Wednesday, February 06, 2013

2013 Draft Needs: Which Position Should The Packers Target

Walter Football ran through it's list of the Green Bay Packers 2013 team needs and I pretty much agree with it, though it's somewhat of a surprise to see wide receiver listed ahead of outside linebacker. However, GM Ted Thompson has been known to draft wide receivers early, even when it didn't seem like an obvious need, which is important because QB Aaron Rodgers isn't nearly as good if he can't trust his receivers. While the Packers need to replace LB Erik Walden, the return of 1st round LB Nick Perry should be the answer to that problem. Adding depth might be important but that can be addressed later in the draft, and I'll be interested to see if LB Dezman Moses can improve next season because he has potential.

The one position not mentioned by Walter Football was the defensive line, which should not be overlooked. Their only current lineman with any star potential is B.J. Raji and he hasn't been his best over the past two seasons. Also, the other linemen (Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson, Mike Neal, Mike Daniels) are a collection of role players. There isn't an every down lineman on the roster except Raji. The possible loss of Jerel Worthy for the entire 2013 season isn't going to help either.

Another reason to target the defensive line is that it's the deepest group in the 2013 draft. There should be a lot of defensive lineman taken early. At the end of the 1st round, the Packers might still be able to find a great defensive lineman available, similar to their 2010 selection of Bryan Bulaga (he was the sixth offensive lineman taken in the top 23 picks).

This is also a good draft for offensive lineman and the Packers have a glaring need at center. However, GM Ted Thompson hasn't used a 2nd or 3rd round pick on an interior lineman since 2006 (Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz), so it's a position I expect he'll fill later in the draft.

As Todd McShay wrote about 2013, "It's not a good TV draft" so it's not a year to draft a quarterback or running back early. Which is perfect for the Packers because they need help and depth at the two positions that are loaded in the draft; offensive and defensive line. The addition of a top tier running back would be a big help too, but it doesn't look like that caliber of player is available in the 2013 draft. However, the players they likely target next April on either the offensive or defensive line will probably provide an immediate boost and will probably represent a great value relative to the Packers' position near the end of each round.


Unknown said...

Sadly, there are no obvious JJ Watt candidates lurking yet at the vicinity of the Packers first round pick. :)

My hunch is that the Packers may stick with EDS at center; what they really need is interior line depth, because right now they've got none. Whether that stacks up as competition for EDS or not, I don't care - I think he'd be an adequate starter between Lang and Sitton.

We all know that they want A Player opposite CM3, and that's why they drafted Nick Perry last year. I don't think they can afford to use another #1 pick at that position this year unless they think they've got a home run. Injuries happen, and there's depth elsewhere to consider.

Similarly I don't see OL as their first round target - some teams would be pretty happy to have Sherrod, Bulaga, Newhouse and Barclay on their roster as a potential quartet. If the staff thinks Sherrod won't be competitive during camp - or never play again - that would be something else.

What happens to Finley has a great deal to do with the Packers needs. If he's traded, a starting TE is by far the biggest void on the roster, IMO. Everything else isn't exactly a luxury, but they're all depth-hunting/star-finding. Heck, even at ILB, a position neither you nor Walter mentioned, is worthy of talent infusion.

The Packers are in an odd form of luxury: lots of "nice-to-have"s where they can really go with ... wait for it... the Best Player(s) Available.

Brandon said...

I'm just glad the Packers didn't pass on Watt since he was selected before their pick. I'd be happy if they drafted a lineman who was good enough to play on every down and provide some pass rush.

Walter Football didn't specifically mention inside LB, so I didn't in this particular post, but the entire front seven needs to be upgraded. Other than 2010, Hawk has been average, at best. Bishop and Smith provide a little bit more as a blitzing LB, but they might be below average otherwise. An upgrade inside wouldn't be a bad idea either, though inside LBs don't usually get drafted in the first round.