Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Day 2: Depth and Versatility Rules All Green Bay Packers All the Time

As day 2 of the 2010 NFL Draft comes to an end, it’s safe to say Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson has made some interesting choices.

Mike Neal, a defensive tackle name only a true draftnik or Purdue Boilermaker fan would know, was chosen in the second round to provide depth on the defensive line. This was a surprise to most everyone, including Neal, who said he had “no clue” the Packers were interested in him. But remember, Mike Montgomery is gone, Jarius Wynn is just not the right fit for 3-4 DE, Johnny Jolly has a court date and Justin Harrell – well, he’s Justin Harrell. A lot of question marks there. Throw in Jenkins, Jolly and Harrell (no snickering) all being in the last year of their contracts, and a warm DL body was needed.

Thompson then traded up in the third round to grab the next object of his desire, safety Morgan Burnett of Georgia Tech. Another position where depth was needed, as the Packers depth chart shows only Derrick Martin, Khalil Jones (a converted WR) and the indomitable Jarret Bush as an emergency fill-in. Seems to me Burnett is already 3rd on the safety depth chart without having played a down yet.

But beyond just providing depth, these picks were also about versatility.

During an telephone interview with the Packers media, Neal mentioned that he has played defensive end, 3-technique, 5-technique and even nose tackle. Ted Thompson said of Neal, “We think he fits very well into our system. He played defensive tackle mostly in college. He’s almost ideally suited to play the 3-4 defensive end. We feel like he’ll be a good asset for us in our sub packages rushing the passer from the inside.”

Reading through various scouting reports on Neal, this sentence stood out to me: He has a variety of very effective pass rushing moves from the inside that often collapse the pocket enough to cause bad throws from the opposition. Certainly something the Packers need, wouldn’t you say? Let’s hope he can do it.

Neal was a player that was originally pegged to go in rounds 4 or 5, but rose dramatically up the scouts’ draft boards after strong performances in the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine game and the NFL Combine.

You can get the full details on him here:

Mike Neal Profile

Mike Neal Combine Workout

As for Burnett, he is regarded as having the necessary skills to play either safety position, and actually played a hybrid “rover” position at Georgia Tech.
Ted Thompson described Burnett as “having the ability to be a dual guy and be the kind of guy that you are looking for that is athletic enough to cover down and can still come up and make tackles.”

Burnett showed great ball skills with 14 interceptions but also tallied 227 tackles in his 3 years at Georga Tech, more evidence of his versatility. He has also proven to be a competitive player, having never missed a game in college, and played 4 games with a cast due to a broken thumb. Oh, and he was a Brett Favre fan as a kid…

You can get the full details on him here:

Morgan Burnett Profile


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Jersey Al Bracco is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for

14 thoughts on “Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Day 2: Depth and Versatility Rules

  1. Good analysis, Al. TT likes picking guys who show up in big games – Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, etc. I think Neal is going to be a good player in this league.

    1. When Neal was motivated (showcasing for scouts), he shined. Let’s hope the Packers can keep him on that edge and working hard all the time.

  2. Neal is the reason I don’t spend much time trying to be an amateur college talent-evaluator. I could have spent hours studying prospects and STILL never heard of our nd round pick. No big deal. I never realized the contract situations of our DEs. I’m all for a DE pick right there.

    And I’ve been saying we need a safety more than a corner this whole offseason. Love Bigby, but his injury history is brutal. Our safety corps is much stronger if Atari is the 3rd safety. How many teams will have a 3rd safety as good as Atari? And hopefully the less wear and tear makes him available all year. Let’s hope these guys pan out, of course. But I like the positions taken.

    1. Yes, I think I had glossed over the safety depth issue in my zeal for a cornerback, but looking at it on paper, I like the pick a lot.

  3. Great work, Al. Agree with Ruppert. Our S depth is worse than our CB depth, IMO. With Woodson, Harris, Williams, Blackmon, and Lee, there is enough depth there. With Bigby’s injury history and the severe drop off in safety play when he goes out, the pick of Burnett was very nice.

    1. I knew the Packers had to pick a safety this draft, but until I took the time to sit down and analyze it, I hadn’t realized how critical it really was.

    1. There’s definitely some truth to that. I’ve actually written about that before. Versatility is something required in your backups, but not so much in your starters.

  4. Jeys cut Banika (sp?). Hmmmmmm! TT are you awake yet?

    Purdue and Defense used in the same sentence is likely the most monumental oxymoron ever used. That said, the guy’s physical appearence is like a human body sculpture by Leonardo. If a photo could guarentee an All-Pro, we will be happy. I hope that Neal is more CM3 than Harrell.
    Burnett will get playing time this year. Good physical attributes and appears to be where the ball is.
    4th round Belichek picks a PUNTER from Michigan.

    1. Yes, I really know very little about Neal and have been unable to find any game tape of him so far. That’s not a good sign…

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