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Packer Partisan (04/23/2008)
By Dave DeLano

The annual collegiate draft of football talent will take place this weekend and for the first time in a long time Packer management will approach such without quarterback Brett Favre under contract. Favre retired and how that will play into whom the Packers select will indeed prove interesting.

This year the Packers have eight selections in all: one in the first, two in the second and the fourth, and one in rounds three, five and seven. Based on their 13 - 3 record last year the Packers don't select until # 30, but with their two second round picks they will select three players out of the first sixty.

It is truly amazing how much draft information is available on the Internet. Mock drafts and value boards are rampant in cyberspace where anyone with an interest and a computer can access the information. One can only imagine the volumes of scouting reports and other data that Ted Thompson has at his disposal. So the question becomes, who will Thompson pick when the Packers are "on the clock"?

Thompson always says that he will draft the top-rated player on the board regardless of position. He seemed to prove that last year by selecting a defensive tackle in the first round when the team seemed well stocked in that department. But then again, maybe he is bluffing this time around. Most pro football general managers give out as much misinformation as information at this time of the year, so who knows.

By all accounts the talent pool is deep this year, although there does not appear to be any super-star types. For that reason, not having one of the very top picks is an advantage. The team that picks high will be saddled with the huge salaries and guaranteed money that the top picks command.

Conventional wisdom would have the Packers taking a cornerback to add depth, a tight end to replace the departed Bubba Franks, a running back to complement Ryan Grant or maybe even a quarterback to back up Aaron Rodgers with their first pick. An interesting player who might be around at # 30 is Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason. Cason plays the position with the same aggressive style the Packers utilize and could be a nice addition for our aging cornerback corps. Oregon running back Jonathon Stewart might be available at # 30. Stewart has some injury issues but he is a major talent and could be an NFL feature back. Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm may also be available at the # 30 spot, but selecting a quarterback that high might send the wrong message to Rodgers. What a dilemma for Ted Thompson.

Watching the draft unfold has always been great entertainment. Here are the Packer Partisan's predictions for the Pack's first three selections. Round #1 (30th overall): Miami safety Kenny Phillips. Round #2 (56th overall): Texas A & M tight end Martellus Bennett. Round #2 (60th overall): USC offensive lineman Chilo Rachal. There you have it. I can't wait to see Mel Kiper Jr.'s smiling face and tall hair on ESPN Saturday morning!



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