April 22, 2010 ~ By Brian E Murphy
~ After ignoring free agency for the first two months of the free agency period, Ted Thompson has addressed his team’s weakness stopping the pass by using his first round pick on offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga from Iowa.
Considered by some scouts to be a legitimate top-15 pick, the Packers appear to have gotten a nice value at #23.
However, other scouts view Bulaga as strictly a right tackle prospect, and yet other scouts believe he’s never going to be better than decent in the NFL.
On the other hand, Thompson had a rare opportunity to select a special talent at WR in Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State. He also had a chance to take a pass rush demon in Jerry Hughes out of TCU. Football Outsiders in depth study predicted him to be the best pass rusher out of the whole 2010 class. He was later selected by Indianapolis, who knows a thing or two about sacking QBs with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis there.
Bryant was rated higher than Michael Crabtree as a talent, but he had some off the field issues as a Cowboy. Ironically, it was the NFL’s Cowboys who were delighted the Packers passed at 23, so they traded up to 24 to take him.
Jerry Jones (and Ron Wolf ironically) had said his biggest regret was the 1998 draft passing on Randy Moss due to worries about off-field issues. He said he learned his lesson and could not wait til his pick at 27 and hope Bryant would be there. He felt he was a top-5 player in this draft and a future Pro Bowl WR.
With Donald Driver being into his mid-30′s, Bryant could have been a good guy to learn from Driver for a year or two, while immediately sparking this team’s horrible special teams return units. In addition, the Denver Broncos selected a different WR with the immediate pick before, #22 with Demaryius Thomas. You think that might light a fire under Bryant like 21 teams passing on Moss did in 1998?
The best case scenario now seems to be Bulaga turning into an AJ Hawk type player: a guy who’s solid, decent, if not spectacular.
Other scenario’s would be looking back at the 1998 draft, the 1989 draft, and the 2006 draft. Only time will tell.
April 13, 2010 ~ By Brian E Murphy ~
We’re under 10 days until the start of the 2010 NFL Draft Marathon. The NFL, in an effort to squeeze all the possible advertising dollars they can, have altered the extremely popular format from a Saturday & Sunday deal, into a Thursday Night, Friday Night, and Saturday marathon. Now they will get two evenings of primetime commercials.
So if you’re a Packers fan, you get all fired up for Thursday night’s first round. You know picking at #23 means about a 3-hour wait until the Packers pick. Then what? Watch Ted Thompson trade down out of round one all together, and now your trip to the Atrium or your Packers home draft party is all done. Come back in 22 hours.
#1- St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
#2-Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
#3-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
#4- Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
#5- Kansas City Chiefs: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
#6- Seattle Seahawks: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
#7- Cleveland Browns: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
#8- Oakland Raiders: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
#9- Buffalo Bills: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
#10- Jacksonville Jaguars: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
#11- Denver Broncos: Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
#12- Miami Dolphins: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
#13- San Francisco 49ers: Earl Thomas, FS/CB, Texas
#14- Seattle Seahawks: Charles Brown, OT, USC
#15- New York Giants: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
#16- Tennessee Titans: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
#17- San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
#18- Pittsburgh Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
#19- Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
#20- Houston Texans: Taylor Mays, S, USC
#21- Cincinnati Bengals: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
#22- New England Patriots: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
#23- Green Bay Packers: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
The Packers are delighted, but torn, that C.J. Spiller and OLB Sergio Kindle are both on board at #23. Similar to last year at #9 when Raji and Crabtree were remarkably still available, the Packers are in good shape whichever way they go.
Last year, the Packers went with need and took the big nose tackle Raji to build an anchor for their new 3-4 defense.
This time, the Packers take the top-ranked RB, who was rated in the top-ten on their big board and wasn’t expected to reach this spot.
Pass Defense is this team’s weakness, but don’t forget how poor the special teams has been for years.
Spiller is a threat to take kicks back to the house every time he gets one. Runningback is not a weakness on this team as Ryan Grant is one of the most productive backs in the NFL, but Spiller is too good to pass up and immediately will bolster a team weakness as a return stud.
He’s not a good blocker as Brandon Jackson is out of the backfield, but he’s much more dangerous and electric as a receiver, something Jackson doesn’t provide much of. But again, special teams is the key here as CJ immediately makes that part of the team better. Down the road, Spiller has Marshal Faulk ability as a great all-purpose back.
I personally would take Kindle here to pair with Matthews as QB-hunters, or better yet, would try and trade down 5-12 picks and add an extra 2nd or 3rd round pick and target OLB Jerry Hughes with the first pick.
#24- Philadelphia Eagles: Kyle Wilson, CB/PR, Boise State
#25- Baltimore Ravens: Jared Odrick, DE/DT, Penn State
#26- Arizona Cardinals: Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas
#27- Dallas Cowboys: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
#28- San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
#29- New York Jets: Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU
#30- Minnesota Vikings: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
#31- Indianapolis Colts: Jahvid Best, RB, California
#32- New Orleans Saints: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
4/1/2010 ~ Brian Murphy ~
I’ve given up, for now, on Ted Thompson bringing any free agents in, so let’s get right to the draft.
Chargers really want Fresno RB Ryan Mathews, so they trade their 1st (#28) and their 2nd rounder (#40) to GB for #23. Trade value chart is close enough this could be a deal. Packers may have to kick back a late round pick, or a guy who will be cut anyway.
He’s 15 pounds heavier than Matthews was at this point in time last year, and his 20-splits, shuttles, and 3-cone times were actually faster overall than the quick Clay. A perfect compliment to Matthews and would give the Packers the best two OLBs in football, above the Steelers. Yes I said it.
Good athlete, smart football player. Could play both safety positions, and is a much better cover guy than big hit Bigby, who in addition to missing coverage, also misses a lot of time with nagging injuries. Provides great depth even when Atari is there.
A classic Ted Thompson pick, who is groomed to take over for Clifton.
Another classic Thompson pick, he’s going to eventually battle Breno for that future RT position. A great run blocker.
Stock seemingly has slipped in the off-season, but on the football field, he’s a good player. I see more ability in him than former picks Pat Lee and Brandon Underwood. And he’s stronger.
Would instantly, I mean right away, jump-start the Packers return game in the important special teams department. This team’s special teams has been horrible for a long time, with the one-year exception in 2007. Holliday is Dante Hall, with more speed and even shorter, which is harder to find and get a big lick on.
Forgotten man out of The U, because that team is not in the limelight as they used to be. But little Edge has talent to be a good NFL 3rd down back at the least. He would give the Packers 3 capable backs.
Meet your new punter, another left-footer. A big guy so he could make tackles when the special teams coverage breaks down, which seems to happen too often.
Nice late-round project at QB, a la Matt Flynn a few years ago. Throws a nice ball, is findamentally strong. Has a chance to be a career NFL backup, and who knows, could do well when given the chance down the road.