We are not halfway into the 2013 NFL season and I am looking ahead a bit for the Green Bay Packers needs for next year.
Why, you ask?
Is it too soon?
You can bet that Packers GM Ted Thompson and his staff are always a step or two ahead of the competition. I doubt any of the good teams in the league are not doing the same. That is how the good NFL teams stay that way.
What are the Packers’ needs for next season?
Let’s start at quarterback. Quarterback? Yes, the quarterback position because you can never have too many good quarterbacks and the Packers have a serious need at backup quarterback to All-World Aaron Rodgers.
The 2014 quarterback crop is slated to be good and it pays to take a flyer on a potential arm at this point, maybe around the fourth or fifth round. So someone like an A.J. McCarron of Alabama or a Keith Price of Washington could thrive in the Packers’ offense.
I still have high hopes for offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and for J.C. Tretter. Left tackle David Bakhtiari has exceeded all hopes for the left side of the offensive line. I think Bryan Bulaga can go back to the right side for good next season. The experience that the young tackles have gotten in this offense bodes well for the Packers’ offensive line. I think the development of Evan Dietrich-Smith at center has been great and he is likely to be re-signed to a long-term deal. A bit more depth at center would be welcome, however.
The recent rash of injuries at wide receiver and tight end should have the Packers looking at bringing in another game-changing player at that position. It is possible that Jermichael Finley may not return to the team or football, for that matter. If he does and the Packers re-sign him, it is likely that it would be a short term deal to see how well he has recovered from his neck injury. Another receiving tight end like Finley would soften the blow if he does not play for the team in 2014. I would be concentrating on a tight end or wide receiver in the first two rounds. A good sized wide receiver like Mike Evans of Texas A&M or Allen Robinson of Penn State could help at that position, and Eric Ebron of North Carolina and Jace Amaro of Texas Tech would shore up the tight end corps.
On defense, there may be some question about the defensive line with Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji and if they will be coming back. Thompson would be wise to look into drafting some depth here. The linebacker group looks OK except that A.J. Hawk is getting a bit long in the tooth and that may need to be addressed. The team is better off than many think but I would concentrate more on the offensive side of the ball and stock up on more game-breaking players.