With the Super Bowl celebrations mostly out of the way, the Packers and their fans can set their sights on this April's draft, which, barring a labor agreement between the NFL owners and Players Association, will be the only off-season excitement NFL fans get for awhile.
Admittedly it is a little early to be looking at the players teams will be drafting in April. Players will rise and fall based on their performances at their school's pro days and the NFL Combine. In the next couple of months, players who look like a first or second round pick could fall to the late rounds or may not get drafted at all, and players that few have even heard of will skyrocket up draft boards and be picked in the early rounds.
Complicating matters further for Packer fans is Ted Thompson's draft philosophy. Thompson truly does choose the best player available, and with the Packers having the last pick in most rounds, I think it is highly likely that Thompson will make some picks early on that surprise a lot of Packer fans.
All of that being said, here is a look at some of the players that could help the Packers make a run at back to back championships.
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Titus Young, WR, Boise State
Height: 5-11. Weight: 170.
Young is an explosive wide receiver who, after his Senior Bowl performance, has garnered comparisons to both Mike Wallace and Desean Jackson.
Young also handled kick return duties at Boise State, a skill that could make him very attractive to the Packers. On the downside, Young is relatively small, at 5'11" and 170 pounds, but a speedy vertical threat could add another dimension to the Packers offense.
Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida
Height: 6-6. Weight: 329
Chad Clifton played well for most of the 2010 season, but the 2011 season will most likely be his last, and with Brian Bulaga the most likely successor to Clifton, right tackle will be a need sooner rather than later for the Packers.
Gilbert played left tackle at Florida, but probably does not have the athleticism to play on the left side in the NFL, and will most likely need to move to the right side. Gilbert also has experience at left guard, which could be another area along the offensive line the Packers may need to fill if free agent Daryn College signs elsewhere.
Steven Friday, DE/OLB, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-4. Weight: 252.
The Packers biggest need is arguably outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews. Frank Zombo, Brad Jones and Eric Walden have all filled in at the position during the season to varied levels of success. Unfortunately for the Packers, with the high demand for pass rushers, they would probably not be able to get good value in the late first or second round.
Friday played defensive end in college, but has the prototypical size and speed for a rush outside linebacker in the NFL. Friday didn't see a lot of playing time in college but started 14 games for the Hokies last season and racked up nine sacks, two forced fumbles and 66 tackles, and was awarded second team ALL-ACC.
Chykie Brown, CB, Texas
Height: 6-0. Weight: 187.
Brown will probably last of the three Texas cornerbacks drafted this April after Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown, but he may be every bit as talented.
Much like Sam Shields, Brown has a lot of speed and is very athletic, but his technique still needs some work. Brown is the type of player who could really benefit from working with Packers defensive backs coach Joe Whitt, and playing behind Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.
Terrance Toliver, WR, LSU
Height: 6-5. Weight: 205.
It may seem unlikely that the Packers would draft two receivers, but with the uncertainty of James Jones future with the Packers and Donald Driver entering the twilight of his career, it may be a prudent choice by the Packers.
Receivers often take time to develop in the Pros, and Toliver could probably benefit playing behind veterans like Driver and Greg Jennings. Toliver does not have great speed, but at 6'5" his size can create matchup problems for opposing defenses.
Adrian Taylor, DE, Oklahoma
Height 6-4 Weight: 303
Taylor is an athletic defensive lineman who played defensive tackle at Oklahoma, but would be a good fit as a defensive end in the Packers 3-4 scheme.
Taylor would probably be a higher pick if it were not for his injury history, which includes an ankle injury suffered in the Sun Bowl in 2009, and an achilles tendon injury which caused him to miss the end of his senior season.
Da'Rel Scott, RB, Maryland
Height: 5-11. Weight: 200.
Scott has decent size for a running back that runs a 4.4 40 yard dash. Scott can also catch the ball out of the backfield and has kick return experience.
In 2007, Scott was an ALL-ACC first team selection, and in 2010, he rushed for 200 yards in the Military Bowl against East Carolina.
Ryan Bartholomew, C, Syracuse
Height: 6-2. Weight: 301.
Bartholomew is a versatile lineman who split time starting at both a guard and center in his college career. Bartholomew was ALL-BIG EAST 2nd team in 2009, and ALL-BIG EAST 3rd Team in 2010.
With Scott Wells turning 30 this year, and Jason Spitz likely not returning, the Packers might be wise to try and find Wells' future replacement and add some more depth along the offensive line