If it wasn't obvious at the time, it is now. The Green Bay Packers were looking to add yet another explosive element to their already dangerous offense. And they achieved this goal through the NFL Draft 2011.
Mike McCarthy isn't often heralded as an offensive guru, but after a spectacular run by the Packers and an offense led by Aaron Rodgers and Co., it is a hard point to debate any longer. Let's take a look at the Packers offensive acquisitions in the NFL Draft 2011 and see how they became just that much better.
Round 1, Pick 32
Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi St.
Derek Sherrod will be given every opportunity to become the heir apparent to Chad Clifton, who is currently holding down the LT position, responsible for protecting Aaron Rodger's blindside. Personally, I still feel Bulaga had potential from the left side, but Bryan played just as well as anyone on the Packers roster on their playoff run from the RT position.
With intimidating defensive ends around the division like Julius Peppers and Jared Allen, it was pivotal for Ted Thompson and the Packers to find their left tackle of the future.
Round 2, Pick 64
Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
As a Packer fan, I have found myself wondering why versatile Vikings WR Percy Harvin gets the best of us time and time again. No doubt Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy felt the same way when they decided to rescue Cobb from the green room.
Cobb is a versatile, converted QB from the University of Kentucky. He has amazing hands, can do damage in space, and has the ability to rack up monster yards after the catch—which the Packers staff preaches extensively.
At this selection, I was really hoping for a bigger, more physical presence at WR to replace a departing James Jones. I was really eying Miami wideout Leonard Hankerson. However, in the end the Packers decided Cobb was a better value and selected him with the hopes of replacing veteran Donald Driver one day.
Round 3, Pick 96 -
Alex Green, RB, Hawaii
Definitely one of the biggest question marks for many Packer fans across the country was the selection of Alex Green. Mike Mayock of NFL Network praised Green at the time of the selection, but I am just not convinced of Green's impact now or in the future.
It is no secret that RB Brandon Jackson has been handed his walking papers. And Green will seemingly take over Jackson's duties as a 3rd down back. Dimitri Nance may as well kiss his chances of making the 2011 Packers roster good bye as well.
Green has great hands, works well in space, and ran for a staggering 7.7 yards per carry out of Hawaii's spread offense. This will really open up the playbook for Mike McCarthy who is known for using more four and five WR sets more than any other coach in the NFL.
I believe the Packers could have added a huge pass rusher with this selection, because I am not sure that I like using a third-round pick on a 3rd down back. The Packers don't have a ton of needs to fill and decided to to use this pick for luxury rather than need.
Round 5, Pick 141
DJ Williams, TE, Arkansas
Yet another great value, luxury selection for the Packers. Mike McCarthy and the Packers absolutely love TE prospects and they've proven it again with the selection.
Draft analysts from ESPN to FoxSports have heralded Kyle Rudolph as, by far, the best tight end of this draft class. I am not so quick to judge. Prior to the draft, I loved prospects like Williams and Julius Thomas and thought they may one day surpass Rudolph.
DJ Williams may be a tad small, but he is an athletic, versatile TE who will cause nightmares for defenses. The icing on the cake is that Williams is motivated to do well, works hard, and has impeccable character. I can safely say that I am proud to have DJ Williams suiting up in the green and gold come fall time.
Round 6, Pick 179
Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, Utah
The Packers add yet another developmental project to their offensive line ranks. Schlauderaff is a tad slow coming off the snap, but he is a tough mauling guard who has a great work ethic and yearns for greatness.
In all likelihood, he won't have a real shot at starting or even seeing the field much for a couple of years. The Packers may try hiding him on the practice squad, but as a sixth-round selection, I am not sure what you can expect. Regardless, any player who is coming in and trying to dethrone Daryn Colledge has my Packer Fan stamp of approval.
Round 7, Pick 218 -
Ryan Taylor, TE, North Carolina
The Packers selected a TE for the second time of the 2011 NFL Draft and I almost feel bad for Ryan Taylor. The Packers, before the draft, had Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless and Tom Crabtree sitting on three TE spots on the Packers roster. With the selection of DJ Williams, I can almost guarantee that Tom Crabtree won't be returning, but I am not so sure the Packers will be ready to give up on Quarless just yet.
Taylor is a versatile, H-back type tight end, who really showed promise when starting NC tight end Zach Pianalto went down. Taylor's only saving grace might be the fact that he can play a little LB and be a force on the Packers special teams units. The thought isn't too far fetched. The same scenario went down with former Packer Spencer Havner, not too many years ago. Could the Packers seriously consider starting the 2011 NFL Roster with four tight ends?
If any of these youngsters expect to make an impact in their rookie season, it will be pivotal that they stay in shape through this lockout, get their playbooks (Packers Day 1 selections received their playbooks), and get ready for some football.
In a span of three days, the Packers offense, often thought of as one of the leagues most dangerous...just got more explosive