The Green Bay Packers are going to need to address all three levels of their defense in the draft, and therefore the assumption is they will pick a defensive player with the 29th pick. However, there are still needs on offense, and specifically two players who are game changing offensive weapons.
Alabama TE O.J. Howard is the kind of freak athlete that gives defensive coordinators nightmares. At times in college Howard looked like the next Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez, but inconsistent play means he will likely fall to the bottom half of the first round. At 6’6” and 249 pounds, Howard can out muscle defensive backs, and with a 4.51 second 40 yard dash, can run by linebackers. If the Packers resign Jared Cook, Howard and Cook could give the Packers a TE combo that hasn’t been seen since Gronkowski/Hernandez. Aaron Rodgers could lineup with Ty Montgomery, Howard, Cook, Nelson, and Adams and put defenses in situations that would be nearly impossible to defend.
Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey is another game changing weapon. He ran a 4.48 second 40 yard dash, and had the 2nd fastest 3 cone drill in combine history (6.57 seconds). Scouts love his running ability, but it’s the passing game where he really excels. Some scouts say McCaffrey would have a 2nd-3rd round grade if he came out as a Wide Receiver. He’s the best catching and route running back to come out in a long time, but his skillset would overlap with Ty Montgomery. I think the Packers could use another player with similar skills at the position. They could line up McCaffrey in the backfield and Montgomery out wide (or vice-versa), and then put one or both in motion. They could use variable formations to get the opposing defense to get into sub-packages that would favor the offense. And with players who are equally good at taking handoffs and running routes, there are essentially no personnel packages to stop them.
In order to draft an offensive weapon in the first round, the Packers would have to address a few positions in free agency. With the depth of this year’s draft at CB and pass rusher, they could take a chance on impact players being available in rounds 2-4. It would also require one of these two players falling to the Packers after very impressive combines.
But whether you call O.J. Howard and Christian McCaffrey offensive weapons, jack-of-all-trades, Swiss Army Knives, or anything else, they could go a long ways in making the Packers offense even more unstoppable than it was at the end of last season. And sometimes the best defense is a great offense that keeps them off the field.
Go Pack Go!Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig