Saturday, April 30, 2011

What do rounds 4-7 hold for Packers?

It's less than two hours to the start of the final day of the 2011 NFL Draft and rounds 4 through 7. What's ahead for the Green Bay Packers? The quick answer is: who knows? Well, OK, GM Ted Thompson knows, but that doesn't do the rest of us much good at the moment, does it?

After throwing all or most of us a curve ball (is that an appropriate metaphor for football?) during the first three rounds -- going all offense -- we have to believe that Thompson will turn his eye more toward the defense with his remaining picks. Yes, they will stick to their best-player-available philosophy. But if it's a toss-up, you just have to think the Packers' selection might skew more to the defensive player.

The Packers can still use additional depth on the defensive line, outside linebacker, and cornerback. Having said that, if there is an offensive guard or center prospect on the board that might add to the line, have no doubt that Thompson will pull the trigger there, too.

Speculation that the Packers might draft a quarterback in later rounds has perhaps lessened with the team's second-round selection of Randall Cobb. While primarily a wide receiver/returner, Cobb offers the Packers incredible flexibility because he was a quarterback in high school and early in his college career at Kentucky. He has also played out of the "wildcat" formation. I wouldn't expect Mike McCarthy to go that route and take Aaron Rodgers off the field. But the fact that Cobb has the tools to play quarterback in an emergency situation is certainly a better option than Greg Jennings, the current emergency quarterback. As a result, I think this frees up Thompson to use a pick for something other than a QB in these late rounds. It's possible someone might still be signed as an undrafted free agent for training camp purposes, whenever that is allowed under the current lockout. Teams need camp arms and the Pack is no different in that regard.

All in all, through the first three rounds, we have to give the Packers an "A-" grade. All three of the first picks, OT Derek Sherrod, WR/R Randall Cobb, and RB Alex Green all can make immediate contributions to the Packers. And that's saying a lot when you're rookies come to an already well-stocked Super Bowl Championship team. It will be interesting to see how Thompson approaches these remaining rounds as this is where teams are really built, and also where Thompson has often had some of his best picks.

As one reporter noted about the Packers' selections so far, the rich get richer. As Packer fans, we love it when they talk like that!

Go Pack Go!!!