Five Reach Picks the Green Bay Packers Must Avoid in the 2013 NFL Draft
Green Bay usually remains dormant on the free-agent market and 2013 has been no exception. The Packers, under general manager Ted Thompson, have stuck with their philosophy of "draft and develop" and the results have been strong overall.
However, just like every other GM in the league, Thompson sometimes goes for a "reach pick" in the draft. Green Bay will take a player in a round earlier than many expected that player to go. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it does not.
Packers fans don't need to be reminded of Justin Harrell.
What about 2013? Are there any players on Green Bay's radar that they could grab earlier than expected?
Yes there are. Here are five reach picks that Green Bay must avoid in the 2013 NFL Draft.
RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Montee Ball NFL Player Comparison
Many Cheeseheads would love to see Ball make the move from Madison to Green Bay.
The Packers have not drafted many Badgers as of late, but Green Bay's need for a running back has some speculating Ball could be headed for Titletown.
To be clear, the Packers should take a look at Ball. He would be a good fit for them but he's not worth the risk of a reach. If he's available in the third round then Green Bay should strongly consider taking him. Anything earlier would be a reach.
The Packers have been injury-riddled at running back as of late and while Ball remained generally healthy during his time at Wisconsin, he put a lot of tread on his tires so to speak.
Ball also could lack the agility and speed to elude NFL defenders.
The NFL game could initially be too quick for Ball and that's why the Packers should wait until at least the third round to consider Ball if he's still available.
LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
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The Packers are still looking for a difference maker at inside linebacker, especially with Desmond Bishop coming back from injury.
Could Te'o be the answer?
In one word—No.
Green Bay just restructured the contract of A.J. Hawk and the Packers probably won't get much more out of Te'o than they have Hawk. The question as of late has been how far the Notre Dame linebacker's draft stock has fallen and it's no wonder as to why.
Te'o does not possess enough straight line speed to stop elite running backs in the NFL.
With the Packers playing a 3-4 defense, the linebackers have to drop into coverage. Te'o was decent at this in college but his lack of ability to change directions quickly leave doubt in his ability to do so in the NFL.
DE Margus Hunt, SMU
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Green Bay needs help along the defensive line and it could be amongst the first selections that the Packers make.
Some fans have been enamored with Hunt but Green Bay needs to give pause before selecting him too early. Hunt has been riddled by inconsistency. He will make a big play and then disappear for a good chunk of the game.
Hunt also has a tendency to lunge at ball carriers which can lead to some ugly missed tackles. The Packers are all too familiar with bad tackling and can they really afford to wait while yet another defensive lineman grows into his role?
No they can't.
Green Bay needs an immediate contributor on the defensive line and while Hunt has a strong upside, they shouldn't roll the dice on Hunt—at least not in the first round.
Any Wide Receiver in the First Two Rounds
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With Greg Jennings now a member of the Minnesota Vikings, one would think the Packers would need a wide receiver sooner rather than later in the draft.
That's not the case.
Thanks to the emergence of Randall Cobb and James Jones, the Packers appear to be set at wide receiver. It was the team's deepest position in 2012 and remains a very strong unit heading into 2013.
The Packers have been able to find talent later in the draft so selecting a wide receiver in the first two rounds is unnecessary as there are much bigger holes on the Green Bay roster.
This means Keenan Allen and Tavon Austin can go right past the Packers and the team won't miss a beat.
It would be nice however for Green Bay to get a receiver in the middle rounds. Stedman Bailey of West Virginia comes to mind as does Marquise Goodwin of Texas.
Thompson can afford to be patient here.
A Tight End in the First Round
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Now that Jermichael Finley is officially back with the Packers, getting a $3 million signing bonus, Green Bay needs to give him every chance to succeed.
This means not selecting a tight end in the first round.
While Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert are intriguing prospects, the Packers have gone "all in" on Finley in 2013 and need to give him every chance to succeed. There's still a chance he realizes all that potential he showed in 2009 and he's still a big part of that offense.
If Ertz or Eifert fall maybe into day two then the Packers should consider them. They're paying Finley far too much money to potentially sit on the bench and his midseason trade value could drop if he's beat out in camp by a rookie.
Passing on a tight end in the first round would be as much a financial decision as a football one. Paying Finley's salary plus that of a first round pick would severely hamper Green Bay's ability to extend Aaron Rodgers' contract.
Thus, no tight end in the first round.