Matt will be reviewing each team's pre-draft analysis by talking about the draft range of targeted players.
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Green Bay Packers (Last Year: 13-3)
You'd think when a player has the talent to go No. 1 overall even in the 2005 Draft class, that he could step in and be a consistent winner as the starter. Aaron Rodgers should have been the No. 1 pick (check out the March 6 entry of the NFL Matt Draft
for more of my thoughts on this issue) and he has the talent to be a big winner in the NFL. People are going to compare him to Brett Favre, but that is natural.
OK, now let's address the issue at hand: the Packers Draft. I think the Packers, when I review various depth charts, are the most "set" team in the league. They don't have any glaring needs on offense, other than fullback. I think continuing to retool the defense will be a big priority in this draft. What will Green Bay do now at No. 30 overall?
Look to acquire a 2009 first-round pick:
The teams that can afford to give up their first-round pick (or sacrifice much of its value and settle for a third-rounder in return) are the ones that don't have many needs. The Packers are one of those teams (like the Patriots and Cowboys in the 2007 Draft) that can afford to do this because their team doesn't have many needs at all.
This would be a big move for Green Bay, and a very smart one considering the circumstances (2009 Draft looks LOADED). I mean the Patriots have the No. 7 selection as a result of giving up Deion Branch to the Seahawks, which then they traded that pick last year to the 49ers so they could draft Joe Staley.
Who could trade up here? Look for possibly Minnesota (in-division trade happened last year with Dallas and Philly) or Arizona to move up this high to acquire their franchise quarterback (possibly Joe Flacco, Chad Henne or Brian Brohm). They might be sick enough to trade their 2009 first-rounder.
Green Bay, armed with two second-round picks, could also trade up in the first round, so look for that to happen as well in my Draft Day Trade Projections coming soon.
If they don't make this huge trade at 30, then they certainly have a lot of players who could bring a lot of talent to their club.
Jackson is one of the few every-down defensive ends in this draft. He is a solid all-around football player, but he doesn't look like he will ever be a star defensive end putting up 12 sacks a season consistently. Jackson brings outstanding leadership and character, which Green Bay loves.
Tracy Porter/Justin King/Antoine Cason/Aqib Talib:
Talib is probably the least likely to go to the Pack because of his character concerns with his marijuana use at Kansas. King and Porter would be viewed as reaches in the first round, but remember that reaches happen every year. Anticipate them. Cason is the most well-developed and complete corners corners in the draft. He can play zone or press man, and is a consistent play-maker and leader.
Pat Sims/Trevor Laws/Kentwan Balmer:
Another defensive tackle could be added (like Justin Harrell last year) to emphasize value over a glaring need (and Green Bay doesn't have many to begin with). All these players would scare offensive linemen when you have Aaron Kampman on the left side and Harrell if he ever develops into a solid player.
Same needs listed above could be addressed in the second round. I think the range of cornerbacks taken in the second round extends to Antwan Molden, Orlando Scandrick, Tyvon Branch or Charles Godfrey. All reaches? Yes, but it's hard to address pure value when you don't have many needs (notice I keep pushing this statement).
A strongside linebacker might be taken to upgrade Brady Poppinga, which is the weak link of the linebacking corps. Dan Connor (if he falls to their second round pick at 56). Bryan Kehl, Shawn Crable, Ezra Butler, and Gary Guyton are SAMs in the third to fifth round draft range.
If a defensive tackle isn't added in the first round, they'll be looking for one later on just to add to the talent and depth at that very valuable position. Laws and Dre Moore would be great picks in the second round. DeMario Pressley fits what the Packers look for in the third or fourth rounds.
Depth at tight end would be a smart way to go behind Donald Lee. Jacob Tamme, Brad Cottam, Jermichael Finley, Martin Rucker and Gary Barnridge in the third to fifth round range make a lot of sense in giving Rodgers another weapon to work with.
Green Bay Packers 2008 Offseason Needs
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