Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Week from Today...

A week from now we'll know what the Packers did during the first three rounds of the NFL draft, and where they are heading going into Day 2. We'll know who they picked at #5...or whether GM Ted Thompson decided to move down to increase his pool of picks. We'll know whether Mario Williams or A. J. Hawk or Matt Leinart or a surprise pick will be donning the green 'n' gold next year. Or, we'll know whether Thompson coveted rolling the dice on more picks later than betting on one pick earlier. Quite a guessing game.

Thompson is well known for his penchant of trading down. He likes lots of picks. And going into this draft, the Pack doesn't have that many. So don't be surprised if Thompson fields offers for that #5 pick if he believes that he can pick up the same player later on, or at least another player that will fill an immediate need.

And the Pack has a lot of immediate needs: defensive backs, linebackers, defensive ends, offensive line (guards and centers especially), tight ends, wide receivers, and -- yes -- quarterback. One can see where Thompson might very well trade down in that first round if another team makes the right offer. The Pack needs quality players, no doubt. But the Pack also needs LOTS of players to fill the depth void created by years of then-GM Mike Sherman's woeful drafts and free agent signings.

As much as some fans might like the Pack to pick Hawk with that #5 pick -- and in fact, they may just do that for the immediate impact he could have -- one could see them trading down and getting another LB later on in the round, such as Hawk's teammate at Ohio State, Bobby Carpenter (projected at #25 in some mock drafts). Or perhaps an early to mid-first round pick where perhaps QB Jay Cutler might be available (projected at #11 in some mock drafts), or perhaps S Michael Huff (projected at #9 in some mock drafts). There are any number of possibilities, especially on the defensive side of the ball, in the first round. Unfortunately, O-line possibilities don't seem that great once you get past D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Winston Justice, both of whom play tackle, a position at which the Pack does not need immediate help.

Ah, the excitement of the draft! OK, that is mitigated a bit with the tedium of the 15-minutes each team has to make their first round selection...could it possibly be any slower? Maybe the NFL could implement a version of speed dating? You know: speed drafting! Something like this: "OK, have 3 minutes to make your multi-million dollar decisions...go!" Well, maybe not...