Green Bay Packers 2012 Draft: Ted Thompson Building Defense in the 4th Round
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It's clear now that the Green Bay Packers are bound and determined to be a better team defensively in 2012 than they were in 2011, when they surrendered the most passing yards by a defense in NFL history.
Despite being terrible defensively, the Packers cruised through the regular season to the tune of a 15-1 record, and as long as the wins kept coming, the poor play of the defense didn't seem to matter.
But when it mattered most in the postseason, the winning suddenly stopped.
The New York Giants came to town for the Divisional Round, and the Packers' worst fears were realized. Eli Manning destroyed Green Bay, completing 21 of 33 passes for 330 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception in a 37-20 thrashing. The pass coverage was bad, the tackling was worse and the pass-rush was nonexistent.
But do not fear, Packer fans—GM Ted Thompson is working on it, drafting players with a sense of urgency never before seen in his eight-year tenure as the head cheese.
Not only has he used all five of his picks on defenders, including three on pass-rushers, he also broke character by trading up twice in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
By the time all the wheeling and dealing was over, the Packers ended Day 2 of the draft with Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy and Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward. On Day 1, Thompson picked up USC defensive end Nick Perry.
After already coming away with potential impact defenders, no one would blame Thompson if he decided to add an offensive player or two at the end of the fourth round. Yet he continued stockpiling defensive talent to upgrade a unit that cost Green Bay a second Super Bowl title by selecting Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels, with the first of two fourth-round picks.
How would you grade the Packers' 2012 draft?
Daniels was expected to come off the board on Day 2, yet he stands only 6'0" and 291 pounds, which is the likely reason for his fall to the Packers. However, Daniels can play 3-4 defensive end in Dom Capers' defense and also adds another interior pass-rusher to the mix.
With their second pick in the fourth round, the Packers selected small-school safety Jerron McMillian of Maine, who is a physical presence at 5'11" and 208 pounds. He will be a strong safety in the NFL due to his strong ability to stuff the run.
McMillian is a little stiff in the hips and may struggle in pass coverage early in his career, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him taking snaps away from projected starter Charlie Peprah at some point this season, particularly on run downs.
So, it seems that while many Packers fans wish they could forget the loss to the Giants, Thompson refuses to; he's showing in this draft that he's bound and determined to get the talent required for a trip to the Super Bowl in 2013.
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