Burnett, Tate Should Be The Picks at 53 and 86 For The Packers

Nicholas KashianContributor IIApril 23, 2010

ATLANTA - AUGUST 28:  Safety Morgan Burnett #1 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets returns a first half interception upfield during the game against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field on August 28, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Yellow Jackets beat the Gamecocks 41-14.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

The Packers took care of one of their major areas of need when projected top ten pick Bryan Bulaga fell to them at number 23 in during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft on Thursday night.  They still have needs at safety, running back, and outside linebacker holding the 56th and 86th overall picks in the second and third round respectively, GM Ted Thompson should be able to fill two of those three holes tonight.  Outside linebacker prospects Sergio Kindle and Everson Griffen both fell out of the first round and if one of them somehow falls to number 56 Thompson likely would not hesitate due to the value they would represent at that point in the draft.  However in all likely hood both Griffen and Kindle will be long gone by the time the Packers are on the clock.  There really isn't another linebacker prospect worth taking at 56 so Thompson would likely turn his attention to safety or running back.  Like linebacker there isn't really a running back worth taking at 56 unless the Packers really like Dexter McCluster, but his size limitations 5-09 172 mean he will never be a starter from scrimmage making a second rounder quite a steep price to pay.  This is where Georgia Tech safety Morgan Burnett comes in, Burnett is exactly the type of safety the Packers need.  He has good size at 6-2 212 and speed running the forty in 4.51 seconds.  Most importantly he is good in coverage often being asked to play nickel corner during college.  Burnett has the ability to cover a slot receiver in the NFL something current Packers starter Atari Bigby would never be asked to do.  He ende3d his Georgia tech career with 14 interceptions showing he has good awareness and the ball skills to make plays.  Burnett would likely push Bigby for the starting job during training camp very likely beating him out as a rookie.  His versatility would allow Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers much more flexibility in disguising his blitz packages.  If Morgan Burnett is on the board at number 56 Ted Thompson would be wise to make him a Packer.  He duo of Burnett, Collins, Bigby, and Derrick Martin would give the Packers one of the stronger groups of safeties in the NFL.  As for number 86 I believe Thompson will have the opportunity to add a running back to the Packers roster that will bring speed to their backfield.  Auburn running back Ben Tate will likely be available at number 86 when the Packers are on the clock in the third round.  Tate has prototypical size for a starting NFL running back 5-11 220 coupled with excellent speed. Tate ran the forty in just 4.34 seconds at his pro day, making him one of the fastest running backs in the draft.  He is a lot like former Packer Ahman Green who coupled great speed with a love of contact in his prime.  Like Green, Tate often can be seen seeking out the contact and delivering the hit to the defender instead of waiting for it to happen the other way around.  He finished his career at Auburn as the fifth all time leading rusher in school history with 3,321 yards so has shown good production.  He is generally viewed as a tough between the tackles type of runner which is how he was used in college but his straight line speed suggests he could be the type of running back who can score on any carry or reception.  He would add a speed dimension to the Packers backfield that has been lacking.