Round One: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Bulaga’s stock was all over the board, but Ted Thompson stuck to his draft board and went with who he hopes will be the team’s future left tackle. They could have gone with the instant upgrade at outside linebacker or safety, but instead chose Bulaga. He has excellent size and can play three positions on the line. The Packers say he will have a chance to compete for the starting left tackle position this year.
Round Two: Michael Neal, DE, Purdue
The Packers selected left tackle Bryan Bulaga with the 23rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft Thursday night. The Packers addressed arguably their team’s biggest need by going with who they believe will be the left tackle of the future. They were presented with more options than they expected when they went on the clock, but decided to go with a pick for the future rather than an immediate upgrade.
Scout’s Inc. had Bulaga rated as the 22nd rated player while Mel Kiper and Todd McShay had him being drafted by the 49ers in each of their mocks (McShay at 17, Kiper at 13). He comes in at 6-foot-5 and weighing 315 pounds with 33.3-inch arms and 9.3-inch hands. He ran a 5.20-forty yard dash, did 26 reps on the bench, and had a 27.5-inch vertical leap.
Week One, Sept. 12, at Philadelphia
Many expected Aaron Rodgers to meet up with Donovan McNabb for the first time, but instead it will be Kevin Kolb who the Packers’ defense try to stop. McNabb was traded in the off-season for a pair of second round picks as the Eagles passed the torch off to Kolb, 25.
The Packers have won their last three openers, including a 16-13 victory over the Eagles in 2007 at Lambeau Field. This one should be tougher as the Eagles have won six games at home each of the last two seasons.
Other than McNabb, the Eagles enter the 2010 season without last year’s starters Lito Sheppard and Chris Gocong on defense. It will be interesting to see what happens with the draft, but as of right how it’s hard to argue that the Eagles have gotten better this off-season.
Week Three, Sept. 27, at Chicago
1. Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
It’s amazing how much sense Jackson makes for the Packers with this pick. At Alabama, Jackson was a lockdown cornerback who has experience in the 3-4 defense that Nick Saban ran. He has good size, can help out on special teams, and the Packers have shown a lot of interest in him. Ted Thompson was at the Crimson Tide’s pro day and everything checks out with this future starter in the NFL. The Packers will think long and hard about a left tackle but decide they want an immediate upgrade and do so at the cornerback position.
2. Vladmir Ducasse, LT, Massachusetts
When the Packers decided to bring back veteran left tackle Chad Clifton this offseason, it all but signaled that he would also be the team’s starter in 2010. While the Packers will need to address an eventual replacement for Clifton in the next few years, the Packers believe the 10-year veteran can still provide starting quality next season.
With that being said, finding a left tackle with more upside than immediate skill could easily be the way the Packers look in the first round of the NFL Draft. If they truly believe Clifton can compete at a high level, finding someone who can step in right away will not be as important. One player who fits that bill is Southern California’s Charles Brown.
With up to six left tackles that could potentially be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, it seems as though the Packers would be destined to look that way when they go on the clock at pick 23 Thursday night.
However, the Packers are in win-now mode and a left tackle such as Charles Brown or Anthony Davis isn’t going to make much of an impact in 2010, if at all. Instead, the Packers may very well look to fill an immediate need on the defensive side of the ball.
One of those positions is cornerback, where there are four potential first round picks waiting to be drafted. While it’s all but assured that Florida’s Joe Haden will be off the board when the Packers go on the clock, Kareem Jackson, Devin McCourty, and Kyle Wilson could all be there. Here’s a look at three potential picks who could be wearing green and gold on draft day.
Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State