The Draft is nigh, so it’s time to take a detailed look at each team’s acquisitions and losses and gauge a plan of attack for how they should approach the first three rounds. We’ll start with the lowly Cleveland Browns and work our way all the way up to the Super Bowl Champs in New England. The loathsome Green Bay Packers are up this wet afternoon.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Team Needs: CB, RB, G, NT
Free Agent Losses: RB Eddie Lacy, TE Jared Cook, DE Datone “M’FN” Jones, G TJ Lang, G JC Tretter, OLB Julius Peppers, S Micah Hyde
Free Agent Acquisitions: CB Davon House, TE Martellus Bennett, TE Lance Kendricks,
Potential Round 1 Targets: CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Gareon Conley, CB Kevin King, G Forrest Lamp, RB Dalvin Cook, RB Christian McCaffery
Potential Round 2 Targets: CB Teez Tabor, CB Fabian Moreau, CB Quincy Wilson, CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, G Dan Feeney, G/T Dion Dawkins, G/T Taylor Moton, G/T Antonio Garcia, RB Alvin Kamara, RB Joe Dixon
Potential Round 3 Targets: CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Corn Elder, CB Rasul Douglas, G Dorian Johnson, G/C Ethan Pocic, G/C Pat Elflein, RB Wayne Gallman, RB Kareem Hunt, RB Samaje Perine, DT Larry Ogunjobi, DT Montravious Adams, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, DT Eddie Vanderdoes
Plan of Attack:
The Packers went to the NFC title game before getting railed hard by the Falcons. That loss still stings their yellow britches, and one big reason they got beat was their lack of defensive talent in the secondary. That could be their first area to address and they could look at some corners. There is a chance that either Marlon Humphrey or Gareon Conley are available here. These guys are nearly identical in size and speed. Conley doesn’t play the ball as well as Humphrey but has much better footwork. Either one of these guys is an upgrade over returning Davon House and could push to be a starter in their first NFL seasons. The Packers also have a hole at running back. They lost Fat Eddie Lacy in free agency and are back to converted receiver Ty Montgomery as the primary ball carrier. They’d love it if FSU’s Dalvin Cook slid down the board to them here. There is a chance it happens too, as teams have concerns about his shoulder and his character. He is a dual purpose back who is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. He is shifty and quick, and has underrated power. He’d make this already explosive offense, that much more dynamic. The Packers could also go a very unsexy route and take a guard. They lost both JC Tretter and TJ Lang in free agency, and need to upgrade the talent. The man they’d be looking at here is Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky. He is a stoutly built man who is strong as a bull moose and hung like one too. He would be a day one starter and help take away the pain of losing those Lang and Tretter.
Round 2 would be a great spot for the Packers to land a guard or a cornerback. It was stated previously why these two positions are such big needs for this team. At guard they would hope big Dan Feeney from Indiana slides to them. He’s powerful and moves well, and is ready to start right out of the package. There are many teams with guard issues picking ahead of the Packers, so it’s unlikely he makes it to them. A more likely scenario is they grab a tackle/guard tweener like Dion Dawkins or Antonio Garcia. Dawkins man handled the competition at the Senior Bowl and should make his living inside. But if the Packers were to sustain a plethora of injuries he could move to tackle and hold his own. There should be plenty of corners for the Pack to look at in the late second round. They could find a guy with good size in Ahkello Witherpsoon sitting there. He’s 6’3, with the speed to stay with any receiver he faces. Witherspoon will need a little coaching up but he could supplant Davon House by midseason. Other corners the team could look at would be Chidobe Awuzie or Quincy Wilson. There are really only two worthwhile options in round 2 at running back and that would be Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara or troubled Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon. Both of these guys are 3 down backs who can catch the football. Mixon’s off the field issues are well noted, but his talent on the field is undeniable. If the Packers aren’t afraid of a bunch of negative press, they could make him their primary ball carrier of the future.
In round 3, the Packers should find value at running back and defensive tackle. At Running back they could see Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, Clemson’s Wayne Gallman or Toledo’s Kareem Hunt. Hunt is a compactly built back who has good vision and is very elusive. He also is an asset catching passes out of the backfield and could put up big numbers in the Packers offense. The Packers have a big hole to fill at nose tackle. They currently have something called Christian Ringo penciled in there. That is a big time problem. Lucky for them, there should be plenty of big men to look at here. Larry Ogunjobi, Montravious Adams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Eddie Vanderdoes are just a few of the big bodied run stuffers they could be salivating over. Vanderdoes is a guy who could fit in nicely. He’s 6’3 and 305 lbs. He’s surprisingly quick for a man so big, and can create interior pressure as well as stuffing the run. He’s a tough kid, who plays with a chip on his shoulder. The major concern on him is his playing weight. He added pounds in recent years and wasn’t as explosive or productive as he was earlier in his college career. If the Packers take Vanderdoes they’ll need to immediately get him in their conditioning program and keep him off the Cheetos, so he’s at his ideal weight and can perform to the level his talent warrants.