Jclombardi highlights Sportings News review of Packers top draft needs.
Brown: The protection is plenty good enough. As Rodgers displayed during his superb playoff run, he gets rid of the ball with uncanny quickness and accuracy, and he also has mobility. Besides, at No. 32, the Packers have little chance to get any of the top four tackles–Tyron Smith (USC), Anthony Castonzo (Boston College), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), or Nate Solder (Colorado). What the Packers really need is an impact outside linebacker to play opposite Clay Matthews. Three edge linebackers shared time opposite Matthews last season–Brad Jones, Erik Walden, and Frank Zombo. All did a decent job. But none were special. Think of what defensive coordinator Dom Capers could do with another lethal linebacker that could punish quarterbacks. Look for Packers GM Thompson to make Capers a happy man. Here are three outside linebackers the Packers may target with the 32nd pick — Brooks Reed (Arizona), Akeem Ayers (UCLA), or Justin Houston (Georgia). Reed in particular could make an immediate impact. What else we believe: The Packers could also use more depth at running back, despite James Starks’ strong postseason. Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech) and Mikel Leshoure (Illinois) are two running backs that Thompson could find intriguing.
Dillon: No player means more to the Packers than Aaron Rodgers, the MVP of Super Bowl XLV and the best quarterback in the NFC. So the team needs to do whatever it can to keep Rodgers healthy and upright. Green Bay drafted offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga in the first round last year. Now, it needs to find a long-term bookend on the other side. Chad Clifton can’t play forever, and Mark Tauscher may not be back. The top-tier tackles probably will be off the board by the time the Packers pick 32nd, so GM Thompson should consider trading up to try and get someone such as Castonzo, Solder or Miami’s Orlando Franklin. What else we believe: With Cullen Jenkins likely to leave in free agency, defensive end is another position the Packers should address. And this is a good year to get a quality defensive end, because the position is deep. An outside linebacker to complement pass-rushing specialist Clay Matthews should be another consideration. While Brad Jones, Frank Zombo and Erik Walden all can play on the other side, none has the ability to dominate like Matthews. Last year’s loss of starter Ryan Grant in the opener handicapped the running offense all season, so Green Bay needs to add a running back for depth, if nothing else.
COMMENTARY: We agree the top needs are OT, OLB & DE. How we get three quality impact players for positions in the coming draft is an open question. Fans, what do you think?