Let’s take a quick break from making ball jokes at the NFL’s expense and wallowing in our misery over the Green Bay Packers collapse from eight days ago to gaze into the future.
Specifically, let’s gaze into the Packers’ future, all the way to May (or April, or June, or Christmas…whenever the hell the NFL draft is this year) and the rookie draft. Then let’s pretend that mysteriously, every prospect across the board in this year’s draft is equally talented.
There’s no debating about drafting talent over need because all players are equally talented. If you need a pass-rushing defensive end, you can take that pass-rushing defensive end without fear of regretting not taking the more talented cornerback only because you already have plenty of cornerbacks.
So, with all talent being equal, what position should the Packers address in the first round? Here are three obvious options and one darkhorse option:
If the Packers can nab a middle linebacker in the first round that could match the output of Desmond Bishop in late 2010 and throughout 2011, this defense should take another step forward. The A.J. Hawk era in Green Bay appears to be coming to an end. The Clay Matthews experiment was a success, but a short-term fix. Brad Jones…oh Brad Jones…I don’t even know what to say. I’m thinking most Packers fans have middle linebacker at the top of their draft boards, as they should.
With Tramon Williams on the wrong side of 30 and a free agent, and with the talented but oft-injured Davon House also hitting free agency, the Packers will likely need some help on the outside of the secondary. An argument could be made that several top teams, the Packers included, have had success finding cornerbacks late in the draft, through undrafted free agency, or off other team’s practice squads. But cornerback is such an important position in today’s pass-happy game. I say it belongs near the top of the priority list.
Imagine what this offense would look like if Richard Rodgers develops into an above average tight end and a has a rookie tight end to help him out on routes down the seam?
Here’s the darkhorse candidate. The 2014 Packers offensive line was the best of the Aaron Rodgers/Mike McCarthy era. You might be thinking, “Just re-sign Bryan Bulaga and plug this same group in again next season.” If only it were that easy. Even if the Packers re-sign Bulaga, he’s an injury-prone player. He missed half of 2012, all of 2013 and left two games early in 2014, only to see his replacement give up huge sacks late in the game.
Plus it’s probably a longshot to expect David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Cory Linsley and T.J. Lang to play every snap again in 2015.
Drafting another quality offensive linemen gives the Packers the depth they need up front in case of emergency, and a long-term option for 2016 and beyond.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .