The 2013 NFL draft is just around the corner. Despite free agent signings and the recent start of the offseason workout program, the draft is the alarm that wakes football fans from hibernation across the nation.
Since the last tick ran off the clock against the San Francisco 49ers back in January “the experts” have been mocking the draft and agonizing over who the Packers might select. I for one have not been trying to predict the rationale of Packers General Manager Ted Thompson. Instead I took a much more secure approach. I looked at what Thompson has done in the draft in the past.
This week I write with a more reckless abandon. I will jump or at least nudge myself into the fray and take a couple of swings at whom I think would benefit the Green Bay Packers.
Let’s begin by considering what the Packers need. Most would agree that the Packers biggest areas of need are on the offensive and defensive line. With the recent departure of Greg Jennings, acquiring some more talent at the wide receiver position might be necessary going forward. Although they have some young talent in M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillan at safety, I don’t know that they are sold just yet. Safety and defensive back is an area of need as well.
Everyone always concerns themselves with the first round pick and one small blemish on Thompson’s draft record is a few hiccups in selecting first round players. Justin Harrell was certainly a bust and the jury is still out on Derek Sherrod and Nick Perry. Last week I equated Thompson to a baseball player who hits for a good average and has enough power to keep the pitcher honest. If this is true, and Thompson is a .300 hitter this year’s selection should be at least a double.
A few guys I would be happy to see in the Green and Gold coming out of the first round are on the defensive side of the ball are Sylvester Williams and Jonathan Jenkins. Williams, a big defensive tackle from North Carolina, has seen his stock climb of late. He is a good combination of size and speed and can stuff the run and get to the quarterback. He has also been described as a “violent” tackler. That’s enough for me to hear after watching a few seasons of poor tackling by Green Bay defenders.
Jenkins, at 6-3 and 359 pounds, is as they say, “a load,” at the line of scrimmage. He seems to be strong against the run and eats up blockers. With Ryan Pickett getting up in age, Jenkins could pick up where he leaves off.
On the offensive side of the ball, D.J. Fluker, a mean looking guy from Alabama, is a physical specimen who excels in the run game but is somewhat of a liability in pass protection. The Packers do need help in the running game and road graders up front could make the difference. But having another so-so pass protecting tackle responsible for keeping Aaron Rodgers upright concerns me.
At center, I like Travis Frederick, but the guy I would really like to see in a Packer uniform is Barrett Jones of Alabama. He is versatile and we know Mike McCarthy likes that in offensive lineman and he is intelligent. In college he played center, guard and tackle, with center being his strongest position. Jones is predicted to go in the second round. If as many are starting to speculate, the Packers trade down and out of the first round, I would be excited for Thompson to grab Jones.
I don’t know that the Packers need to select a wide receiver in the first round, but if one of value falls into their lap I wouldn’t be opposed. With Randall Cobb emerging as the Packers go-to guy I would like to see the Packers get a bigger receiver to balance their attack. Two guys that have caught my attention are Robert Woods of USC and Terrance Williams of Baylor. Both Woods and Williams have good speed and good hands and are projected to be available in the second or third rounds.
Just like I prefer a bigger wide receiver I think the same can be said at the safety position. Phillip Thomas of Fresno State is intriguing as is the kid with a checkered past from Georgia, Bacarri Rambo. I don’t know about you, but Rambo at safety sounds pretty menacing. Both of these guys do not seem to shy away from contact and have put up numbers that indicate they have a nose for the ball.
Really, my guess is as good as yours. As they say, “In Ted we trust.”
But even more important – wake up, everyone! Football is back!