Written By: Cody Strahm
|Five||26, 34(compensatory)||159, 167|
Total: 8 Picks
Team Needs: Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Running Back, Wide Receiver
Consensus First Round Pick: Tight End, Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
There probably hasn’t been a quieter team this offseason than the Green Bay Packers. But that’s nothing new. Packers’ GM Ted Thompson has a firm philosophy of building through the draft. It’s a philosophy that is hard to question given Green Bay’s success over the past four years and the repeated demise of teams that splurge in free agency.
With that said, this Packers’ roster is far from perfect. Having arguably the best quarterback in football in Aaron Rodgers helps mask some of its holes. But if Thompson and the Packers have hopes of bringing the city of Green Bay its fifth Super Bowl title, there are several pressing needs that they need to address in next Thursday’s draft.
Those needs start along the offensive line. The Packers have ranked in the bottom half of the league in rushing the past three seasons and could be looking to upgrade at guard in the draft’s early rounds. There are also some question marks at tackle, as Aaron Rodgers was sacked a career-high 51 times in 2012. Syracuse product Justin Pugh may be an option for the Packers with their 26 th selection, while Alabama’s Barrett Jones could be a nice fit at guard.
Green Bay has been known to employ lesser known tailbacks in their backfield and have been successful doing so in the past. But an inability to find consistency on the ground the past few seasons could prompt Ted Thompson to add one of the top talents at running back in the class in Alabama’s Eddie Lacy. Lacy will likely be gone when the Packers select in round two, so landing him would probably require their first round pick or a trade up in round two. If Green Bay passes on Lacy, though, there will still be great value in the middle rounds at the position with backs like Wisconsin’s Montee Ball and Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor.
Tight End isn’t necessarily a position of need, but with Jermichael Finley scheduled to hit the open market in 2014, Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert could be too tempting to pass up if he is still on the board.
The Packers have developed a reputation for possessing one of the deepest receiving corps in the entire league. But Greg Jennings signing with the rival Vikings and with James Jones set to become a free agent after this season, expect the Packers to resolidify their depth at the receiver position. Tennessee Tech’s Da’Rick Rogers and Arkansas’ Cobi Hamilton would be welcomed additions in the third or fourth round.
Moving to the defensive side of the ball, the Packers are looking for help along the defensive line to better equip them to run the 3-4. They’ll likely seek a five-technique defensive end at some point. They may even look to upgrade at nose tackle. Purdue’s Kawann Short or UNC’s Sylvester Williams would be an excellent snag in the second or third.
At defensive back, many expect the Packers to look at drafting a safety early after Charles Woodson was let go. But with promising young safeties like Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings on the roster, expect the Packers to hold off on selecting a safety until the middle or late rounds.