Packers Go With a Defensive Linemen In The Second Round

Eric TurnerContributor IApril 23, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 1: Defensive lineman Mike Neal of Purdue runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 1, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Yesterday, we saw the Packers strike draft day gold when Top 10 prospect Bryan Bulaga fell in their lap. Bulaga was a wonderful pick that surely should help an ailing offensive line. In round two, the packers found themselves armed with the 56th overall pick. After picking Bulaga with the 23rd pick, hopes were running very high for day two of the draft.

Most of Packer nation was hoping to land either a pass rushing outside linebacker, a speedy running back, or an aggressive defensive back and there were plenty to be had. But the second round proved it was not as forgiving as round one, as potential Packer prospects went flying off the board. 

I watched the second round in horror as I saw players like: RB Dexter McCluster, LB Sergio Kindle, CB Chris Cook, S Taylor Mays, LB Daryl Washington, and RB Toby Gerhart all come off the board, all before the Packers could even say "mercy".

So I must admit, I had no idea what the Pack was going to do with the 56th pick. I was very anxious until the Packers' pick came up and I saw, DE/DT Mike Neal out of Purdue.

My first impression was, "who??" After doing some reseach I found that he was a very coveted DE out of high school that later converted to DT. At Purdue, he was pretty successful and highly touted through the hall of the Boilermakers. So he's not a horrible player. What has me scratching my head is, why a defensive lineman?

Here are a couple reasons that I could think of. Johnny Jolly is going through some legal problems and might not be with the Packers for the beginning of the year. Jarius Wynn has not proved himself yet and Neal could be a possible stand-in for Jolly. But Raji could easily be a 3-4 end and could take that temporary role.

Another reason is Ted could be thinking Neal could be converted to OLB and push Brad Jones. The only problem with that is he is about 40 pounds too heavy to be a successful OLB.

When I look at the Packers defensive line, I see a strong and deep group. So there is no way that Ted drafted Neal as a defensive tackle as the Packers have depth there with Pickett and Raji.

 A DT/DE in the sixth or seventh round wouldn't have bothered me, but to take one in the second round when the D-Line is strong AND deep, just doesn't make sense to me. No disrespect to Mike Neal, but this pick just doesn't make sense to me.