The NFL Combine is well underway as the biggest lead up to the NFL Draft in April. The Green Bay Packers have some visible holes that they must fill this offseason, most likely through the draft. With this being the case, the Packers have plenty of options for first-round draft picks.
With most issues coming on the defensive side of the ball, it is likely the Packers primarily focus on getting defensive players. But as is the case since Ted Thompson took over the GM position, the Packers will not hesitate to take an offensive player if they truly believe he is the best player available.
With a strong returning core and so many options, the Packers could go in a number of different directions come April. With this, the Packers have plenty of players to watch during the Combine.
If the Packers opt to let Scott Wells test the free agency market and ultimately leave, they will be in dire need of bringing in a center that can start immediately. Konz, a local Wisconsin kid, should be able to fill that role, if the Packers so need.
One of the top prospects at the center position, the Packers would need to use their first round pick to snag Konz with the possibility of Konz also being off the board by 28 remaining high. If the Packers can work a reasonable deal to bring back Wells, it is likely they wait until later in the draft to bring in a potential, down-the-road replacement for Wells.
Courtney Upshaw is one of the top rushing outside linebackers in the draft and would fit perfectly opposite Clay Matthews in the Packers defense. The biggest problem is that Upshaw will not last until the 28th pick in the draft.
The Packers must use the combine to take a very close look at Upshaw and determine whether or not it makes sense to trade up and grab Upshaw. For the Packers to make the move, they would have to feel extremely confident in Upshaw's abilities and the gap that separates him from other prospects at the position.
The Packers are likely to let Ryan Grant leave via free agency this offseason and could be in the market for another young running back to go with James Starks, Brandon Saine and Alex Green. Polk is a physical back that could add a new dimension to the Packers backfield.
Using his vision and strength, Polk is a player that gets upfield with little hesitation. The Packers feature such an explosive offense and adding Polk in the first round could make the Packers that much more dangerous.
Another player that could make a big impact not the Packers is defensive end Andre Branch out of Clemson. According to ProFootballTalk, Branch ran an incredible fast 4.62 forty earlier today at the Combine.
With a strong performance, the Packers should be watching Branch closely as they desperately need help in the pass rush department. Branch is likely to be available by the time the Packers draft in the first round.
A troubled past may keep some teams away from Bruce Irvin, but his onfield production can not be ignored. At outside linebacker, Irvin would fill a big hole for the Packers as a pass rushing outside linebacker to play opposite Clay Matthews.
As one of the weakest spots on the Packers roster, outside linebacker is a huge need and the Packers must address the situation at some point during the draft, if not via free agency. Irvin's offfield issues could drop him into the second round, despite a solid performance at the combine. If this is the case, the Packers should be ready to make a move on Irvin.