The greatest non sporting, sporting event of 2008 is now history and the Packers have a fresh pool of talent as a result of the NFL collegiate draft which concluded Sunday. Ted Thompson did his usual draft day wheeling and dealing and after the smoke cleared, the Packers drafted seven offensive and two defensive players; two receivers, two offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, one tight end, one cornerback and one defensive end.
Last year at this time the Packer Partisan was critical of the 2007 draft class and on paper it is hard to get excited about this group either. Barring injury it is difficult to project any of the recent draftees into starting positions in 2008. That being said, the 2008 draftees bring lots of talent to the party. Thompson is a shrewd General Manager who drafts players he foresees contributing maybe not too much immediately"¦ but perhaps significantly two or three years down the road.
This year's first pick, wide receiver Jordy Nelsn, seems to be a strange choice as the Packers' current stable of wide receivers is one of the best in all of pro football. But, consider that Donald Driver is 33 and on the downside of his great career, Greg Jennings is approaching new contract discussions, and Koren Robinson and Ruvell Martin are probably not starting-quality receivers. Maybe adding another talented receiver isn't such a bad idea. Nelson is a big Kansas farm kid with excellent hands and character who fits nicely into the Packers' West Coast offensive scheme. The Packers' last pick on Sunday was yet another receiver, Brett Swain, who had a good career at San Diego State.
Thompson's second pick in the draft was Brian Brohm, the second-highest rated quarterback in this year's draft. Brohm had a great collegiate career at Louisville and is thus a good prospect. He does not possess a cannon arm ala Brett Favre, but few do. Brohm and seventh-round pick Matt Flynn are Thompson's answers as to who will back up Aaron Rodgers at quarterback this year. Coach Mike McCarthy has an excellent history coaching his quarterbacks. He will have his hands full now with these two rookies (and with Rodgers having very little pro experience).
Auburn cornerback Patrick Lee was Thompson's next choice. I am dubious about anyone coming out of the Auburn football program, but who knows if he will pan out. Following Lee, Thompson picked tight end Jermichael Finley from Texas. Finley is a very athletic 21-year-old whose forte is pass catching and whose challenge will be blocking. He could be a special player one day.
The defensive end picked in round four, Jeremy Thompson from Wake Forest, has a pretty vanilla resume but Ted Thompson liked him enough to trade up to pluck him (the first time he ever has done that) as a good value pick. The two offensive linemen picked next appear to be aggressive and decent athletes who fit the mold for the Packers' zone blocking scheme. The latter of the two has a great character name for a Godfather sequel"¦ Breno Giacomini.
Cheeseheads can now look forward to the mini camps and in only a little over four months the Pack opens the season at Lambeau against the Vikes on Monday Night Football. Have a great spring and summer.