Saturday, April 25, 2009

Draft Day! And could it be...Crabtree?

It's finally here, Packer fans...Draft Day! Or at least, Day 1.

And after reviewing the bajillion (thank you, Al Bundy!) mock drafts out there, we can with confidence say...absolutely nothing. Things are as confusing as ever. Consensus seems to indicate that Boston College nose tackle B.J. Raji will be the Pack's pick at #9 if he's available. But then there is today's piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel by Packers beat writer, Bob McGinn, who says otherwise. He says that if the Pack stays at #9, and he's still available, the Packers will select Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree.

McGinn's not the only one to suggest this, of course. Earlier this week, as reported here at the time, the radio voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, also said that he "has been told" that if Crabtree is available at the #9 slot, the Packers will take him. So maybe these guys really know something.

But, of course, there are a couple other teams who draft ahead of the Packers that could also use a top-notch wide receiver. And it's also reasonable to ask whether or not the Packers need a receiver ahead of some much more pressing needs on the defensive and offensive lines and at linebacker. But GM Ted Thompson's modus operandi has generally been to take the best available player. So, as McGinn writes, "Crabtree is the top-rated player on general manager Ted Thompson's board and, despite significant needs on both lines and at outside linebacker, it seems likely the Packers will stay true to their board provided Crabtree is available."

Pro personnel people (there's your alliteration for the day, kids) all apparently concur that Crabtree has big-time potential. But he apparently does have some attitude issues. Cleveland, who definitely would like a receiver to replace Braylon Edwards, was supposedly so turned off by Crabtree's attitude during their recent meeting that they've dropped him from consideration. Of course, that could all be smoke and mirrors on the part of Cleveland, too.

If Crabtree does come to the Packers it would be expected that the current receiving corps, especially Donald Driver, would help Crabtree to make whatever attitude adjustments would be necessary. Donald and the other receivers knows what goes in Green Bay, and it isn't a prima donna attitude.

McGinn naturally offers alternatives if Crabtree isn't available. "Heading that list are Jason Smith of Baylor and Andre Smith of Alabama, both of whom could start immediately at right tackle for Mark Tauscher, a player the Packers have no intention of re-signing. The Packers also are high on Mississippi tackle Michael Oher. If it came down to the choice between Oher and Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe, the edge might go to Oher."

And what if the Packers decide to trade down, as has been Thompson's pattern? McGinn says, "Some other players who could tempt the Packers later on (in) the first round and in the second would be outside linebacker Larry English of Northern Illinois and inside linebacker James Laurinaitis of Ohio State."

So...are you as excited -- and confused -- as yours truly? Hope your head doesn't explode rolling all the possibilities around. Just remember what Red Green would say: "Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together."

Oh, and to check out all of Bob McGinn's wisdom, go here. And if you want to see how he rates the top 100 players, check this out.