The Green Bay Packers are making the transition to the 3-4 defense in 2009.
The only problem is they lack the personnel needed to successfully undertake this endeavor.
Aaron Kampman is changing to OLB from LE. We do have A.J. Hawk, and Nick Barnett as well to support our line-backing core.
Hawk needs to step up and prove that he was worthy of the number five pick overall, and Barnett is coming off an injury. So there are some questions about their contributions to the change.
We do have two things going for us this off season, with the additions of Dom Capers and Kevin Greene to the coaching staff as well.
The biggest hole I see in the defense is the lineman we need.
After Kampman changes to the new position, we have RE Cullen Jenkins, which is not the pro-totypical end in a 3-4 defense. Also the LE is left open competition for Mike Montgomery and possibly Jason Hunter if he resigns, which is also not the personnel we need to shore up our d-line.
Ryan Pickett and Jonny Jolly are all we have left at DT after Colin Cole went to the Seahawks. So there is a need there.
So without further ado here is my two top picks in this years draft.
DT B.J. Raji, Boston College
I would rather have DE Brian Orakpo here, but he will be long gone before the Packers get to make their choice, the next glaring position need we have would be defensive tackle.
Pickett is undersized compared to most DT in the 3-4 defense, and Jolly needs to figure out his legal problems before he should battle for a starting role.
Raji is 6'2", and 337 lbs. In his senior season he led the team with eight sacks. He also piled up 42 tackles 22 of which were solo, and 16 stops behind the line of scrimmage, on top of that he had five deflected passes.
The Packers have to make this pick regardless of who's left, we need defensive lineman.
Raji would be a great addition to the team, no matter what the rumors say about him testing positive for banned drugs during the combine. I look forward to watching him play on Sunday's.
The second player selected by the Packers in the 2009 NFL draft will be:
DE/OLB Larry English, Northern Illinois
Like I stated earlier in this article, we do have some questions at the linebacker position, though with what we have now we are not as bad off as other teams in the NFL.
What we could use here would be a compliment to Kampman at the other OLB spot, and English looks like a great candidate.
His strengths include: speed, athleticism, recognition skills, and aggressiveness.
At 6'2" and 254 lbs, he is the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year. As well as a two time conference MVP.
Despite seeing double and triple coverage last season, he still managed to rack up 37 tackles, 14.5 for a loss, and eight sacks as a linebacker. Just what the Packers would need to make the transition to the new scheme.
Will the Packers make a draft-day trade involving their first round No. 9 pick?
There is no way that Ted Thompson should trade this pick away. Like I said, if we are going to be successful in '09, we need to fix our d-line now.
They have signed no one in free agency, and they let Cole go to another team.
To trade this pick away would be season suicide.
Will the Packers third selection be an offensive or defensive player?
My answer to this is defensive. With CB's Charles Woodson and Al Harris getting older by the snap, a CB would make the most sense here.
Tramon Williams looks like he would be a good starting back for years to come, and Pat Lee hasn't seen enough time for me to warrant him starting for either position yet.
Some one like CB Darius Butler would be a great pick here, if he isn't already gone.
Will the Packers use any of their draft choices (day one or two) to take a punter?
No, I don't see a need here in the draft. The team already has two punters on their roster in Jeremy Kapinos and Durant Brooks.
Kapinos has already had competition at the starting role last year with the Jets. Though he was released before the start of training camp.
Brooks also had a fight last year for the starting role, and winning it for the Redskins.
Both punters didn't fare so well though, not lasting long at all in '08.
Maybe it was their overall talent level, or maybe it was their special teams coach. We will find out what it was this year.
The Packers have allot of needs on defense. Raji and English could provide some answers. All I can say is this is a make or break year for TT.
He has failed to make any off season acquisitions to help out the team, and the players he did sign are all questionable at best.
Also why would the team work out Paulus this year?
Don't we already have two second year back ups, and a starter for years to come at the quarterback position?
I for one am excited for the draft to come, we shall see what the Packers do.