The third of a four-part series showing the correlation between the Packers’ 2011 draft and their strategy for long-term team-building.
Davon House, CB, New Mexico St.
After going offense three times to start the draft, Ted Thompson used the fourth round pick on a cornerback. No doubt worried about Charles Woodson’s ability to continue to play cornerback (notice I didn’t just say “play”) at a high-level for the next couple years, Thompson chose a tall cornerback with speed to put into the Packers’ draft and develop pipeline.
Most probably thought Thompson’s first defensive pick should have been at OLB or DE, since it looked like the defensive backfield was well-stocked. House didn’t even play until the meaningless regular season finale. Fast-forward one year and this pick looks pretty prescient. Why? Because a year after Tramon Williams and Sam Shields played almost lights-out football, they both visibly regressed. Shields was even pulled from the playoff game in favor of special-teamer Jarrett Bush. This pick also looks smart now because Charles Woodson may be forced to play safety to fill-in for the injured Nick Collins. Let’s just hope that House can actually play.
D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas
With his fifth selection, Thompson picked a replacement for Jermichael Finley. With Finley coming into this last contractual season, Thompson needed to hedge against the possibility of Finley leaving the Packers for a humongous contract elsewhere. With the labor strife, no one knew whether or not franchise tags would exist for the Packers to use on Finley, or if they would be prohibitive. It turns out though that the Packers were able to sign Finley to a compromise contract, much like they did with Greg Jennings, that allows Finley the opportunity to hit the free agent market when he is still in the prime of this career.
Meanwhile, that means that Williams, who was an occasional contributor for the Packers in 2011, can take two more years to get up to speed (much like Finely took 1-2 years) with the offense before he’s expected to play a big role, assuming that Finey does leave for more green. In the meantime, Williams should compete with fellow tight end Andrew Quarless for the backup TE spot.
Tags: Andrew Quarless Arkansas Charles Woodson D.J. Williams Davon House Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings Jarrett Bush Jermichael Finley New Mexico State Nick Collins Sam Shields Ted Thompson Tramon Williams