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:
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, 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 Drafttek.com.