Last year, Packers fans felt like they were “pretty sure” about a few things. They were pretty sure that Ted Thompson was going to have inside linebacker, tight end and cornerback as a priority. Green Bay had to use Clay Matthews out of position at inside linebacker in 2015. Richard Rodgers had a fine rookie season, but a field-stretching tight end in the mold of Jermichael Finley was almost certainly not on the roster. Cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House left for more money (on worse teams).
Packers fans also felt “pretty sure” that Green Bay was set at a few positions. The wide receiver group featured Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and the promising duo of Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis. No early round pick there. With HaHa Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, Sean Richardson and Micah Hyde on the roster, it didn’t seem like safety was a place to go, either. Running back seemed like a stay-away as well.
The silver-haired assassin then proceeded to select Arizona State safety Damarious Randall in the first round. Panicking Packers fans quickly talked themselves in to the idea that Randall was going to be a safety/cornerback hybrid with an emphasis on the slot cornerback position.
“TT” followed up that nonsense by selecting a second consecutive cornerback with experience questions in Quentin Rollins and WR/KR Ty Montgomery of standard. My point? Do not let Teddy surprise you.
Here’s a few things that might happen on draft weekend that I’d prepare yourself for:
He might take a corner (again) earlier than you might think. In this league (although maybe not in this division now that Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall are gone), you can never have enough corners. This season, and basically all the seasons for the rest of the Aaron Rodgers era, the goal is beyond the NFC North title.
Casey Hayward was one of the finest slot cornerbacks in the league, and is now a San Diego Charger. Yes, Quentin Rollins looks like a reasonable replacement, but the depth behind him is questionable. If TT sees a value in round 2, 3, or 4, don’t be surprised. Corner is a premium position.
He might not take an inside linebacker when you want him to. Green Bay’s clearest needs, at least according to the public, heading in to this draft were tight end and inside linebacker. The Packers now have free agent signee Jared Cook at one tight end spot and 2014 3rd round pick Richard Rodgers at the other. It seems unlikely they’ll go that direction.
They might not take an inside linebacker, either. Not that I agree with it, but it’s completely possible the powers that be feel comfortable with a starting linebacker corps of Clay Matthews, Sam Barrington, Jake Ryan and Julius Peppers. That would be a better group than Green Bay has had in a lot of years of the Dom Capers 3-4 era.
The Packers have real draft needs on the offensive line, defensive line and on the edge (OLB). Green Bay’s last mid-round foray on a pass rusher (Carl Bradford), did not go well. This is also a tremendous class of defensive linemen. BJ Raji is gone and Mike Pennel is suspended. TJ Lang, Josh Sitton and David Bakhttiari are free agents at the end of the year.
If the first three picks are on an offensive lineman, a defensive lineman and an edge rusher, the natives may grow restless. Unfortunately for the general Packer fan public, those positions are more important in today’s NFL, and Thompson’s draft history would tell you that he believes that very strongly.
He might take a quarterback again. Ron Wolf was famous for wanting to get a quarterback in each draft class. Thompson certainly hasn’t been so bold, but did trade up a season ago to take Brett Hundley in the fifth round. After just one year of development it appears McCarthy and Thompson are ready for Hundley to be the backup quarterback.
With that said, 2013 is not so long ago that it has been forgotten at 1265 Lombardi Avenue. Green Bay’s depth chart after Hundley is a disaster. Ryan Williams didn’t really get snaps in college, despite very much looking the part. If a QB that Green Bay likes, much in the way that Hundley did last year falls, don’t be surprised if they address that “developmental” QB behind the backup situation again, rather than in UDFA.