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Packers Plan for the Future, select Bulaga in First Round

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.

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April 23, 2010 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Schedule Released: Packers Five Most Intriguing Games

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

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April 21, 2010 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | Leave a comment

Packers Seven Round Mock Draft

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

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April 21, 2010 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | Leave a comment

Charles Brown, OT, USC

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.

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April 21, 2010 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | Leave a comment

Three Cornerbacks the Packers Should Consider in Round One

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

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April 21, 2010 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | , , , | Leave a comment

2009 Green Bay Packers Draft: What I Like and Don’t Like

As the 2009 Green Bay Packers draft came to a close, I had to say I was more excited about this team than I had been since the 2008 NFC Championship Game.  Some needs were addressed while others were looked over as not as pressing, but in the end the Packers came out with one of the better drafts of any team we saw over the weekend.  However, it has always been my theory that there is no such thing as a good or a bad draft pick on the exact day of the draft.  In 2002, the Lions were applauded for their selections of Joey Harrington, running back Luke Staley, and offensive lineman Victor Rogers.  Who?  The point is that no one knows who is going to be good for which team, so there is no point in grading a team’s draft or saying what was a good pick.  Rather, I am going to break down the Packers draft in terms of what I liked and what I didn’t like about each one of their picks.  This is helpful because if someone liked the pick, they can relate to it but also see why some would not like the selection, and vice versa.  No grades.  No thumbs up or down.  Just the good and the bad of the 2009 Packers draft

9.  B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

What I Liked: Raji was the obvious pick in this situation as the Packers move to a 3-4 scheme next year.  We have seen all throughout the NFL what a good nose tackle can do for a defense that plays the 3-4 scheme, and Raji will not be an exception to this rule.  He will be able to come in right away and start at the nose tackle position and will succeed.  He eats up blockers and is a better pass rusher than most give him credit for.  He has a high motor and, as was mentioned before, was clearly the right pick in this situation.

B.J. Raji will start at nose tackle from Day 1 for the Packers.

B.J. Raji will start at nose tackle from Day 1 for the Packers.

What I Didn’t Like: Where is Ryan Pickett going to play?  Head Coach Mike McCarthy says that Pickett will move to the defensive end position, but I am not sure if I like how that is going to work out.  Pickett is your prototypical nose tackle and he is just a tad bit smaller than Raji is (by seven pounds).  That seven pounds is not enough to turn him into a 3-4 defensive end and I do not think he can succeed there.  If he is not a threat on the outside, it will not open up things for our rushing linebackers on the end.

#26. Clay Matthews, OLB, USC

What I Liked: Other than picking up another first round talent in Matthews, I loved that we addressed the need opposite of Aaron Kampman at the outside linebacker position.  Brady Poppinga was penciled in as the starter before the draft, and after the Packers passed on Brian Orakpo and Aaron Maybin, the position was still very much an issue.  In Matthews, they get a hard-nosed athlete that comes from a long line of successful football family members.  He will start right away and has to be considered an early candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

What I Didn’t Like: How much did we give up for this guy again?  Picks number 41, 73, and 83 for this slot and pick number 162.  According to the NFL Draft Pick Value Chart, the picks that we received totaled 727.6 and we gave up 890.  Those stats do not lie and this really shows how much Thompson wanted Matthews.  Also, Matthews started just one season at Southern Cal so he is a little bit of a one-hit wonder.  While we did not need as much depth in this year’s draft, we still could have received more in this trade.

#109. T.J. Lang, OL, Eastern Michigan

Why I Liked It: True to Ted Thompson, he goes with another versatile, small-school offensive lineman in the middle of the draft.  I had Lang as a third round pick and the value to get him here was very good.  He will probably play right tackle in the NFL as I do not think he is fast enough to play on the left side of the line.   With Mark Tauscher looking more and more like he will not come back, Lang should have a shot at obtaining the starting spot.

Why I Didn’t Like It: One of the stories of this year’s draft was offensive lineman falling and this was the case even in the fourth round.  I thought an even bigger steal was out there on the draft board in Notre Dame’s safety David Bruton, but Ted Thompson seemed content with the safety situation throughout the whole draft, so Lang was the pick.  Not to much to complain on picking him.

145. Quinn Johnson, FB, LSU

Why I Liked It: I didn’t know much about Johnson coming into the draft other than he was one of the top fullbacks in the class.  After the Packers selected him, I can see why the Packers drafted him to come in and compete for a starting gig.  Johnson absolutely destroys linebackers and, playing in the SEC, that is quite an accomplishment.  Johnson will not give you much more than a lead blocker, but one the goal line he will be vital and it was a good pick up.

Why I Didn’t Like It: Any time a team has two solid fullbacks on their team (Korey Hall, John Kuhn), you don’t expect them to go back to that position, but the Packers did.  While Johnson was a fine draft pick, he will have to fight to make the team and his one-dimensional style of play makes him questionable.  With guys like TE Cornelius Ingram and OT Xavier Fulton on the board, this pick will have to be re-evaluated later.

162. Jamon Meredith, OT, South Carolina

Why I Liked It: The value of this pick was unbelievable, as Meredith was a second round pick in most mocks, going as early as the first in others.  With the aging left tackle Chad Clifton looking at his best years in the rear view mirror, a replacement is necessary and Meredith gives a great body to work with, along with quick feet and a smart mind.  Competition on the offensive line is never a bad thing and Meredith brings the potential to start.

Why I Didn’t Liked It: Did Ted Thompson really see something that 31 other team missed on?  Meredith has all the physical tools to be great but a lot of character concerns are raised.  In particular, some sources were saying that Meredith was uncoachable even though he denies those reports.  While it seems like Meredith will have a chip on his shoulder next year, that chip better stay in line or else he will be gone just as fast as he was snatched up in the fifth round.

182. Jarius Wynn, DE, Georgia

Why I Liked It: At first, I was mad at the selection of Wynn because I had never heard of him and he just seemed like an undersized defensive end.  Then I realized that these are the picks that Ted Thompson usually turns into gems and I eased up a bit.  Wynn had two sacks in the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State and really came on strong at the end of the year.  He will have to bulk up a little bit in order to play defensive end in the 3-4, but could be a late round steal.

Why I Didn’t Like It: There was SO much value on the board at this point in the draft, and some of the bigger names were still out there that I would have liked to see over Wynn.  Cedric Peerman, the running back out of Virginia, was a steal at this point and we passed on him for whatever reason.  Wynn is a wait-and-see prospect but the Packers staff must have liked something.

Brandon Underwood will make an instant impact on the special teams unit.

Brandon Underwood will make an instant impact on the special teams unit.

187. Brandon Underwood, CB, Cincinnati

Why I Liked It: Any time Mel Kiper likes a pick, I have to like it a little bit.  Underwood was one of three Bearcat cornerbacks to come out to the draft this year and Kiper claimed that Underwood was the most underrated.  He has the ability to play both the cornerback and safety position and is a stud on special teams from everything I hear.

Why I Didn’t Like It: Coye Francies from San Jose State was still available when Underwood was taken but Thompson must have valued his versatility very highly.  It’s hard to find problems with a sixth round pick, especially one with a lot of upside but I probably would have liked to see Francies at this point in the draft.

218. Brad Jones, LB, Colorado

Why I Liked It: Jones as the second player that I had no idea on in Thompson’s draft, but he tested out very well at the combine and at his pro day so he has a lot of upside to him.  Also, Dom Capers knows what he is doing in putting the 3-4 scheme together so that gives me hope that he will have a shot to make the team at best.  More than likely, he will be moved to the practice squad or cut by the time the pre-season rolls around.

Why I Didn’t Like It: One of my favorite players of the draft was still available at this point, and that was Rashad Jennings from Liberty.  Thompson signed a running back after the draft in Tyrell Sutton, so he was obviously thinking about the position.  Jennings brings a ton of upside and I think he will be a starter in the NFL one day.  Jones led his team in sacks and hurries last year, but I doubt he can make the transition to the NFL.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | , | Leave a comment

Mark Strotman’s Packers Draft Contest Picks

The first player selected by the Packers in the 2009 NFL draft will be: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

Reasons and explanation: Really trying to shake things up, as I think Ted Thompson is going to surprise us all on draft day.  Moreno is the most complete back in the draft and Thompson believes he is destined for greatness.  At pick number 12 or 13 (where I believe we will be trading to), Moreno is the BPA and all the studs are really gone and the talent level is the same from here to pick 25 or so.  Moreno looks like a silly pick now but our running back situation is eerily similar to that of the Vikings situation when they drafted Peterson.  If Thompson really believes Moreno can be that good, why wouldn’t he draft him?  Wells, Raji, and Orakpo have been mentioned with the Packers this whole draft, but one of the best athletes who has flown under the radar has been Moreno, and I really think he could be the pick.

The second player selected by the Packers in the 2009 NFL draft will be: Jarron Gilbert, DE, San Jose State

Reasons and explanation: The talent of rush outside linebackers, while more important than DE’s, is much deeper later in this draft so Thompson goes biggest need.  Go back and look at most of Thompson’s drafts.  The first pick is best player available while the second pick is biggest need.  Gilbert can come into the rotation right away and provide depth for a team that is going to need it in the 3-4.

Tie-breaker questions:

Will the Packers make a draft-day trade involving their first round No. 9 pick? (answer “yes” or “no”)Yes, happens all the time and someone is going to want to overpay with draft picks to get the spot and Ted will be more than willing to do so.  Denver or Washington will trade up to get Sanchez, Raji (Denver), or an offensive lineman that slips (Washington).

Will the Packers third selection in the draft be an offensive player or a defensive player? (answer “offense” or “defense”) Offense, guard

Will the Packers use any of their draft choices (day one or two) to take a punter? (answer “yes” or “no”) No, can’t see Ted wasting one of his oh-so-valued picks on a punter.  I like what we have on the roster right now.

Additional comments or predictions:

It happens every year, and this year will be no different: we will all be mad at Ted Thompson for his picks today.  I almost wrote a full article on this, but I guess I can just put it here.  The general public sees Youtube videos, mock drafts from experts, and looks up the occasional combine stats on players.  General managers, Ted Thompson included (as hard as it is to believe), has been watching countless hours of game tape on players, not just highlight reels.  The Packers have interviewed the player they are going to pick and know what kind of guy he is.  They have most likely had him in for a private workout.  So when you say you “don’t like a guy” or “this guy is a reach”, I’d ask you to take a look back and think about whether all the “scouting” people do gives them the right to say that.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the most important drafts for the Packers in a long time.

April 25, 2009 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | | Leave a comment

Green Bay’s Wolf vs. Thompson in Drafts

STOP!  Before you continue reading this article, please realize that in no way, shape, or form do I believe that Ted Thompson was or is a better general manager than the amazing Ron Wolf.

Wolf is second to none and one of the best to ever have the title of general manager, regardless of sport or team. Bringing in Reggie White and trading for Brett Favre are arguably the two biggest moves in Packers franchise history, and both were because of Wolf’s actions and the reason the Vince Lombardi Trophy came back home to Titletown, USA in 1997.

However, two things prompted me to write the following article and do the following research I hope you will take a look at.

The first was that I really wanted to see how good of a drafter Ron Wolf was. Everyone knows how great he was finding talent and making wise financial moves, but how good?

The other question I wanted to answer was in regards to Wolf, how good has Ted Thompson really been on hitting in the draft? We all know he loves to build through the draft, but has he done it as well as Wolf did?

Please realize, all I am looking at are the players that each general manager drafted on draft day. Free agency does not count, re-signing does not count, and neither do trades.

A “good” pick is someone that played consistently with their expectations as well as the round they were drafted in. A great player is someone who exceeded those expectations.

Also remember that all stats and decisions are based solely on what each player did with the Packers. Future stats were not taken into consideration for these picks.

RON WOLF’S DRAFTS

1992 Draft
3. Robert Brooks, WR: Seven seasons with Green Bay, five starting, 306 receptions, 32 touchdowns
4. Edgar Bennett, RB: Five seasons with Green Bay, four starting, 3353 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns
6. Mark Chmura, TE: Seven years with Green Bay, five starting, 188 receptions, 17 touchdowns (great)

13 picks (2 good picks, 1 great pick)

1993 Draft
1. Wayne Simmons, LB: Five years with Green Bay, three starting, 175 tackles
1. George Teague, CB: Three years, all starting, six interceptions, three fumble recoveries
3. Earl Dotson, OL: 10 seasons with Green Bay, six starting (great)
6. Doug Evans: Five seasons with Green Bay, four starting, 12 interceptions (great)

9 picks (2 good picks, 2 great picks)

1994 Draft
1. Aaron Taylor, OL: Three years with Green Bay, all starting
5. Dorsey Levens, RB: Eight seasons with Green Bay, three starting, 3937 yards, 28 touchdowns (great)
6. Bill Schroeder: Five seasons with Green Bay, three starting, 225 receptions, 20 touchdowns (great)

9 picks (1 good pick, 2 great picks)

1995 Draft
1. Craig Newsome, CB: Four seasons with Green Bay, three starting, 4 interceptions
3. William Henderson, FB: 12 seasons with Green Bay, 320 receptions, 14 touchdowns (great)

3. Brian Williams, LB: Six seasons with Green Bay, four starting, 252 tackles

3. Antonio Freeman, WR: Eight seasons with Green Bay, six starting, 431 receptions, 57 touchdowns (great)

5. Travis Jervey: Four seasons with Green Bay, special teams contributor
7. Adam Timmerman, OL: Four seasons with Green Bay, three starting (great)

10 picks (3 good picks, 3 great picks)

1996 Draft
3. Mike Flanagan, OL: Eight seasons with Green Bay, four starting
3. Tyrone Williams, CB: Seven seasons with Green Bay, six starting, 19 interceptions
6. Marco Rivera, OL: Eight seasons with Green Bay, seven starting

8 Picks (1 good pick, 2 great picks)

1997 Draft
1. Ross Verba, OL: Four years with Green Bay, all starting
2. Darren Sharper, FS: Eight years with Green Bay, seven starting, 36 interceptions (great)

8 picks (1 good pick, 1 great pick)

1998 Draft
1. Vonnie Holliday, DE: Five years with Green Bay, all starting, 32 sacks
2. Mike Wahle, OL: Seven years with Green Bay, five starting
5. Corey Bradford, WR: Four years with Green Bay, 71 receptions

8 picks (3 good picks)

1999 Draft
1. Antuan Edwards, CB: Five years with Green Bay, seven interceptions
3. Mike McKenzie, CB: Seven years with Green Bay, five starting, 15 interceptions
3. Cletidus Hunt, DT: Six years with Green Bay, four starting, 17 sacks, 119 tackles
4. Josh Bidwell, P: Four years with Green Bay, all starting
7. Donald Driver, WR: Ten years with Green Bay, seven years, 577 catches, 43 touchdowns (great)

12 picks (4 good picks, 1 great pick)

2000 Draft
1. Bubba Franks, TE: Eight years with Green Bay, seven starting, 256 receptions, 32 touchdowns
2. Chad Clifton, OL: Nine seasons with Green bay, all starting (great)
4. Na’il Diggs, LB: Six years with Green Bay, all starting, 311 tackles
5. Kabeer Gbaja Biamila, DE: Nine seasons with Green Bay, five starting, 74.5 sacks (great)
7. Mark Tauscher, OL: Nine seasons, all starting (great)

13 picks (2 good picks, 3 great picks)

TED THOMPSON’S DRAFTS

2005 Draft
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB: Four years with Green Bay, one starting, 28 TD passes (great)
2. Nick Collins, FS: Four years with Green Bay, all starting, 11 interceptions, 4 touchdowns
4. Brady Poppinga, LB: Four years with Green Bay, three starting, 158 tackles

11 picks (2 good picks, 1 great pick)

2006 Draft
1. AJ Hawk, LB: Three years with Green Bay, all starting, 229 tackles
2. Daryn Colledge, OL: Three years with Green Bay, all starting (great)
2. Greg Jennings, WR: Three years, all starting, 24 receiving touchdowns (great)
3. Jason Spitz, OL: Three years with Green Bay, all starting
4. Will Blackmon, PR/KR: Three years with Green Bay, three punt return touchdowns
6. Johnny Jolly, DT: Three years with Green Bay, one starting, 54 tackles, seven passes defended

11 picks (4 good picks, 2 great picks)

2007 Draft
1. Justin Harrell, DT: Two years with Green Bay, 27 tackles (projected good)
2. Brandon Jackson, RB: Two years with Green Bay, 515 rushing yards, 46 receptions (projected good)
3. James Jones, WR: Two years with Green Bay, 67 receptions
6. Korey Hall, FB: Two years with Green Bay, 15 receptions
6. Desmond Bishop, LB: Special teams contributor, 35 tackles
6. Mason Crosby, K: Two years with Green Bay, 79.5 FG percentage (great)

11 picks (5 good picks, 1 great pick)

2008 Draft
2. Jordy Nelson, WR: On year with Green Bay, 33 receptions
4. Jeremy Thompson, DE: One year with Green Bay, only player Thompson traded up for (projected great)
4. Josh Sitton, OL: One year with Green Bay, two starts (projected good)

9 picks (2 good picks, 1 great pick)

WHAT IT ALL MEANS

What we see here is that Thompson’s percentage of making at least a “good” draft pick is 42.8 percent (18/42). I understand that currently Thompson’s percentage stands at 33.3 percent (14/42) because I do not believe the four projected players have reached their full potential, but when everything pans out they will be looked at as at least good players.

Wolf’s drafting was a little less stellar on Draft Day when compared to Thompson. With 90 total draft picks under his name, Wolf drafted 34 “good” or “great” players giving him a draft percentage of 37.8 percent.

Before you go crazy, there are a few things to take into consideration when looking at the two general managers. The first is clearly that the majority, if not all, of Thompson’s draft picks have developed into what they can be.

Also, this works the other way in that players like James Jones who are considered good right now, may not end that way when it is all said and done.

Thompson has drafted in only four years for the Packers while Wolf was involved in nine, and over time picks will average out and one’s percentage will go down. This has not occurred with Thompson yet but it says a lot that Thompson still has such a high rate of taking good players with his draft picks.

A quick note is that Wolf’s first four years with Green Bay saw his “good player or better” percentage add up to 39 percent (16/41), very similar to Thompson’s first four years.

The next factor to take into consideration is the team’s performance while each GM was in office. The Packers were never better than when Ron Wolf was in office, and because of it their team was very deep and did not need as many needs as teams that Thompson inherited.

Ron Wolf’s average starting position while picking in Round 1 was 20.3, while Thompson’s was quite a bit lower at 18.7. Don’t forget that this was the case for every round so on average, Thompson has had almost two more players to choose from each round than Wolf. It does not sound like much, but it really is.

The third factor is the one and only, Brett Favre. Because of Favre’s durability ever since he stepped onto the Frozen Tundra in 1992 means that any quarterback that Wolf drafted was not going to make any impact and strictly be a backup for the Packers, meaning it would be hard to consider them “good” while on the Packers.

Wolf drafted Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselback, and Aaron Brooks and, had Favre not been around, all four of those would have turned out to be “good” picks.

Thompson did have to deal with Favre for the last three years, but not nearly in the same sense.

One thing I will give Wolf when looking at these stats is the difference in “great” players. As I said, a great player is someone that greatly outperforms expectations based on many factors, including when they were drafted and what that position spot on the team looked like.

Wolf’s rate for finding great players in the draft was 16.6 percent (15/90), while Thompson’s stands at 11.9 percent (5/42).

Once again, Thompson’s picks are projected by me but I think most would agree on my predictions of Justin Harrell (once he gets healthy, he has the most talent of any defensive lineman), Brandon Jackson (has progressed every year), Josh Sitton (give him time and he will be a solid starter), and Jeremy Thompson (perfect body for a 3-4 defensive end) for the future.

When and where Wolf and Thompson have found their draft gems is an interesting stat as well. On average, Ron Wolf’s “good” or “great” players were taken in Round 3.47, or somewhere in between the third and fourth round. Thompson’s average round was 3.27 and just a little earlier than Wolf’s average.

Wolf was extremely consistent in his drafting, but round three was his most successful round by number, as nine of his quality players came from that round. From an average standpoint, his first round picks were his best as he went eight for ten.

For Thompson, five of his gems have come in the second round which stays pretty consistent with both the GM’s averages. From a percentage standpoint, Thompson has hit on four of six sixth round draft picks, making that his best round by average. Surprisingly, no players drafted in rounds five or seven have panned out for Thompson as “good” players or better.

Ron Wolf was an unbelievable general manager. He had an outstanding relationship with everyone in the Packers organization and is still loved by many.

Ted Thompson has his detractors, but when you look at it, he has not done all that poorly in the draft and I have faith in him that he will continue to build the Green Bay Packers through the draft.

April 21, 2009 Posted by | Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | , | Leave a comment

In a Sports World Full of Egos, Aaron Curry Gets It

In this year’s NFL Draft, we have heard the stories of Percy Harvin’s positive drug test, Brian Cushing’s alleged steroid use, Andre Smith’s questionable work habits, and countless other negative headlines.

Wake Forest’s Aaron Curry has sifted through it all and become my personal favorite player in this year’s draft, and I will cheer for him every Sunday as long as he is putting on a uniform.

Sure, the 6’2”, 254 pound body of solid linebacker muscle that can run 40 yards in 4.52 seconds helps my man-crush for Curry. His ability to play from anywhere at the linebacker position, regardless of scheme, is amazing, and his versatility makes him highly coveted and an almost-certain top five pick come Saturday.

He did nothing but produce like crazy for the Demon Deacons and has scouts raving about his potential. Think about it: Have you heard any negatives on Curry?

But that is hardly the reason why Curry has quickly become my favorite player in this year’s draft. In fact, it has nothing to do with what he has done on the field.

Today, I was sent an article on Aaron Curry and the special opportunity that he is giving a child who suffered from cancer. 12-year-old Bryce is currently a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and he is in remission after defeating his eight-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

On April 13, Curry visited Bryce in the hospital and was given a special tour of the hospital where Bryce stayed. Bryce showed him around many parts of the hospital, including where he was given chemotherapy, and also introduced him to many of the nurses and doctors that had helped Bryce during his battle.

Curry described the tour as powerful and a movie experience.

Wait just a second. A 12-year-old giving you a tour of a hospital was moving, says the future NFL linebacker?

That’s right everyone, Aaron Curry gets what this is all about. He knows exactly who he has and understands the impact he has on the people around him.

After the tour was over, Curry asked Byrce if he would join him at his table at the NFL Draft, something Bryce was clearly not expecting. While the table in Radio City Music Hall is usually designated for family members, Curry explained that family goes a whole lot deeper than blood.

Whatever team chooses Aaron Curry Saturday is getting an exceptional football player and even better person.

Whatever team chooses Aaron Curry Saturday is getting an exceptional football player and even better person.

When asked why Curry had been so gracious towards Bryce, he talked about how important family has been to him throughout his life and success and how, when he was given his tour from Bryce, the doctors and nurses all seemed like family to Bryce.

I can personally relate to exactly what Curry is talking about. My brother, currently 14 years young, is a two-time cancer survivor and is getting ready to start high school.

He was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was four and given a 30 percent chance of survival, and last summer was diagnosed with leukemia and given a 25 percent chance of living.

Luke defied the odds, had the doctors calling his situation a “miracle”, and has inspired thousands of people all over the country that know of Luke’s situation, from cousins in California, to family friends in Iowa, and to uncles in Florida.

I can tell you from my own personal experience that Luke’s success in the hospital would not have been possible without two things—family and sports.

Just as Curry explained, the most important thing in the hospital is an upbeat spirit and a solid foundation of family backing the patient and always being there for them.

Luke was NEVER by himself, and every time I think about what my own mother and father went through, I get the chills thinking about how strong of people they are.

Luke knew multiple doctors and nurses by name and vice versa, and everyone who met Luke was touched and inspired.

Doctors became brothers when myself and my two other brothers could not be there, and nurses became sisters that seemingly could always put a smile on Luke’s face. We are still close with a good amount of the medical staff at the hospital.

The second, sports, was just about equally important. Being a Milwaukee sports fan, the rivalries that ensue between myself and my Cubs fan brother are conversations I would not change for the world.

Over the summer, when Luke was battling his second cancer stint, the Cubs and Brewers were deadlocked in a race for the National League Central Division crown, and every time I would visit Luke in the hospital, he would be sporting his customized “Lukudome” jersey (a spin on Fukudome) and watching the Cubs game, going nuts every time his hero Alfonso Soriano would do something to help out his beloved Cubbies.

His little jabs of asking how the Packers did last year would irritate me if it were anyone else, but the fact that I am able to have these conversations with my brother is something I will never take for granted, because I know how lucky I am to have him still here with me.

Now that my official tangent is over, I will get back to Curry and what he is doing with 12-year-old Bryce, who is also a huge football fan.

Bryce has never been to New York, and seemed in absolute shock when Curry asked him to sit at his table on Saturday. Curry understands what it means to be a superstar and to give back to the community.

His stardom and future successes will most likely be used on defense and shutting down running backs, but the way he sees it is that his ability to give back “is more gratifying than any touchdown or sack,” Curry said. “Being here helps me realize the role I play in the community—how I can impact the community.”

Yeah, sounds like this guy was questionable on his drug test. I think not.

While Bryce will not get to sit at Curry’s table for very long once the draft starts, the experience that Curry is sharing with his new-found tour guide and buddy is unbelievable, and it hits home in such a good way that this Packers fan would cheer for him even if he went to the Vikings.

I am not going to sit here and say we need more of these players and that the game is being tarnished because of guys like Terrell Owens and Tank Johnson.

The list goes on and on, which is exactly why I will not preach that. The point is that you can not get more of the players like Aaron Curry, on or off the field.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | NFL, NFL Draft | | Leave a comment

2009 Final Seven Round Mock Draft

ROUND ONE
1. Detroit: QB, Matthew Stafford, Georgia
The Lions need a new face to the franchise and Stafford brings all the tools to start the rebuilding process.
2. St. Louis: LT, Jason Smith, Baylor
Smith is the best tackle in the draft and with the loss of Pace, St. Louis is looking for an upgrade on the O-Line.
3. Kansas City: LB, Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
Bill Pioli comes in and gets the new face to his defense, something that has been lacking in KC for quite a while.
4. Seattle: WR, Michael Crabtree,Texas Tech
Despite the addition of T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Seattle’s WR corps is still weak and Crabtree is the best player in the draft.
5. Cleveland: OLB, Brian Orakpo, Texas
Cleveland was worst in the league at getting to the quarterback last year and Orakpo is the best pass rusher in the draft.
6. Cincinnati: LT, Andre Smith, Alabama
Despite the off the field incidents, Smith is an outstanding left tackle and, if he can watch his weight, could be a star.
7. Oakland: LT, Eugene Monroe, Virginia
Once thought of as a top two pick, Monroe has slid off boards just a bit, but the Raiders are desperate for a LT.
8. Jacksonville: DT, B.J. Raji, Boston College
I have not seen too many mocks with Raji going to the Jags, but with their aging DT’s it is not out of the question.
9. Green Bay: OLB, Aaron Maybin
Penn State Maybin is shooting up draft boards after his excellent Pro Day and will be able to come in right away and help the 3-4.
10. San Francisco: OLB, Everette Brown, Florida State
This may be a bit of a reach but San Fran needs a pass rusher as Manny Lawson is looking more and more like a bust.
11. Buffalo: DE, Robert Ayers, Tennessee
The addition of T.O. allows Buffalo to focus on the defensive line, and Aaron Schobel turns 32 this year. No-brainer on Ayers.
12. Denver: DE, Tyson Jackson, LSU
The best 3-4 defensive end in the draft goes to the team that probably needs him the most as Denver looks to stop the run.
13. Washington: QB, Mark Sanchez, Southern Cal
Washington is not sold on Campbell as seen by the Cutler rumors, and Sanchez is way too good of value to pass on here.
14. New Orleans: CB, Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
I believe Jenkins will be able to make the transition to free safety and will start there for the Saints.
15. Houston: LB, Brian Cushing, Southern Cal
Houston will go with their biggest need in Round 1 and that is far and away outside linebacker. Cushing starts from Day 1.
16. San Diego: RB, Chris Wells, Ohio State
LT will be on the wrong side of 30 when the year starts, and Wells and Sproles will be an amazing combination in the future.
17. New York Jets: WR, Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
New York desperately needs an upgrade at wideout after the departure of Coles, and Maclin is a home run threat.
18. Denver: LB, Rey Maualuga, Southern Cal
Opting to stay with defense, the Broncos get my favorite defensive player and a leader on defense.
19. Tampa Bay: CB, Vontae Davis, Illinois
Ronde Barber will be 34 next year, and other than Aquib Talib, there are no starting corners on this roster.
20. Detroit: LT, Michael Oher, Ole Miss
Oher has slipped on many people’s boards and is a very quiet prospect, but the Lions grab him to protect Stafford.
21. Philadelphia: RB, Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
Brian Westbrook is getting up there in age and without a replacement on the roster, they get a steal in Moreno.
22. Minnesota: CB, Darius Butler, Connecticut
Minnesota has wide receiver needs as well but they opt to go with the defensive help in a division with now Matt Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Jay Cutler.
23. New England: LB, Larry English, Northern Illinois
Outside linebacker is the biggest concern for New England and English is as versatile as anyone in the draft.
24. Atlanta: LB, Connor Barwin, Cincinnati
Barwin can play either the DE or LB position and will add depth to an aging defense and could start at outside linebacker.
25. Miami: WR, Darius Heyward-Bey,Maryland
Might not seem like this pick makes sense, but after Ginn and maybe Camarillo, the Dolphins have no receivers.
26. Baltimore: WR, Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
He has his weight back down and should become a favorite target of Joe Flacco for years to come.
27. Indianapolis: Peria Jerry, Ole Miss
Easily the Colts’ biggest need and the best defensive tackle left on the board, Perry is sure to start right away in Indy.
28. Buffalo: TE, Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
Pettigrew is the best all around tight end in the draft and adds another weapon on this now dangerous Bills offense.
29. New York Giants: LB, James Lauranitis, Ohio State
Antonio Pierce struggled last year and they do not have a replacement for him. Lauranitis might even battle for the starting nod.
30. Tennessee: WR, Kenny Britt, Rutgers
It seems as though every year the Titans should take wide reciever and they don’t. Britt is a huge target with great hands.
31. Arizona: RB, Donald Brown, Connecticut
Arizona’s running game is struggling and Edge’s days are numbered. Brown and Tim Hightower should form a great duo.
32. Pittsburgh: LT, Ebon Britton, Arizona
Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl last year with an aging offensive line. Something needs to give and Britton is the answer.
ROUND TWO
33. Detroit: FS, William Moore, Missouri
The Lions adressed the cornerback position in the offseason and they continue the overhaul by grabbing the best safety.
34. New England: RT, Phil Loadholdt, Oklahoma
Loadholdt will play right tackle in the NFL and that is exactly what the Patriots are tyring to improve in the draft.
35. St. Louis: WR, Percy Harvin, Florida
Harvin will drop in the draft because of his off the field concerns, but St. Louis is desparate and grabs a great athlete.
36. Cleveland: WR, Brian Robiskie, Ohio State
The Browns will most likely be down Stallworth and Edwards next year and will need a go-to guy.
37. Seattle: LT, William Beatty, Connecticut
The Seahawks need to get much youger on the O-Line and will get Walter Jones’s replacement in Beatty.
38. Cincinnati: C, Alex Mack, California
The overhaul on the offensive line continues with the versatile Mack who should start at center from Day 1.
39. Jacksonville: CB, D.J. Moore, Vanderbilt
Experiments at cornerback have failed for the Jaguars and they desperately need to upgrade the position.
40. Oakland: FS, Louis Delmas
Western Michigan Other than Michael Huff, the Raiders have no safety worth starting. Delmas had a poor combine but is a great talent.
41. Green Bay: DE, Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State
Gilbert will play defensive end in the 3-4 where the Packers are looking for depth to go with Cullen Jenkins and Johnny Jolly.
42. Buffalo: LB, Clay Matthews, Southern Cal
Matthews plays Will LB and that is the position that Buffalo is looking to address in the draft to improve their defense.
43. San Francisco: QB, Josh Freeman, Kansas State
While San Fran might not be looking to acquire Freeman, he is too good of value to pass on here.
44. Miami: CB, Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
With the departure of Andre Goodman, cornerback is a need and Smith is the best one left in the draft.
45. New York Giants: TE, Jared Cook, South Carolina
Cook has been shooting up draft boards lately and the Giants could use some playmakers with Burress gone.
46. Houston: DT, Ziggy Hood, Missouri
Amobi Okoye took a step back but should be just fine for the future, but aside from him they need some serious help.
47. New England: TE, Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss
Nelson is extremely athletic and is great in the passing game and will give Tom Brady another weapon on offense.
48. Denver: C, Eric Wood, Louisville
After addressing defense with the first two picks, Tom Nalen’s replacement is picked and is great value at this point.
49. Chicago: WR, Mohamed Massaquoi, Georgia
Jay Cutler is going to need some more weapons on offense and Massaquoi is the best receiver left on the board.
50. Cleveland: RB, LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh
Cleveland’s running game is very sub-par and Jamal Lewis’ tank is running on empty, so the Browns go and get McCoy.
51. Dallas: FS, Patrick Chung, Oregon
With the departure of Roy Williams, a safety must be added to the backfield and Chung is the best one on the board.
52. New York Jets: DE, Michael Johnson, Goergia Tech
Johnson is one the best athletes in the draft but is very inconsistent, but will be able to play multiple positions in the 3-4.
53. Philadelphia: DE, Lawrence Sidbury, Richmond
A small school DE, Sidbury is very athletic and put up great numbers and will add depth to the defensive line.
54. Minnesota: C, Max Unger, Oregon
With Matt Birk leaving, a hole is left at the center position and Unger is able to play center and both guard positions.
55. Atlanta: NT, Ron Brace, Boston College
Brace has a lot of potential but has yet to put it all together, and Atlanta needs an upgrade at the true nose tackle.
56. Miami: LB, Clint Sintim, Virginia
Sintim is one of the few players in the draft with experience at the 3-4 position and is an outstanding pass rusher.
57. Baltimore: DE, Roy Miller, Texas
A DT in college, Miller will move to the defensive end position and add another rotation player to Baltimore’s D-line.
58. New England: CB, Sean Smith, Utah
New England uses their last of three second round picks on depth at cornerback, hoping Smith can become a number one.
59. Carolina: DT, Sen’derrick Marks, Auburn
Marks is a very underrated tackle that provides a solid player and addresses a big need for the Panthers.
60. New York Giants: WR, Juaquin Igleasias, Oklahoma
With the departure of Burress, the position needs to be addressed and Iglesias is the best available on the board.
61. Indianapolis: LB, Kaluka Maiava, Southern Cal
Maiava is a very fast, athletic linebacker that will fit perfect into the Colts’ defensive scheme.
62. Tennessee: CB, Jarius Byrd, Oregon
Nick Harper will be 35 next year and they really need some help opposite of Cortland Finnegan.
63. Arizona:DE, Paul Kruger, Utah
The Cardinals need to address the position and Kruger gives them a good body in the 3-4 scheme.
64. Pittsburgh: CB, Sherrod Martin, Troy
With the loss of Bryant McFadden, depth at the position is needed and Martin is an excellent cornerback with good speed.

ROUND THREE

65. Detroit: LB, Cody Brown, Connecticut
As it seems to be with the Lions, every pick is a good pick and Brown is good value here in the 3rd round.
66. St. Louis: LB, Darry Beckwith, LSU
St. Louis shores up their middle linebacker position with Beckwith who played in many big games as Tiger.
67. Kansas City, OG, Duke Robinson, Oklahoma
Adrian Jones needs to be replaced at the right guard position and Robinson is a huge body with good speed.
68. Seattle: CB, Donald Washington, Ohio State
Depth is a concern at the DB position for the Seahawks and Washington gives them a good dime back.
69. Dallas: WR, Derrick Williams, Penn State
The loss of Terrell Owens and Miles Austin is a concern, so the Cowboys take the next best available wideout.
70. Cincinnati: WR, Pat White, West Virginia
The loss of T.J. Houshmanzadeh is also a concern for the Bengals and Pat White is a playmaker that can be used many ways.
71. Oakland: OL, Andy Levitre, Oregon State
Offensive line depth is a problem for the Raiders and they finally address it here, picking up the versatile Levitre.
72. Jacksonville: LT, Jamon Meridith, South Carolina
Losing out on the “Big 3” tackles, the Jaguars go and find their replacement for Khalif Barnes in Meredith.
73. Green Bay: TE, Cornelius Ingram, Florida
Donald Lee is not overly productive and the verdict is still out on Jermichael Finley and his maturity at the NFL level.
74. San Francisco: WR, Ramses Barden, Cal Poly
Josh Morgan is up and coming, but Issac Bruce is on his way out and free agent Brandon Jones hasn’t been great anywhere.
75. Buffalo: S, Rashad Johnson, Alabama
Aside from Dante Whitner, there are not many safeties on the Bills’ roster worthy of getting the starting nod.
76. New York Jets: RB, Andre Brown, NC State
Thomas Jones is bound to slow down one day and Leon Washington is more of a feature back than anything.
77. Houston: S, Darcel McBath, Texas Tech
Both starters are back from last year’s team but are hardly all-pros. An upgrade is needed.
78. San Diego: OL, T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan
Lang will have the oppourtunity to start at either position on the right side of the line and has a good shot at starting.
79. Denver: CB, Bradley Fletcher, Iowa
Champ Bailey and Dre Bly are both up there in years and it’s time to start looking ahead to keep the defense solid.
80. Washington: DE, Kyle Moore, Southern Cal
Trying to fill the void of Jason Taylor, Moore will add good depth to the defensive line that needs playmakers.
81. Tampa Bay: DT, Fili Moala, Southern Cal
The Bucs are always getting better on defense and Moala is no exception as he should come in and start.
82. Detroit: TE, Chase Coffman, Missouri
Stafford gains another weapon in Coffman, who produced great numbers and is a great all-around tight end.
83. Green Bay: LT, Xavier Fulton, Illinois
With Mark Tausche most likely not coming back and Chad Clifton aging, Fulton has a chance to start in a few years.
84. Denver: DT, Terrance Taylor, Michigan
Taylor has the ability to play nose tackle as the Broncos’ overhaul of the defense continues in the draft.
85. Philadelphia: WR, Louis Murphy, Florida
DeSean Jackson has turned out to be a nice player but there is little depth at wide receiver on the roster.
86. Minnesota: WR, Deon Butler, Penn State
After failing to pick up Housh in free agency, WR is still a need for the Vikings and can get help with the speedster Butler.
87. Miami: OG, Kraig Ubrik, Wisconsin
Ubrik is a good value pick and the Dolphins could use more depth on their offensive line.
88. Baltimore: TE, Anthony Hill, NC State
Todd Heap is well past his prime and a replacement is neccesary as Joe Flacco gets another weapon.
89. New England: RB, Shonn Greene, Iowa
New England has had many average running backs over the last two years, but Greene could be a star in this system.
90. Atlanta: TE, James Casey, Rice
Casey is one of my favorite players in the draft as he can line up annywhere on the field and be a factor.
91. New York Giants: OG, Tyronne Green, Auburn
The Giants have a solid O-line but depth is still an issue and Green provides a big body that could compete one day.
92. Indianapolis: WR, Quinten Lawrence, McNeese State
The loss of Marvin Harrison has left a gap at the wide revceiver spot, and Lawrence will be able to compete for a #3 spot.
93. Carolina: CB, Keenan Lewis, Oregon State
The Panthers have solid starters but depth remains an issue, especially with the loss of Ken Lucas.
94. Tennessee: DT, Sammie Lee Hill, Stillman
The void left by Albert Haynesworth must be filled somehow, and the little-known Hill can make an impact.
95. Arizona: TE, Travis Beckum, Wisconsin
I am not sold on any of the current tight ends on Arizona’s roster right now, and Beckum has all the tools.
96. Pittsburgh: S, Chip Vaughn, Wake Forest
With the loss of Anthony Smith, the Steelers get back some depth by obtaining the bruiser Vaughn.
97. New England: DE, Alex Magee, Purdue
Magee adds good depth to the Patriots’ aging defensive line and will be a good rotational player.
98. Cincinnati: FB, Tony Fiammetta, Syracuse
The Bengals do not have a fullback on the roster and Fiammetta is capable of doing multiple things and will start in Cincy.
99. Chicago: S, Chris Clemons, Clemson
Clemons is a safety I really like and the Bears could use an upgrade as well as depth in the defensive backfield.
100. New York Giants: RB, Cedric Peerman, Virginia
Peerman is just like Derrick Ward and will help re-form the three headed monster with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.

ROUND FOUR

101. Dallas: CB, Macho Harris, Virginia Tech
Dallas could use another cornerback after losing Anthony Henry this year in the trade with Detroit.
102. Kansas City: NT, Chris Baker, Hampton
The 3-4 defense needs a great nose tackle, and while the Chiefs have good defensive ends, they need a tackle to complete the line.
103. St. Louis: CB, Mike Mickens, Cincinnati
St. Louis has a great starter in Ron Bartell but depth is still needed and Mickens has had great production at Cincinnati.
104. Cleveland: CB, Coye Francis, San Jose St.
Cleveland gave up way too many yards through the air last year and it was mainly due to a lack of depth.
105. Seattle: RB, Rashard Jennings, Liberty
The Seahawks have not been stable at running back since Shaun Alexander left and Jennings is an intruiging prospect.
106. Cincinnati: DE, Mitch King, Iowa
The Bengals have gotten little production out of their defensive ends the last two years. Hopefully King can change that.
107. Jacksonville: WR, Brandon Gibson, Washington St.
Jacksonville is in need of a solid wide receiver and Gibson is a huge sleeper in this draft.
108. Miami: NT, Dorell Scott, Clemson
Jason Ferguson will be 35 next year and the Dolphins have no one currently to take his place or be in the rotation next year.
109. Green Bay: LB, Zach Follet, California
Follet will move inside in the 3-4 defense and will be a good rotational player for the Packers, as well as on special teams.
110. Buffalo: OG, Herman Johnson, LSU
Johnson is an absolute beast at 6’7″, 364 pounds and will provide good depth for a new Bills offensive line.
111. San Francisco: OT, Fenuki Tupou, Oregon
Marvel Smith has had a tough time staying healthy and Tupou will offer a good line player that can play either side.
112. Houston: CB, Kevin Barnes, Maryland
The Texans have always had decent prospects at CB, but no one has ever really panned out. Barnes will start in the dime spot.
113. San Diego: S, Michael Hamlin, Clemson
Eric Weddle has become a nice free safety in his first year, but there are question marks at the other safety spot.
114. Denver: LB, Brandon Williams, Texas Tech
Denver’s defense becomes much better with the 3-4 pass rusher Williams who will be in the rotation right away.
115. New York Jets: QB, Nate Davis, Ball State
Although Davis’ stock has dropped since his magical season, he still has a lot of upside if he can work on his mechanics.
116. New Orleans: LB, Marcus Freeman, Ohio State
New Orleans does not have much depth at linebacker and Freeman will have the chance to start outside next year.
117. Dallas: LB, Danell Ellerbe, Georgia
With Zach Thomas leaving and Keith Brooking well past his prime, depth at the position is neccesary for the Cowboys.
118. New Orleans: RB, Javon Ringer, Michigan St.
The loss of Duece McAllister leaves a “thunder” for Reggie Bush’s “lightning” and Ringer will provide this.
119. Chicago: C, Antoine Caldwell, Alabama
Caldwell brings versatility to the Bears and could eventually take over for Olin Kruetz in a few years.
120. Tampa Bay: DE, Phillip Hunt, Houston
Tampa Bay needs to revamp the defensive line as there is not much talent there past Gaines Adams.
121. Buffalo: OT, Trevor Canfield, Cincinnati
With the trading of Jason Peters going down, Buffalo needs to add more depth and does so here with Canfield.
122. Houston: OT, Cornelius Lewis, Tennessee State
The Texans do not have the best offensive line and, outside of Duane Brown, no one really stands out to me.
123. Baltimore: CB, Asher Allen, Georgia
Allen is a very underrated cornerback and provides great depth for an already solid but aging defensive backfield.
124. New England: LB, Jason Phillips, TCU
Phillips is a very underrated player and New England can never have enough good linebackers.
125. Atlanta: CB, Captain Munnerlyn , South Carolina
Atlanta’s cornerbacks are subject after the loss to Dominique Foxworth and Munnerlyn has an awesome name.
126. Oakland: WR, Johnny Knox, Abilene-Christian
Wide reciever has been a sore subject for the Raiders, but it won’t be as big a need if Javon Walker can come back healthy.
127. Indianapolis: RB, James Davis, Clemson
Davis reminds me a lot of Darren Sproles and if you ask the Colts, they think Sproles is pretty darn good.
128. Carolina: OL, Jonathon Luigs, Arkansas
Losing two backups in Geoff Hangartner and Frank Omiyale really hurt the depth of the offensive line.
129. New York Giants: S, Emmanuel Cook, South Carolina
Cook has all the skills to be a great safety in the league but did not perform outstanding at the combine.
130. Tennessee: LB, Tyrone McKenzie, South Florida
Tennessee has older but effiicient linebackers, but depth is an issue that the underrated McKenzie can fix.
131. Arizona: OG, Louis Vasquez, Texas Tech
The starting offensive unit is solid for the Cardinals, but depth is a concern as Vasquez is a steal here.
132. Pittsburgh: DE, Vance Walker, Georgia Tech
The starters are getting older and Walker is a big body that will free up a lot on the outside.
133. San Diego: DE, Matt Shaughnessy, Wisconsin
The loss of Igor Olshansky leaves a void at the defensive end position that Shaughnessy can fill.
134. San Diego: CB, Mark Parson, Ohio
Rumor of Antonio Cromartie leaving faded, but they still do not know what they have with him and their depth is average.
135. Tennessee: OT, Gerald Cadogan, Oklahoma
Outside of their outstanding starters, depth is a huge problem at the tackle position and will have to addressed in the draft.
136. Indianapolis: OT, Tony Kropog, Tulane
Indianapolis has decent starters at the tackle position but position changes have made the depth skeptical.

ROUND FIVE

137. Seattle: S, David Bruton, Notre Dame
The Seahawks have reliable starters in Deon Grant and Brian Russell but can find an upgrade in Bruton.
138. Atlanta: S, Derek Pegues, Mississippi State
The loss of Lawyer Milloy has the safety position a big question mark for the Falcons.
139. Kansas City: WR, Aaron Kelly, Clemson
Kelly is one of my favorite prospects in the draft, and at 6’5″, he will be a Randy-Moss like target for Matt Cassell in the red zone.
140. Chicago: RB, Mike Goodson, Texas A&M
Matt Forte is an outstanding running back but the depth after his is average at best.
141. Philadelphia: LB, Nic Harris, Oklahoma
Harris showed a lot of promise coming into this year but did not perform as well. Still, he will be a boost for the Eagles.
142. Cincinnati: DT, Vance Walker, Georgia Tech
There is no sure-fire starter for the Bengals at this position, so Walker will get a chance to start and make the rotation.
143. Atlanta: DE, David Veikune, Hawaii
Veikune gives good depth for the Falcons but Jamaal Anderson has been less than stellar with just two sacks in two seasons.
144. Jacksonville: RB, Kory Sheets, Purdue
With the departure of Fred Taylor, Sheets is a good pick to back-up newly paid Maurice Jones-Drew.
145. Green Bay: OG, Ray Feinga, BYU
Ted Thompson usually takes a flyer on little-known offensive linemen in the middle rounds of drafts and will do so this year.
146. San Francisco: CB, Ladarius Webb, Nicholls State
Webb is a small school prospect but will see serious time next year if Shawntae Spencer does not come back well from his ACL injury.
147. Buffalo: S, Kevin Ellison, Southern Cal
Outside of Donte Whitner, the Bills are very thin at the safety position and Ellison has the potential to start.
148. San Diego: LB, Jonathon Casillias, Wisconsin
The loss of Shawne Merriman exposed the Chargers to some extent and getting depth here is important in the 3-4.
149. Denver: QB, Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston St.
While Kyle Orton will do the job for now, Romar gives good depth and a potential star with good arm strength.
150. Washington: OL, A.Q. Shipley, Penn State
Washington needs upgrades on the offensive line and Shipley is an outstanding center.
151. New York Giants: LB, Jason Williams, Western Illinois
Williams is the best player available at this point and provides more depth at the outside linebacker position.
152. Houston: DE, Victor Butler, Oregon St.
Butler will give the Texans depth at the other defensive end spot away from Mario Williams.
153. Philadelphia: LB, Corey Smith, Cincinnati
The Eagles have average starters outside and an upgrade will need to happen next year for this group of over-achievers.
154. Chicago: WR, Brandon Tate, North Carolina
The Bears are not one wide receiver away from having a decent group, so this position will be addressed more than once.
155. Tampa Bay: WR, Austin Collie, BYU
Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard have been released and past Antonio Bryant, there are no real starters on the team.
156. Dallas: CB, Jerraud Powers, Auburn
Powers is the best player available for the Cowboys who can use more depth in the defensive backfield.
157. Philadelphia: S, C.J. Spillman, Marshall
The loss of Brian Dawkins is big for the Eagles and replacing him will be important. Spillman is very good in coverage.
158. Minnesota: OT, Jason Watkins, Florida State
Watkins will have a chance to start right away at right tackle for the Vikings who are currently weak the position.
159. Philadelphia: OT, Sebastian Vollmer, Houston
Jason Peters is a start, but with most needs already filled up at this point, another tackle only makes the line stronger.
160. St. Louis: LB, Ashlee Palmer, Mississippi State
The Rams go and address the outside linebacker position here and bring in a lot of potential with Palmer.
161. Miami: TE, Davon Drew, East Carolina
Anthony Fasano is good enough to get the job done but with David Martin as the only backup, Drew will be an upgrade.
162. Baltimore: LB, Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh
McKillop gives very good depth at the inside linebacker position, where the Ravens are getting very old.
163. Carolina: WR, Kevin Olgetree, Virginia
Mushim Muhammad did a nice job last year, but past Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett they have nothing.
164. New York Giants: DE, Orion Martin, Virginia Tech
Martin will give the best defensive line in football more depth and a speed rusher.
165. Indianapolis: WR, Tiquan Underwood, Rutgers
Indianpolis adds another wide receiver to the mix with Underwood, who is very versatile and can return kicks.
166. Dallas: DE, Pannel Egboh, Stanford
The Cowboys, with a ton of picks, are able to address all areas and pick up a solid defensive end in Egboh.
167. Arizona: DT, Terrance Knighton, Temple
Byran Robinson will be 35 next year and Gabe Watson and Alan Branch have not been overly impressive to date.
168. Pittsburgh: LB, Daniel Holtzclaw, Eastern Michigan
Larry Foote is getting older and while the LB’s are outstanding on this team, another one can’t hurt this strong defense.
169. Pittsburgh: WR, Mike Wallace, Mississippi
Pittsburgh has good starters and Limas Sweed has potential, but depth is still a problem.
170. New England: WR, Mike Thomas, Arizona State
The loss of Jabar Gaffney leaves a hole on the depth chart for the Patriots and Thomas is a playmaker.
171. San Francisco: TE, John Phillips, Virginia
Vernon Davis does not fit the convential tight end role and Phillips is an exceptional blocker.
172. Dallas: DE, Orien Martin Virginia Tech
Anthony Spencer and Greg Ellis have not produced much aside from DeMarcus Ware, and improvement and depth is neccesary.
173. Tennessee: C, Edwin Williams, Maryland
Kevin Mawae is another year older and his time in the NFL has to be coming to a close, and the Titans currently have no one else to take his place.

ROUND SIX

174. Detroit: CB, Morgan Trent, Michigan
Detroit’s secondary, like most of their team units, struggled last year and Trent provides good depth with big game experience.
175. Kansas City: K, David Buehler, Southern Cal
Connor Barth led the way for the Chiefs as the kicker, but a replacement is needed and Buehler is by far the best kicker.
176. Atlanta: OG, Anthony Parker, Tennessee
Atlanta’s starters are excellent but depth is a concern and both guards are free agents after next year.
177. Cleveland: DE, Rickey Jean-Francois, LSU
Jean-Francois will provide good depth at the defensive end spot in the 3-4 for the Browns.
178. Seattle: LB, Deandre Levy, Wisconsin
Levy will have a chance to start right away for the Seahawks due to the departure of Julian Peterson.
179. Cincinnati: RB, Glen Coffee, Alabama
Chris Perry and Kenny Watson were less than stellar, and I would not rely on Cedric Benson to be the running back for a full season.
180. Jacksonville: OT, Joel Bell, Furman
Even with Meredith, depth is still an issue and Bell gives the Jaguars a good body to worth with in training camp.
181. Miami: DE, Will Johnson, Michigan
With the loss of Vonnie Holliday, Philip Merling becomes the starter and depth is needed on the defensive line.
182. Green Bay: RB, Ian Johnson, Boise State
Johnson’s production dropped off from last year, but he is still good enough to try to earn a roster spot on most NFL rosters.
183. Buffalo: FB, Quinn Johnson, LSU
Three Johnson’s go in a row here as the Bills pick up a much needed fullback in Quinn Johnson.
184. San Francsico: CB, Jason McCourty, Utah
Depth is still an issue as the 49er’s nab their second cornerback of the draft in McCourty.
185. Denver: TE, Bear Pascoe, Fresno State
With so many needs filled in this draft, the Broncos go for the best player available and that is Pascoe.
186. Washington: LB, Anthony Felder, California
After the Redskins cut Marcus Washington, there is now a void at strongside linebacker that needs to be addressed.
187. Green Bay: CB, Domonique Johnson, Jackson State
Johnson wasn’t outstanding in off-season drills but he has a nose for the football and plays great on-the-field football.
188. Houston: RB, Jeremiah Johnson, Oregon
Steve Slaton is proving to be an every down back, but after him Houston has little to show for their running backs.
189. San Diego: LB, Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina
Brinkley is great value here and will join the rotation of solid linebackers in San Diego.
190. Tampa Bay: QB, Mike Reilly, Central Washington
Reilly has great size at 6’3″ and will join a long list of Bucs quarterbacks trying to vie for the starting gig.
191. Chicago: OL, Cecil Newman, Tennessee St.
Orlando Pace is getting up there in years and a replacement will ultimately be needed, something the Bears do not have currently.
192. Detroit: DT, Myron Pryor, Kentucky
Detroit signed Grady Jackson this off-season but work is still needed to be done on the defensive line.
193. New York Jets: LB, Worrell Williams, California
Williams is very good value here and will work the inside linebacker position in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 scheme.
194. Philadelphia: CB, Joe Burnett, Central Florida
Philadelphia has been rumored to have Lito Sheppard on the trading block, so a cornerback here makes sense.
195. Philadelphia: WR, Sammie Straughter, Oregon State
Butler will help in the wide recevier department, but Straughter is a much bigger target for Donovan McNabb and co.
196. St. Louis: QB, Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
While some believe Harrell was fully a product of his offense, I believe there is a lot of talent there and this pick is a steal.
197. Dallas: OL, Jon Cooper, Oklahoma
The Cowboys finally address the offensive line which is solid up front but could use more depth like all teams in the league.
198. Baltimore: RB, Arian Foster, Tennessee
Leron McCaain was a great find and Willis McGahee should recover from his scary injury, but Foster adds good depth.
199. New England: QB, Brian Hoyer, Michigan State
With the loss of Matt Cassell, Hoyer can be brought in to battle for a spot on team as Tom Brady’s backup.
200. New York Giants: CB, Clover Quin, New Mexico
New York does not have many needs, but adding depth to the defensive backfield is never a bad thing.
201. Indianapolis: C, Keith Gray, Connecticut
Jeff Saturday will not last forever and finding a replacement for him is vital, and Gray is a sleeper to do the trick.
202. Carolina: DE, Nader Abdallah, Ohio State
With not many draft needs, the Panthers nab a very athletic defensive end in Abdallah.
203. Tennessee: RB, Antone Smith, Florida State
Smith is a good little running back that will provide depth to a good Titans running game. Smith has outstanding speed.
204. Arizona: WR, Quan Cosby, Texas
If Anquan Boldin ends up getting traded, finding a replacement for him will bump everyone up on the depth chart, leaving room for Cosby.
205. Pittsburgh: OT, Bobby Lepori, Fresno State
Simply good to get depth on the aging and average Pittsburgh offensive line.
206. Tennessee: OG, Andy Kemp, Wisconsin
Wisconsin offensive linemen usually pan out to be pretty good players, and Kemp will not be an exception to that rule.
207. New England: FB, Brannan Southerland, Georgia
Bill Belichek loves his fullbacks and I can see him doing some fun things with Southerland who can do it all.
208. Dallas: DT, Daryl Richard, Georgia Tech
With so many needs filled, Dallas goes with Richard to shore up the defensive line more.
209. Cincinnati: CB, Cary Harris, Southern Cal
Harris will provide good depth for the Bengals who now have legal troubles at this position in Leon Hall.

ROUND SEVEN

210. Dallas: WR, Brooks Foster, North Carolina
Miles Austin was lost as well as T.O., so having numbers here will be important at the wide receiver position.
211. St. Louis: OG, Robert Brewster,Ball State
St. Louis could always use more depth on the offensive line, and Brewster is the best available.
212. Kansas City: CB, Ryan Palmer, Texas
Palmer is a solid cornerback and adds depth to the aging Kansas City backfield.
213. Seattle: LB, Morrty Ivy, West Virginia
Lofa Tutupu is an oustanding linebacker but there is not much behind him depth-wise.
214. Miami: OG, Jamie Thomas, Maryland
Thomas is a big body that might be able to make the team on an aging Kansas City offensive line.
215. Cincinnati: DT, Tez Doolittle, Auburn
Bodies on the defensive line never hurt, and adding Doolittle will be good for training camp.
216. Oakland: OG, Greg Isdaner, Wake Forest
Isdaner provides good depth on the offensive line and could battle to see time in his first year.
217. Tampa Bay: S, Otis Wiley, Michigan State
I really like what I see from Wiley and he offers a good body for the Tampa 2.
218. Green Bay: DT, Ra’Shon Harris, Oregon
It is important to have a lot of bodies on the defensive line in the 3-4, and Harris may be able to break the rotation.
219. San Francisco: DT, Demonte Bolden, Tennessee
San Francisco has aging DT’s and Bolden gives the Niners a good body for training camp.
220. Buffalo: CB, Ryan Mouton, Hawaii
Mouton is a good player that will join a very young defensive backfield for the Bills.
221. Minnesota: QB, David Johnson, Tulsa
Sage Rosenfels was brought in this year but it might spell doom for Tavaris Jackson or Gus Frerotte next year.
222. New Orleans: LB, Frantz Joseph, Florida Atlantic
Jon Vilma has been a nice addition to the team but they do not have a lot of depth behind him.
223. Houston: DT, Corey Irvin, Clemson
More depth on the defensive line helps the Texans with thier second defensive tackle of the draft.
224. San Diego: FB, Brock Bolen, Louisville
Bolen will try to give the Chargers a pure run blocking fullback like they had in prior years with Lorenzo Neal.
225. Denver: CB, Ellis Lankster, West Virginia
Also holders of ten draft picks, Lankster is the best player available at this point.
226. Pittsburgh: OG, Rich Ohrnberger
Penn State Simply put, the Steelers have addressed all their needs and Ohrnberger is the best guard left.
227. Dallas: RB, Gartrell Johnson, Colorado State
Johnson is a sleeper pick but is on the rise in many mocks and gives depth to a Dallas team with plenty of running backs.
228. New York Jets: TE, Cameron Morrah, California
The Jets like Dustin Keller but could use some better depth behind him and Morrah is very good value.
229. Chicago: DE, Rulon Davis, California
Chicago’s defensive line has been good but is getting older and Davis will provide depth like most 7th round picks.
230. Philadelphia: LB, Antonio Appleby, Virginia
At the 10th draft pick for the Eagles, best player available seems like a good way to go.
231. Minnesota: WR, Marko Mitchell, Nevada
Two wide receivers in the draft will be important for Minnesota as they try to drastically improve the position.
232. Jacksonville: S, Steven Hodge, TCU
Jacksonville gets the best player available and still gets a nice player in Hodge who has great physical tools.
233. Tampa Bay: WR, Jamarko Simmons, Western Michigan
The Bucs continue to build on their depth and Simmons is a real sleeper in this year’s draft.
234. New England: CB, Bruce Johnson, Miami
New England finally ends their run of draft picks and they take project in Johnson.
235. Denver: RB, Javarris Williams, Tennessee State
Denver loves their running backs and, although they have brought in free agents, none of them are anything special.
236. New York Giants: LB, Stryker Sulak, Missouri
Also on their 10th draft pick, the best player available is Stryker Sulak so the Giants take a flyer on him.
237. Indianapolis: P, Kevin Huber, Cincinnati
With Hunter Smith not being re-signed, the Colts need a decent punter and Smith is by far the best one in the draft.
238. Miami: CB, Gregory Toler, St. Paul’s
A little known prospect with excellent speed and great jump on the ball, but lacks a little in size.
239. Tennessee: LB, Josh Mauga, Nevada
More depth to a position that the Titans are looking to gain in for the future.
240. Arizona: OT, Augustus Parrish, Kent State
Arizona gets good depth with Parrish and a massive body to work with.
241. Pittsburgh: DE, Josh Gaines, Penn State
The Steelers probably will not go with another defensive end, but I like what I see with Gaines.
242. Tennessee: S, Jake Ingram, Hawaii
Ingram is the best player left in the draft and Tennessee has addressed all of their needs.
243. Washington: CB, Woodny Turenne, Louisville
Washington has addressed many needs in the darft, and Turenne is the best available player at this point.
244. San Francisco: RB, Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern
Sutton had a great year and while he does not possess the numbers of a stud running back, he is a very hard worker.
245. Seattle: RB, Devin Moore, Wyoming
The Seahawks address the running back position with another depth guy and a sleeper in the draft.
246. Chicago: LB, Anthony Heygood, Purdue
Heygood provides a solid body for the linebacker corps and could get some good work in on special teams.
247. Seattle: DT, Clinton McDonald, Memphis
They gave Colin Cole big money, showing that this is obviously an area of concern for them.
248. Seattle: QB, Stephen McGee, Texas A&M
Matt Hasselback will not go forever and you have to worry about depth at the position. McGee is a nice project.
249. Cincinnati: WR, Taurus Johnson, Central Florida
Cincinnati comes back with another wide receiver to add depth and a speedster.
250. Jacksonville: DE, Neefy Moffet, Florida State
Jacksonville’s defensive line is pretty young but could still use some improvement overall.
251. Chicago: CB,Lydell Saergant, Penn State
Chicago’s cornerbacks are solid but could always use good depth, and Saergant produced well at Penn State.
252. Cincinnati: QB, Drew Willy, Buffalo
Carson Palmer should be good to go and Rex Grossman gives them depth, but there’s not much after that.
253. Jacksonville: WR, Maurice Covington, Virginia
Wide receiver depth is huge and Covington is a very underrated prospect that can contribute to this team.
254. Arizona: P, Jacob Richardson, Miami (OH)
Ben Graham is an OK punter, but compeititon is always good for punters.
255. Detroit: RB, Marlon Lucky, Nebraska
Kevin Smith was excellent last year, but long term I don’t like anyone else on that roster for the Lions.
256. Kansas City: FB, Jason Cook, Mississippi
Cook will come in and compete for a starting spot, but it not likely to make the final roster.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | , , , | Leave a comment

Packers Mock Draft and Offseason 2.0

Free Agent Signings

Anthony Smith, FS/SS, 6′1″, 200 lbs.
Why? Smith has already been signed by the Pack and he will bring some depth to a safety position that really lacks it. Charles Woodson was forced to see some time there last year and it really threw things off. I don’t expect him to start but depth is never bad in this league.

Jarett Bush, CB/ST, 6′0″, 200 lbs.
Why? Tennessee originally signed an offer sheet for the special teamer, but the Packers matched it and, although I don’t agree with it, I have learned never to doubt Ted Thompson. Bush will bring depth to the defensive back position and is a solid special teamer.

Duke Preston adds depth and versatility to Green Bay's offensive line.

Duke Preston adds depth and versatility to Green Bay's offensive line.

Duke Preston, OG, 6’5”, 326 lbs.
Why? Preston was a very low-key signing but has the potential to end up being a much bigger one in the end. He started 11 games at center last year but also saw time at both right guard and right tackle. On the depth chart, there is a good chance you will see him at right guard, but I think he is quick enough to play right tackle.

Tory Humphrey, TE, 6’2”, 255 lbs.
Why? I was very happy that the Packers decided to resign Humphrey as I see a lot of promise in him. He had 11 receptions last year but saw very limited action and never got into a rhythm. If Donald Lee struggles early and Jermichael Finley does not progress, Humphrey will get a lot more looks this year.

Jason Hunter, LB/ST, 6’4”, 271 lbs.
Why? Another signing that made a lot of sense as Hunter is probably the team’s best special teams player. I do not think he fits in the 3-4 scheme on defense any better than the 4-3 scheme, but his presence in the special teams department warrants him a spot on this team.

Vonnie Holliday, DE, 6’5”, 288 lbs.
Why? I think Holliday will wind up making his second stint in Green Bay as a defensive end in Dom Capers’ scheme. Holliday has not gotten a lot of looks from teams and this signing could come much later in the off-season (especially depending on the draft), much like Charles Woodson.

2009 NFL Draft

#9. Aaron Maybin, Penn State, OLB, 6’4”, 250 lbs.
Why? Maybin is a physical freak and reminds me a lot of Jason Taylor and could see him being the best player available on the board after Stafford, J. Smith, Curry, Crabtree, Orakpo, A. Smith, E. Monroe, and Jenkins are taken. He is probably the best pass rushing outside linebacker for the 3-4 scheme and will start from Day 1 alongside Aaron Kampman. I see a lot of DeMarcus Ware in him when I watch him. He is absolutely relentless.

Jarron Gilbert can come in right away and help at the DE spot on rushing downs as well as the NT position on passing downs.

Jarron Gilbert can come in right away and help at the DE spot on rushing downs as well as the NT position on passing downs.

#41. Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State, DE, 6’5”, 285 lbs.
Why? While a lot of people do not think that he will be here in this spot, the amount of good defensive ends going before him makes me think he might slip. If he does, it will address another big need for the Packers at the defensive end spot. Johnny Jolly and Justin Harrell can not be expected to be the only rotation players at the DE spot, and even with Jenkins coming back, one more body will not hurt. He will also be able to move inside to NT on passing downs.

#73. Shonne Greene, Iowa, RB, 5’10”, 230 lbs.
Why? It isn’t a huge need for the Packers at the moment, but it never hurts to have a plethora of good running backs. Ryan Grant is an excellent running back and Brandon Jackson is progressing very nicely, but as many teams in the league are showing, having that bruiser on third and short can be a huge advantage and I really like what Greene brings to the table. Definitely a value pick here.

#83. Duke Robinson, Oklahoma, OG, 6’5”, 330 lbs.
Why? Robinson is a very big boy but also moves very well for his size and should do just fine in the zone blocking scheme. The Packers have a lot of good depth at the tackle position (Colledge, Moll, Giacomini) but lack some depth at the guard position, especially if Scott Wells is gone in a few years. Teddy likes to build his line later in the draft and Robinson is a stud.

Michael Hamlin has a great frame and is excellent in coverage as well.

Michael Hamlin has a great frame and is excellent in coverage as well.

#109. Michael Hamlin, Clemson, S, 6’2”, 214 lbs.
Why? When I look at Hamlin, I see Aaron Rouse with much better coverage skills. Hamlin recorded 110 tackles and six interceptions his senior year and was an absolute playmaker for the Tigers. He will join a backfield of safeties that, other than Collins, have an open competition going if Atari Bigby continues to struggle.

#145. Chris Baker, Hampton, NT, 6’2”, 325 lbs.
Why? A little known prospect, Baker has all the tools to be a great player in the NFL if he can put it all together. His junior year he had 16.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks and will add good depth to the Packers defensive line.  He is definitely a project but has a ton of upside as he started his career at Penn State before winding up at Hampton.

#182. Patrick Turner, USC, WR, 6’5”, 225 lbs.
Why? I still do not think that Ruvell Martin will be back with the team and that Thompson will find a replacement for him. Turner can be that guy. Expected to follow in the footsteps of Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Williams, and Dwayne Jarrett, Turner was just average at USC and lacked ideal speed to catch the deep ball. Fortuantely, in the Packers West Coast Offense, Turner will be able to use his size to contribute to the team.

#187. Britton Colquitt, Tennessee, P, 6’2”, 207
Why?
After seeing Derrick Frost, “Frosty the Shankman” as some forum writers called him, it is time to bring in all the competition we can and find the best punter. Not that our defense was any good, it did not help when the opposing team’s offense had a very short field to start with. Colquitt is a beast and did very well for the Volunteers last year, averaging 43.4 yards per punt last year.

#218. Traded for a 2010 6th round draft pick…

April 11, 2009 Posted by | Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | , , , | Leave a comment

Green Bay Packers Mock Draft and Off-Season

Free Agent Signings

Player: Anthony Smith, FS/SS, 6’1″, 200 lbs.

Why? Smith has already been signed by the Pack and he will bring some depth to a safety position that really lacks it.  Charles Woodson was forced to see some time there last year and it really threw things off.  I don’t expect him to start but depth is never bad in this league.

Player: Jarett Bush, CB/ST, 6’0″, 200 lbs.

Why? Tennessee originally signed an offer sheet for the special teamer, but the Packers matched it and, although I don’t agree with it, I have learned never to doubt Ted Thompson.  Bush will bring depth to the defensive back position and is a solid special teamer.

Player: Michael Montgomery, DE, 6’5″, 275 lbs.

Why? With the Packers switching to a 3-4 scheme next year, Montgomery has a chance to find a spot at the defensive end position (despite being a little undersized).  He has contributed solidly since he has been here and hopefully can find a spot in the new defense.

Player: Mark Tauscher, RT, 6’3″, 316 lbs.

Why? I have heard a lot of people saying that we should not bring Tauscher back, but when you look at the options, he is the safest bet going into next year.  It’s a crapshoot to say that we will be able to bring someone in via draft and I don’t think Thompson is going to find one in free agency.  Coming off the knee surgery, he should come cheap and will be a stopgap for the next year or two.

NFL Draft

#9. Player: B.J. Raji, NT, Boston College, 6’2″, 337 lbs.

Why? I believe the draft will see Stafford, J. Smith, Curry, Crabtree, Brown, Orakpo, Maclin, and A. Smith go before we pick, leaving us with NT B.J. Raji.  Raji is exactly what the Packers are looking for as they start to build on the 3-4 defense and will come in right away to start, while rotating with Ryan Pickett.  After a strong senior bowl week, Raji’s stock has gone down a little, but Ted Thompson can’t pass on the future foundation of this defense.

#41. Player: Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia, 6’3″, 255 lbs.

Why? The Packers continue their overhaul of the new 3-4 defense by bringing in a player that has experience in it.  Sintim played in a 3-4 and will have the chance to start right away opposite Aaron Kampman.  He seems a likely fit for the Packers as he won’t have to make the position switch like the top-of-the-line tweeners in this draft.

#73. Player: Xavier Fulton, OT, Illinois, 6’5″, 300 lbs.

Why? Remember Mark Tauscher being the stopgap for the next year or two? Well here is his replacement.  Fulton is similar to Jason Smith in that he came into college as a defensive end (different position), but his athleticism moved him to the tackle position.  He played left tackle in college but with his solid speed, I think he can make the transition to right tackle for the Packers.  He is perfect for the Packers zone blocking scheme.

#83. (from NY Jets) Player: James Casy, TE, Rice, 6’4″, 235 lbs.

Why? Donald Lee is not the answer at tight end and I have my doubts about Jermichael Finley.  Casey is an intriguing prospect, getting drafted by the White Sox to play baseball before coming back to football.  Because of it, he is 25 years old but is a solid hybrid player that can line up anywhere on offense.  Thompson has selected at least 2 receivers in every draft and I’ll consider this one of them.

#109. Player: Kevin Barnes, CB, Maryland, 6’0″, 184 lbs.

Why? The Packers have some very young talent in the secondary (Tramon Williams, Nick Collins, Pat Lee) but it doesn’t hurt to have one more with the aging Al Harris and Charles Woodson starting.  Barnes is a speedy corner that will succeed in man-t0-man coverage for the Pack.

#145. Player: Aaron Kelly, WR, Clemson, 6’5″, 204 lbs.

Why? Teddy loves his wide receivers and Kelly could become a great red zone threat with great size and pretty good speed (4.49).  He will have to fight to make the team but if Ruvell Martin is not brought back it will make it much easier for him.

#182. Player: Ryan Stanchek, OG/OT, West Virginia, 6’4″, 298 lbs.

Why? Thompson will really like Stanchek’s versatility and smarts in the zone blocking scheme.  You can never have enough offensive linemen and he could be a sleeper in this situation.

#187. Player: Andrew Gardner, LT, Georgia, 6’7″, 304 lbs.

Why? Chad Clifton is not far behind Mark Tauscher at the exit door, so the Packers bring in a project that will provide depth for the aging tackle.  With great size, Gardner should make the team and, once again, add another body to practice and be able to come in if injury were to occur.

#218. Traded for a 2010 6th round draft pick…

NOTE**Ted Thompson loves to trade back and I would almost guarentee that we trade our second round pick unless there is someone that Thompson loves.  This would give us 3 third round draft picks and I am sure Ted would love to have that. As for the 9th pick, it’s time for the Packers to get a difference maker instead of depth.

March 24, 2009 Posted by | Football, Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | , , | Leave a comment

Mock Draft 2/17

The NFL Combine starts tomorrow and over the course of the next week, many things will change. Players will rise, players will fall and others will stay put. Here is the first completed mock draft of 2009. Enjoy!

1. Detroit Lions- Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia– Stafford is the most complete quarterback in the draft as well as having the strongest arm. His accuracy and release are good as well and has decent size for a quarterback (6’2”, 235 lbs.) Look no further than the Atlanta Falcons last year for why this is the pick. As well as Calvin Johnson played last year, I can’t even imagine what an arm like Stafford throwing to him will produce. Some say it is too big of a risk/reward to take a quarterback and taking a franchise LT might be a safer bet, but having the 20th pick in the draft as well gives the Lions hope that one of them will fall to that pick.
2. St. Louis Rams- Eugene Monroe, LT, Virginia– Monroe, a second team All-American is an outstanding prospect and probably the fastest left tackle in this year’s draft. He has ideal quickness and excels especially in the pass blocking game. Orlando Pace is on the trading block and the Rams are looking to get younger on the offensive line and will do so with this pick.
3. Kansas City Chiefs- Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest– One of the easier picks in the first round is Curry going to the Chiefs. He is arguably the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft, and at 6’2”, 247 lbs. has ideal height and weight to play at the next level. After shoring up both lines last year, new GM Scott Pioli will look to find the next versatile playmaker for his team, and Curry fits that mold. Kansas City’s defense has struggled for a while but this pick could be a large step and a quick step in the right direction.
4. Seattle Seahawks- Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech– Personally, my favorite player in this year’s draft and quite possibly the best wide receiver talent that we have seen since Larry Fitzgerald. The name of the game with Crabtree is production. In 2 years, Crabtree scored 39 touchdowns and won the Biletnikoff Trophy twice, given to college’s best wide receiver. Don’t think that he was just a product of Texas Tech’s pass happy offense, either. While he doesn’t have the size or speed of a Calvin Johnson, he is an excellent playmaker, which is something the Seahawks need desperately as seen by some of the wideouts they played with last year.
5. Cleveland Browns- Everette Brown, OLB, Florida State– Watching film on Everette Brown truly wowed me. If you have time to go on Youtube and watch I would recommend it. He is unbelievably fast for his size (6’3”, 252 lbs.) and his instinct to jump the snap is awesome. His spin move is the fastest I’ve seen, although he gets out of control at some points and misses tackles. Cleveland accumulated just 18 sacks last year, and Brown will come in and help that right away. I can’t say enough about his speed and the type of player he could become. DeMarcus Ware anyone?
6. Cincinnati Bengals- Jason Smith, LT, Baylor- Smith is one of the most interesting prospects in the draft. He is a tight end turned left tackle and because of it excels with his footwork. Because he lacks experience at the position his form isn’t perfect, but he makes up for it with his size and long arms. Cincinnati needs an upgrade at the position with the oft-injured Levi Jones and Smith fits the bill here.
7. Oakland Raiders- B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College– Call him this year’s Cedrick Ellis, but Raji’s performance during the Senior Bowl practice week shot his stock way up. He has great speed for his size (6’1”, 334) and is an absolute wall in the middle. The Raiders’ 3-4 defense has lacked a stud defensive tackle and, while it isn’t the flashy pick, Al Davis can’t deny that Raji’s presence in the middle will do wonders for the defense.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars- Andre Smith, LT, Alabama– Smith is an interesting prospect and could go anywhere from 1st overall to this pick. Still, I think he slides due to his size concerns. Don’t get me wrong. He’s HUGE but his size has hurt him in the past. He isn’t as fast as he could be but if he could drop some weight before the combine his stock could increase. He may go earlier than this, but I put him down here because I’d rather have the athletic tackles then him. Khalif Barnes is not the answer at left tackle and Smith could end up being a steal here.
9. Green Bay Packers- Malcom Jenkins, CB, Ohio State– Typical Ted Thompson says that this pick will be traded, but if he does stay here then the pick will be Jenkins. He is the best player available and is an absolute playmaker. While he didn’t play the type of man-to-man that he will in Green Bay, he has great game speed and gets an excellent read on the ball. With Al Harris and Charles Woodson closing in on the end of their careers, Tramon Williams, Pat Lee and Jenkins could make the transition a lot easier.
10. San Fransisco 49er’s- Mark Sanchez, QB, USC– Sanchez is another interesting prospect, because he could go at number 3 to the Chiefs and there is a chance that someone trades up in round one to get him before he gets to the Niners. Despite his inexperience, Sanchez has a quick release and a good enough arm to make it in the pros as long as his accuracy stays on target. San Francisco busted on Alex Smith back in 2005 but can’t pass up this value here.
11. Buffalo Bills- Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas– Orakpo is an absolute freak in the weight room (check that one out on Youtube also) and even better on the field. His size and speed work well together for a pass rushing end. While he is still raw and stands up too tall, I believe he can succeed for a Buffalo Bills team that needs to get to the quarterback more and improve their aging defense. Orakpo should do the trick.
12. Denver Broncos- Rey Maualuga, LB, USC– Maualuga is the first of what should be all three Trojan linebackers going in the first round. At 6’2”, 254 lbs., he is the next Ray Lewis. He is what every defense needs emotionally, physically and intangibly. Denver has been absolutely atrocious the last couple of years and not only will he help the run game, but he will fire up everyone around him and make them better.
13. Washington Redskins- Michael Oher, LT, Mississippi– This might be a little early for Oher to go, but not for the Redskins. Oher has started 34 consecutive games and can play either tackle positions at the next level. He has a solid frame that excels in the run game but can be a little stiff at times and doesn’t have the best footwork or speed. The Redskins need an upgrade for Jon Jansen and over time Oher could move to LT.
14. New Orleans Saints- Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois– As many yards as Drew Brees passed for last year, the Saints gave up just as many. Jason David is pitiful and Randall Gay hardly gets the job done. Davis did a great job improving every year at Illinois and became a premier cornerback in the Big Ten. At 6’0”, 204 lbs. has great size and has a lot of muscle to go with his quick frame.
15. Houston Texans- Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State– Aside from Mario Williams, the rest of the team had 13 sacks as a unit last year. They are desperate for a pass rusher and Maybin will give them that. He has room to add weight and must do that if he wants to be a 4-3 rusher (just 245 lbs.) but if he can, he has the most speed of any DL not named Everette Brown and will start from day 1.
16. San Diego Chargers- Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State– If the Ladanian Tomlinson bickering falls through and he comes back next year and Sproles re-signs, then clearly this pick will change. But for now, Wells is the best back on the board and the Chargers can’t pass on that. He would create a nice Lendale White/Chris Johnson combination with Sproles if indeed LT is gone. The last I will talk about Youtube, but there is a video dedicated JUST to stiff arms from this guy. He has great size and runs like Adrian Peterson. He explodes through the hole and can change direction on a dime. Good combo if you ask me.
17. New York Jets- Jeremey Maclin, WR, Missouri– With Brett Favre leaving after this season, the Jets once again face questions at the quarterback position, but I haven’t given up on Kellen Clemens yet. The year behind Favre might have helped him and I think they go for the next need, a playmaker on offense. While Maclin needs to work on separation, he always seems to come up with the big play and has great speed in the open field.
18. Chicago Bears- Percy Harvin, WR, Florida– I don’t know how many different times Jerry Angelo can just fail to address this position. With a guy like Harvin that allows teams to do anything, you can’t pass on him. Harvin will be able to play out of the slot, run the Wildcat as well as go deep. If he can stay healthy, something that might scare teams off, his talent is unbelievable and his ceiling is through the roof. Think Steve Smith.
19. Tampa Bay Bucaneers- Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State– Rumors are circulating about the Bucs wanting Freeman, but take rumors in February with a large grain of salt. Still, it would fit with Tampa Bay starting over in some senses. Freeman has all the tools to be a great player one day, measuring 6’5” and having one of the best arms in the draft.
20. Detroit Lions- D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt– I don’t think the Lions would take any of the available tackles at this spot so they address their second biggest need (they have a lot). Moore does not have the ideal speed for a cornerback, but his production speaks for itself with his 13 career interceptions. His ability to play offense shows his athleticism, and on D he gets a great jump on the ball.
21. Philadelphia Eagles- Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia– I could see the Eagles going with an offensive lineman here, but I think they will be happy to see that Moreno has dropped. Brian Westbrook’s best years are clearly behind him and Correll Buckhalter, despite being a solid backup, is just that…a solid backup. Moreno is capable of being a dual-threat back, as seen by his Capitol One Bowl performance.
22. Minnesota Vikings- Ebon Britton, LT, Arizona– Britton is a MAJOR sleeper in this year’s draft class due to the big 4 tackles that most likely will be taken before in. At 6’5”, 310 lbs, he has some of the best speed from any of the tackles and will join a Vikings team in need of an upgrade at the tackle position.
23. New England Patriots- Clay Matthews, LB, USC– A typical Bill Belichek guy here that is very versatile with his measurements and speed combination. Matthews has great field vision and, despite getting pushed around by offensive lineman at times, has great speed and instincts on the field. Matthews will be a good replacement for an aging linebacker corps.
24. Atlana- Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State- More options for Matt Ryan to play with next year is never a bad option, and Pettigrew fits the bill here. While he won’t break away in the open field or make defenders miss, he gets good separation and rarely misses a catchable ball. He is also one of the better blockers in the draft at the TE position, something Atlanta missed last year.
25. Miami- Derrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland– Despite the fact that wideouts usually drop on Draft Day, the 4 taken in the first round are all playmakers for teams that desperately need them. The Dolphins did a nice job with their offensive line last year so they can address the skill positions this year. Heyward-Bey has all the tools to be a great wideout with speed, height, bulk and moves after the catch. If he can turn those characteristics and use them all at once, he could be a star.
26. Baltimore- Larry English, OLB, Northern Illinois– Baltimore loves their linebackers, and with the aging Ray Lewis and the free agent situations of Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs looming, they take a linebacker here in the first. English is quickly rising up the draft charts with his size and speed. He plays the pass very well and is explosive when running to the ball, taking great angles and rarely missing tackles.
27. Indianapolis- Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss– They take a hard look at Duke Robinson, but in the end I think Jerry is too good to pass up. Jerry consistently made plays last year, especially in the run game and will be a good stopgap for a Colts team that could use it. Don’t be surprised to see this pick traded, however.
28. Philadelphia- Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan– It’s come time to replace Brian Dawkins and Delmas can take his spot. Delmas excels in pass coverage and can start from Day 1. It should be noted that there is a very good chance Philadelphia trades these first round draft picks if they really like a tackle or if one drops to the 8 or 9 spot.
29. New York Giants- James Laurianitis, LB, Ohio State– The Giants think about taking a wide receiver here, but decide to go with the proven linebacker here. Laurianitis has great instincts and does everything solid, from run stopping to covering the ball to leading a team. New York is starting to age on defense at the linebacker spot, and Laurianitis will provide excellent youth and leadership to an already solid defense.
30. Tennessee- Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers– It seems that the Titans are projected to take a wide receiver every year, but this year it is warranted. Think of Britt as a poor man’s Calvin Johnson. He has great size (6’4”, 215 lbs.) and while he doesn’t have top of the line speed, he is able to break away from defenders and will go up high to get the ball. He is a strong runner that will break tackles, but don’t expect many jukes.
31. Arizona- Lesean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh– McCoy will be the lightning to Tim Hightower’s thunder. While Hightower came in and did an excellent job last year, the hole left by Edgerrin James’ almost certain departure needs to be filled. McCoy is a fast back that breaks into the open field just as fast as anyone in the draft and will play back-up to Hightower in the 2 man rushing attack.
32. Pittsburgh- Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma– Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl last year despite their awful offensive line play. The majority of it came from interior line play, and at this spot Robinson is the best option. Robinson excels in the run game and can get better at pass blocking and with his massive size, still manages to move his feet and stay in front of defenders.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Football, NFL, NFL Draft | , , , | 1 Comment

Running Backs Can 40 Yard Dash to the Bank

I would like to start this blog off by saying I do think the 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, starting this week, is a little overrated. I do not think that 40 yards of Lucas Oil Stadium soil can determine whether or not an offensive lineman is going to block Julius Peppers better than someone else. But I do think it holds some credibility when speaking of the skill position players. Looking over numbers today, a particular position jumped out at me as important in regards to the 40 yard dash. That position would be running back, so hear me out on it.

I started back in 2004 going forward and took a look at who ran the fastest 40 yard dash times from each draft class.

2004
1. Tatum Bell
2. Kevin Jones
3. Willie Parker
4. Steven Jackson
5. DeJuan Green

Notables from the 2004 NFL draft that failed to crack the top 5 include Michael Turner, Julius Jones, and (because I am feeling generous) Mewelde Moore. You could make the argument that Turner is the best running back from this draft class but after that it easily goes Steven Jackson and Willie Parker. Julius Jones is next on the list followed by Tatum Bell and Kevin Jones. So, 4 of the fastest runners at the combine are in the top 6 running backs currently.

2005
1. J.J. Arrington
2. Ronnie Brown
3. Ryan Grant
4. Cadillac Williams
5. Ryan Moats
6. Darren Sproles

Notables from the 2005 Draft include Cedric Benson (4th overall pick), Frank Gore, Marion Barber III, and Brandon Jacobs. OK, not the best showing of talent here as the list probably goes Gore, Barber, Jacobs, Ronnie Brown, Ryan Grant, Darren Sproles. Still, in 2005 3 of the top 6 fastest times were able to finish in the top 6 and Cadillac Williams is still showing promise if he can stay healthy.

2006
1. Reggie Bush
2. Maurice Jones-Drew
3. Jerious Norwood
4. Joseph Addai
5. Andre Hall
6. Leon Washington

Notables from the 2006 Draft include Laurence Maroney, Deangelo Williams (who did not run at the Combine) and LenDale White (also did not run). Now we’re talking. In what was a top-heavy running back class, the speedsters did not disappoint. My current list today would go Jones-Drew, Deangelo Williams, Bush, Addai, Lendale White and Laurence Maroney. However, a good note here is that Jerious Norwood and Leon Washington are two of the biggest “home run hitters” in the league. Might need speed to do that, no? In all, 3 of the top 6 fastest combines show up in the top 4 current running backs from this draft class.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket with the 40-yard-dash, but make sure your basket isn't empty.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket with the 40-yard-dash, but make sure your basket isn't empty.

2007
1. Adrian Peterson
2. Antonio Pittman
3. Chris Henry
4. Kenny Irons
5. Lorenzo Booker
6. Marshawn Lynch

Other notables from this draft include Brandon Jackson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Bush and Selvin Young. There should be an asterisk around this draft and the 2008 draft because some would argue it is too soon to determine who the top running backs of this class are. The obvious top 2 are Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch, so that would be 2 for 2 right away. Selvin Young has recieved the most playing time and is in a system that makes running backs look great but would still be next on the list. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jackson come next. The verdict is out on Chris Henry and Lorenzo Booker, but with the success of Peterson and Lynch, I like this class.

2008
1. Chris Johnson
2. Darren McFadden
3. Jamaal Charles
4. Chad Simpson
5. Kevin Smith
6. Ray Rice
7. Rashard Mendenhall
8. Matt Forte
9. Felix Jones
10. Jonathon Stewart
11. Steve Slaton

I put so many in this draft because the difference in time from Kevin Smith to Steve Slaton was 4.43 to 4.49. This was such a great running back class and they showed it off by all running very fast times, as 11 ran under 4.50.

The point I am trying to make here is not that this is foolproof and whoever runs faster will have the better career. If that were the case, teams would be assigned players because there would be no other factor involved. However, there are tens of different factors that go into a selection on draft day. My point is simply that at the running back position, being able to burst out of a stance and having vertical speed turns out to be somewhat important, so don’t throw out the 40 yard dash by saying “when, in a game does a player ever run 40 yards in a straight line?” Not much, but if they do in a game, I’ll take the faster one.

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Football, NFL, NFL Draft | , , | 3 Comments

NFL Mock Draft (Picks 1-16)

Ah yes, the yearly mock is back once again for the third year in a row. Pre-Pro Day and Pre-Combine (and Pre-Mel Kiper’s annual draft book) things are still completely up in the air and the process is more of a crapshoot at this point more than anything. Still it’s fun to project what will happen in Radio City Music Hall on April 25th and 26th. Standard rules apply of no trades because that is too hard to project. I note in some places where I think trades may occur, but for now it’s straight draft.
*NOTE*- I just did the first half of the draft, the second half should be up tomorrow afternoon.

1. Detroit Lions– Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia- Stafford is the most complete quarterback in the draft as well as having the strongest arm. His accuracy and release are good as well and has decent size for a quarterback (6’2”, 235 lbs.) Look no further than the Atlanta Falcons last year for why this is the pick. As well as Calvin Johnson played last year, I can’t even imagine what an arm like Stafford throwing to him will produce. Some say it is too big of a risk/reward to take a quarterback and taking a franchise LT might be a safer bet, but having the 20th pick in the draft as well gives the Lions hope that one of them will fall to that pick.
2. St. Louis Rams– Eugene Monroe, LT, Virginia- Monroe, a second team All-American is an outstanding prospect and probably the fastest left tackle in this year’s draft. He has ideal quickness and excels especially in the pass blocking game. Orlando Pace is on the trading block and the Rams are looking to get younger on the offensive line and will do so with this pick.
3. Kansas City Chiefs– Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest- One of the easier picks in the first round is Curry going to the Chiefs. He is arguably the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft, and at 6’2”, 247 lbs. has ideal height and weight to play at the next level. After shoring up both lines last year, new GM Scott Pioli will look to find the next versatile playmaker for his team, and Curry fits that mold. Kansas City’s defense has struggled for a while but this pick could be a large step and a quick step in the right direction.
4. Seattle Seahawks– Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech- Personally, my favorite player in this year’s draft and quite possibly the best wide receiver talent that we have seen since Larry Fitzgerald. The name of the game with Crabtree is production. In 2 years, Crabtree scored 39 touchdowns and won the Biletnikoff Trophy twice, given to college’s best wide receiver. Don’t think that he was just a product of Texas Tech’s pass happy offense, either. While he doesn’t have the size or speed of a Calvin Johnson, he is an excellent playmaker, which is something the Seahawks need desperately as seen by some of the wideouts they played with last year.
5. Cleveland Browns– Everette Brown, OLB, Florida State- Watching film on Everette Brown truly wowed me. If you have time to go on Youtube and watch I would recommend it. He is unbelievably fast for his size (6’3”, 252 lbs.) and his instinct to jump the snap is awesome. His spin move is the fastest I’ve seen, although he gets out of control at some points and misses tackles. Cleveland accumulated just 18 sacks last year, and Brown will come in and help that right away. I can’t say enough about his speed and the type of player he could become. DeMarcus Ware anyone?
6. Cincinnati Bengals– Jason Smith, LT, Baylor- Smith is one of the most interesting prospects in the draft. He is a tight end turned left tackle and because of it excels with his footwork. Because he lacks experience at the position his form isn’t perfect, but he makes up for it with his size and long arms. Cincinnati needs an upgrade at the position with the oft-injured Levi Jones and Smith fits the bill here.
7. Oakland Raiders– B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College- Call him this year’s Cedrick Ellis, but Raji’s performance during the Senior Bowl practice week shot his stock way up. He has great speed for his size (6’1”, 334) and is an absolute wall in the middle. The Raiders’ 3-4 defense has lacked a stud defensive tackle and, while it isn’t the flashy pick, Al Davis can’t deny that Raji’s presence in the middle will do wonders for the defense.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars– Andre Smith, LT, Alabama- Smith is an interesting prospect and could go anywhere from 1st overall to this pick. Still, I think he slides due to his size concerns. Don’t get me wrong. He’s HUGE but his size has hurt him in the past. He isn’t as fast as he could be but if he could drop some weight before the combine his stock could increase. He may go earlier than this, but I put him down here because I’d rather have the athletic tackles then him. Khalif Barnes is not the answer at left tackle and Smith could end up being a steal here.
9. Green Bay Packers– Malcom Jenkins, CB, Ohio State- Typical Ted Thompson says that this pick will be traded, but if he does stay here then the pick will be Jenkins. He is the best player available and is an absolute playmaker. While he didn’t play the type of man-to-man that he will in Green Bay, he has great game speed and gets an excellent read on the ball. With Al Harris and Charles Woodson closing in on the end of their careers, Tramon Williams, Pat Lee and Jenkins could make the transition a lot easier.
10. San Fransisco 49ers– Mark Sanchez, QB, USC- Sanchez is another interesting prospect, because he could go at number 3 to the Chiefs and there is a chance that someone trades up in round one to get him before he gets to the Niners. Despite his inexperience, Sanchez has a quick release and a good enough arm to make it in the pros as long as his accuracy stays on target. San Francisco busted on Alex Smith back in 2005 but can’t pass up this value here.
11. Buffalo Bills– Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas- Orakpo is an absolute freak in the weight room (check that one out on Youtube also) and even better on the field. His size and speed work well together for a pass rushing end. While he is still raw and stands up too tall, I believe he can succeed for a Buffalo Bills team that needs to get to the quarterback more and improve their aging defense. Orakpo should do the trick.
12. Denver Broncos– Rey Maualuga, LB, USC- Maualuga is the first of what should be all three Trojan linebackers going in the first round. At 6’2”, 254 lbs., he is the next Ray Lewis. He is what every defense needs emotionally, physically and intangibly. Denver has been absolutely atrocious the last couple of years and not only will he help the run game, but he will fire up everyone around him and make them better.
13. Washington Redskins– Michael Oher, LT, Mississippi- This might be a little early for Oher to go, but not for the Redskins. Oher has started 34 consecutive games and can play either tackle positions at the next level. He has a solid frame that excels in the run game but can be a little stiff at times and doesn’t have the best footwork or speed. The Redskins need an upgrade for Jon Jansen and over time Oher could move to LT.
14. New Orleans Saints– Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois- As many yards as Drew Brees passed for last year, the Saints gave up just as many. Jason David is pitiful and Randall Gay hardly gets the job done. Davis did a great job improving every year at Illinois and became a premier cornerback in the Big Ten. At 6’0”, 204 lbs. has great size and has a lot of muscle to go with his quick frame.
15. Houston Texans– Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State- Aside from Mario Williams, the rest of the team had 13 sacks as a unit last year. They are desperate for a pass rusher and Maybin will give them that. He has room to add weight and must do that if he wants to be a 4-3 rusher (just 245 lbs.) but if he can, he has the most speed of any DL not named Everette Brown and will start from day 1.
16. San Diego Chargers– Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State- If the Ladanian Tomlinson bickering falls through and he comes back next year and Sproles re-signs, then clearly this pick will change. But for now, Wells is the best back on the board and the Chargers can’t pass on that. He would create a nice Lendale White/Chris Johnson combination with Sproles if indeed LT is gone. The last I will talk about Youtube, but there is a video dedicated JUST to stiff arms from this guy. He has great size and runs like Adrian Peterson. He explodes through the hole and can change direction on a dime. Good combo if you ask me.

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Green Bay Packers, NFL, NFL Draft | , , | 1 Comment