That's right folks, it's draft time! This really is like Christmas for me. I can't wait to see what holes get filled in the draft and I get excited to learn about all the new Packers. And it's especially fun when I know how many needs the team has this year. With it being official now that Nick Collins won't be in the defensive backfield any more I count 5 major needs for the Packers.
The most glaring need I see is at OLB. Clay Matthews has had zero help pressuring the QB since Cullen Jenkins left. Pass rush can help the defense on so many levels that I see it as the primary need even with the losses of Scott Wells, Chad Clifton and Collins. My close personal friend Matt Miller of Bleacher Report fame says the Packers will try to address this in the first round with Boise St OLB Shea McClellin. I think this would be a great fit. He's not a name that's been heard a lot but many think he's one of the top few edge rushers in the draft.
Defensive End is a position that saw a huge drop off last year with the loss of Cullen Jenkins. Mike Neal was hurt again and has not lived up to the hype. Now he'll miss the first 4 games of the season and it means the line needs even more help. BJ Raji and Ryan Pickett can't do it all themselves. I think DE needs to be addressed within the first 3 rounds of the draft.
The Packers signed Jeff Saturday to replace Scott Wells at center this season. I think it was a great signing but Saturday is 36 (and will be 37 before the season starts) so I think he's at best a 2 year solution. I'd love a guy like Peter Konz but there's no way he's around when the Packers pick in the 2nd round. Ben Jones from Georgia is a possibility in round 2. It could also be a position that the team tries to fill later with someone they think might develop well.
Safety is another position that I think the Packers have an obvious need at. Morgan Burnett showed signed of being a solid safety in the NFL. He played well last season despite having to wear a club for several games. But he can't do it alone and Charlie Peprah isn't any help. If Mark Barron somehow manages to fall to 28 I think he has to be the pick in the first round. Beyond Barron I don't know of a difference maker at the position so I don't see it being an early pick.
The last real need I see for the Packers is QB. Yeah, I said it. I know Aaron Rodgers it the QB of now and the future but losing Matt Flynn will hurt more than people realize. Having a quality back up is very important in the NFL (see the Colts last year). I'm not sold on Graham Harrell. Maybe it's my fear of Texas Tech QBs but I just cannot get comfortable with the idea with Harrell being the guy to take over if Rodgers gets hurt. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have always been fond of drafting QBs late and developing them. I'm sure this will continue.
Of course with 12 picks in the draft this year we'll see a number of picks other places. And I just can't wait.