With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror, it's finally time to start evaluating the moves NFL teams made in order to improve their franchises short and long term. With the weather getting warmer and the temperature starting to rise, it's only fitting that we cool it down a bit.
With Brett Favre proclaiming that the only way you'll see him playing again is in Madden 2009, the Packers are now set to rely on Aaron Rodgers. The young quarterback out of California seems ready to take hold of the reigns and has done more than enough work on the hitch in his throwing motion, to warrant Coach Mike McCarthy's blessing. Going into the NFL draft, the Packers front office must have had Rodgers in mind when deciding who would be the next draftees to experience the cold tundra of Lambeau.
Equipped with the 28th pick in the first round, the Packers were on the offense. Yet, the offense they were thinking of wasn't a player.
Instead, they decided they needed a couple more picks to add to their stable. With the Jets trying to solve their offensive woes, including in their consideration a recent trade request by tight end Chris Baker, they moved up to the Packers spot to snatch another tight end, Dustin Keller out of Purdue.
Moving into the second round, the Packers were set to add to Rodgers' arsenal of offensive weapons with Jordy Nelson, the quick receiver out of Kansas State. Watching Nelson in college, it's pretty clear that he's not going to blow anyone away with his speed. However, he will drive NFL defensive backs crazy with his body control and run-after-the-catch ability. With hands made for the receiver position, Nelson could contribute in the slot on most teams as the quintessential possession receiving threat. But on the Packers, he'll be no higher than fourth on their charts.
With Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Koren Robinson, and Ruvell Martin, Nelson will have a tough time cracking the rotation. Yet with the Packers using four and five wide receiver sets frequently, he'll definitely see time on the field sooner rather than later.
In the long run, Nelson could end up replacing Driver and becoming one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets.
With their first second-round pick, the Packers did something critics might question and I'm sure all Packers fans were talking about.
They drafted a QUARTERBACK. Yes, a quarterback. And in my humble opinion they drafted the QB with the best chance of translating his skills to the NFL level.
Coming out of Louisville's high-powered offensive scheme, Brian Brohm is arguably the most accurate quarterback in the top echelon of quarterbacks in this year's draft. Only a year ago, Brohm was considered top-10 talent, but his decision to stay once again gave NFL scouts more time to knit pick his game. As of now the only problem I could conceive with Brohm is his arm strength and ability to throw the deep ball.
But with dynamic receivers and a strong running game, Brohm could be very successful on the next level. Picking up chunks of yardage in the Big East Conference wasn't a problem for Brohm. If the Packers are lucky, and if Aaron Rodgers ever gets hurt, that problem might not exist on the NFL level either.
With their next second-round pick, Green Bay decided to get defensive. With an aging secondary in Al Harris and Charles Woodson, cornerback Patrick Lee out of Auburn was the selection.
Seeing Lee play against high-quality defensive teams in the SEC at Auburn, I was impressed with his bump-and-run skills, as well as his overall physical ability. As a very physical corner with 4.4 speed, Lee could end up being a steal for the Packers with this pick. His hips aren't as fluid as most teams would like, but the coaching staff should have no problem integrating him into their scheme. With two former and arguably present pro-bowlers ahead of him, Lee will get the opportunity to learn from the best.
As of now, with the Packers lack of depth and skill at cornerback, Lee will most likely play nickelback in the Packers defensive scheme. Yet with Harris and Woodson as the starters and the possibility of injury looming for both veterans, Lee may gain some major experience sometime this season.
With their third-round pick, the Packers went back on the offensive. Who ever said a quarterback could have too many weapons? I didn't.
With their third-round selection, the Packers chose Jermichael Finley, a tight end out of Texas. Finley is a huge receiving threat, but like most tight ends in college, he can't block a little girl. He is, however, a terrific athlete, and NFL coaches seem to get a lot done with former basketball players like Finley.
Former Longhorn tight end, David Thomas, was one of my top draft sleepers coming out two years ago. I think Finley hopes he gets a lot more playing time than his former teammate does in New England.
With their fourth-round pick, the Packers selected defensive end Jeremy Thompson. Although I've never seen Thompson, I do know that he suffered from an ACL tear back in 2005. Before that happened, he was regarded as the next Julius Peppers.
Although that will most likely never happen, the Packers shallow depth at DE and the coaching staff's scheme of rotating defensive lineman gives him a chance to make the team as a fifth DE. He would come in on passing downs with Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.
With the draft coming down to the end, the Packers chose two offensive lineman with their second fourth-round pick and their fifth-round pick.
The first lineman drafted was Josh Sitton out of the University of Central Florida. Sitton blocked for college football's leading rusher in Kevin Smith. The one thing that tells you is that he finishes his blocks. The other thing that tells you is that he hustles. Any lineman with those characteristics could block for me any day. Maybe, just maybe he'll get a shot this year if one of the Packers starting guards goes down.
The other offensive lineman drafted was offensive tackle Breno Giacomini. Blocking for new Green Bay teammate Brian Brohm at Louisville, Giacomini is a mauler at 6'7. Starting off at tight end, Breno got a little too big to stay away from that offensive line.
Giacomini probably won't see much field time this year, but blocking for Brohm in Louisville means that the one thing he does well is pass block.
With their final two picks the Packers went with, you guessed it, offense.
Who would have thought that they would draft another quarterback? Picking up LSU quarterback Matt Flynn was probably one of my favorite picks in the later rounds. Flynn has the potential to be a very solid backup for the Packers in the long run. He's a solid QB who knows how to win and will always leave everything he has on the field.
If Favre comes back he just might be the odd man out. Yet with this pick, it could mean the Packers have moved on. With Flynn as the third quarterback, the Packers are set at the position 1 through 3. Of course if the Packers decide to have kicker Mason Crosby run it into the end zone, it also helps that Flynn will be there to flip it over his head into Crosby's hands.
With the final pick of the draft the Packers selected wide receiver Brett Swain out of San Diego State. Swain couldn't have landed in a worse situation with the Packers depth at wide receiver. He should end up on the practice squad and maybe if three wide receivers get injured, he'll get a shot. Out of all the draft picks of the Packers I wish this one the most luck.