Thursday, April 28, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: The Green Bay Packers Wish List

The 2011 NFL Draft is going to be exciting for Packer fans. Not because they are picking last. No wait, in a way it is. They are picking last because ....they are the reigning Super Bowl Champions!

I know its a futile exercise to try doing a NFL Mock Draft. The most advances scouts and insiders themselves will be lucky to get maybe eight picks right in the first round. That does not discourage me to give out my wish list as to how the Packers should draft this year.

Some Ground Rules first. I am assuming no draft day trades will be made by the Packers. I know...I know, we can almost guarantee that there will be draft day trades, but I'm just trying to keep this simple. Also, for each of the early round picks (till Round 3), I am going to provide 3 options, in order of priority (highest first, obviously). Also, to state the obvious, sometimes a really good player may slip down to the Packers (like Bulaga in the 2010 draft). I am not going to consider all such possibilities here.

Team Needs

The most glaring needs for the Packers are on the Offensive Line, both at Guard and Tackle. Most likely, they will not need a first year starter, unless there is an injury or the guy they pick is really that good. They also need some depth on the Defensive line. With Cullen Jenkins most likely gone, a serviceable DE will be great. Also, the search for a Clay Mathews clone at OLB will be on.

With James Jones likely leaving via FA (unless Packers re-sign him, or the league operates according to 2010 rules which will make him a RFA), Packers will want to add a couple WRs they can develop into starters. Some depth at safety will also help.

The RB situation could also potentially get a little dicey. Grant is coming of an injury. How good will he be when he gets back? James Starks' history shows he is also prone to injury. Will he lasts the whole season? Will Brandon Jackson be back? So drafting a 'insurance' RB might help the Packers.

Other than that, they will be drafting for the future and/or draft the best player on the board at the time when they are on the clock.

The Picks

Pick 1: (Round 1, No. 32)

Option 1: Derek Sherrod, OT, Miss. St.
He is not the best OT in the draft, but picking at No.32, realistically, he is the best you can hope for. He is said to have a high football IQ, which should make up for some of his physical liabilities like limited quickness etc. Of course, if we are lucky, Nate Solder or Gabe Carimi might just fall into our lap.

Option 2: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
It is very unlikely he will drop down to No.32. But, with many teams getting caught up in a rush for drafting QBs, O linemen and D linemen, there is a possibility for him to drop to the Packers. While the scouting report on him indicates he is more of a patient runner, he will fit perfectly into the zone blocking scheme of the Packers offense. And the insurance at RB I was talking about earlier.

Option 3: Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
Rather than settling for a lower rated player on the O line, I think the Packers should take a solid option at OLB to play opposite Mathews.Here again, if Akeem Ayers falls down to them, he will be the no-brainer choice for OLB.

Pick 2: (Round 2, No. 64)

Option 1: Titus Young, WR, Boise State
This guy is a small fast WR, who can be a potential game breaker (of the Desean Jackson mould; but will he be as successful? no idea). He can also help int kick return duties. But if Randall Cobb is available here, you got to take him. If both are gone, Edmund Gates is an option here. Or take a tough, middle of the field possession WR in Austin Pettis.

Option 2: Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU
This is again a very ambitious pick. Very unlikey Cannon will be available here. But, hey, this is just my wish list. I'll take him here.

Option 3: John Moffitt, OG, Wisconsin
Packers could play it safe and get a solid Guard for their O line. Plus, he is a local kid from Wisconsin; will be a fan favorite for sure.

Pick 3: (Round 3, No. 96)

Option 1: Sam Acho, DE, Texas
A smart, high character player for the Dom Capers system.

Option 2: Davon House, CB, New Mexico State
Not an urgent need, but why not take a young promising CB for the future to take over from Charles Woodson eventually? Plus, a homer pick (he's an Aggie!)

Option 3: Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington
This is a promising speedster, who can add versatility to the RB core, especially if Brandon Jackson is not going to return.

Pick 4: (Round 4, No. 129)
Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska
Solid option to develop as the successor to Donald Driver.

Pick 5: (Round 4, No. 131)
Shiloh Keo, SS, Idaho
About time the Packers catered to their depth at Safety. This guy had above average productivity in college and has skills against the run too.

Pick 6: (Round 5, No. 163)
Bruce Miller, DE/OLB, UCF
A possible OLB outside Clay Mathews. Has to play smart with a high motor to compensate his relatively small size.

Pick 7: (Round 6, No. 197)
Byron Stingily, OT, Louisville
A solid prospect for the future LT position after Chad Clifton is done.

Pick 8: (Round 7, No. 204)
Garrett Chisolm, OG, South Carolina
A promising developmental project for the Left Guard position.

Pick 9: (Round 7, No. 233)
Derek Hall, OT, Stanford
With the last pick for the Packers in the draft, why not take a flyer on the guy who protected Andrew Luck at Stanford through his freshman year. He must have been doing something right.

Ideally, I would like the Packers to trade down some of these spots and pile up more bodies and picks. But I'd be more than satisfied if the draft went anything like above. In Ted Thompson, we trust!

Go Pack Go!

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