The Green Bay Packers will have four draft picks within the first three rounds going into the NFL Draft, which starts this coming Thursday. The Packers have some glaring needs on defense, but I think they should use one of those four picks on a wide receiver.
Why a receiver, you ask?
It’s an overlooked need right now and Ted Thompson is pretty darn good in the early rounds when it comes to drafting at that position.
Thompson has only missed once on a receiver before the third round since taking over in 2005 as the general manager of the Green Bay Packers. In his first-ever draft he used a second round selection on Terrence Murphy out of Texas A&M.
For those who don’t remember, Murphy’s career was cut short by a spine injury in week three of his rookie year. It’s almost unfair to hold that against Thompson since it was an injury that forced Murphy to leave the game, not because he lacked talent.
Since the selection of Murphy, Thompson has struck gold on every receiver taken before the fourth round. The year after the selection of Murphy, Thompson drafted Greg Jennings in the second round. You can say what you want about Jennings since he headed west to wear the purple, but he had a good run in Green Bay. Jennings left the Packers seventh all-time in receiving yards and fifth all-time in receiving touchdowns, in only 96 games.
Thompson drafted another recently-departed receiver the next season, James Jones. Jones was never considered one of the top two options on the Packers, but always saw significant playing time. Jones ended his career with the Packers finishing twelfth in all-time receiving yards and eleventh in all-time touchdowns. The loss of Jones is another reason why the Packers should think about drafting another receiver this year, which I will explain why further into the article.
In 2008, the Packers notoriously traded out of the first round and selected Jordy Nelson at the top of the second round. Nelson was a bit of an underachiever early on in his career, and many questioned the selection. Nelson started to catch fire in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. Nelson is one of the most underrated talents in the league – even Richard Sherman agrees. We all anticipate that Nelson will get a nice pay raise at some point this season, we just don’t know when.
This year the Packers go into the 2014 season with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb being the top two receivers. Jarrett Boykin (who was a Jacksonville Jaguars undrafted free agent castaway) will see a much larger role for the Packers this season. But who will fill the void left by the departure of Jones? The same James
Jones who filled into the number one receiver spot when Nelson and Cobb were out with injuries last season.
I thought that Charles Johnson had a real shot at being a future project, but the Cleveland Browns gobbled him up off of the practice squad last season. Kevin Dorsey apparently impressed coaches during training camp, but injuries derailed his rookie campaign. Myles White saw some playing time, but his ceiling seems limited. None of the other receivers on the roster look like they will take that big step. The door is being left wide open for Thompson to make that next great selection.
The 2014 draft class is loaded at the wide receiver position. Whether it would be a guy in the first round like Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU or maybe Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State. Maybe the second round with guys like Jordan Matthews from Vanderbilt or Cody Latimer from Indiana. Even the third round with guys like Allen Robinson from Penn State or Jared Abbrederis from Wisconsin. The list could go on and on because the crop of talent is so deep at this position this year. There hasn’t been a year in recent history with a group of guys like this in the draft. So what makes this year so important?
Aaron Rodgers is just hitting his prime, and they always say not to waste a player’s prime years. The Packers have been trying to get over that playoff hump to get back to the promised land. Back to the Super Bowl. The Packers can’t waste the opportunity of a loaded draft.
So will Ted pull the trigger?
Will he draft another future star wide receiver?
The answer should be yes.