to add as much 3-4 experience to his team as possible.  Reading public comments on the selections from Thompson, McCarthy and even the players themselves, the recurring theme was “good fit for the system”.

As I mentioned previously, I think 2009 was a special case where Thompson gave more weight than ususal to positional needs. So in effect, he gave preference to best player available that fits the system at a position of need. For Thompson, this was a rather stark and probably rare change to his overall draft day philosophy (and we’re all glad he did it).


Not much needs to be said here. This is a sure-fire way to screw up your team for years to come. Winning in the NFL is all about accumulating the most and the best talent, regardless of position. Reaching to fill positional needs will invariably lead to mistakes that wind up not filling the need anyway. Practically any GM (does Al Davis count?) will agree with this.


This is a situational strategy that mostly applies to the round one choice of teams that feel they are a player or two away from the Super Bowl. Can this be a strategy for the Packers? I think a good argument can be made that the answer to that question is YES.

There can be little disagreement that the Packers’ offense is already one of the most difficult in the league to contain. Picture that offense with a speed running back threat who can also be dangerous in the screen game and as a pass-catcher in general? What do opposing defenses scheme for in that scenario? Undoubtedly, it would be a nightmare for opposing coordinators.

On the other side of the ball, the Packers’ transformed 3-4 defense improved to second in the NFL against the run, but fell apart in big games to big time quarterbacks who were allowed to get far too comfortable in the pocket. Teams were able to specifically scheme for the Packer’s only real pass rush threat, Clay Matthews III. In most cases, using 2 players to slow down Matthews gave these experienced quarterbacks all the time they needed to quickly get the ball out to their first open receivers.

Now picture the Packers’ defense with a second legitimate pass rush threat at left outside linebacker. Opposing offenses would not be able to key on Matthews. They would be forced to keep more players in for possible blocking help and the Packers would see less of those four and five receiver sets their depleted secondary had difficulty with late last year. With another major pass-rushing weapon, the Packers defense could become that unpredictable blitzing team that Dom Capers desires.


Either of these scenarios, a major impact running back or outside linebacker could be enough to propel an already very good team to the next level. If you think your team is close to being a Super Bowl contender, this type of move makes a lot of sense in this “win-now” world.

With the uncertainty surrounding the NFL football landscape in 2011, and the feeling they were a better team than they showed in the playoffs, I believe the Packers organization is gearing up towards a serious run at the Super Bowl THIS year. Ted Thompson has had an uncharacteristically busy March, successfully keeping the current roster mostly intact, with the exception of Aaron Kampman, who just didn’t fit anyway. The Packers organization would not have retained all of these veteran players if they felt they were a few years away.

No, the Packers think they can win THIS year. And as such, their first draft pick needs to be at a position that would help their run at the Super Bowl most. They need to take a speedy running back or pass-rushing outside linebacker, positions of  SUDDEN IMPACT.


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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 .

44 thoughts on “Jersey Al’s Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Analysis #3- SUDDEN IMPACT!

  1. I agree with everything you have said, but the weakest part of the team, other than pass rush (which I blame more on our ILBs and defensive line especially when Jolly is in there), is the O-line

    The O-line needed at the very least some veteran free agent depth. IMO 2 or 3 years of neglect/bad decisions will come back to haunt the Pack this season as it relates to the O-line. We are 1 or 2 injuries away from a disaster on the O-line.

    I just hope that “Lang” type players can be had in the 2nd and latter rounds. To draft a O-lineman in the first round at #23 would be a mistake. I am unsure if rookies are going to be good enough to make this O-line better.

    1. Well, I agree with everything you said, too. Pass rush from the DL is not likely to improve, unless Raji ends up playing end and can be taught some moves.

      The O-Line is no longer a crisis, but I agree that with pick 2 or 3 at the latest, they need to take someone with potential to be a LT of the future.

  2. Excellent observation, Al. Many analysts say this draft is very strong, with quality player available from the mid first through the late second or early third round. Does a trade down to pick up an extra pick or two mean the Packers could find BOTH a quality RB and an OLB?

  3. Nice article Al. If you truly believe that MM and TT think this is the year than it wouldn’t surprise me if TT traded up ala last year to try for C.J. Spiller. Are there any earth-shaking OLBs that you could envision us moving up for?
    Playing devil’s advocate here – would TT give up not drafting in the 2nd or 3rd for another year? You tell me.

    1. Very good questions.

      Trading up is not Thompson’s preference, but thanks to how well it worked out last year, he may be more considerate of that option.

      Spiller is probably the only guy I would consider trading up for.

      If they really want an OLB, either Graham, Kindle, Hughes or Sapp will be there at 23. They can even trade down and still get one of those guys. I hope that’s what happens.

  4. Al, I agree with you, but the LT of the future must be obtained NOW. Chances are we need to spend the 1st rounder on a guy like this, but it’s not a dogma.

    Most LTs take a year to develop as capable blockers. Considering that Clifton is in his last legs, it would be a tremenduous mistake to throw a rookie under the fire in 2011. Not to mention that if both him and Taushcer goes down this year, we’re doomed, with only Lang to fill in for both.

    However, picking a LT now would allow him to transition smoothly as the heir of Rodgers’ blind side protector late the season or next season.

    And taking into account that RB, S, OLB and Cb are very deep positions in this draft, we could get the LT of the future early, and still get an impact guy for this season later on.

    1. Yes, the LT of the future has to be selected now, but it doesn’t have to be the first pick. There are no sure things with the OTs that will be available at #23. I’ll take a sure thing OLB that will improve our defense this year with that first pick.

      1. But who would be that sure pick?

        Jerry Huges is my favorite, but he doesn’t have a 1st round grade in him.

        Graham seems like the best of them, but he didn’t play with his hands up much.

        The last sure thing we drafted was A.J. Hawk.

        Curry was a sure thing. In hindsight, would you take him, CM3 or Cushing earlier???

        1. Speaking for myself, I never considered Hawk a sure thing and was not happy when they took him. But then again, the guy I wanted hasn’t done any better (Matt Leinert).

          I’d say Graham, Hughes or Kindle would help out big-time with the pass rush. So one of those would be my choice.

  5. Any one wanna bet on whether Tauscher, Clifton, and Wells will play all 16 games? Lang is the only backup available that has shown any ability. The middle round players in the O line have “potential” but need development. Best bet there is go to FA and pickup someone who has shown some on-field potential. GB can’t rely on Spitz (4 years-no breakthrough), Breno (Marble man), Barbre (whirling dervish), ED-S (Ol 1/2 Gamer). And who can forget Stanley Daniels?

    This category is a potentially season ending problem. Needs fix’n before the pre-season.
    Trade down if they can. If not, gotta do a trade to get the Oline deeper.

  6. Let’s party like it’s 1999, when we drafted CBs with our first three picks and a punter in the 4th round. Okay, we don’t need 3 corners…how about 2 O linemen, a Safety, THEN that punter in the 4th? 🙂

    1. And the 3rd rounder was the only one that amounted to anything, Mike McKenzie. That was a rather “amazing” draft year.

      And oy, we have our punter, mate…

      1. MM feels as strong about the Punters as he did last year with Kapinos and Brooks…

        I’ve said before:

        08 punter: Frost. Worst of all time
        09 punter: Kapinos. Worst punter in the league.

        In this rythm, in mere 31 years we’ll have the best punter in the league. Rejoice, Packers fans!

  7. And the 3rd rounder was the only one that amounted to anything, Mike McKenzie. That was a rather “amazing” draft year.

    And oy, we have our punter, mate…

  8. On the contrary, Fred Vinson amounted to Ahman Green. And I’m still holding out hope that our 2010 punter is not currently on the roster. If and when the TT regime ends on a sour note, two of the biggest (legitimate) factors will be the inability to find an offensive line, and to a lesser extent, making a mockery out of the search for a punter. For some reason I’d like to see him change his destiny.

  9. On another 1999 draft note, Antuan Edwards has a twin brother. Does anybody know his name? Wait for it…’s “Antwin.” Antuan and Antwin Edwards.

  10. Makin me giddy with your optimism, good stuff. Would love a more “Threatening” running back, but I don’t think that’s the only problem with our screen game. Either way that’s an after thought, cherry on top deal.

    1. I think the disappointment of the Arizona loss has lit a fire under everyone at Lambeau (which was needed), while the strong season finish has everyone feeling there will be good things to come.

  11. I see that it would be nice and more fun as a Fan to have more Offensive weapons, but in reality our offense can put some pretty impressive points on the board, but all that hinges on the state of our O-line.

    If you look at the playoff game and others during the season it not our offense that was the problem, but the defense at times combined with poor play by our O-line that put our defense in bad field positions.

    We need O-lineman to insure what we already have on offense and either one or two players for the defense combined with the continued improvement of our second year players.

    1. Don’t disagree, but an OT at pick 23 is probably not going to play the first year anyway, so I would wait until round 2 to take an OT and use the first pick to get someone that will have an impact now.

  12. Don’t disagree, but an OT at pick 23 is probably not going to play the first year anyway, so I would wait until round 2 to take an OT and use the first pick to get someone that will have an impact now.

  13. Great stuff here fellas! On the draft, it is refreshing to be in a position this season, to not have to reach for a certain player or position. OLB, OT, CB, S are all areas of concern, but IMO a RB is as important as any. The Packers are an ankle sprain away from having an anemic running game, and to me, Brandon Jackson is not the answer. A shifty two cut runner with some moves and ability to get into the secondary is a must. JMO

    1. Thanks for stopping in. I’ve been looking for some excitement at running back for 2 years now, this season will be no different. For me, the only first-round impact running back is Spiller, who won’t be there, so I’ve settled on OLB as a better positional choice.

  14. Pretty excellent analysis. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could inject TT with some truth serum and talk to him for an hour? Ask him those same questions about the 2009 draft. Not to mention the questions you could ask him about Favre.

    Do you have a protypical pick for each category? Need? Impact? Best Available?

  15. Trade up and get Sergio Kindle and put him opposite Clay-Maker, turn him loose and make the opposing QB’s uncomfortable!

    1. I’m with you on the bookend OLBs, but don’t think a trade up is needed. One of Kindle, Graham or Hughes will be there at #23.

  16. Hey Al,

    I recently saw a mock draft that had CJ Spiller falling to the Packers. Do you think that is a real possibility? Is Spiller someone the Packers are targeting?

  17. I think in round one, TT will take the highest player on his draft board unless two are pretty close and then he will take the need pick. Seems like we have a pretty good chance of getting an impact player in one of those positions. I think in the first round, whomever a team chooses (even at pick 23) should be good enough to be an impact player but often this is not the case (at least for a couple years). It is good to think that our scenario this year can be (if Harris comes back healthy) that we draft for impact and not to fill a gap. The offseason signings of the veterans has helped that – kept the core intact.

    1. Yep, the signings are one indication that Thompson thinks they can win this year. So, I’m just looking for them to help that process as much as possible by picking someone who can hep right away, as opposed to down the road a bit.

    1. Harris’ injury was a very bad one and he has a lot to overcome The Packers have already been dropping hints that he will probably not be ready for the start of the season, which is what I expected anyway.

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