Thursday, March 29, 2007

NFL Network's Path to the Draft and More

Today's edition of the NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" program featured the Packers "On the Clock." The analyst for the segment was Brian Baldinger, who did at least have the benefit of broadcasting a few Packer games last year. He was asked who the Pack would take at #16. While acknowledging the team's needs at wide receiver and tight end, Baldinger said the loss of Ahman Green meant the Packers had to go for a running back with their pick and Marshawn Lynch out of California would be a "great fit." He also said it's likely Lynch would still be on the board at #16. He felt Lynch would fit the Packers system nicely, make an immediate impact, and be similar in style to Ahman Green. As for the Packers second round pick, Baldinger said they should give Brett Favre another receiving target and Anthony Gonzales of Ohio State would be a great pick to be a possible #3 or 4 receiver for the Pack.

Baldinger was also asked what he saw ahead for Brett this year. Citing Brett's career-low completion percentage this last year, he said that it was all a matter of Brett making better decisions. (In fact, this was also the subject of an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.) With good talent and a good system, Baldinger said the Pack could definitely compete in the NFC North this season, predicting a 9-7 or 10-6 record and playoff contention. A lot of that, he said, had to do with how quickly the Pack's many young players raised the level of their game.

In another NFL Network segment, "State of the Franchise," they took a more in-depth look at the Packers. They began by discussing Brett Favre and whether he will be able to make some of the changes Coach McCarthy would like to have him make. They then discussed whether or not Brett coming back is hindering the development of Aaron Rodgers. It was the consensus that Rodgers can only benefit from watching and learning from Brett Favre. As for the rumor of Randy Moss joining the Packers, they felt that the team needed to add another receiver, but that Moss would not be a good fit for the Packers. Instead, they talked about the Packers needing safety help, running back and tight end help. These analysts also named running back Marshawn Lynch as the pick for the Pack at #16.

Rich Eisen had a one-on-one interview with Coach Mike McCarthy from the NFL Owners Meeting. McCarthy said that the area of the team that improved the most last year was the offensive line. He also said they are very happy with Vernand Morency at running back and have a few other young guys they are "excited" about. McCarthy was also asked about Favre, and said that he still has "a lot left in the tank." He also said he felt very excited about the future of Aaron Rodgers. When asked about Randy Moss being a part of the future of the team, McCarthy deftly said he couldn't talk about a player under contract. As to the defense, he said he was very happy with the play of the defensive line. As to what surprised him during his first year as coach, McCarthy said there was nothing more rewarding than pulling into Lambeau field every day, but that the administrative part of the job was probably the part he had to adjust to most.

Paul Burmeister and Charles Davis took yet another look at the Packers draft needs. While saying the Packers were high on California RB Marshawn Lynch, Davis didn't think Lynch would be available at #16 given some changing needs with teams drafting ahead of the Packers. If that's the case, he felt Tennessee receiver Robert Meachem would be a great fit for the Packers opposite Donald Driver. Meachem has good size at 6-3 and 210 lbs. He caught 71 passes for 1,298 yards last year, with 11 touchdowns. He runs a 4.45 40. This is the first time this name has popped up in a discussion of a possible Packer pick at #16. While running back, and hence Lynch, would seem to be the pick to take if he's available, Meachem does offer an intriguing alternative.


The Packers re-signed defensive lineman Colin Cole today to a one-year contract. Cole performed admirably in back-up duty and obviously showed the Packers enough to make them want to keep him around.