Showcasing Green Bay Packers' Biggest Strengths and Draft Needs

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2013

Showcasing Green Bay Packers' Biggest Strengths and Draft Needs

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    It doesn't take long to realize that the Green Bay Packers have one of the deeper rosters in the NFL and that they'll once again be a Super Bowl contender in 2013.

    Still, every roster has holes, and the Packers are no exception. And with the team unlikely to be players in free agency, you can expect the major moves to come via the draft.

    So, which positions should the Packers focus on come April? Where are this team's strengths, and where are its weaknesses? 

    Let's break down the Packers' roster as it stands today.


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    That Aaron Rodgers guy is pretty good, huh?

    The team could target a backup later in the draft, but beyond that, there are few teams with a better quarterback situation than Green Bay.

Running Backs

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    The Packers should look to upgrade the running back position, though it is possible they will do so in free agency. The team was linked to Steven Jackson on Tuesday, though it's hard to imagine him as a great fit for the pass-happy team.

    Instead, I would guess the Packers will look to add a running back in the middle rounds of the draft and go into next season with Alex Green, James Stark and DeJuan Harris and hope one of them wins the job in camp.

Wide Receivers

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    Even if Greg Jennings departs in free agency, the Packers are stacked at wide receiver. Randall Cobb is one of the exciting up-and-coming talents in the league at the position, while Jordy Nelson and James Jones round out arguably the top trio of receivers in the league.

    The Packers might look to add some depth here later in the draft, but this is hardly a position of need.

Tight Ends

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    The team is set at tight end with Jermichael Finley (for now), and will have depth if Tom Crabtree—who is a free agent but probably won't find the market value he wants—ultimately returns to the Packers.

    There has been talk of the Packers asking Finley to take a pay cut from the $8.25 million he'll make in 2013, but for now, the team is fine here, at least with its starter. If Crabtree does depart, depth will be needed.

Offensive Line

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    After giving up 51 sacks in 2012, the offensive line has to be the biggest issue in Green Bay, right? 

    Not exactly.

    The jury is still out on center Evan Dietrich-Smith, but he is expected to be the starter coming into the season. Well, assuming another team doesn't offer him a contract the Packers aren't willing to match, seeing as the team offered the restricted free agent the lowest tender available.

    Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are a solid pair at guard, while Bryan Bulaga is firmly entrenched at right tackle. Marshall Newhouse remains a question mark at left tackle, however—though Derek Sherrod could be the long-term answer there—and the Packers may look to find a replacement via the draft. 

Defensive Line

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    B.J. Raji remains a force on the defensive line for the Packers, but in general, one of the areas this team could look to upgrade in the first round is on the line.

    Ryan Pickett will be 34 in October. Jerel Worthy has potential, while C.J. Wilson, Mike Daniels and Mike Neal are solid rotation guys but hardly impact players. 

    This draft is extremely deep at the top with defensive tackles and 3-4 ends, so the Packers should focus on this position early.


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    A.J. Hawk (unless he's cut for salary cap reasons) and Clay Matthews III are lynchpins of this defense. Nick Perry, a 2012 first-round draft pick, will be given every opportunity to succeed opposite of Matthews. 

    Beyond that, there isn't much to get excited about here. While I don't think the Packers will use an early-round pick to address the linebacker position, at some point, the team will have to draft a player or two to throw into the mix here.


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    The Packers really need to upgrade at strong safety—I'd like to see the steady Morgan Burnett play free safety next season—and in my most recent mock draft, I have them selecting Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International. 

    The team has good depth at safety with M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian.

    Assuming Sam Shields sticks around—and with a second-round tender, I'd be shocked if he goes anywhere—the Packers are really solid at cornerback, with Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward and Davon House all very solid players.