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2005 Packers Draft Ten Years Later

Rodgers draft day

What a difference a decade makes.

Ten years ago I was only tangentially following the Green Bay Packers. I had a toddler under two, a full time career and my interest in the Pack got pushed to the back burner.

I remember being at work the night of the NFL Draft, and a colleague told me the Packers had drafted a quarterback from California. Why were the Packers drafting a QB was the first thing that went through my head. After all, the Packers had one of the best ever lining up behind center. Sure, Favre was starting to mention retirement here and there, but he still had a lot in the tank. And he certainly wasn’t intimating anything about taking his talents to South Beach or elsewhere.

Let me say that again: the Packers had Brett Favre. Why the hell did they just waste their first round pick on a back-up quarterback? Had Ted Thompson lost his mind? And the kid looked like he was 15 to boot, ready to head to prom and hardly ready to stake a claim to the Lombardi Trophy.

And I hated the stupid little soul patch, too.

Needless to say that night I called my grad student brother Jay who used to block off his schedule to watch and absorb that first day of the draft in all of its entirety. If anyone could talk me off the ledge, it would be Jay.

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2015 NFL Draft: Packers Position Preview: CB

PJ Williams of the Florida State Seminoles

Last season the Green Bay Packers had the deepest CB corps in the NFL.  Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Davon House were all capable of starting outside.  Casey Hayward was the best slot corner in the league and Micah Hyde effectively bounced between safety and slot corner.  Jarrett Bush was a special teamer with experience in the dime and Demetri Goodson was the up and coming prospect who couldn’t get time on defense. My, how things have changed.

Tramon Williams and Davon House both left for deals on bad teams (Cleveland and Jacksonville) for much more money than it appeared they would get from the Packers.  Jarrett Bush remains unsigned.  The Packers now sit with Sam Shields as their only proven option outside.  Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward are both capable and versatile playmakers, but their ability to cover on the outside is in question.

The Packers are not without current prospects.  Goodson has basically told Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he’s going to shut down the league. At 6’0″ Goodson has the length to be an outside corner.  His 4.5 40 and 37″ vertical adds to the promise.  Tay Glover-Wright is another size-speed project that spent last season on the Packers’ practice squad.  He’s even faster than Goodson but probably just as raw.

Class Strength: 6/10

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Green Bay Packers 2015 Schedule Preview

The NFL announced that it will release its schedule at some point this week and it’s always like a holiday for NFL fans. In no other sport does a schedule release come with such anticipation with only 16 games and every game being of such importance.

Let’s first get a refresher of the Green Bay Packers’ opponents for the upcoming 2015 season:

Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers

Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders 

The NFL loves to try shove the parity narrative down your throat, which is kind of a fallacy. Sure, there are a few surprises and disappointments every year, but you can pretty much pencil in a handful of teams in the postseason every season and a handful of teams at who will be at the bottom. Those teams have been the same for a number of years now. So, you can have a pretty good idea of how hard your schedule is at this point, even though most people will say you can’t really evaluate it right now.

The Packers are going to have a pretty tough schedule this year. They play both the NFC and AFC West, which are both very strong divisions. Green Bay had it much easier last year playing the AFC East and the brutal NFC South. Fortunately, the Packers get Seattle and Kansas City at home to avoid those brutal road trips, but road games at Arizona and Denver will be extremely challenging. As a first place finisher they will have to play games against the other first place finishers in the NFC — Dallas and Carolina.

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Ross’s First (and Last) Packers 7 Round Mock v2

USATSI_8390864

Just like last year, this is a best case scenario draft.  While it is unlikely that all of the players that I have selected will be available when they are selected in this mock it is at least possible.  In fact if I have made the pick I’ve at least seen this player available in a different “expert’s” rankings and or mock at the position they’ve been selected.  Finally, I won’t be projecting trades.  Ted Thompson stood pat and drafted in the spot he was slotted with every pick last season and it seemed to work out just fine for him.

1st round (30)- Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA

Eric Kenridcks

After missing out on Mosley, Shazier and Borland a year ago, Thompson finds his every down ILB.

Analysis: Some might argue that cornerback, specifically outside cornerback is the top need for the Packers.  Davon House and Tramon Williams have both left the team, which would appear to leave the Packers with Sam Shields, two good slot corners (Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward) and unproven perimeter athletes Tay Glover-Wright and Demetri Goodson.  The thing is, I like the 2nd and 3rd round corners about as much as I like the 1st round corners and I love how Kendricks fits the Packers.  THere isn’t anything Kendricks doesn’t do well and the difference between his cover ability and what the Packers have had at inside linebacker since the switch to the 3-4.  Thompson loves to cultivate talent from the Pac 12.

NFL comp: Kiko Alonso, Eagles

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2015 NFL Draft: Packers Position Preview: OLB

danielle-hunter

The Packers are in an interesting spot at OLB.  Their best defensive player is an outside linebacker by trade, and one of the best in the business.  The defense is markedly different when he’s not on the field.  You needn’t look any further than the NFC Championship game for evidence of that.  While Clay Matthews was going through the concussion protocol, a defense that had shut down the Seahawks attack all day long fell completely to pieces.  The big problem is that he’s so far and away the best linebacker on the team that the Packers have to use him inside on running downs.

Like I wrote last week, the Packers have to make big changes at inside linebacker.  Whether or not Matthews is a part of it is an interesting proposition.  Having Matthews play inside in the base defense is a positive on two levels.  Matthews aggressiveness and speed are best utilized attacking a running back.  That same attitude actually makes him an average edge run defender.  It’s easy to get CM3 to chase RB on read-option.

The reason that the CM3 to part-time ILB thing worked is because of the presence of Julius Peppers and the emergence of Nick Perry.  The outside linebacker position looks like it’s in great shape on the surface, but look a little deeper and you’ll realize that if Peppers comes back for 2015 it will likely be his final year in Green Bay.  You’ll then realize that Nick Perry, Mike Neal and Andy Mulumba are all playing on expiring contracts in 2015.

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Green Bay Packers Mock Draft

Ted Thompson

It’s that kind of season where NFL mock drafts are flowing around the Internet and it’s always fun to take some time to read them when you’re bored.

I’m not one to come out with a different one every week though, but I did participate in something that was really fun and interesting. I was the Green Bay Packers GM in a mock draft over at sportshoopla.com with every team having a GM that is a fan of that team, so it was hopefully pretty realistic. I will walk you through my picks and some of the scenarios I was faced with.

You can find a link to the full draft results here http://www.sportshoopla.com/threads/nos-2nd-annual-nfl-mock-draft-full-draft.177022/

Round 1 (30): Malcolm Brown DT Texas

Probably not the pick most people expected, but Brown was an absolute steal at this point in the draft and was by far the best player available on my board. I wouldn’t expect Brown to get far into the 20s on draft day if he makes it that far at all, but he fell in this draft. It was really a no-brainer.

Eric Kendricks was gone at #21 to Cincinnati and there was a huge run of corners before my pick with Marcus Peters, Kevin Johnson, Jalen Collins and P.J. Williams all being taken off the board.

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The Packers are looking at quarterbacks?

bryce petty

As other teams start playing musical quarterbacks, isn’t it reassuring to know that the league’s MVP, and possibly one of the best quarterbacks in the history of, well, ever is on the Green Bay Packers’ active roster. Let’s face it, we’re spoiled. Aside from the fall of 2013 where the Packers walked through the Shadow of Mediocrity while Aaron Rodgers nursed a broken clavicle, the Packers have been rock solid with a top tier quarterbacks since 1992. That’s three presidents ago, and I was still in college.

Yet Rodgers’ injury reminded the team and fans alike that he is very much mortal, susceptible to the same injuries as any other athlete, and that there needs to be a Plan B if he cannot play. The Packers gambled that year and lost horribly. Vince Young, Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien. By the time Flynn was resigned to salvage the remainder of the season–or at least stop the hemorrhaging–he was technically QB3, maybe QB4 if you count Young.

Needless to say, they haven’t been caught shorthanded since. With a reliable insurance policy and a spare last year, the Packers kept Flynn on as the backup while Tolzien continued to develop. He knew the system, though his arm wasn’t that strong. And now that it appears that Scoots is ready to assume the role of QB2, the Packers resigned him last month to $1.35 Million one-year contract (a $645,000 raise from last year.) Meanwhile they have made no move to resign Matt Flynn. It signals to me that the Packers have already picked Rodgers’ back up for 2015. It’s a sizable hit against the cap for someone riding the bench, but it is a solid insurance policy when the league’s MVP goes down.

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