2011 NFL Draft: First Round Prospects for Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers
This statement really couldn't be more true, and the Green Bay Packers have used that type of thinking in building themselves a Super Bowl winning roster.
In the past seven drafts, the Packers have hit first round home runs with Aaron Rodgers (24th in 2005), Clay Matthews (26th in 2009) and B.J. Raji (9th in '09), and struck out only once with Justin Harrell (16th in 2007).
With the No. 32 overall pick in this year's draft, you typically don't see as many good pitches to hit home runs. However, the Packers have one of the NFL's best scouting departments, and you'd have to think Green Bay will find a home run type player at the end of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Let's break down some of the guys who might get a call from Thompson and the Packers at No. 32.
Need to know: 6'6", 325 pounds, Wisconsin
Why he fits: It's possible that Carimi has worked his way out of the Packers range at 32, but there's no question Green Bay would take a long look at him if he fell that far.
The former Wisconsin Badger and Outland Trophy winner could pair with Bryan Bulaga to give the Packers a pair of Big Ten bookend tackles to protect Aaron Rodgers for years to come.
The chances Carimi lasts until the end of the first round are unlikely, but he might still be an option for Green Bay at No. 32.
Need to know: 6'5", 305 pounds, Temple
Why he fits: The Packers are almost certain to lose Cullen Jenkins in free agency, and Thompson loves restocking the defensive line with talent.
Wilkerson would fit that bill, and he would serve as an important piece in filling for Jenkins next season.
There are mocks which have Wilkerson off the board before the Packers pick, but he'd be an option for Green Bay at 32 if he got there.
Need to know: 6'3", 258 pounds, Georgia
Why he fits: With so many teams in need of elite pass rushers, it's once again possible that Houston doesn't get to the Packers at No. 32.
However, there are some question marks about whether or not Houston can drop into coverage, and that could see his stock fall just enough.
Houston and his elite pass-rushing abilities would give the Packers another disruptive force opposite Clay Matthews.
Need to know: 6'6", 305 pounds, Mississippi State
Why he fits: Sherrod has the best chance of any first-round quality offensive tackle to get the Packers.
While he wouldn't be as polished as Carimi right away, Sherrod has more potential to play left tackle—something that could be important if the Packers decide to keep Bulaga there long-term.
Sherrod and Bulaga, no matter where they lined up, would give the Packers a solid duo of tackles looking into the future.
Need to know: 6'3", 300 pounds, Illinois
Why he fits: Like Wilkerson, Liuget would give the Packers the same kind of value on the defensive line with the 32nd pick.
Jenkins already has one foot out the door, and it'd be hard to count on Johnny Jolly—a guy who hasn't played football in over a year—to step right in and be effective.
Liuget would give the Packers another young talent on the defensive line to go with Mike Neal and B.J. Raji.
Need to know: 6'5", 230 pounds, Pittsburgh
Why he fits: More and more mock drafts have the Packers taking Baldwin—a receiver—at the end of the first round.
If Baldwin is the best player left on Thompson's board, there's no reason why he shouldn't pull the trigger.
Green Bay could lose James Jones in free agency, and Donald Driver isn't getting any younger (36 years old).
Need to know: 6'5", 290 pounds, Ohio State
Why he fits: Heyward began the season as one of the best defensive ends in this draft class, but his lack of production has dropped him down some boards.
Still, Heyward could be a good find for the Packers at No. 32.
He isn't dominate in any one area, but in time Heyward could develop into a similar player as the man he's replacing—Cullen Jenkins.
Need to know: 6'1", 310 pounds, Oregon State
Why he fits: There's no doubt that Paea's 49 reps at the combine has him shooting up boards, but he wasn't originally slated as a first rounder before Indianapolis.
As a fringe first rounder, the Packers could take Paea to bolster their defensive line in case Cullen Jenkins leaves.
A three man front of Paea, Mike Neal and B.J. Raji would be among the strongest in the NFL.
Need to know: 6'2", 290 pounds, Florida State
Why he fits: Starting left guard Daryn Colledge is a free agent this summer, and the Packers could draft his potential replacement with the 32nd pick.
Hudson is at or near the top of the available guards, and he has the skill set to play immediately.
The Packers like T.J. Lang, but there'd be nothing wrong with adding another talent to the offensive line.
Need to know: 6'4", 310 pounds, Florida
Why he fits: The Packers should be well-aware of the Pouncey family, as Mike's brother Maurkice was a big loss for the Steelers during Super Bowl XLV.
However, if the Packers feel Mike has a future at guard, Green Bay could pick the twin to help fill the shoes of Daryn Colledge.
With his versatility and bloodlines, the Packers would find good value in Pouncey at No. 32.
Aaron Williams (CB, Texas)
Mikel LeShoure (RB, Illinois)
Ryan Williams (RB, VT)
Christian Ballard (DE, Iowa)
Akeem Ayers (OLB, UCLA)
Torrey Smith (WR/KR, Maryland)
Ben Ijalana (OT/OG, Villanova)
Titus Young (WR/KR, Boise State)