Team needs: Green Bay Packers


We wrap our look at the needs of the teams from the NFC North by considering the state of the defending NFL champions.

It would be tempting to simply say “none” and move on.

OL:  The Packers have had their share of struggles along the offensive line over the past two years.  They need a long-term replacement for left tackle Chad Clifton.  If it’s eventually Bryan Bulaga, they’ll need another right tackle.  The interior of the line could benefit from another body or two, especially if Daryn Colledge leaves via free agency.

LB:  The Packers have a surplus of talented inside linebackers.  But they lack a quality complement to Clay Matthews on the outside.  If they find one, the league eventually may re-name the Lombardi Trophy after Mike McCarthy.

DE:  Cullen Jenkins most likely will be leaving due to free agency, Johnny Jolly most likely won’t be back due to the loss of his freedom, and B.J. Raji has found his niche at nose tackle.  Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt would be an ideal fit, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll last until the bottom of the first round.

CB:  Tramon Williams has quickly and capably filled the shoes of Al Harris.  Charles Woodson is getting toward the twilight of his career.  They need to find his eventual replacement.

WR:  Donald Driver is another aging contributor.  Based on the Super Bowl win, Jordy Nelson is ready to step up.  But they’ll need someone to fill Driver’s roster spot, at some point.

Overview:  Unlike many recent Super Bowl champions, the Packers are generally stacked — and they seem to have plenty of room to improve.  If the lockout wipes out the offseason, training camp, and the preseason, the Packers will be much better suited than other NFC teams to compete, given that they continued to meet and practice and play into February.

Even if the Packers had no draft picks, they’d be getting a significant infusion of talent from the return of the many players who finished last season on injured reserve.  Thus, they can focus their picks on players who can help lay the foundation for the future without having to gamble on players who can step in and perform right away.

34 responses to “Team needs: Green Bay Packers

  1. This off season has been very frustrating from a fan’s viewpoint. If you are a Packer fan and still basking in the glow of a Super Bowl victory it really isn’t all that bad.

  2. They need OL depth above all else and then a DE and a rush LB.

    There is also no way that even 7 draft picks are going to make this team. They need to package picks, move up and go for a couple of real home run picks at those positions.

    Plan B should be to trade current picks for picks in the next draft when there will be a rookie cap. They execute either of these plans and it truly could be the start of several years at the top of the heap.

  3. OL and DL are the big needs. A star OLB opposite Clay would be nice, but the team does have three youngsters that have all shown promise while filling that position. They’ve shown that they can win with Jones/Zombo/Walden, while never benefiting from the depth of having all three healthy at the same time.

  4. OL: They’ve also got Lang and Newhouse, the latter of whom I think will be the LT, mainly because he can’t play the right side. They could use some depth though. Scott Wells is a good center, but he’s undersized.

    OLB: They’ve got Jones, Zombo and Walden, the later two of whom could make a significant step up in year two. Otherwise, they would all be very good backups. Jones might move inside, depending upon what happens with Barnett, but he needs to prove he can stay healthy.

    WR: Keep in mind here that the TEs Finley and Quarless can line up as WRs and get it done. Jones dropped a few too many easy TDs, but has the talent to be elite, if he resigns with the team. Dude wants a chance to start. Driver is arguably on the downside.
    I could see them drafting a WR who can return punts. PUNT RETURNER IS THE BIGGEST NEED ON THIS TEAM. They might also take a CB who can return punts.

    DE: We lost Jolly and will lose Jenkins, but we’ve still got depth. Pickett and Neal can get it done. Neal spent his rookie year on IR and Pickett is getting a little old, but they will both be solid, imo. We’ve also got CJ Wilson who will only get better in year two and beyond, Harold Green, Justin Harrell, who is oft-injured but this last injury was NOT related to his back. Jarius Wynn is an undersized pass rusher type who doesn’t really fit the system.

    CB: The Pack is loaded at Safety, but theoretically could use a CB or two. Woodson is getting older, but not slowing down, YET. Tramon Williams is all world, and Sam Shields will be all world in a year or two. Still, some depth here would be nice. Especially someone who could RETURN PUNTS.

    RB: I think Starks will supplant Grant. If there is a stud available, I could see Uncle Ted pulling the trigger. Best Player Available.

  5. Well whatever the Packers do in the draft, I’ll trust Ted Thompson will do the right things.

    I used to think no way could a team be made up of so many young players and so few free agents, especially high profiled ones, and still compete, much less win a Super Bowl.

    In Ted I trust.

  6. @emotionalfatguy

    Why would you consider running back a need? Grant and Starks seem like a solid (not world class, but solid) #1 and #2. If they lose Brandon Jackson they’ll lose a pretty good third down back, but that’s hardly a crushing blow. I would consider running back a “non-need” for the Packers, particularly considering they don’t actually need to run the ball to win.

  7. stairwayto7 says:
    Apr 10, 2011 10:10 PM
    They needs Rodgers to get therapy for being a cancer survivor hater! VIDEO PROOF!

    @stairwayto7, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  8. But, but, pervy says they’re just a one-year wonder, LOL. Something the Vikings have never had a chance to be. Too funny.

  9. Polian and Kraft need to get together and ban Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy from the NFL or football and it’s parity will die a sudden death. Perhaps it already has…

  10. They need to reserve a bed in the ER room for Sharon Rodgers when they come to Soldier Field this year…….

    Payback will be a BITCH!

  11. Ryan Grant rushed for 1200+ yards three years in a row before missing all of this season. Starks showed enough to go into camp as the solid #2. He only played 3 regular season games last season. Even with Jackson being let go, I still do not see RB as a high need.

    They could probably get a quality RB for the #3 spot off of some practice squad. The same place they found Ryan Grant.

    The should be hoping to draft OL OL in the first two rounds, but Thomson will likely let the quality of the players determine how he goes.

  12. With the kickoff rule changes coming in this (hopefully) upcoming season, a kick returner is no longer a need for this team.
    Give me a 3rd down back that can catch from the backfield and block on passing downs, and I will be happy.
    Between Finley and Jennings we don’t need anymore wide receivers they will demand the ball enough.

  13. stairwayto7 says:
    Apr 10, 2011 10:10 PM
    They needs Rodgers to get therapy for being a cancer survivor hater! VIDEO PROOF!

    That reminds me, I owe Aaron Rodgers a huge apology for taking the video at face value and cracking down on him without considering all of the evidence. Cancer survivor Jan Cavanaugh herself took the lead in asserting that he got a raw deal. He’s a class act; leave him alone.

  14. jebdamone says:
    Apr 11, 2011 1:16 AM
    as a vikings fan, i hate to admit that the pack is stacked and will be for awhile.

    A smart reasonable Viking fan. I knew there had to be one. Maybe you could have a talk with percy the pervert.

  15. Not a Pack fan, or a Pack hater for that matter, but as i have stated before on here, the coaching job that staff did with all those season ending injuries last year was remarkable, so it seems if they need anything, it probably doesn’t matter….

  16. James Jones, the #3 receiver is going to leave via free agency, along with Cullen Jenkins(DE) and D. Colledge(LG). They have a couple of guys ready to fill in at d-line. They have a couple of guys ready to fill in at 0-line. If a good one at either position is available, TT might jump. But even with the return of Finley, the Packers need 5 receivers. Swain is ok, but there probably is a better receiver to draft.
    The Packers have enough help at OLB opposite Matthews.
    But the sleeper pick might be CB. The backup corners are lightweights, and if a stud is available in round 1, that might happen.

  17. I think this “gotta find Woodson’s replacement” mindset is a little off. The guy plays a CB/S/LB hybrid position which he should be able to do for the next couple of years. Williams and Shields were the ones playing the pure CB positions at the end of the year. And don’t forget, while he is a Safety, they are getting another ballhawk in Morgan Burnett back for the IR. I’m not saying they won’t draft for depth, but I don’t think Chuck’s replacement has to be found this April.

    If there is a top notch OLB(one of the top 3 or 4) remaining at their spot, I think Ted goes for it. If you can bookend someone with Clay and take the double teams away, any issues in the secondary become a moot point.

  18. Apr 10, 2011 9:00 PM

    They need OL depth above all else and then a DE and a rush LB.

    There is also no way that even 7 draft picks are going to make this team. They need to package picks, move up and go for a couple of real home run picks at those positions.


    This type of thinking ruined Sherman. We are not the one or two impact rookies away, WE ARE THERE. saying 7 draft picks won’t make the team is not the way to think this through,

    We need d line, O line and receiver Depth, an impact OLB would be nice.

    Keep bringing in the youth, and giving them 1-3 years to grow and develop

    In Ted we trust…..

  19. Personally, I think the best scenario is Torrey Smith falling to the Pack. The guy needs a couple more seasons before he is truly ready, and it would be better for him if there was less pressure during that time. When Driver finally hangs them up, Smith should be ready to step right into that starting role.

    As much as I hate to say it, there are few immediate holes to fill on this team. But there are things a couple years down the road that they can begin addressing right now. WR, CB, OL should be the focus of this draft, with a good 5-tech end being considered if available at good value.

    Here’s a question….. Given the state of the team, would you advise Ted to put together a huge package to go and get Patrick Peterson?

  20. now all they need is some REAL fans not those closet fans that come out only when there winning yea u jimmydick or i mean smith.

  21. Brewdogg for the win!

    Torrey Smith would be ideal. For our offense to work, we have to be able to spread people out. Jones probably won’t be back, and it’s not inconceivable that Driver’s play will significantly fall. Finley has yet to stay healthy an entire year, and Quarless has questionable hands (although he was forced into playing a year early). Plus, Smith is a returner which is by FAR the biggest hole on the team.

    The key to success in the NFL: Do what you do, and do it well. We spread people out and throw it around – you can never have too many perimeter weapons.

    That said, I wouldn’t be heartbroken if we went OL, DE, or OLB. In Ted I trust.

  22. Nice to be able to say you’ll just take the best player available, mean it, and be comfortable with it.

  23. ol de/ olb wide out and cb, really don’t care, i trust teddy T to do the right thing! left tackle would be my first pick, trade up if needed. but we’ll see

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