I don’t know how many times I heard a television football analyst utter those words upon hearing the names of the players selected by the Green Bay Packers this past weekend in the collegiate draft. “The rich keep getting richer” in this case seems to be an accurate cliché when describing Ted Thompson’s 2011 picks. Let’s take a quick look at the drafted players.
In the first round the Packers selected Derek Sherrod, offensive tackle, Mississippi. This is a smart pick. Protecting the franchise’s greatest asset, Aaron Rodgers, has high priority and that is exactly what Sherrod and last year’s first round pick Bryan Bulaga will do for the next decade. It is unclear which one will play left tackle once Chad Clifton retires, but Sherrod brings tons of talent and experience to the table. He is highly intelligent and has no character issues.
Round 2 brought an exciting player in Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb. Cobb immediately fills the one remaining gap in the Packers’ arsenal, kick returner. Cobb is very quick and versatile. He played some quarterback at Kentucky and might evolve into a Packer “wildcat” option. He also places the ball for field goals and should hone his wide receiver talents under the tutelage of Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.
The Packers stayed on the offensive side in round 3 choosing Hawaii running back Alex Green. Green posted incredible yards per carry numbers in college and has good receiving skills. He may replace Brandon Jackson as a “third down” back if Jackson departs in free agency. Look for Cobb to make his name as a return man for the Packers in 2011.
Five of the Packers’ first six picks were offensive players but in round 4 the Pack selected a cornerback from New Mexico State, Davon House. House has good size/speed ratio and has tons of college experience. He should press the incumbent cornerbacks for time in the dime defense and has the potential to become a starter in the NFL.
The Packers got a real steal in round 5 when they selected Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams. Williams had a very nice collegiate career. He is a bit smallish for the position but he runs well and has great hands. The Packers often deploy two tight ends and with Williams teamed up with Jermichael Finlay…. well as the saying goes, “the rich keep getting richer.”
Of the remaining picks in the lower rounds, Arizona outside linebacker Ricky Elmore is probably the most interesting. Elmore will be in the competition to start on the opposite side to Clay Matthews III and brings some interesting skill sets into the fray. If you Google Elmore you will find a You Tube clip showing him jump over the tailgate and into the back of a pickup. Not sure how that projects into football, but that jump is mighty impressive for a big guy.
If I had a criticism of Thompson’s 2011 draft, it would be his obsession with trading down to gain extra picks. Some of the lower picks not mentioned by name in this column seem to make little sense with players unlikely to make the team.
Next order of business is hoping that the owners and the players’ union can come to an agreement. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later so that Cheeseheads can continue to watch “the rich get richer.”