2010 NFL Draft: The Green Bay Packers Should Select an Outside LB In Round One

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2010 NFL Draft: The Green Bay Packers Should Select an Outside LB In Round One
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There have been many articles detailing the Packers draft needs leading up to the draft on April 22.
Most fans, journalists, and experts agree the major areas of concern for the Packers are offensive tackle, corner back, safety, and outside linebacker.
Although current Packer general manager Ted Thompson does not draft on need, but rather the best player available, this is why, short of some stunning surprises on draft day, the Packers should take an outside linebacker.
This off-season, the Packers resigned two key components to their offensive line, tackles Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton.
The major concern most Packer fans have, as well as Packer management, although they may not admit it, is the injury history and age of both tackles.
Clifton will be 34 when the season starts, and missed time the past two seasons with injuries. Tauscher will be 33, and missed much of last season recovering from a knee injury.
At this point there is no clear back up—much less a successor to Clifton on the Packers roster, so finding that player in this draft is clearly a need, but not necessarily with the first pick.
The two most likely tackle candidates for the Packers would be Charles Brown from USC and Bruce Campbell from Maryland, neither of whom are safe picks in the first round.
The Packers may be better off going after one of the second tier tackles in the draft.
Some players like Miami's Jason Fox, West Virginia's Ed Wang, Abilene Christian's Tony Washington, or Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer, who are expected to be taken anywhere from rounds two to four.
Much like Brown and Campbell, these players would need some time to develop, but have the athletic ability to play left tackle in the NFL.
The Packers went into last season with one of the best corner back tandems in the league. Charles Woodson and Al Harris, and a potential future starter in Tramon Williams, but injuries decimated the Packers secondary.
Harris, Will Blackmon, and second year corner Pat Lee all ended the season on injured reserve, which meant a lot of playing time for rookie Brandon Underwood and special teams player Jarrett Bush.
In losses to Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Arizona, the Packer secondary was exploited.
But one thing that must be considered in those losses is the lack of a pass rush.
In those four losses, the Packers defense only amassed six sacks, five of which came against Pittsburgh.
In this year's draft, Boise State's Kyle Wilson is the only corner worthy of a first round pick, who may be available when the Packers pick at 23.
If available, could Wilson have an impact this year? Probably, but there are approximately seven to 10 corners who are projected to be available when the Packers pick in the second and third rounds, who may be able to have a similar impact.
Thompson doesn't usually pursue costly free agents, adding a low cost veteran corner after the draft may be a possibility.
With Atari Bigby missing time the past two season because of injuries, and little in the way of a competent back up at strong safety, there are concerns about the position.
The only safety prospect who might be a fit for the Packers at the 23rd pick is USC safety Taylor Mays. Mays is very athletic, but there are definite questions about his ball skills, and he is considered by many to be a boom or bust prospect.
That brings us to the outside linebacker position.
Clay Matthews looks like he will be terrorizing opposing quarterbacks for years to come, but there is less certainty on the opposite side.
Brad Jones took over for Aaron Kampman after an injury ended his season, and performed better than the Packers and their fans could of hoped a rookie seventh round draft pick could perform.
Although he had four sacks in limited action, he was not a play maker.
Could Jones develop from a solid player to an impact player this year? It's possible, but there should be a player or two who should be able to have an instant impact at the position when the Packers pick in the first round.
Sergio Kindle of Texas, Jerry Hughes of Texas Christian, and Brandon Graham of Michigan are projected as three of the top three or four outside linebacker prospects.
Its very likely one or two of them will be gone when the Packers pick, but anyone of the three could become an instant starter for the Packers, and have a huge impact in both stopping the run and disrupting the opposition's passing attack.
During Thompson's tenure, he has built a solid, young team, by hording draft picks and placing a high value on his own players.
But now is the time for Thompson to go for quality over quantity. 
At the end of last season, the Packers looked like a team that could make a deep run in the playoffs with a key addition or two. 
In just a few days, we will see if Thompson and the Packers make the choice that carries them from playoff team to Super Bowl contender.

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