With the 2011 NFL Draft set for takeoff, which offensive prospects do the Packers and GM Ted Thompson have in their sights?
Truth be told, the Green Bay Packers have maintained NFL Draft excellence over the past decade.
At the forefront of it all, however, is GM Ted Thompson: the man responsible for taking a slowly decaying Packer franchise and turning it around with the help of many successful draft selections.
So, with three days remaining until the commencement of the 2011 NFL Draft, here is a mock draft dedicated to improving the Green Bay Packers offense.
This article was originally featured on Wisconsin Sports Talk
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Weight: 321 pounds
While Mike McCarthy's offense has proved to be one of the league's most lethal, there are some question marks that must be address through the draft.
At 34 years of age, Chad Clifton won't be able to fully contribute to a winning cause on the offensive line much longer, leaving a burdensome hole up front for the Packers. Chances are that Ted Thompson is well aware of this, and it wouldn't surprise me if he's able to address that need in the first round of the draft.
A 2011 draft class loaded with offensive line prospects, Thompson may have his eye on Derek Sherrod.
In the months leading up to draft day, Sherrod has been quietly rising up teams' draft boards. With great pass-blocking abilities and a great work ethic, Sherrod would be a sublime addition to Green Bay's offensive front.
Weight: 190 pounds
Seldom do you find a player with enough capabilities to fill multiple positions on your roster. Randall Cobb, however, is an exception worth a look from Ted Thompson.
A transferred quarterback from his high school days, Cobb has 4.4 speed as well as great work ethic and true dedication to the game.
Moreover, the Packers have needs at wide receiver, and could use his quickness in the return game as well.
A great pick here.
Weight: 310 pounds
Ted Thompson has worked wonders in the third round since 2005, picking notable starters such as James Jones and Jermichael Finley.
This year, unlike any other, boasts a handful of value picks in the middle rounds for Thompson to work his magic on. To start things off, selecting Clint Boling might do the trick.
Although the Packers are relatively situated at offensive guard, current starter Josh Sitton could use an effective backup to shore things up. Boling's superior height and weight would allow him to switch between positions on the offensive line for many years to come.
Weight: 205 pounds
Chances are Ted Thompson won't stay put with his middle-round picks, but the fourth round advertises a plethora of potential difference-makers at the next level—like Cal running back Shane Vereen, for example.
As a three-year starter with the Golden Bears, Vereen amassed over 3500 all-purpose yards and scored 35 all-purpose touchdowns. If that doesn't scream productivity, then I don't know what does.
Although he's projected to be available possibly in the fifth round, Vereen brings a lot to the table for a Packer offense void of sustainable offensive production.
Weight: 189 pounds
While Randall Cobb may be a superb addition to Green Bay's core of wideouts, Edmund Gates is every bit as qualified for a starting role.
Currently an under-the-radar prospect, Gates played his college ball at Abilene Christian, where he used his uncanny speed to fly past even the most agile of cornerbacks.
If Ted Thompson wants a pure speedster who can hit the homerun at any given time, he'll key in on what Gates has to offer.
Weight: 311 pounds
Even if the Packers are able to snatch up a first-round offensive tackle, the lack of depth up front puts Ted Thompson in position to draft another tackle in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft.
Take a close look at Derek Newton of Arkansas State, and you'll find he's fully equipped to become an effective backup for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' passing attack.
Good initial quickness and long arms to latch onto defenders are positive feedback from scouts across the country.
Weight: 303 pounds
Heading into his ninth NFL season, center Scott Wells is just past the peak of his career as an effective center. Though he's probably got three more solid seasons left in him, I'm not too fond of what Jason Spitz has to offer once Wells calls it a career.
By the looks of it, USC's Kristofer O'Dowd has everything the Packers could want in a starting center.
Ranked as the third-best center according to NFL Draft Scout, O'Dowd has the ideal frame and long arms NFL teams look for in a starting center.
With guidance from Wells under his belt, O'Dowd will be ready for whatever NFL defenses throw at him as Green Bay's starter.
Weight: 200 pounds
We've already identified two wide receivers, but there's always room for talented wideouts on Ted Thompson's roster, right?
The Packers, traditionally, have maintained some of the best after-the-catch wide receivers of any team in the league, and that mentality isn't likely to change overnight. In fact, it will only continue to flourish.
ESPN's Todd McShay has gone as far as to say Cecil Shorts III is one of the most underrated wide receivers in this year's class. I wouldn't doubt him.
Shorts posted a 4.50 40-yard dash at the Combine, and has superb straight-line speed. Overall, a great late-round selection for the green and gold.
Weight: 180 pounds
This pick may not be necessary, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.
In just four seasons as West Virginia's featured tailback, Noel Devine rushed for over 4300 yards from scrimmage to go with 29 rushing touchdowns. Which begs the question: why is he projected so low?
The answer to that question is uncertain at best. However, I'm sure Ted Thompson wouldn't mind having Devine's outstanding speed in Green Bay's backfield for the prospective future.
With great vision between the tackles and the ability to cut corners with speed and explosiveness, Devine is a breath of fresh air for Mike McCarthy's offense, which needs a game-breaking tailback.
Weight: 245 pounds
This may not be a glaring need, but it would certainly be an immense upgrade from where the Packers are now.
Fullbacks often get overlooked in the draft. But by the looks of Tulsa's bruising fullback Charles Clay, Ted Thompson would be wise to consider taking this year's most complete backfield blocker.
If the Packers are serious about running the football in 2011, they'll need to upgrade from Korey Hall's 6'0", 236-pound frame with Clay.