The first thing Ted Thompson does when he gets up in the morning is open his lombardiave.com bookmark to read about the top Packers news – after all, he’s my best bud. We go way back and he listens to everything I say and write.
OK, so now that I’ve told my lie of the day, let’s just imagine that I’ve got a direct pipeline to the general manager – you know, his top advisor.
So, here’s how this morning’s conversation went:
Ring-ring …Ring-ring … Ring-ring … Ring-ring … Ring-ring … Ring-ring … Ring-ring … Ring-ring … Ring-ri …
TT: Uhhhh … hellow?
Lombardiave: Hey man, it’s about time you answered the phone … whassup?
TT: Oh, not much. I just couldn’t sleep last night … I was up all night worrying about that Jermichael Finley deal … you know I’ve got to write a check for like around $4 million this week to the dude? Yeah, I guess I’ve told you that. But on top of that, I’ve got the draft coming up and I just can’t make up my mind – you know, should it be offensive line? Linebacker? Safety? And I know everyone wants me to go after a running back … you know, it didn’t help the other day when you wrote that story about us having and interest in Ahmad Bradshaw – cripes, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing …
Lombadiave: You mean Bradshaw’s guys kept calling you?
TT: No, it was Ryan Grant … he’s a guy without a team and said he saw the story … he’s pissed, man. He really wants another shot.
Lombardiave: Oh, but doesn’t he remember that fumble against the Giants in the 2012 playoff game and last year when he ripped off that big run against the Bears and then gets stripped by Peanut Tillman at the end of it? … that play alone almost cost us that game.
TT: I know. I know. But we gotta do something with the running game.
Lombardiave: So, what is going on with that Bradshaw guy?
TT: He’s not ready to run yet, I guess. Gotta wait on him.
Lombardiave: You can’t wait, Ted. You’ve gotta make a decision … and you have to make it soon. I tell you what. I’ll email you my top five picks on my board right now … and this won’t be no dream list, Ted. This will be thee top 5 I think will be available at number 26 … OK?
Lombardiave: And get some sleep, man. You gotta pay Finley. Now that Jennings stuck it to you … with the help of that Favre guy … you just gotta live with it and move on. You can get another year out of him at least.
TT: Oh, OK.
Minutes later, I begin typing my email …
Ted, been thinking about our phone convo and as I promised, here’s my list. A little bit of everything here. Ok, so I lied … there might be a couple here that you might have to think about trading up for … but that’s why you get the big bucks. Just give them a look and get back to me … and don’t show it to McCarthy … he’ll just poo-poo everything. He always does … LOL.
Here’s my list:
Here are some strengths and weaknesses offered by CBSsports.com:
Strengths: Prototypical size and build for the position. Possesses a high-cut frame with good overall musculature. Shows very good straight-line speed, agility, balance and hip flexibility. Athleticism for coverage duties are enhanced by Vaccaro’s vision and instincts. Quickly locates the ball and shows an understanding of route-progression, rarely getting caught out of position.
Weaknesses: Can get out of control in his aggression toward the line of scrimmage. Will duck his head in his attempt to make the big hit and leave cut-back lanes for patient, explosive runners to take full advantage. Must do a better job of wrapping up, rather than leading with his shoulder.
Here is the top rated safety who is expected to go first round, but you may feel he could be a mid- to later-round selection. Does that mean the Packers might take the opportunity to trade up for him? You might want to think about it. You need help up the defensive middle (line, linebacker, and safety), but I think you might be more inclined to go after a lineman than a safety in the first round. Ted, you always seems to find mid-rounders who are productive players within the Packers system, so I don’t think you have to spend a first round selection on a safety. From our talks you are more likely to go offensive or defensive line with the first-rounder … don’t you think? But the call is yours.
Here is a video of Vaccaro …
Yes, you already have depth at the receiver position, but like defensive backs, one can never have a shortage of quality recovers in this pass-happy league and especially on this pass-happy team. The losses of Jennings and Driver leaves you short of experience and production – at least as far as Jennings goes. Allen is a huge talent – so huge that I just don’t see him available at this point in the draft – trade up for the dude. Stranger things have happened in the past, but I frankly I don’t see Allen getting through the first 25 picks without some wide receiver-hungry team snatching him up. The Vikings come to mind. But if he is still on the board, I would expect this pick to be a no-brainer, Ted. Allen is a speedster who goes and gets the ball. Great hands, great speed and a natural fit to the Packers system. He’s a definite first-rounder. Got get him, Ted.
Here’s video of the dude …
Jones has an extremely tough matchup in the National Championship, since he will consistently face monster NT Louis Nix face up. It will go far in showing if Jones has the quickness of the snap to get his hands onto defenders and a strong enough anchor to keep his balance and not give up the pocket. Otherwise, his future may be at guard.
This is the selection that a majority of mocksters have written in ink … many feel that this is already a done deal and a slam dunk at that.
The more I look around at various options for the Packers, I’m not so sure anymore about this pick. The reason being is that if you really want this guy, I think you might be able to go a different direction with the first pick (defense? wide receiver? running back?) and still be able to pick him up in the second round.
There’s no question Jones would be an incredible addition to the team. He can play all interior line positions and has also played tackle – versatility that weighs heavily with you, Ted. He is also a smart dude (ala Matt Birk) who would have no trouble learning the nuances of playing center in the NFL. The awards he’s gotten over the years are testament to his abilities on and off the football field. He would also be an incredible locker room leader who could step right in and make an impact.
I like Jones for his smarts and his toughness and feel he could be the kind of player who would perform well for many years in the NFL.
This is a great first round selection … again, this is why you get the big bucks, Ted.
Here’s a video of Barrett Jones …
Many still feel that an offensive lineman will be the Packers’ best – and safest – pick in the first round and Fluker is an excellent choice. However, there are those who feel that his teammate, Barrett Jones, would be the better selection because he is more versatile. Jones has played all the interior positions and some say he could even be moved outside in a pinch.
The 6-6, 335-pound tackle ranks in the top 30 of the top 100 college players, but he has had some health issues – as Jones has as well. He would be especially helpful in improving Green Bay’s run game as his best assets are run blocking. Many project him to the second round and would be a steal if the Packers could pick him up there. With either Jones or Fluker as the Packers’ first round choice, they would be getting a solid player who would improve the depth of their offensive line – something you so desperately need.
If Jones isn’t available, maybe this guy will be.
Here’s a video of D.J. Fluker …
Kawann Short is an interesting selection and would offer a possible solution to the lack of depth the team is experiencing this offseason. With it a fact that Jerel Worthy probably won’t make it back onto the field until the halfway mark of 2013, if then, it’s important that you shore up the D-line. Ted, I know you made attempts through free agency this offseason, but you can also add depth with someone like Short in the draft, that would be a plus. The 6-3 300-pounder from Purdue might be one of those who will be on the board at 26 and he’s the best player in your eye, I would suspect you might do well by going after this guy.
Here’s a video of Kawann Short …