The consensus is that the first three positions discussed in this series—tackle, linebacker, and cornerback—were the ones of greatest need and those the team should look to the draft to upgrade: The reason they have become needs is the team has reached a point of diminishing returns for at least one player at each position because of age.
The reality is that the Packers biggest need is actually special teams. The team needs upgrades for both kicking and punting not only for those positions, but also for returners. However, there are free agents available at any given time for the former two positions, and spending any draft pick in the first three rounds there is ludicrous—even a late round pick would be questionable.
With regard to a returner, the Packers might be okay there this year if Will Blackmon can stay healthy. However, either running back or cornerback also offers a good possibility of an upgrade, so a smart general manager (which Ted Thompson has proven to be, with one weakness of being excessively cheap) looks for picks to fill those primary positions of need that can also perform the secondary function.
Like Kyle Wilson, who is a corner that can help immediately on defense and special teams.
However, there is one other position of need for the Packers: This team needs a veteran quarterback.
Here no one in the draft will do, because they will not be better than Matt Flynn in their rookie year. Even a top-ten pick might not be, and there is no way the Packers trade up to get a franchise quarterback with one already on the roster.
For the same reason, it makes no sense to go after a restricted free agent. They are young players with the potential to be franchise players (or are not worth grabbing), and there is no point in the team giving up any compensatory picks for players whose chief function is insurance.
But insurance is needed. Current backup quarterback Matt Flynn has a career passer rating that is about the same as JaMarcus Russell’s. The best Flynn would be able to do for Green Bay is hold on to a lead for less than a half of football.
With Brett Favre likely to come back to the Vikings and the upgrades the Bears made, the Packers have a tiny margin for error before becoming the third-place team in the division. And with the NFC East boasting three strong teams and the NFC South boasting two, there is no chance a third-place team makes the playoffs.
If Aaron Rodgers is down for even a game, the Packers are in trouble. There are only four games on Green Bay’s schedule that Matt Flynn should beat: Buffalo, Washington, and Detroit twice, although this is closer than in years past. Maybe he could pull of one or two others, but he also might lose one or two of those, since all of those teams but Buffalo will be better than last year.
So who should the Packers go after? Take a look at my article on PackerChatters...