Round 1: T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin
Packers pick: Traded down – Kevin King, CB, Washington
This is the pick Packer fans were clamoring for. We needed a pass rusher and Watt was a standout for a Wisconsin defense that was one of the best in the country. Had Ted Thompson made this pick he would’ve garnered a lot of good vibes from the fan base. Instead, he traded down and Watt wasn’t available when the Packers went back on the clock.
I think there was some slight concern that Watt wasn’t a first-round prospect, but he performed very well at the combine and put up awesome numbers at Wisconsin. We saw what Watt did his rookie year in Pittsburgh so that concern seems silly now, but even at the time most Wisconsinites wouldn’t have cared.
I applaud Thompson for not falling for the bait. It would’ve been easy to grab the local favorite for fan interest, but he knew that’s not how you win football games. King wasn’t a bad choice since he fit a need on the defensive side of the ball too. King is definitely part of the long-term plan on defense. He showed promise when he was healthy. The pick wasn’t wasted, it just could’ve been better.
My biggest reason for changing this pick is simple. Despite using, essentially, a first-round pick on a cornerback, the Packers are still in the market for one early in the draft this year. If the pick was Watt I don’t think EDGE players would be on the Packers’ draft board in the first round. We’ll have to wait and see how this draft pans out to know for sure.