Monday, April 19, 2010

Packers to nab a pass rusher in 1st round?

Fans of the Packers know very well the areas which the team needs to address with the draft and free agency: offensive tackle, outside pass rusher, defensive backs, punter, running back. But which need will Ted Thompson address with the 23rd overall pick, that's the question. Or whether he'll stay at #23 or drop down to get more picks. Or, as ESPN reporter Adam Schefter tweeted today, "Packers, Eagles have expressed interest in trading up to 10-12 range. But it could depend on how board falls. Good prospects everywhere."

The speculation that Schefter seems to be latching onto is that if the Pack has a specific guy they want for offensive tackle and they see that he's still available in that 10-12 range they might pop up to get him.

But Mike Vandermause, the sports editor for the Green Bay Press-Gazette sees it differently. In his column over the weekend, Vandermause says the signs he's picked up from Thompson's comments lead him to conclude that the Pack will stay at #23 and pick a pass rusher, specifically Jerry Hughes of Texas Christian University.

To see how Vandermause gets to that particular pick, read his column here. It's a pretty well-reasoned argument. But with the draft, as we've seen every year, anything can happen.

For example, in the unlikely event that Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen were to still be available at #23 (remember we had another highly touted QB that fell pretty far several years back...and it's a good thing he did!), would the Packers take him? Or would they package him off to another team in exchange for...? Or would they just stick to addressing needs even if they have Clausen rated as the best player available, which is what they say they always pick?

Mel Kiper, Jr. has changed his draft scenario and now has the Packers picking offensive guard Mike Iupati out of Idaho. Iupati is the number one rated guard in most scouting reports. But the Pack needs a tackle. Do they think they might be able to convert him? At 6-5 and 331 lbs., it's not a stretch physically. For example, Bryan Bulaga of Iowa, arguably the third ranked tackle in the draft (and an early mock draft favorite in the Pack's #23 spot before his stock started to rise), is listed at 6-6 and 312 lbs.

'Tis a puzzlement! And lots of fun contemplating the possibilities.