The Release of Nick Collins Clarifies the Draft for the Packers

Bob FoxContributor IApril 25, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Nick Collins #36 of the Green Bay Packers makes an interception and runs 37 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The expected release of Nick Collins will definitely clarify things for the Green Bay Packers, as Ted Thompson and his staff get ready for the 2012 NFL draft. I wrote less than a month ago that this day would soon be coming for Collins.

This has to be a very sad day for Collins, Thompson and the entire Packer family. Collins was the second player that Thompson ever drafted in 2005, right after Aaron Rodgers. Those two draft picks set up a winning formula which led to a victory in Super Bowl XLV.

For instance, during the 2011 NFL season, Rodgers threw 45 TD passes to just six interceptions for 4,643 yards and also had a QB rating of 122.5. Rodgers also had a completion percentage of 68.3. The 122.5 QB rating was the best in the NFL and also broke the all-time record set by Peyton Manning in 2004, when Manning had a 121.1 QB rating. 

That performance led to Rodgers being named the NFL MVP in 2011.

Rodgers not only had the best-ever QB rating in a single season in 2011, but Rodgers is the all-time leader in QB rating in both the regular season and the postseason.

Rodgers has thrown 132 TD passes versus just 38 interceptions for 17,366 yards and has a 104.1 QB rating in his career during the regular season. Rodgers is the only QB in NFL history to have a QB rating of over 100 based on 1,500 passing attempts.

Add to that Rodgers' 15 TD passes versus only four picks for 1,781 yards, and a QB rating of 105.5 in his postseason career. Again, that is the best in NFL history.

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18:  Play is stoped as Nick Collins #36 of the Green Bay Packers is injured against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Most importantly, Rodgers led the Packers to a win in Super Bowl XLV, in which he was named MVP.

Rodgers was also first-team All-Pro in 2011 and has been named to two Pro Bowl squads.

Then you have the accomplishments of Collins.

Collins has been named All-Pro three times and has been selected to play in three Pro Bowls.

For his career, Collins has 21 career interceptions, including four TDs, and also had a key interception return for a TD in Super Bowl XLV.

So what strategy will the Packers utilize as they get ready for the draft? I'm sure it means drafting a safety fairly early in the draft.

In a recent mock draft of mine, I had the Packers trading up to select Harrison Smith in the 2nd round. In my last mock draft, I had the Packers selecting Brandon Taylor in the 3rd round.

Either way, Thompson will have a lot of work to do in this draft. It was sort of expected that LT Chad Clifton would be released, as he was a couple of days ago. The Packers were bracing themselves for the release of the very talented Collins, but actually doing it still has to be a big shock.

Bottom line, expect the Packers to select a safety reasonably early in this draft. If the talent of that particular safety comes close to what Collins did every Sunday, the Packers will be fine.