By: Zach Kruse
If you’re a Green Bay Packers fan, you probably have a pretty good feel for the way GM Ted Thompson goes about his business.
For starters, he doesn’t overpay for big name free agents. That has frustrated fans in the past, but I think most have come around on this part of his management strategy. Thompson’s other most visible principle is his use of the draft. Very rarely (if ever) does he reach for a player simply because it fits a positional need for the Packers.
Only when the top of Thompson’s draft board meets with a need do you see the Packers making a selection that makes sense in that way. Case in point, Bryan Bulaga last year. However, there still is an importance in identifying which position the Packers could make an upgrade at.
I use the term “need” loosely here, but if the Packers had such a thing this off season, these positions would most likely fit that profile.
Outside Linebacker : Clay Matthews (17 combined sacks in 2010-2011) is firmly entrenched on the left side, but the Packers could use another play-maker opposite him. There’d also be nothing wrong with adding more talent and competition for Erik Walden and Frank Zombo.
Offensive tackle/guard : Both Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are past their primes, and guard Daryn Colledge is a free agent this off season. Bulaga, Josh Sitton and Scott Wells are probably the only Packers’ linemen that can be counted on long term. With plenty of quality tackles in the draft, the Packers could take one early to solidify their offensive line both next season and long-term.
Corner back: Charles Woodson will be 35 in October, and his future is probably at safety a few years down the road. Tramon Williams and Sam Shields make a formidable duo regardless, but the Packers could draft a young corner to groom into the nickelback.
Wide Receiver : It may not seem like a position in need of an upgrade, but it could deteriorate quickly. James Jones could leave in free agency this off season, and Donald Driver is 36 years old and in the twilight of his career. With how much the Packers pass, drafting an impact receiver doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
Kick/Punt Returner : This is something the Packers could address by finding a player at one of the positions above, but something needs to be done. Williams means too much to the defense to continue to run him out at punt return, and the Packers got almost nothing out of the bevy of players who returned kicks.