2011 Draft Rearview – Part I

Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy (left) and general manager Ted Thompson would love to have another draft that gets them back to the Super Bowl winner's podium. Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

With the 2012 draft coming up in a month, writer Jonathan Schweitzer will take you on a series of stories that take a look back at the Packers 2011 National Football League Draft.

Coming off a Super Bowl win, the Packers hoped to solidify a few key positions in the 2011 NFL draft.

Despite his public utterances, team GM Ted Thompson’s strategy is not always to take the best available player. Knowing that few, if any rookies make an immediate impact, the Packers’ strategy is geared toward long-term team-building, allowing rookies a year or two to hone their craft before becoming starters or major contributors.

Prior to the 2011 draft, the Packers had few immediate weaknesses that needed to be addressed. Instead, Packers brass anticipated needing future starters on the offensive line and the defensive backfield to eventually replace aging stars Chad Clifton and Charles Woodson. They also must have known that they were not going to re-sign Cullen Jenkins.

But if history has shown us anything, its that the Packers won’t make a bold, short-term move to correct an immediate need. For instance, Jenkins’ replacement, the 2010-11 injury of Mike Neal was counted on in 2011, but couldn’t shed his injury-prone label to make up for the loss of Jenkins in 2011.

Round 1
Derek Sherrod, OL, Mississippi State

Sherrod was drafted as the heir-apparent to Chad Clifton. The Packers obviously thought that he was good enough to contribute right away and put him in the competition for left guard, which was easily won by T.J. Lang. He couldn’t even win the top back-up tackle position, which went to Marshall Newhouse.

Sherrod did contribute in spots, including the Atlanta Falcons game and the first Detroit Lions game. He had solid, but not perfect outings and seemed to be on his way to competing for Clifton’s left tackle spot with Newhouse in training camp until a broken leg left him with months of healing and recovery time. He’s not expected to seriously compete for a starting job in 2012.

See Part II tomorrow …

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Topics: Chad Clifton, Charles Woodson, Cullen Jenkins, Green Bay Packers, Mike Neal, NFL Draft, Super Bowl, Ted Thompson

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