Bay Packers' fan Nick Olson, from Des Moines, Iowa, sits under a
giant NFL Packers football helmet on display in Pioneer Court,
Friday, April 17, 2015, in downtown Chicago as the city prepares
to host the NFL Draft from April 30 to May 2.
Just because the
Packers need cornerbacks and linebackers in this week's NFL draft, it
doesn't necessarily mean general manager Ted Thompson is set on taking
Not that he would
divulge that information anyway.
Thompson adheres to a
policy of taking the best available player in the NFL draft. If that
player also happens to fill a position of need, all the better for the
Packers' guarded decision maker.
certain amount of weighting in terms of need, but I am adamant that
that's not the way to draft," Thompson said. "The way to
draft is to take the best player."
It worked out pretty
well a decade ago, when the Packers picked Aaron Rodgers with the 24th
overall pick after the quarterback dropped precipitously in the first
round. Green Bay had an aging Brett Favre at the time; after three
seasons of sitting, Rodgers took over as the starter.
The intersection of
need and best available player worked out last year, when Green Bay
took Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round with the 21st overall pick.
After a nice rookie year, Clinton-Dix figures to be a fixture at
The Packers will pick
30th in the first round Saturday, when defense will once again be a
"If you take
good, solid players that you know can contribute, albeit at a position
that's maybe a little bit heavier, as long as you're taking good,
solid players you're getting some value there," Thompson told
reporters. "If you reach and take something that's not quite as
good, then you may not be getting the same value. I know you don't
believe that, but it's true. That's what we do."
CORNER STORE: The
departures of veteran starter Tramon Williams (Browns) and
up-and-comer Davon House (Jaguars) in free agency sapped the Packers
of cornerback depth. Sam Shields has one position locked down, while
Casey Hayward could take over Williams. Micah Hyde was also used as a
jack-of-all-trades in the secondary.
this Jan. 2014, file photo, Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb (18)
celebrates his touchdown catch with teammate Jordy Nelson during
the first half of the NFL football NFC Championship game against
the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. The Packers opened offseason
workouts, moving on from their crushing loss to Seattle in the
NFC title game to start looking ahead to 2015.
There could be
several good options for the Packers if they go cornerback in the
first round, including LSU's Jalen Collins, Washington's Marcus Peters
and Connecticut's Byron Jones.
INSIDE GUYS: Giving
pass-rush master Clay Matthews more time at inside linebacker last
year helped solidify the run defense and allowed coach Mike McCarthy
to get another pass rusher on the field in either Nick Perry or Mike
Neal opposite Julius Peppers.
In a perfect world,
the Packers would prefer to keep Matthews on the edge.
"I mean, Clay's
an outside linebacker. I think we all recognize that," McCarthy
said in January. "I think as we build our roster and go through
the player acquisition phase, there will be more answers, hopefully
more options and we'll see how it goes."
Maybe those answers
come this week.
The Packers let
veterans A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones in the offseason. UCLA's Eric
Kendricks, Mississippi State's Bernardrick McKinney, and TCU's Paul
Dawson are among the top inside linebackers in the draft.
ON THE LINE: The
Packers re-signed right tackle Bryan Bulaga to keep intact one of the
top front fives McCarthy has had in his nine years in Green Bay. Don
Barclay is returning as a swing tackle after missing last season with
a knee injury, while J.C. Tretter is also back as the top sub in the
interior of the line.
But adding more
quality depth never hurts, especially when the line's No. 1 job is to
keep Rodgers upright in the pocket. This position could be a target on
TIGHT END: Green Bay
has a solid twosome in veteran Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers, a
third-round pick who caught 20 passes and two touchdowns as a rookie
But Quarless and
Rodgers don't provide the kind of receiving threat Jermichael Finley
offered at the position until Finley suffered a neck injury in October
2013. Finley hasn't played since.
Williams is a potential first-round pick who has impressed scouts with
his athleticism. Tight end may not be the top position of need, though
his value could appeal to Thompson.
question is how much value, and for how long is that value going to be
there? That's the way we look at it. You can't get whacked out about
the here and now, because that's not the overriding issue. Our
overriding issue is making sure we make value picks." —
Thompson, when asked about the balance between where a player is
picked versus the number of good players overall that a team selects
in the draft.