I will be doing a team draft preview every day for the next 32 days leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft. We begin part one of my 32 part series with the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
The Packers have been built primarily through the draft, as Ted Thompson has done a great job of assembling a very young and talented roster. Without a lot of extremely pressing needs heading into the 2011 season, look for Thompson to continue to follow his strategy of taking the best player available regardless of position.
The offense is one of the best in the NFL, and is led by Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers. The Packers will live and die by their franchise quarterback, and I fully expect him to put up and MVP type season in 2011.
The Packers now look to be set at running back with playoff star James Starks teaming up with Ryan Grant, who will be back in the lineup after missing basically all of last year. Rodgers will have plenty of weapons to throw, regardless of whether James Jones is back next year. Look for Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley to have pro bowl seasons in 2011. The line was much improved in 2010 and I expect the unit to continue to improve in 2011. Chad Clifton doesn’t have much left in the tank, but Bryan Bulaga and pro bowl snub Josh Sitton are two very young building blocks.
The defense was great again last season, and they too are a very young unit overall. The line could lose Cullen Jenkins to free agency, and if they do, I think the line becomes their biggest weakness on the defense. However, B.J. Raji looks like a great talent and I expect Mike Neal to get a lot of playing time next year.
The linebacking unit is very solid, with young defensive cornerstone Clay Matthews Jr. leading the way. A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop are both very good players in the middle too, but the Packers may look to upgrade the other outside linebacker spot. The secondary has plenty of good young players, but they’re lead by pro bowl veteran Charles Woodson. I really expect this defense to be one of the best, if not the best, in the league in 2011.