Louisville Cardinals safety Calvin Pryor Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Green Bay Packers Citizen GM: Looking toward Draft Day

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will most likely be gone by the time the Packers select at number 21. Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will most likely be gone by the time the Packers select at number 21. Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports photograph


May 8 seemed forever away a couple of months ago for us fans of the NFL and the Green Bay Packers.

The much-anticipated 2014 NFL Draft is creeping up on us now, however.

A mere week stands between hypothesis and reality; the era of speculation is coming to a close.

The Green Bay Packers head honchos are, no doubt, toiling over potential draft picks as we speak … as is every other NFL GM in the league. They all have their hands full; on their shoulders rest the hopes and dreams of entire fan bases, who can be unrelenting and erratic.

Lucky for me — I have no more real power than the average Joe NFL fan out there. So, I can express my opinions freely and without repercussion.

… which I shall do, now.

As Citizen GM of the Green Bay Packers, I am wholly looking forward to draft day. I’m projecting the coverage onto the side of the house in the backyard, with a fire going and lounge chairs spread about. It’s going to be real official from where I am. I’ve got my own mock draft board ready to go.

It’s no secret that the Green Bay Packers are lacking a playmaker at the safety position. Ted Thompson and Co. are staring down the barrel of a first round that is loaded with talent. Representatives from DL, LB, WR and QB are among those counted, as are CB and safety. Will Thompson spend a first round pick on the safety that the Packers so desperately need?

Here’s why: YES.

Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are both first round prospects. Each has qualities that will strengthen any secondary. They both fared well at the combine and showed that they can be instant contributors and potential game-changers.

With a talent pool consisting of Louis Nix III, Aaron Donald, Jadeveon Clowney and the slew of franchise QBs available, it’s more than possible that talents like Clinton-Dix and Pryor will be available to the Packers at the 21st pick.

Thompson has seen first hand what a lack of talent in the secondary can do for a team that considers itself championship-caliber. With Aaron Rodgers in his prime, the Packers’ front office doesn’t have the time to waste on bargain-bin players any more. The Davon House, Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings experiment is over. It didn’t yield any favorable results.

I believe that Ted and Mike McCarthy have thought long and hard about what steps need to be taken to get the defense back on track. The defensive line was dominating the line of scrimmage early on in 2013, taking away the run even from the league’s most promising young running backs. However, the lack of a pass defense made it difficult for the run defense to keep its focus and its motivation.

They both fell apart …

Instead of starting with the run defense, I propose the Packers solidify the pass defense. With Sam Shields re-signed, Tramon Williams opposite him, the emergence of Micah Hyde and the timely return of Casey Hayward, the Packers have a solid opportunity to capture a raw talent like Pryor or Clinton-Dix to shore up any remaining holes in the secondary. With a healthy crop of returning defensive lineman, the run defense can return to domination form more easily.

Some are speculating that the first round is too high for either safety, and if that’s the case … Ted Thompson will draft accordingly. Fans were outraged that the Packers passed on Eddie Lacy in the first round last year, only to rejoice that he was a huge bargain in the second.

Either way, I think the Packers will get their guy.

I am truly looking forward to another breakout year by a Packers’ rookie, excelling at their craft like Lacy before him and Hayward before him. I’ve just got this sneaking suspicion that the safety position is going to get the gold ticket upgrade next week.

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