The Green Bay Packers are close to being a Super Bowl team, so this draft is crucial. If Green Bay can fill their largest needs, they will be Super Bowl contenders, but if they fail to address their issues, they might have a down year. Green Bay must fix their three primary needs this off-season.
For Green Bay to have the consistent offense needed to win in January, they will need to protect Aaron Rodgers much better.
For the Packers to be a top defense they will need to improve their pressure from last season. Clay Matthews was a good start through the draft, now they need a player to compliment him.
Green Bay has a very, very solid starter in Charles Woodson and a very good second corner with Tramon Williams. But after that there are some questions. Al Harris is old (35) and coming off an knee injury. Pat Lee, Brandon Underwood, and Will Blackmon are all unproven. And most Packer fans would agree that Jarrett Bush has struggled.
A draft pick could immediately step into the nickel spot and be the replacement for Woodson in a few years.
So now onto the the draft.
Round One, Pick 23: Charles Brown LT(USC)
Charles Brown has huge potential. He is a terrific athlete with great footwork, which will fit into Green Bay's zone scheme well. He lacks size (6"5', 290) but he could bulk up to 300+ easily. Brown would likely not start from day one, but he could split time with Chad Clifton the first half of the year and then take over full time duties in time for a playoff run.
Pick 23 runner ups: Byron Bulaga, Bruce Campbell.
Bulaga will likely not be available but is Green Bay's top choice.
Campbell will likely not be available. If he is available he would be hard to pass up. He might have the highest ceiling out of any prospect, but he does have injury issues making him a risky prospect.
Round Two, Pick 35-45: Jerry Hughes OLB(TCU)
Trade Description: I believe the Packers need a playmaking OLB and they cannot risk waiting until the 55th pick to get it. There are all sorts of possible trades that could occur for this pick. It is very hard to gauge what teams will be looking for though. I believe Green Bay could trade Donald Lee and their third or fourth round pick for a pick in the 35-45 range.
Lee is no longer an essential part of Green Bay's offense with the emergence of Jermichael Finley and Spencer Havner.
Hughes is arguably the best rush Outside Linebacker in the draft. He has great athleticism and experience rushing the quarterback. He would be a great steal in the second and would likely start as a rookie.
Round Two, Pick 55: Donavon Warren CB(Michigan)
He is an underrated talent and could easily fit into the description of what is needed from a corner in the draft. He is very physical and a great tackler like Woodson and Harris.
Round Three, Pick 87: (If the pick is not traded) Chad Jones SS (LSU)
Atari Bigby seems to always be hurt and when he is healthy, he is only pretty good. Green Bay's defense would benefit hugely from consistency at the safeties in the long run. Jones is large, and has great presence on the field.
Runner Up: Tyson Alualu DT(Cal)
The Packers have a lot of questions at defensive end. Cullen Jenkins is great, but there is no good depth behind him. And Johny Jolly is good, but has legal problems. Justin Harell has yet to prove himself, so Green Bay could use a reliable DE like Alualu.
Round Four, Pick 119: (If the Pick is not traded) Myron Rolle SS (FSU)
His stock has been on the rise since his solid Senior Bowl performance, and could also fill Green Bay's need at strong safety. He is a great athlete with good size.
Round Five Compensation: Garret Graham TE/FB (Wisconsin)
He would be a great value pick who could contribute as a TE, FB, and on special teams and would replace the traded Donald Lee.
Round Five, Pick 160: O'Brian Schofield OLB (Wisconsin)
He was rising up draft boards before he injured his ACL. He likely would have been a second round pick, so he is great value in the fifth. Players come back from injuries all the time and I expect Schofield to do the same. He would add a spark to the Packers' pass rush
Round Six, Pick 192: Zoltan Mesko P (Michigan)
Green Bay has had poor punters far too long and they need to move on from Jeremy Kapinos. Mesko will likely make an immediate impact as a starter.
Round Seven, Pick 224: Trindon Holiday WR/return specialist(LSU)
It is nearly impossible to predict a seventh round selection and even more difficult to find a hidden talent. I go with Holiday here because he seems to be on everyone's mock and the Packers staff might take notice. I don't think he will really be any good. He was not a dominant player in college, so no reason to expect him to be better in the pros.
Runner Ups: Verren Tucker WR (Cal), Brent Bowden P (Virginia Tech)
Wide Receivers are most often late gems so this would be a solid pick. Tucker could likely make the roster as the fifth receiver.
Brent Bowden is the second best punter in the class ans would be a good option if Green Bay does not select Mesko.
This will be an extremely interesting draft for Green Bay fans. If they fill each of their needs they will be among the Super Bowl favorites.