Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson has three choices when it comes to how he would like to handle the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He can trade up, trade down, or he can stay right where he's at. In the first part of this three part article I will discuss Thompson's likely options if he chooses to stay at 23.
With the 23rd pick of the first round in the 2010 NFl Draft the Packers should have the their choice of a number of players who can come in from day one and significantly contribute to the team at areas of need. A left tackle of the future such as USC's Charles Brown will likely be available and GM Ted Thompson had success in the first round last year with a prospect from USC hitting on outside linebacker Clay Matthews III at 26 so Brown could be the pick at 23. He would provide insurance for often injured veteran Chad Clifton who only has another year or two left as a quality starter. Two of the drafts top three safeties could be available, and one of them almost surely will. Earl Thomas is somewhat small, 5-10, but is solid at 208 and fast he ran in the 4.4's at the combine. He possess great ball skills and has a knack for taking interceptions to the house. He would step in as the starter opposite Nick Collins from day one giving Green Bay one of the top safety duos in the league. The other safety likely to be there at 23 is another USC product Taylor Mays who at 6-3 230 and running a 4.43 forty Mays is a freak athlete whom Dom Capers could use in a myriad of ways. Mays too would start from day one at safety providing the Packers defense with an added dimension. While I think Mays could be used to the best of his abilities by a 3-4 coordinator like Capers Thompson might be scared off by his experience with a similar size speed safety prospect, Aaron Rouse who Thompson selected in the third round and has since released. An interesting pick could be Carlos Dunlap from Florida who has the prototypical size to become one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL. Defensive end isn't necessarily a need for the Packers however it could become one as there is some legal uncertainty hanging over starter Johhny Jolly at the moment. Also Thompson has been know to have a hard time passing up a great bargain, see Aaron Rodgers 2005. Dunlap who is 6-6 and 277 pounds runs a 4.68 forty, and would likely have been a top ten selection had character concerns not been raised stemming from a DUI arrest during last season. Thus Dunlap could be the Packers pick if Thompson returns to his best player available philosophy which he strayed from last year for the first time. When he selected defensive lineman Bj Raji at nine over the number one player on his board wide receiver Michael Crabtree who went ten to the 49ers. Finally a pass rushing outside linebacker prospect Texas defensive end Sergio Kindle will likely be available when the Packers are on the clock. Kindle who is 6-3 250 and ran a 4.65 forty at the combine would be the perfect compliment to last years rookie linebacker Clay Matthews III. He would start from day one opposite Matthews and provide the Packers 3-4 defense with the bookend pass rushers the scheme depends upon.
In this scenario Thompson could be on his way to a successful 2010 draft by selecting pass rusher Sergio Kindle with the 23rd pick. Pairing him with Clay Matthews III would prove to be a nightmare for opposing offenses. He could then select Offensive tackle Roger Saffold from Indiana to become starter Chad Clifton's primary backup and heir apparent. Saffold has the size the Packers like in a left tackle 6-5 316, he also possesses the athleticism to thrive in the Packers zone blocking scheme. running the forty in 5.21 seconds and posting one of the top times of all linemen in the three cone drill at the combine. This would allow Thompson to select safety Major Wright from Florida with his third round pick number 86 overall. Wright would push incumbent starter Atari Bigby for the job likely becoming the starter early in the season. Wright is 6-0 206 pounds and ran a 4.44 forty making him one of the most athletic safeties in the draft. He would provide a huge upgrade over Bigby in pass coverage allowing pro bowl safety Nick Collins to play closer to the line in some blitz packages. These three picks would address Green Bays three biggest needs heading into the 2010 season, a left tackle of the future, a pass rushing outside linebacker, and a safety to push Atari Bigby for the starting job.