We’re still hanging tight with free agency as the Green Bay Packers have nearly 10 players still on the market, but we’ve also witnessed the bulk of GM Ted Thompson’s work in this player securement avenue and it’s time we refocus on the NFL Draft.
Sure, TT will probably re-sign a few of his own still out there: John Kuhn? Johnny Jolly? Ryan Pickett? Robert Francois? If he can get them with value deals, expect Thompson to close a few more deals in free agency.
But now the real work starts.
Thompson is well known across the NFL landscape as the draft and development guru – doing some of his best work with not only his draft choices, but the undrafted free agent diamonds he tends to unearth every spring.
Sam Shields, Don Barclay, Sean Richardson, Jamari Lattimore and Tramon Williams (though originally signed by the Texans) come to mind, but just last year, here’s a list of undrafted players who made the roster last season: Andy Mulumba, Lane Taylor, Myles White, and Jake Stoneburner,
Thompson, who was signed back in the day himself as an undrafted free agent, will be looking to improve his defense through the draft and will most likely be focusing on the safety position, as well as linebacker and possibly cornerback.
With his work in free agency, it looks like defensive line has been addressed, but that doesn’t mean Thompson won’t expend a high draft pick on the D-line if the right player is available. Same goes for offensive line (center) and tight end.
However, with the loss of wide receiver James Jones to the Oakland Raiders, the need at the position becomes a bit more important. Yes, Jarrett Boykin is in line to take over and, in my mind, could be the team’s next superstar, but the position is also primed to add another receiver through the draft. And with this being one of the deepest drafts in memory at the position, Thompson could probably look to the third, even fourth rounds to find a quality player.
Beyond first-rounders Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marquise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin, there are many receivers in the round 2-4 range and beyond who might fit well into the Packers’ hi-octane offense. Thompson could be eyeing guys like LSU’s Jarvis Landry, Fresno State’s Davante Adams, Penn State’s Allen Robinson, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, or possibly even Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis.
There are plenty of other wide receivers who might fit into a later round draft by the Packers, but we all know that Thompson likes the early- to mid-round skill players -
if he doesn’t unearth an undrafted receiver.
With both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb scheduled for big paydays and Boykin with at least another couple seasons under contract, the Packers will need to find some young legs that might add competition for those other receivers already on the team’s roster: Myles White, Sedderik Cunningham, Kevin Dorsey, Alex Gillett, and Chris Harper.
Maybe Thompson believes he already has a corps of receivers in-house he can work with, but I can’t believe that with the depth of talent in this year’s draft that he won’t take a shot on at least one of those players to improve the position.
But let’s be straight – Thompson needs to continue to work to improve the team’s defense, first and foremost. Once he gets that done, expect him to turn to the offense and expect him to continue to look for players who will help Aaron Rodgers.
Tags: Green Bay Packers