2010 NFL Draft: Ted Thompson's Dark Horse First-Round Picks for the Packers

M. S.Correspondent IMarch 30, 2010

MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Jermaine Gresham #18 of the Oklahoma Sooners carries the ball against Major Wright #21 of the Florida Gators during the FedEx BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Anyone affiliated with the Green Bay Packers knows to expect the unexpected when it comes to Ted Thompson and the NFL draft.

With picks like Aaron Rodgers and Justin Harrell, necessity does not equal priority when it comes to first-round draft picks.

That being said, 2010 is a very deep class at multiple positions that do not fit the "need" category for the Packers. Here are a few players the Packers could target with the 23rd overall pick.

1. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

In a move that surprised no one, Jermichael Finley was named the starter by Mike McCarthy this offseason. Donald Lee becomes the backup and primarily a blocker, while Spencer Havner rounds out the position.

He has almost the exact same build as Finley at 6'5", 260 pounds, and he would add another dimension to the Packers' offense. Despite damage to his right knee that cost him the 2009 season, Gresham's upside has him slotted for the first round.

His blocking is less than ideal, but both he and Finley play more like wide receivers anyway, meaning his value would not be totally lost.

2. Jahvid Best, RB, California

It is almost a guarantee C.J. Spiller and Ryan Mathews will be off the board when the Packers pick, but one player whose stock seems to be falling is Jahvid Best. Injuries have been an issue with Best throughout his college career, but like Gresham, Best's upside is out of this world.

He is exactly what the Packers are looking for in terms of a fast runner who is able to turn the corner. He led all running backs at the combine in the 40-yard dash (4.35) and the three-cone drill (6.75).

He can catch well out of the backfield and makes cuts that would be perfect for the Packers' zone blocking scheme. If his health checks out, the Packers will take a look.

3. Brian Price, DE, UCLA

Price is listed as a defensive tackle but would play defensive end in the Packers' 3-4 defense. Listed as a borderline first round pick, Price would add depth to the Packers' defensive line and make Johnny Jolly's seat a little hotter.

Price has excellent speed for his size and compares to Cullen Jenkins in many respects. The re-signing of Ryan Pickett means B.J. Raji's immediate future is at defensive end, but Price could push last year's first-rounder back inside.

4. Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois

Last year, Ted Thompson passed on Michael Crabtree in the first round. One year later, Thompson will be able to draft a player who is a lot like Crabtree. Benn is an absolute playmaker who would add another speedy receiver to the Packers' arsenal.

Donald Driver's career is slowly, very slowly, winding down, and the Packers will need a replacement. Jordy Nelson and James Jones have proved to be solid, yet neither possesses the skill set to become a starter.

Benn's shiftiness and great second-gear speed made him one of the Big Ten's best kick returners, so Benn would be able to help the Packers right away. With great hands and elusiveness, he could be exactly what the Packers are looking for from a slot receiver.

5. Trading Up

Thompson did it last year to go get his guy in Clay Matthews, and, based on how successful that was, he may do the same thing again.

The Packers do not have too many pressing needs during the draft, so losing a second- and third-round pick would not be devastating to the team next year. If the Packers are in true "win now" mode, moving into the top 10 or 15 could bring in the last piece of the puzzle.

Names include Joe Haden, Rolando McClain, Earl Thomas, or Bruce Campbell.

It would not be a shocker at all to see Thompson move down in the draft if he does not like who is available when they pick, but to see him move up sure would raise some eyebrows and get fans excited about whoever Thompson is looking at.


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