Updating Green Bay’s Shopping List

Eleven days removed from the initial fire sale of free agency, and the Green Bay Packers may by some accounts have more holes to fill than before it began. Nick Perry was retained at about market value, while Eddie Lacy, Micah Hyde, J.C. Tretter, T.J. Lang, Jared Cook, Datone Jones and Julius Peppers have signed elsewhere. Jayrone Elliot, Don Barclay and Jordan Tripp were also re-signed, but only Barclay figures to contribute on anything other than special teams.

The Packers also took a rare foray into the open market to sign tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, and bring back a 2015 free agent departure, cornerback Davon House.

With the number of potential free agent dance partners thinning and the NFL Draft five weeks away, it may be time to take inventory. Despite the relative net gain at tight end, the Packers find themselves nearly two weeks into free agency without a couple pieces to field a competitive roster. These are their three biggest needs and a couple potential free agent and draft targets to fill them. As of the publishing of this article, Green Bay has $24 million in cap room according to the NFL PA website.

Right Guard

The loss of Lang was no small one for the Packers, who he reportedly wanted to re-sign with if their offer was anywhere close to the one he took from the Lions. Right guard is not the most important pass protecting position, but the Packers nevertheless cannot afford to have a liability at the position. Assuming Ted Thompson is looking on the young side of 30, the free agent options are slim. Brandon Fusco was released by the Vikings earlier this offseason, and Tim Lelito also visited the Lions this weekend but could be another option. Hugh Thornton is young but injury prone, and Andrew Tiller spent a year on the Packers practice squad but was more recently with the 49ers.

Ted Thompson has rarely been one to draft for need, but there is the rare occasion such as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix where need has met best player available. This could happen again at pick 29 in the first round, where Western Kentucky Guard Forrest Lamp. The last time the Packers had an offensive lineman named Forrest, he was the “finest player” Vince Lombardi ever coached, Forrest Gregg. Beyond the first round, Dorian Johnson out of Pittsburgh could be available at the 61st overall pick, Danny Isidora out of Miami (Fla.) at 93, Jessamen Dunker out of Tennessee St. or Zach Banner out of Southern California at 134. Anyone taken much later than that figures to come with some refining, and this position should not be filled by someone learning as they go.

Running Back

There is really no other way to highlight the problem than the fact that Ty Montgomery, who began last season a wide receiver, is the only running back currently on the roster. Nearly every team carries at least three on their active roster, with perhaps another on the practice squad. Green Bay will most definitely address this position with a late pick in the draft, and perhaps an undrafted free agent or two will be brought into camp as well. There are a couple power backs available in free agency, but they may come at a greater price than the Packers wish to pay for a complimentary player. Adrian Peterson is of course one option, but durability is a major concern for the ten year pro. LeGarrette Blount is a better fit for the Packers, but coming off an 18 touchdown season, he is likely to price himself out of their range. Jamaal Charles has also been rumored to be a potential Packers target, but is another aging back with ACL injury history that they should steer clear from.

Potential draft targets include the versatile Stanford back Christian McCaffrey in the first round, troubled Oklahoma back Joe Mixon in the third, or perhaps James Conner from Pittsburgh in the later rounds.

Cornerback

Davon House is more than likely not going to be a savior shutdown corner, and even if he was, Green Bay’s secondary needs far more help than he can provide. That help must come from a youth infusion in the draft, or perhaps a veteran signing to mentor Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and the rest of Green Bay’s young secondary. Darrelle Revis is available, but seems hell-bent on staying at cornerback and making a lot of money for playing that position. If he could be talked into filling the Micah Hyde role for smaller deal, he just might have a chance to make a difference in the twilight of his career. The rest of the free agent pool is a “who’s who” of second and third stringers who would have to fight for a roster spot unless their cap hit guaranteed them a shot.

Come draft day, Fabian Moreau (UCLA), TreDavious White (LSU), Cordrea Tankersley (Clemson) and Chidobe Awuzle (Colorado) will most likely be the best available at pick 29. Quincy Wilson (Florida) is valued right around their 61st pick, and Rasul Douglas (West Virginia) could be sitting around at 93.

Which of these three needs should the Packers address in round 1, if any? What other needs do you see as Green Bay’s biggest? Let me know in the comments.

——————

Zac Bellman is a sports writer, experienced journalist and Marquette University graduate with a degree in journalism. You can read his current articles here on PackersTalk.com. To connect with Zac, follow him on twitter at @ZacBellman_WNY. or check out his Facebook page Zac Bellman-Sportwriter

——————

Share
  • James C. Drumheller III

    I think TT is done with free agency. Glaring needs are corner,running back and guard.I think TT won’t draft a running back in the first round. There’s a lot of talk of T.J Watt in the first and he’s my pick. He won’t be there for us if we wait until a later round.Several EDGE rushers are picked to go before him and let’s face it every team is looking for one.With a draft class loaded with talent at defensive backs there will be talented players in round two and three. Ted has been very good at finding diamonds in the rough at offensive linemen. This draft is just what the doctor ordered for Packer fans. I am not losing faith in the powers at be to bring quality young talent to fill out our roster.

    • Nick Perry

      Lets just hope QB needy teams take QB’s in the 1st round. When / if that happens it leaves the Packers that many more options. My guess is the Packers should be able to draft the BPA and address need, just like 2014.

      • James C. Drumheller III

        I agree. I forgot to mention DL. With Pennel gone and Guion suspended again for the first four weeks Clark doesn’t have much help behind him.I think there will be help in the fourth and fifth rounds at DL and that’s where TT has been known to shine.Baktiari and Linsley were fourth and fifth rounders.

  • fred

    This hurts coming from a life long Packers fan but the packers won’t win more than 6 games this year. Mark my words.

  • Kevin McDonnell

    What do you think about my mock draft for the Pack?

    Rd 1 TJ Watt – OLB – Wisconsin
    Rd 2 Kevin King – CB – Washington (Trade Hundley for Cleveland’s 2nd Rd pick)
    Rd 2 Tanoh Kpassagnon – DE – Villanova
    Rd 3 Taylor Moton – OT/G – Western Michigan
    Rd 4 Vince Biegel – OLB – sWisconsin
    Rd 5 Brian Hill – RB – Wyoming
    Rd 5 Stacey Coley – WR – Miami
    Rd 6 Joe Williams – RB – Utah
    Rd 7 Chuck Clark – CB – Virginia Tech

    • James C. Drumheller III

      I like it. I like Fabian Moreau,corner back from UCLA. TT seems to like UCLA players. As for Fred saying we’ll only win six games,I hope he’ll change his mind once the season starts. I see two starters coming from this draft or maybe more. This is the most talented draft class in years.

    • I wouldn’t suppose you’re a Badgers fan, are you? 😉

      • James C. Drumheller III

        I’m a Packers fan for over 50 years and never lived a day in Wisconsin. I fell in love with the Pack as a teenager and Ray Nitchke was my favorite player. Where I’m from I’m supposed to be an Eagles fan. That’s never going to happen. GO PACK GO!!!.

  • shavager

    Packers fans–DON’T be surprised if this Packers team FAILS to make playoffs this year. Currently they’ve lost two of the three LB’s that were FA’s and saw extensive playing time the past couple of seasons in Jones and Peppers. They’ve lost their best DB, the only player in backfield that had SPEED to match any receiver in NFL, Sam Shields will be hard to replace and Davon House ain’t the answer. He’s not likely to make much difference in the league’s WORST secondary. They don’t have a starting RB–and forget about Thompson drafting Christian McCaffrey–he AIN’T drafting an RB in first round with so many holes in DEFENSE. They’re short on D-line depth, LB depth, and quality DB’s. D-E-F-E-N-S-E has been the single problem with Packers making a SB run for SIX CONSECUTIVE years–and Thompson just handed DUMB Capers a WORSE defense than last year’s pathetic unit. Yeah–Thompson signed two TE’s–TE’s DON’T PLAY DEFENSE!! He allowed two of team’s BEST linemen to leave and signed Barclay–who would be CUT by any other team! He doesn’t have a starting RB with experience to lead the run game unless Packers resign Christine Michael and no matter the production Aaron Rodgers can generate–he has probably the team’s WORST defense in six years to protect any lead. Never expected Thompson to settle for LESS, Packers fans, this team is LESS the team than last year’s–silver lining at END of this season–Ted Thompson and DUMB Capers will FINALLY, GET THE AXE when this Packers teams FAILS to make a playoff game.

    • Well, you’re a ray of sunshine now, aren’t you?

      • shavager

        Jersey Al–stats for SIX consecutive playoff seasons PROVE Capers defense AVERAGED giving up more POINTS per playoff run, more TOTAL yds, more PASSING yds and more RUN yds over those six years than Rodgers/McCarthy offense could generate–that’s LOSING football and that’s what happened. Ya’ really think Thompson’s helped Capers this season? Capers didn’t need any help losing but Thompson just made it harder to win. They needed Vikings to collapse to make a playoff last year, looks like Packers have collapsed before the season’s started. DEFENSE has knocked them out of playoffs every season, it’s just got a lot worse and the draft’s NOT gonna fix the problem.

        • mostly true, but my comment stands.

    • James C. Drumheller III

      I agree with you Barclay should be gone. I do think we’ll replace Lang in the draft. Sitton is gone and the OL didn’t fall apart. Bakhtiari was a fourth round pick who won the LT job in training camp and hasn’t skipped a beat.As for a complimentary back with Ty this draft has plenty of choices. This is the richest draft of corner backs in years. The NFL draft goes in cycles and this year it’s secondary loaded with talent and this is where the Packers need the most help.McCarthy is going nowhere right now and YES Capers should retire. Your beating the loudest drum for his removal,but never have an idea who should take his place. Your not alone that’s all I’m hearing about our defensive coaching staff I would just like to hear who you think is a viable replacement and in the mean time I choose to stay positive not because I’m that naive but because I believe we are a draft and develop team picking 29th in the draft and think the players are there in this draft to fix our secondary and running game. Our defense early last year had 15 and a half sacks in the first four games and when our secondary became decimated with injuries our ranking slowly went in the toilet. The last four games of the season though we had 14 and a half sacks in the last four games.I’m finished defending my team for now I’m sure I’ll hear back from you.