Packers: 2011 NFL Draft Preview

Jclombardi’s first preview about Packers draft needs.

The cumulative Packers mock drafts have more than 25 different players being picked including 3-4 defensive linemen, 3-4 outside linebackers, offensive tackles, interior offensive linemen, running backs, cornerbacks, wide receivers and safeties.  However, we first preview the immediate Packers needs:

1. Offensive Lineman. RT Tauscher and LT Clifton have durability issues. RT Tauscher can’t stay healthy losing his starting job.  He may not be back at his 2011 $4.1 million base salary.  Bulaga is fine at RT. The Packers need to find aging LT Clifton’s ultimate successor.  He is healthy with a bad knee having probably one more year. Granted, the Packers may move Bulaga to LT or LG. Also, they may try T. J. Lang at tackle or guard. Further, with Colledge may be gone, they probably need to find a reliable starter at LG. This is a tough call, LT or LG or both. The top tackle prospects available include Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo, Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, Colorado’s Nate Solder, Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod, Villanova’s Benjamin Ijalana, and East Carolina’s Willie Smith.

2. Outside Linebacker. We’re talking about a starter at OLB.  If we get another OLB pass rusher, defenses cannot focus their protection against OLB Matthews forcing many singular matchups that favor the Pack. Poppinga is gone. Zombo and Walden are better options than Jones, but we need a solid stud starter.  Two options include Texas Sam Acho and UCLA Akeem Ayers in the late first round. Meanwhile, at ILB, aging Nick Barnett kept getting injured and is probably gone replaced by starters Hawk and Bishop.

3. Defensive Lineman. DE Cullen Jenkins is probably gone. DE Johnny Jolly is gone with legal troubles. DE Ryan Pickett is in his thirties. DE Justin Harrell gets one more chance. Further, the Packers have tenacious and talented DE Neal has the Jenkins-like talents to assume the lead DE role and young prospects C.J. Wilson and Jarius Wynn.  Yet, the Packers could use depth here.

4. Wide Receiver. WR Donald Driver is 36. Free agent WR James Jones wants to be a starter with its consequential salary.  Also, the Packers probably like Nelson’s 2011 $1.029 cap number better than what Jones is going to get. We need to have another quality top receiver for one of the game’s top quarterbacks.

5. Defensive Back. Aging CB Woodson is still fine.  CB Sam Shields and CB Williams are solid starters, but CBs Patrick Lee and Brandon Underwood need to improve.  We need another quality starter here for the dime position.

Commentary: All right, we are making initial draft preview about potential Packers needs and draft choices.  Last year, the Packers drafted to meet immediate needs and good backups. They made good quality choices in tackle Bulaga, defensive end Neal, and safety Burnett with no immediate focus on OLB. Now, this year, fans, what do you think?

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2 Responses to “Packers: 2011 NFL Draft Preview”

  1. Doisen says:

    It would be nice to see the Packers get some sort of speedy running threat to take some heat of Rodgers. Though we have some promising running backs w/ Grant & Starks, it’d be nice to add another person in the RB depth chart.

    I would love to see them choose an OLB as their second pick. Having 2 threats for pass rush will have the opposing quarterback’s mind racing, hopefully enough to make more mistakes.

    For the third, I’d like to see an offensive lineman. Though we’ve made some additions in our offensive line, the guys we have now are aging & are injury prone. Some depth or new starters wouldn’t hurt any. Plus they can learn from 2 of the best, Clifton & Tauscher.

  2. KB says:

    Im confused Doisen did you just say GB should take a RB in the first round? Who fits those qualifications that wouldn’t be a huge reach. This years draft is set up for GB to take a OLB, OL, or DE in the first round. Possibly a WR which I really doubt GB would do considering their luck in the later rounds at that position. I say DE because there will be someone that TT really likes at that position in the first round even though it’s not the biggest need unless a OLB or OL fall to them. I say bring a DE or two in the later rounds to compete with CJ Wilson and Wynn or even possibly Neal for the starting job.