No, I really haven’t done a lot of draft research yet. Like you I’m currently enthralled with things called twizzles and a Double McTwist 1260 to sit down and do some research. But that doesn’t stop me from already forming opinions.
But with Ted Thompson stepping down this offseason, this is entirely Brian Gutekunst’s draft. Expect to see a somewhat different approach to draft and develop. Needless to say, we are all hopeful his first draft will be a successful one and there will a distinctly new approach to Draft and Develop.
So of course I have opinions (shocker, I know) regarding this year’s approach to it. With the fourteenth pick, the Packers are poised to pick half-way through the first round and not at the very end. To quote the great philosopher RuPaul, don’t eff it up.
With out further ado, my preliminary wishes for the 2018 draft.
- With pick fourteen, this is go high or stay home. Half way through the draft means not scraping the bottom of the barrel for almost top notch leftovers. This is the first time since 2008 where the Packers truly have a chance to take the plunge and sign a true blue chip first rounder. This is not time to take a page from Thompson’s playbook and trade it away for fifty bucks and a case of bad beer. Regardless of Rodgers’ hit to the salary cap (oh, and it will be huge), the Packers have the coin to sign someone with starter potential. It is not time to play moneyball for a bunch of garbage fifth and sixth rounders. You know what a handful of garbage late rounders is compared to one late rounder? A pile of garbage. Sure, every once in a while you can find someone like a Donald Driver at the bottom of the draft. But most times these are the guys that are playing the fourth preseason game in August that have as good of a chance as hitting the waiver wire as they do the practice squad. The Packers need a quality upgrade, not a pile of stuff from the end of the draft garage sale.
- Stop wasting the first pick on a wide-body defensive lineman. My god, Ted Thompson was predictable. Need to upgrade an inside linebacker? Draft another nose tackle. With Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark anchoring the big men, this is not the Packer’s biggest deficit in my opinion. There are other more glaring needs that need to be high round priorities.
- Draft and develop does not mean draft a linebacker and hope he can be a tweener. Nor does it mean draft a safety and think he can be a linebacker. I get it, most players need to transition from college ball to the pros. There are very few players that truly are out-of-the-box ready to make a major impact their first season. Wouldn’t you think actually drafting a safety to be a safety and a receiver to be a receiver (and not a running back) would give them the best chances to have the maximum impact in the first year?
- Draft players who are actual football players. Sure a power forward that played a year of college football can, no doubt, catch the ball. But I would rather actually draft someone who has more than a dozen games of experience covering someone like Julio Jones or Gronk.
- Don’t forget about the offensive line. Here’s the deal, when hasn’t Bryan Bulaga not missed part of the season with an injury? It doesn’t help that he isn’t getting any younger, either. Reconstructed knee, repaired hip. That means less mobility and less in the tank with future injuries. And then there’s the fact that Jahri Evans is contemplating retirement. As they sit, the offensive line is one injury away from getting Aaron Rodgers killed. And I don’t have high expectations for Jason Spriggs. Two years in, and he still seems lost in time and space. The Packers definitely need to start stocking OL with someone who is competent to fill in for the guaranteed injury that will lay Bulaga and/or Bakhtiari up for several weeks. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt if they start scouting for Bulaga’s succession plan.
- Don’t waste another pick on a back up quarterback. Yes, you heard me right. We already have a draft and develop back up QB. And I really don’t think that is the answer this year. A rookie/second year QB is not the solution if (god forbid) Aaron Rodgers gets hurt for any length of time. We already tried it, and it didn’t work. I have little confidence that any QB that is that far down in the draft is going to be a step up from Brett Hundley. The Packers need to look to free agency and sign a quality veteran to be the QB2 and stop pretending the McCarthy Quarteback School is this magical little box that turns lumps of charcoal into diamonds in a year.
In the next few weeks, I’ll start seriously analyzing the Packers’ needs come the draft. But in the meantime while we are fascinated with teeny people spinning around on the ice, curling and inhuman tricks on a half-pipe, I’ll just stick to my wishlist.