2011 NFL Draft: 10 Players the Green Bay Packers Might Regret Passing on

Mike HsuContributor IIMay 5, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: 10 Players the Green Bay Packers Might Regret Passing on

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    The Packers passed up the athletic LB Bruce Carter out of UNC.
    The Packers passed up the athletic LB Bruce Carter out of UNC.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    As sure as the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, every NFL draft season dredges up the ghost of Tony “Incredible Bulk/Bust” Mandarich—causing Packer fans to lament to their Leinie’s again about what might have been in that fateful 1989 draft.

    While it’s too early to tell if the Packers have missed out on Hall of Fame-talent like Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, or Deion Sanders, let’s take a look at 10 players that GM Ted Thompson passed on who might one day trigger similar feelings of regret.

Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 4:  Donald Brown #34 of the Connecticut Huskies carries the ball against Bruce Carter #54 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the game at Kenan Stadium on October 4, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Round 1: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi (#32 overall)

    Could have picked: Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina (went #40)

    Once (and infamously) bitten by an injury-risk draft pick in Justin Harrell, Thompson didn’t pull the trigger on the talented Carter ostensibly because of his recent ACL tear. OLB was widely considered a need for the Packers, and Thompson passed on a prospect who—when healthy—possesses the prototypical explosiveness and playmaking ability LB coach Kevin Greene covets.

Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton

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    Round 2: Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky (#64)

    Could have picked: Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton

    Defensive coordinator Dom Capers deployed the “One-Ton Wall” of Ryan Pickett, BJ Raji, and Howard Green with great effect last season in his 3-4 scheme. At 6-5, 346, Ellis is a mammoth space eater with rare quickness, and would have added size and depth to the D line--presently considered the thinnest position on the Packers’ roster.

Jordan Cameron, TE, USC

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    PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Jordan Cameron #84 of the USC Trojans leaps to catch a ball over Delano Howell #26 of the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Cameron lost control of the ball on the way back down
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Round 3:  Alex Green, RB, Hawaii (#96)

    Could have picked: Jordan Cameron, TE, USC (#102)

    As Thompson drolly noted after the draft, coach Mike McCarthy likes tight ends (McCarthy played the position in college). The Packers’ fifth-round pick DJ Williams was certainly ultra-productive at Arkansas, but the gifted Cameron flashes potential to be a field-stretching difference maker and has a frame that will fill out and get stronger.

Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU

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    Round 4:  Davon House, CB, New Mexico State (#131)

    Could have picked: Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU (#138)

    Sherrod was a “safe” pick in the first round, but the powerful Cannon offers just as much ability—and even more mash for the run game. Cannon’s medical concerns led to a tumble down the board, but his talent and track record initially suggested a Round 2 grade.

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State (#145)

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    CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 04:  Jacquizz Rodgers #1 of the Oregon State Beavers runs the ball against Michael Clay #46 of the Oregon Ducks during the 114th Civil War on December 4, 2010 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/G
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Round 5:  DJ Williams, TE, Arkansas (#141)

    Could have picked: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State (#145)

    Scouts were divided on Rodgers’ pro potential after a prolific career as a Beaver. But if Rodgers becomes a Darren Sproles-like sparkplug, Thompson will rue passing on a player who would have been a feared weapon in Aaron Rodgers’ arsenal.

Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1: Running back Knowshon Moreno #24 of the University of Georgia rushes around linebacker Greg Jones #53 of the Michigan State Spartans at the 2009 Capital One Bowl at the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo b
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Round 6:  Caleb Schlauderaff, G, Utah (#179)

    Could have picked: Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State (#185)

    A Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a junior, Jones should be motivated after being eviscerated by scouts and plummeting deep into the draft. Thompson, who stressed productivity in his post-draft remarks, might regret passing on Jones.  

Chris L. Rucker, CB, Michigan State

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    STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 22:  Deon Butler #3 of the Penn State Nittany Lions can't haul in a pass in front of Chris L. Rucker #29 of the Michigan State Spartans on November 22, 2008 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State won the
    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    Round 6: DJ Smith, LB, Appalachian State (#186)

    Could have picked: Chris L. Rucker, CB, Michigan State (#188)

    At 6-1, 195, Rucker fits the mold of the big press corner. Hardened by the rough and tumble Big Ten, Rucker showed good ability to jam and bump-and-run—perfect for Capers’ aggressive defense.

Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Greg McElroy #12 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warms up during the Capitol One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Round 6: Ricky Elmore, LB, Arizona (#197)

    Could have picked: Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama (#208)

    McCarthy would have loved working with the heady McElroy, who did nothing but win a national championship with the Crimson Tide. McElroy projects as a plug-and-play, pro-ready backup should Matt Flynn leave for a starting gig.

Jabara Williams, LB, Stephen F. Austin

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    Round 7:  Ryan Taylor, TE, North Carolina (#218)

    Could have picked: Jabara Williams, LB, Stephen F. Austin (#228)

    Like the Packers’ pick DJ Smith, Williams is an undersized, much-decorated tackling machine with a small school pedigree. But Williams could have been had 32 picks—a full round—later.

Cedric Thornton, DT, Southern Arkansas

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    Round 7: Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State (#233)

    Could have picked: Cedric Thornton, DT, Southern Arkansas (undrafted)

    Although Thornton doesn’t have Guy’s eye-popping size/speed numbers, he is a ferocious, penetrating D-lineman who could have helped ease the blow if (or when) Cullen Jenkins leaves the Packers.