The Green Bay Packers need to restock their offense, and that needs to begin in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Following an embarrassing home shutout against the Baltimore Ravens, it’s become clear that the Packers’ offense is completely reliant on the arm of Aaron Rodgers. We already knew that, but the Brett Hundley era has been uglier than most could have predicted.
Obviously, the main reason for the struggles is Hundley himself. But Ted Thompson hasn’t done him any favors.
See this chart for a simple breakdown of how Thompson has drafted each side of the ball in the past four drafts.
Over the past four drafts (which encompasses rookies whose contracts have not yet expired), Thompson has drafted five offensive players in the first four rounds, compared to 14 defensive players.
The reason for this tendency is obvious. Dom Capers’ defense is consistently the reason that the Packers fail to reach the Super Bowl. Every year, a new glaring need presents itself.
In the past six years, the Packers have spent their top pick on an outside linebacker, a defensive end, a safety, a cornerback, a defensive tackle and another cornerback. Every single time, the pick has been justified.
Capers is consistently provided with talent from the top of the draft, and he consistently uses that to produce poor defenses.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers manufactures top offenses despite a lack of high-drafted talent coming through the doors every year.
The only impactful offensive player that the Packers have selected in the first half of the last four drafts is Davante Adams in 2014. Ty Montgomery has been injured too often, Jason Spriggs has been an utter disappointment, Richard Rodgers is far from explosive and Jamaal Williams has been pretty good so far, but not great.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Adams has been the Packers’ only offensive playmaker since Rodgers’ injury.
This needs to change in 2018.
It is time for Capers’ stint as defensive coordinator to end. His failures have ended up damaging not only his side of the ball, but the offense as well.
The Packers have been consistently good on offense, but that’s the result of some shrewd drafting in the later rounds and one of the best quarterbacks who will ever play this game.
Thompson doesn’t necessarily need to draft offense with the first pick this year. As always, he’ll pick the best player available at a position of need. That may well be a pass-rusher.
But he simply can’t ignore the offense in the first few rounds of the draft again. They desperately need an infusion of young difference-makers.
Injuries and age appear to have sapped Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb of much of their explosiveness. Trevor Davis hasn’t shown much receiving ability beyond his raw speed. Jahri Evans is 34 years old, and Bryan Bulaga just tore his ACL.
Signing the plodding Martellus Bennett wasn’t enough this offseason, and any similar moves won’t be enough next offseason, either.
Thompson’s agenda this offseason is difficult, but achievable.
Replace Capers. Re-sign Davante Adams. And use this year’s likely excellent draft position to not just plug holes in a leaky defense, but to supply Rodgers with another couple of key pieces that can help propel the offense back to its once historic heights.