They Coulda Been Packers, They Coulda Been Somebody All Green Bay Packers All the Time
On the Waterfornt - Marlon Brando
On the Waterfornt – Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront:” You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.

One thing about getting so heavily involved in research for the NFL draft is that you get emotionally attached to certain players. You call them “my guys” or “my sleepers” or “my late round steals.” As the draft unfolds, these players are always on your radar. As the Packers pick approaches,’ you’re eagerly hoping and praying they will still be available so the Packers can take “your guy” and justify your belief in how “perfect” he is for the Packers.

The reality of the situation is, these two separate worlds (NFL GM reality & Draftnik Fantasy) only occasionally intersect to deliver what you want. This year’s draft was worse than usual for this draftnik. The previous two years, the Packers drafted several of “my guys.” Derek Sherrod, Randall Cobb, Lawrence Guy, Nick Perry, Casey Hayward, BJ Coleman. In all, it was a pretty good haul. This year I got Datone Jones and Johnathan Franklin (but not where I expected him) and then no other player remotely on my radar.

But it’s not my loss, it’s theirs. They could have been Packers. They coulda had class. They coulda been contenders. They coulda been somebody, instead of bums, which is what they are, let’s face it.

If you’re not a Packer, you’re nobody…

So here’s my list of guys that could have been Packers, members of the greatest franchise in all of sports.

WR Stedman Bailey – Oh Stedman, it was sooooooo close. Ted Thompson traded back figuring it was a safe bet that the Falcons wouldn’t draft a wide receiver right in front of them. Well, he never counted on the Rams trading into that spot to pry Bailey from Ted Thompson’s grasp. Ted rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes. He crapped out and we all lost our shirts…

RB Montee Ball – yet another Ted trade down, but this time, the odds were heavily in Ted’s favor that he would get a solid running back with his second round pick. Montee ball, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin & Christime Michael were all still on the board when Thompson traded down six spots. The only team that could have been looking for a running back was Denver, and sure enough, they picked Ball. Had they not, would Ball now be a Packer? It’s very possible he might have been the first Univ. of Wisconsin player Ted Thompson has drafted. Now, he’s just a bum…

C Brian Schwenke – My favorite ZBS center in the draft that would have fortified the Packers offensive line for years to come, was a near miss in the fourth round, taken two spots before the Packers selection of David Bakhtiari.

C Khaled Holmes – Would have been an adequate consolation prize after missing out on Schwenke and Barrett Jones, but Indianapolis took him one spot before the Packers’ second fourth round pick, which became the potential center conversion project, JC Tretter.

LB AJ Klein – Klein was taken in the fifth round with pick #148 overall. The Packers had owned pick #146 at one time, but traded it to Miami. Hence, AJ Klein is not a Packer – I really wanted this one…

DE Nick Williams – Oh, Pittsburgh… Why did you have to do it? One spot before the Packers picked at #224 in the seventh round, the Steelers took this athletic small school sleeper with a load of potential for the 3-4DE spot. Perhaps the Packers would have taken WR Kevin Dorsey anyway, with Datone Jones and Josh Boyd already in the fold, but I think he would have been hard for Ted to pass up.

So there is my list of coulda-been Packers. They could been somebody. But now, they’re… bums:



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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


17 thoughts on “They Coulda Been Packers, They Coulda Been Somebody

  1. Nice salve for our individual dashed hopes, and an elegant way to rationalize those ‘losses’. You know you had it really bad when you track how 1 or 2 of ‘your guys’ do next season with some other team, even though they’re now ‘bums’.

  2. I think the Packers will be as happy with Lacy as they would have been with Ball, to be honest. Although drafting Franklin later casts serious doubts on their faith in Lacy. I think THAT move will plant a bigger chip on Lacy’s shoulder than lasting almost to the third round.

    Liked Klein and Williams, too. Some snort at Klein saying that he’s AJ Hawk all over again, but getting an AJ Hawk in the last couple rounds of the draft isn’t too shabby.

    1. I really like the Lacy and Franklin combo at RB. Both seem to be excellent at their position though they seem to play very different from each other. I think that Lacy can be something very special. Talking-heads are knocking his pro day results, bu8t compared to other top-tier RBs of years past his numbers are OK. Plus, it seems clear that he was/is coming back from a hamstring injury/toe, whatever it was it did not keep him from dominating the SEC or BCS championship games.

    2. I agree with Dobber that the Pack considered Lacy & Ball equally talented and made the trade down knowing one would be available. A physical pounder of a back was on the menu either way. I disagree that Franklin casts doubt on the Lacy pick. I think they coveted him from the get go and couldn’t resist the move up to obtain a back that appears to be a perfect fit for the offense. We now have the best of both worlds & maybe this will be the answer for the 2 deep safety defense that has hamstrung our deep ball game. I also noticed that the card for the Jones pick went to the podium quickly this year unlike the last 2 where they waited till the last minutes & apparently tried with no success to trade down or out of the 1st round. Jones is the guy they coveted in their slot & they wasted no time making the pick.

      1. How many RB make it through a 16-game schedule, anyway? If you’re a team that wants to run the ball, you’ve got to have two effective backs.

        Prior to this, the Packers went with stopgaps, which is why I (who prefers to watch more balanced offensive play) feel pretty good about how this draft signals a commitment to at least TRY to run.

        I don’t think Ball is the banger that Lacy is. He’s quick in close quarters and has good feet, but I suspect that he’ll be a back that gets what’s blocked for him on the pro level and that the YAC will be much harder to come by. I love him as a reciever, though.

  3. Schwenke, Klein and Bailey were three players I was hoping the Pack would get. I know your article is based on players you wanted, but I suspect the Pack were also a bit disappointed these players were gone when they were selecting. And some of them were so close…

    1. Certainly, the move to trade down immediately after a couple of these picks is telling, but if TT really wanted the player and didn’t go get him? Well, he shouldn’t (and won’t) ever admit to that.

    2. Actually, the article was based on guys I liked that were “near misses.” I had some other guys that the Packers never got a sniff of, so they weren’t included here…

  4. For me, this years draft favourites were:

    G (C) JONATHAN COOPER. Loved that guy, but he was never going to drop to the Packers.
    OLB/ILB ARTHUR BROWN. Very fine in coverage, great range, Not very tall. We got Lacy at that point, instead.
    H-Back KYLE JUSZCZYK – I saw him as the FB of the future. We got RB Franklin just before him and I loved that pick, so no complaints.
    eX QB now WR DENARD ROBINSON Very, very dangerous receiver who needed time to develop, time he could have been given in Green Bay. Had more gears than Campagnolo.
    ZAVIAR GOODEN. Safety turned OLB. I would have loved to see a 6’1″1/2, 233lb safety, so I would have liked him converted back. He was crazy athletic and could probably have managed a conversion almost anyone else would have failed at. 233lb safety…..WOOT.

    Well, time will tell how my faves turn out. In the past they sometimes have – and sometimes I conveniently forget them down the road, heh.

    1. Denard Robinson was one player that I absolutely did not want to see in a Packers uniform.

      Excellent athlete as a QB, but that’s it. He doesn’t have the slightest clue about playing WR. Who’s to say he has adequate hands to begin with? Let alone the ability to separate from CBs or keenness to find soft spot in zones.

      And as a QB, he simply isn’t good enough.

      So what’s left? A wildcat option, and that’s it…

      1. I can’t think of a more over-hyped player in a long time. He has drive and intangibles, but what else? Bum shoulder? Couldn’t hold on to the starting QB spot on his college team. Takes too many hits.

        I’d rather have Tim Tebow, to be honest…and I really don’t want him.

    2. “OLB/ILB ARTHUR BROWN. Very fine in coverage, great range, Not very tall. We got Lacy at that point, instead.”

      Does the name Sam Mills mean anything to anyone? Shorter than sin (some said he was really 5-8, but I don’t know), but a bulldog. Great intensity. Made things happen.

  5. Reading your article reinforces the notion I had during draft day.

    Maybe these tackles the Packers took were more a case of “we need more OL help, let’s get the best one available” than “these are the highest players on our board”.

    Hope I’m wrong and they end up turning into great players.

  6. My advise to TT would have been to Pick 4-122 RB Jonnthon Franklyn; 4-125 NT Jessie Williams; 5-159 WR Ryan Swope; 5-167 OC David Quessenberry; 6-193 S Baccari Rambo; 7-216 CB Jordan Poyer; 7-224 WR Charles Johnson/DE David Bass; 7-232 OC TJ Johnson. I really like the top half of the Green Bay draft.

  7. lol. This is awesome. Very cleverly written. I especially loved the “assumptions” that your guy was going to be the very next one Ted took in those spots if only those other teams hadn’t taken him.

  8. Good story and loved the On the waterfront bit. TT got a little too cute and lost out on Baily, who I thought would have been perfect for the packers at WR. he also had Schweke sitting there waiting to be picked with the Packers 3rd R pick, so GB either didn’t want the Cal center or had a 4th R grade on him.

    I think Lacy, Michael and Franklin fit the ZBS one cut and go system better than Ball. No great loss there when you see the Packers got Lacy (who I think was the prime target) AND Franklin. All in all the only real flub, IMO was not getting Baily, Patton or another WR.

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