Friday, April 02, 2004

"[Ben Roethlisberger]'s probably going to be gone before we pick, but I always want to cover our bases in case something happens -- he falls or we move up," Sherman said. "I thought he had an excellent workout." That is what the Associated Press reported on March 26th. Then on March 30th, Tom Silverstein of reported that Sherman has attended "the personal workouts of at least seven of the quarterbacks expected to be taken in the college draft April 24 and 25."

Its a good sign that Sherman is looking at quarterbacks, because no NFL team can afford a stopgap (although exceptions can be pointed to such as Trent Dilfer and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens) at quarterback. A quarterback needs at least one or two seasons in the NFL on the sidelines and in practice before he can be expected to be an effective starter. If Brett Favre expects that 2004 or 2005 might be his last year, then the Packers need to draft/acquire his successor now, although Tom Rossely, offensive coordinator, has been quoted as hoping Favre plays a few more years (I second that motion), which is possible based on Favre's age. Although Favre hasn't missed any games in his career due to injury, he has come close in at least every season starting with 1999, and these injuries must be taking their toll on Favre. The timing in acquring Favre's replacement is difficult; he must be drafted/acquired a year or two in advance of Favre's retirement, but the Packers can't store him on the sidelines for years (ala Steve Young in San Francisco) because of the salary cap.

Silverstein's comment reminded me of Sherman's early statement, that maybe a quarterback falls or the Packers move up. Maybe a combination of both. Teams in the top 10 are nervous drafting and paying a large signing bonus for a quarterback after such famous flops of the past few years (Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Cade McKnown, and to a lesser extent Tim Couch). Almost every draft has a 1st round quarterback who flopped. Although San Diego and Arizona have shown no indication of drafting a quarterback in the top 10, no other team seems likely (Oakland, NY Giants, Washington, Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Houston) to draft one that high. Its unlikely that any of these teams will want to move down to the Packers 25th spot, but if one of these teams don't believe that there is a top 10 talent available for them at their pick and Eil Manning, Roethlisberger, or Philip Rivers are available at picks 8 through 10, maybe Atlanta, Jacksonville, or Houston might find that their best offer has come from the Packers.

If a quarterback is so good that Sherman wants to draft him with the Packers first round pick, that quarterback should be long gone by the Packers pick at 25st overall. It would be surprising if Sherman drafts a quarterback just to draft a quarterback at 25th overall, but depending on how the 1st round of the draft unfolds, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see the Packers move up.

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