Drafting Dead Last … How Sweet it is!
Cheeseheads, still basking in the glory of Super Bowl XLV, have another treat to look forward to this week… the collegiate draft. While the stupidity of the stalled labor/management negotiations has put a cloud over next season, the draft will be held per usual. One of the ramifications of being the best professional football team is that you draft at the bottom of each round. Putting that in perspective, Cheeseheads have deemed it not a problem. So the world champion Green Bay Packers will take the 32nd player in the annual collegiate draft next week, barring a trade.
Whom might the Packers select at that spot? The Packers have few needs as they already have a solid, young team and no less than 15 players (six of them starters) who will be coming off of injured reserve to provide lots of competition. That alone is like resupplying the team with talent. Given these circumstances, I think there is a possibility that General Manager Ted Thompson might just bundle a couple picks to move up in the first round if he targets an impact player. He astutely did that two years ago and selected Clay Matthews III. That being said, Thompson loves his draft picks so he probably will stay at # 32.
Here are some possibilities of who might be available when the Packers pick at # 32.
1. Cameron Heyward - Defensive end, Ohio State. Heyward is a big, strong guy who is a good run-stopper first but also has some pass rushing abilities. Cullen Jenkins is almost sure to leave for free agency; Heyward might just be his replacement.
2. Justin Houston – Outside linebacker, Georgia. Houston is a talented edge pass rusher who could become the counterbalance to CM III. His presence on the field would cause the opposition to rethink their strategy of double-teaming attention on CM III.
3. Derek Sherrod – Offensive tackle, Mississippi State. Ted Thompson got a steal with last year’s first round pick when Bryan Bulaga fell to the Packers, and maybe the Packers will take another big athletic lineman this year. Bulaga is sure to be one of the Packers’ starting tackles for the next dozen years; maybe Sherrod will man the other side. This draft class is deep with offensive linemen and Sherrod has the potential for a distinguished NFL career.
4. Torrey Smith – Wide receiver/kick returner, Maryland. Smith has good size, blazing speed and is an outstanding kick returner. The Packers most glaring need is a quality kick returner and Smith might just be the ticket here. Smith could eventually replace Donald Driver who is turning 36 this year and give Aaron Rodgers a speed burner target as he develops. James Jones’ likely departure in free agency might be another reason to call Smith’s name.
5. Brooks Reed – Outside linebacker, Arizona. Reed appears to be a CM III “light,” complete with the long blond hair. He is quick and fast and strong which is a nice combination. Like Justin Houston, Reed just might have the right set of skills to keep the Packer outside linebackers balanced and feared for many years. Reed has a non-stop motor and a Packer “personality.”
And the Packer Partisan fearlessly predicts it will be Brooks Reed whom the Packers select with their first round choice. The Packers currently have nine picks in total. Look for selections to include defensive and offensive linemen, an outside linebacker, a wide receiver, a cornerback and a kick returner.