This article is a follow-up to my March article regarding draft needs.
In the six weeks since I published the first article, only a few things have changed the evaluation and needs situation.
A depth DB (safety) has been signed, and a depth OL has been signed as free agents. Our own FA have been resigned, including a couple I felt had little to contribute.
A month plus of further analysis, including analyzing the rosters of the other two competitive teams in the division, has only confirmed the needs speculated at the time.
Primary need is still a DL, either at end or NT. Raji has clearly further established himself as the "value pick" at No. 9 if he is still on the board, and recent movement seems to make that possibility more likely. If he is there, I believe the Packers take him without looking at trades down. If he is gone, I see them trading back a few spots and taking DE Jackson or even further down to look at DE/LB hybrid Maybin or DE Ayers, DT Hood, or Brace.
The "best talent available" could truly throw a curve at this scenario if Michael Crabtree WR or OL Smith are on the board and Raji is gone. They would be too much to pass up.
With picks in the second and third rounds, it seems a near certainty that two DL, one LB, and one OT will be the "positions" selected unless there is a value that cannot be passed on.
The only other spot that seems certain to have a player selected is at TE. There are "values" in the third round and every round after that.
That stated, it seems certain to me that two DL, one OT, one TE, and one LB will be picked. The other four choices will only be for "best available talent."
What gives me a great feeling entering the draft is that only two players from the entire roster last year are not back—yet. One, a good but totally replaceable DL, the other an aging OT. Those two guys fuel the draft needs, and the replacements are likely already on the roster. This year's draft could be entirely for development.
Next week I will write another article, not really evaluating the draft of the Packers, but giving my assessment of which of the nine picks have a chance to make the team.
First, a thought for all to debate: None of this year's draft class will start in September at the start of the season. The good news is that it is not going to be a poor draft, but that the Packers already have one of the best rosters in the NFL.