What’s Next for the Packers?

Apr 28, 2011; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces the 32nd overall pick of the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

What a crazy offseason it has been … Peyton Manning being released from the Colts, Tim Tebow being traded to the Jets, and the Saints bounty scandal are the big headliners.

As an average Packer fan, you may think the Packers did the usual thing this offseason which was … nothing at all.

Though they may not be headline news, the Packers did make some key acquisitions and have somewhat lessened the importance for the upcoming draft for the Packers. GM Ted Thompson lives and dies by the draft which means his presence in free agency is hardly ever felt. Heck, before this year, he had not signed an unrestricted free agent since 2009.

So what makes this season so different for Thompson?

Maybe having the worst-ranked defense had something to do with it. Also, losing All Pro center Scott Wells left a large hole to fill. One that a rookie just could not fill.

So Thompson went out of his comfort zone and signed former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who played with Peyton Manning his entire career. With Saturday getting way up there in age, his value in free agency was slightly diminished. His age has not caught up with him yet, so adding Saturday to the Packers O-line fills a large hole.

After Saturday, the Packers picked up defensive tackle, Daniel Muir, who also played with the Colts. Muir has not played in a year, but when he did play he was a very effective tackle on every team he was with and could add some needed depth to the Packers’ defensive line.

The final transaction for the Packers was with former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Anthony Hargrove. With his size being around 270, he could play as a defensive end in the Packers 3-4 scheme or at outside linebacker. I do believe, however, the Packers picked up Hargrove in hopes of him being able to fill the shoes of a position once held by Cullen Jenkins, who is now playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.

So with the offseason winding down, what’s next for the Packers?

It’s what Ted Thompson lives for. The NFL Draft.

The Packers have 12 picks with which to work this year which ties for the most picks Thompson has had since 2006, his second year on the job. With the very nice compensatory picks the Packers received, the team have a very nice selection of picks capable of making some moves in the draft. This could mean trading down in the draft for even more picks or trading up and getting a certain player the organization have had their eyes on. This means the Packers have some leverage in this draft which is where Ted Thompson shines as a general manager.

Who the Packers should look to draft in the early rounds would be either be a pass rusher who can play outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme or draft another young offensive lineman, because center Jeff Saturday is only a short-term solution.

Players who would seem logical include Clemson defensive end Andre Branch, USC defensive end Nick Perry, or Wisconsin center Peter Konz. If Konz is available, this would seem to be a logical pick and would fill a need for the future.

With another crazy offseason coming to an end in the NFL, all that is left before players begin practicing again is the NFL Draft. An event where teams gain more depth and players begin living the dream which they have had ever since being a kid. So, though free agency is basically over, there is still something to look forward to very soon.

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Topics: Andre Branch, Anthony Hargrove, Center, Cullen Jenkins, Daniel Muir, Defense, Draft, Free Agency, Jeff Saturday, New Orleans Saints, NFL Draft, NFL Moves, Nick Perry, Packers, Peter Konz, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Player Movement, Scott Wells, Seattle Seahawks, Ted Thompson

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