After reading this article's title, I know what you are all thinking: Al is all about alliteration...
But seriously, your first thought was: "Yes! B.J. Raji is coming our way! Oh, I hope he's right, I hope he's right, I hope he's right! Or maybe we're going to trade down a bit in the first, take another nose tackle, and still pick up another draft pick.
"Maybe we'll get Ron Brace, Raji's teammate at Boston College or perhaps Peria Jerry of Ole' Miss. Either way, we'll have a 300-pound brute who can contribute and help our new 3-4 scheme be a huge success!”
Slow down there, buddy, you're jumping to conclusions. I've had some great discussions/debates with other Packers fans about how we can help our defense. We all know what caused our woeful season in 2008.
Yet we all (except for the worst pessimists among you) have hope. We have a brand new coaching staff on defense, led by the ultra-experienced and well-respected Dom Capers.
He has hired a great staff, including Carolina's former defensive coordinator, Mike Trgovac. How many teams can claim two defensive coordinators on their staff?
We have a new strength and conditioning coach, Dave Redding. He is a 23-year veteran of NFL weight rooms and a member of the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame. A Hall of Fame coach, damnit!
And you're going to love his philosophy—he's not about how much players can lift or how many reps they can churn out. His primary concern is building endurance. His aim is for players to have as much energy on the last play of the game as they did on the first play. Beautiful.
We all sat and watched in horror last year as Green Bay's defense collapsed at the end of games, especially in the second half of the season. This new approach to training can only help, right? So, we have hope.
Now, all we need are some players to fit our new three-four system. A stud defensive lineman would be great, specifically a nose tackle. Some 300-pound immovable object that can tie up centers and guards at the same time, freeing our linebackers to do their jobs unblocked. Where better to get this player than the first round of the draft?
Yes, one of the best 32 players in the country can be the centerpiece of our defensive line next season. Imagine it.
Except, I don't think it's going to happen. Don't ask me to explain why I am saying this. I don't have any inside information. I haven't bugged the Green Bay war room, haven't hacked their computer systems, and haven't been spotted in the dumpsters outside Lambeau Field.
It's just a feeling I have—something inside me. I'm usually pretty accurate when I get those feelings. For example, I had a March Madness feeling to take Arizona for at least a Sweet 16 appearance, and they made it. (Unfortunately, I had no such feeling about who would actually win the whole thing...)
At the Green Bay-Seattle playoff game in the snow, after Seattle went up 14-0 and the fans at Lambeau went into an instant depression, I just got a feeling in my stomach (and it wasn't the brats and Miller Lite) that Green Bay would end up blowing them out. Yay for my feeling!
Unfortunately, the next week, when the game against the Giants went into overtime, a bad feeling came over me that a fumble or interception would lose us the game. Boo for my feeling!
Now that I've established my unquestionable credentials as far as feelings go, I have to get this off my chest—the Packers' first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft is going to be a tackle—an OFFENSIVE TACKLE. It's just a feeling I have...