Sunday, April 25, 2010

Packers undrafted signings

While the official NFL Draft may have ended, the player pick ups continue. In this case, that means those college players who were not drafted during any of the Draft's seven rounds.

While the Packers didn't address their outside linebacker needs in the draft, it appears they are attempting to find at least one prospect among the undrafted pool given the signings. There are some interesting possibilities at that position, as well as a few of the other slots. In fact, the signing of QB Noah Shepard might be one to keep an eye on. Read here for more.

Reports are that the Pack has signed the following to free agent contracts:
  • OL Nick McDonald, Grand Valley State
  • WR/KR Chastin West, Fresno State
  • RB Quinn Porter, Stillman College
  • LB Alex Joseph, Temple
  • QB Noah Shepard, South Dakota
  • OLB Frank Zombo, Central Michigan
  • DE John Russell, Wake Forest
  • CB/KR Sam Shields, Miami (expected to sign, not confirmed yet)
  • OLB Tim Knicky, Stephen F. Austin
  • WR Jeff Moturi, UTEP
  • OT Chris Campbell, Eastern Illinois
  • S Robert Vaughn, UConn
In addition to these players, a few others were invited to tryout at next's weekend orientation camp which begins Friday: WR Shawn Gore, Bishop University (Canada); OT Mike Aguayo, OT, UTEP; WR E.J. Morton-Green, Morgan State; RB Tory Harrison, Southern Mississippi. Perhaps 20 or so players will tryout overall.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pack's final pick: DL C. J. Wilson

With the 230th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Packers selected DE C. J. Wilson from East Carolina.

Wilson has good size and apparently good speed coming off the edge. Not great ability to drop into coverage. But at #230, what the heck.

To read a good overview of all the Pack's picks, go here.

The Pack addressed some needs despite their usual best athlete available stance. Not a lot of flash, but that's not what was needed. Overall draft grade: B+.

Undrafted signings yet to come. So keep checking back here at for news and views.

Go Pack Go!

Packers select RB James Starks

With their lone pick in the 6th round of the NFL Draft, #193 overall, the Pack finally selected a running back. They chose James Starks out of Buffalo. Not exactly known as a football powerhouse -- in fact, only recently resuming a football program -- Starks set a school record for rushing in 2008 with more than 3,100 yards rushing. Unfortunately, he missed the entire 2009 season with a shoulder injury.

So what exactly are the Packers betting on? That they might have gotten a sleeper...and that the shoulder injury won't be a chronic problem. It was pretty much a given that the Packers would pick up a running back somewhere along the day today. According to the scouting report, Starks is a runner who might fit very well with the zone blocking scheme. He ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, so he brings a bit of speed to the equation. Starks reportedly can also catch passes quite handily. At #193, he was worth a flyer.

The Pack's next and final pick is #230 overall.

Packers take tight end and guard in 5th round

The Packers did not move up into the 4th round, and instead used their two 5th round picks in the draft to select TE Andrew Quarless of Penn State (#154) and offensive guard Marshall Newhouse out of TCU (#169).

Quarless appears to be a tight end with good size. The question has had to do with consistency and character. Lots of potential if he can stay focused on football. Green Bay probably gives him the best chance to do just that.

Newhouse appears to be a real find at the tail end of the 5th round. Big body kind of guy who has the versatility to play either tackle or guard, but probably best suited to guard at the pro level. One of the players that should fit in quite well with the Packers and has the potential to be a real competitor on the O-line.

Packers Draft Day 2 Review

With less than an hour to go before the start of the final day of the NFL Draft marathon, rounds 4 through 7, you would do well to read Bob McGinn's (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Packers beat writer) article reviewing the Packers' draft picks so far, along with who they didn't take that was available, what the likelihood of new player impact might be, and some of the thinking that might be operating going into these last rounds.

The Packers enter today with four picks remaining. The Packers traded their lone 4th round pick along with the second of their two 3rd round picks as part of the deal to move up to get S Morgan Burnett. They have two picks in round 5 (#154 and #169), a 6th rounder (#193) and one 7th round pick (#230). In Thompson's comments, as reported by McGinn, he didn't rule out trading into the 4th round if there was a player he wanted. Shouldn't be surprising. Anything in the draft is possible.

GM Ted Thompson is known for being able to find a few gems in late rounds, so let's hope that's the case today. As McGinn points out in his article, 2nd round pick Mike Neal still does not likely fill the pass rusher need which almost everyone -- including the Packers -- said was a need going into the draft. He might develop into that, but right now he is projected to be one of the back ups on the D-line. A pass rushing diamond in the rough would be a plus today. As would a few other players mentioned in my prior post regarding the end of Draft Day 2.

The Packers believe they are very close to getting back to the big game. With a few pieces in the right spots, it's all right there. And keep in mind that there will be a plethora (look it up!) of post-draft street free agent signings as well. Those players typically are long shots. But for a needed spot, such as punter, you might just find a keeper.

Let's see what shakes out of the tree today.

Friday, April 23, 2010

End of NFL Draft day 2 sees Pack nab 2

The second day of the 2010 NFL Draft, comprised of rounds 2 and 3, saw the Packers execute their allotted slot with the 56th pick overall in round 2, and then trade their third round pick (#86) and a fourth rounder (#122) to Philadelphia (from Cleveland through Philly) for their 71st overall pick in the Draft.

From the sound of things, the Pack got players they needed for defensive purposes, beginning with DE Mike Neal, whom the coaches believe can provide some rush at the end spot coming out of the 3-4. And, in the case of S Morgan Burnett, the 71st pick, GM Ted Thompson wasn't willing to wait to see if he'd be available 15 spots later. He gets a big safety who can break on the ball and perhaps challenge Atari Bigby for a starting spot across from Nick Collins at some point.

You can read a great overview of Thompson's take on the second day of fun here. Worth checking out.

Tune back in here Saturday for the final action. Still need to pick up an outside linebacker and a running back. Another offensive lineman would be good as well. After that...? Whatever is left, most likely.

In any case, Go Pack Go!

Packers move up to take S Morgan Burnett

The Packers decided to move up in the third round, trading with Philadelphia (from Cleveland through Philadelphia), to take S Morgan Burnett out of Georgia Tech with the 71st overall pick in the draft.

Burnett appears to be a good-sized safety and a ball hawk. Looks like a very good pick here, and was obviously a player that the Packers wanted, moving up 15 slots to take him. The Pack traded their #86 pick (third round) and #122 (fourth) to make the move.

Stay tuned...looks as if GM Ted Thompson is working his plan...offensive line, defensive line, defensive backfield...what's next??? We'll have to wait to see. Because unless Thompson works another trade to move up, the Packers don't pick again until #154 overall in the fourth round tomorrow. As we said...stay tuned...

Packers go with DE/DT Mike Neal in round 2

As the second round cranked rather quickly along, the Packers stayed in the #56 slot overall and chose Mike Neal, defensive end/tackle from Purdue.

Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN, said Neal showed flashes throughout the college football season but needs to work on consistency. If he takes care of that, Kiper said, the Packers got themselves a good pick.

The Pack's next pick is #86 overall in the third round, barring any trades.

Keep checking back here for more updates as the draft rolls on.

Yep...still looks good in the morning, too

You know how it goes: sometimes, in the heat of the moment, one's reason and senses can lead you to make, um, questionable decisions. Which in the light of day, make you wonder what the heck you were thinking. Or so I've heard.

On another level, it's buyer's remorse. Dazzled by the flash, we come to realize the goods aren't at all that we thought they were.

Well, in the case of the Packers' first round draft pick, offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, seems as if everyone still awoke with a smile on their faces today. Even fans, who say they approve of the Packers' choice by a margin of 92 percent to 8 percent (of more than 7,000 fans responding as of the time of this post) in a poll at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

And why not? Bulaga was projected to be long gone before the Packers' pick at number 23. Some had him going in the top 10. That's why GM Ted Thompson and the coaching staff in Green Bay were darn near giddy when Bulaga fell into their laps last evening.

In his post-selection interview, Bulaga said his goal was to start...which is exactly what you want to hear from a draft pick, especially a first rounder. He understands that he'll have much to learn. But coming from the Iowa system, he's familiar with zone blocking schemes so he can hit the ground running, so to speak. And if he takes care of business, he could succeed venerable veteran Chad Clifton at left tackle. That's what the Packers are hoping. Whether that's sooner or later, it's what they are hoping for.

Everybody has a take on Bulaga, how this will impact the Packers short and long-term, etc. So if you want to catch a really good overview, check out this story and its various sidebar articles. Good stuff.

Keep checking back here at as the draft resumes later this afternoon. There are still some very good players available who have now dropped to the second round and fit the Packers' needs -- especially on defense -- very well. Will Thompson trade up, stay pat, or trade down? Stay's gonna be a fun ride, kids!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Packers select OT Bryan Bulaga

The first round of the 2010 NFL Draft has been a very surprising and interesting round so far. The early run that most pundits thought would happen with offensive tackles didn't occur. Jacksonville and Oakland made curious picks. A few trades were made to go up and down, particularly with Denver jumping around three times, including swapping spots with New England to pop ahead of the Packers by one spot. And by the time the Packers rolled into their time on the clock, a lot of their wish list (we can only assume) -- both offensive and defensive -- was still on the board. It couldn't have played out much better for the Pack.

That's why it didn't take them long to select OT Bryan Bulaga of Iowa. You can view one of his scouting reports here.

On some draft boards, Bulaga was a top 10 pick. To have him fall into the Packers' lap here is a real gift. According to some NFL personnel folks, he is reportedly one of the safest picks in this draft. He will likely be the the Packers left tackle of the future, but he does have the versatility to play guard, as well...and we all know how much Packers GM Ted Thompson likes versatility.

Wayne Larrivee, the radio voice of the Packers and a regular Big 10 football broadcaster, said on 620WTMJ radio coverage this evening, that Bulaga will fit in with the Pack like he's been on the team 100 years. Larrivee was very pleased that the Packers got a player of this caliber with this pick, particularly because most every projection had him going much, much earlier.

Ted Thompson, in a brief radio interview after the selection, said that they were surprised to see Bulaga still available at #23 and felt "very fortunate" to be able to get him. No doubt. Great pick, Ted!

We'll have more analysis to follow. Keep tuning back in here!

Go Pack Go!

Draft night just ahead...and another nod for Hughes?

Last weekend, Mike Vandermause, the sports editor for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, wrote an article (noted in an earlier post here) that all the signs he was picking up led him to conclude that the Packers would select defensive end Jerry Hughes out of Texas Christian University with the 23rd pick of the NFL Draft. Now, a few other folks have jumped on that bandwagon, including Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Packers writer extraordinaire, Bob McGinn. Wayne Larrivee, radio voice of the Packers on 620WTMJ radio in Milwaukee, concurred this morning with that pick as well.

The thinking seems to be that if the elite offensive linemen are off the board by the time the Packers pick at number 23, GM Ted Thompson will pull the trigger on a pass rusher to complement Clay Matthews.

McGinn sets forth the following in his article: "One of two scenarios is most likely to unfold for the Packers Thursday night in the first round of the National Football League draft.

"• One of three offensive linemen (center Maurkice Pouncey, tackles Bryan Bulaga and Anthony Davis) whom sources within the league indicate Thompson regards as elite will begin to slide, prompting the general manager to part with perhaps a third-round selection in order to move up and grab one of them.

"• Those three players, along with consensus top tackles Russell Okung and Trent Williams, go off the board so quickly that the Packers' keen desire to land a starting offensive lineman is doomed to failure."

If the second scenario plays out, then McGinn (and others, apparently) believe Thompson will then go the pass rusher route, and look at Hughes as well as Sergio Kindle of Texas and Brandon Graham of Michigan. Graham is expected to be gone, so Hughes and Kindle would then be the options. McGinn makes the argument, as did Vandermause, that Hughes is the one the Pack will select.

McGinn, as usual, does a tremendous job of outlining many of the various options that will await Thompson this evening. Including this: "If Graham, Hughes and Kindle are gone, it's entirely possible that Thompson would bail back five to 10 slots and then select the best tackle, pass rusher, cornerback or safety."

If that is the scenario that plays out, tune in again tomorrow because, as you know, tonight is one round only.

Get the full lowdown from McGinn's article here. Along with Vandermause's column from last weekend, you'll be well set to geek out tonight.

Let the Draft begin!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Packers 2010 schedule released - rumblin' time's just around the corner!

We now know the dates and times of the home and away schedule the Packers will be playing come this Fall. Get ready to set aside a few Sunday evenings, a Monday night, and at least two "second game" time slots -- at least six nationally televised games...but don't worry, your Thanksgiving is clear. You know, so you can spend more time with the family rather than watching football. Yeah...I know...sorry. But at least you get to spend New Year's weekend watching the Pack pummel Da Bearz to close out the regular season as they get set for the playoffs.

Anyway, on with the schedule! Home games are in bold. All times are Central.

Sun., Sept. 12 @ Philadelphia Eagles 3:15 p.m. FOX
Sun., Sept. 19 Buffalo Bills 12:00 p.m. CBS
Mon., Sept. 27 @ Chicago Bears 7:30 p.m. ESPN
Sun., Oct. 3 Detroit Lions (Gold Pkg.) 12:00 p.m. FOX
Sun., Oct. 10 @ Washington Redskins 12:00 p.m. FOX
Sun., Oct. 17 Miami Dolphins 12:00 p.m. CBS
Sun., Oct. 24 Minnesota Vikings 7:20 p.m. NBC

Sun., Oct. 31 @ New York Jets 12:00 p.m. FOX
Sun., Nov. 7 Dallas Cowboys (Gold Pkg.) 7:20 p.m. NBC

Sun., Nov. 14 Open Date

Sun., Nov. 21 @ Minnesota Vikings *12:00 p.m. FOX
Sun., Nov. 28 @ Atlanta Falcons *12:00 p.m. FOX
Sun., Dec. 5 San Francisco 49ers *12:00 p.m. FOX
Sun., Dec. 12 @ Detroit Lions *12:00 p.m. FOX
Sun., Dec. 19 @ New England Patriots *7:20 p.m. NBC
Sun., Dec. 26 New York Giants *3:15 p.m. FOX
Sun., Jan. 2 Chicago Bears *12:00 p.m. FOX

* Start time may shift due to NFL flexible scheduling.

For further insight and trivia into the schedule, check out the Packers' take on things here.

Must See Games
For true Packer fans, of course, every game is a must see game. But for professional sports writers, such as Sport Illustrated's Dan Banks, he must pick and choose. And that's what he's done. In today's Inside the NFL column, Banks lists 17 games on the just-released NFL schedule that are must-sees for him.

He has the Packers listed at #6. Here's what he says:
"6. Minnesota at Green Bay, Week 7. You can never make it seem like the first time all over again, but the specter of Favre going back into Lambeau Field again will still get our attention. The Packers owe their former quarterback a loss or two after last season's Minnesota sweep, and the QB duel between Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Favre is reason enough to care about this Sunday night showdown. It should just about be getting chilly in Wisconsin by the time this one rolls around. The rematch is less than a month later in Minnesota in Week 11."

Banks has the ViQueens listed four times in total. Obviously, as per his comments above, he's betting -- as most are -- that Ol' #4 will be suiting up again this Fall. Otherwise, c'mon, would Tavaris Jackson get this kind of coverage? Not a chance.

You can read about all of Banks' must-see games here.

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.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Former Packer set to enter National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Here's a story you aren't gonna hear every day: a former starting offensive tackle from the Packers is about to be inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame this weekend. To borrow a phrase, who knew?

Does the name Alan Veingrad ring a bell? Veingrad was an undrafted free agent pick up by the Pack back in 1986 out of East Texas State. He started every game for the Packers during the 1986-1990 period except for five games in 1987. Veingrad moved on to the Dallas Cowboys as a Plan B free agent for the 1991 season, where he helped Emmitt Smith win the NFL rushing title that year, and helped the 'Boys win it all in Super Bowl XXVII in 1992.

As Packer fans no doubt are aware, the late 1980s period wasn't exactly one of the best for the team; the Packers recorded only one winning season during Veingrad's stay in Green Bay. That obviously had little to do with his play, however, as demonstrated by what happened when he arrived in Dallas.

But moving along...

On today's Only a Game radio show on NPR, there is a segment on Veingrad. Here's the teaser copy: "Some ex-NFL players stay in the league as coaches and administrators after they retire. Some become 'expert analysts' on TV and radio. But others, like Alan Veingrad, find a different way to spend their time. After playing offensive lineman during the late 80’s and early 90’s, he turned to Orthodox Judaism, became a motivational speaker, and is now set to be inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Only A Game’s Jon Kalish reports."

You can listen to the entire Only a Game show by following the link above, but you can go directly to the clip about Veingrad here. And if you want to check out Veingrad's own website, you can do so here. He's been doing great things and it's nice to see someone with that Green Bay connection -- even if it was 20+ years ago -- achieve such wide recognition.

Very cool, Mr. Veingrad. Very cool, indeed. Congratulations! Mazel tov!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wonderlic this!

As the NFL Draft rapidly approaches, all the various physical attributes of prospective picks are bandied about: 40-yard dash times, number of bench presses at various weights, height of jump, length of arms, height, weight, etc., etc. But one of the scores which seems to get mixed attention -- some weighing it heavily and others not -- is the Wonderlic Personnel Test (i.e., intelligence test) score of the player.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Packers beat writer extraordinaire, Bob McGinn, has an interesting article in today's edition about offensive line prospect Bruce Campbell out of Maryland. But actually, the article goes much farther than just reviewing Campbell; it also discusses Idaho guard Mike Iupati and Florida center Maurkice Pouncey and their low scores on the Wonderlic. From there, McGinn gets into the behind-the-scenes thinking of NFL personnel experts and how they view not only these individuals' ability to perform at the NFL given their apparent smarts or lack thereof, but also in the process shows how ignoring the Wonderlic score of a prospect might come back to haunt a team...or not. It's a bit of a crap shoot.

The article also shows how a good Wonderlic score might be more important at some positions than others. The obvious one is quarterback. Anyone calling out signals and understanding defensive schemes has to have some smarts. The less obvious positions are offensive center, as well as linebacker and defensive back who might also wind up having to judge what's in front of them quickly and make snap decisions as to what scheme to call out for their particular unit.

It really is a fascinating article, not only for the analysis of the players mentioned but also for a bit of an insight into how NFL personnel people look to the Wonderlic as an assessment tool.

With kudos to one of the readers of that article who added a comment, I also want to pass along a study that reader mentioned which basically calls into question the structure of the Wonderlic and thus its reliability as a predictor of success in the NFL. You can find that study here if you wish to geek out for a moment in the realm of scholarly endeavors.

Check out McGinn's article about Campbell here.

McGinn has another fine article (as part of his Draft preview series) profiling Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State, who some say is the most intriguing wide receiver prospect this year. The catch is whether he will be a star or a bust because of character and work ethic issues. If you're looking for a comparison pre- and post-draft, think Randy Moss. Nobody knows. And, yes, the Wonderlic comes into play with this comparison as well: Moss had a 12 and Bryant scored a 16. Not rocket scientists, but really, running, jumping and catching is something we all learned in kindergarten, right? The rest is finesse...and, paraphrasing Woody Allen, showing up.

Ted's take
Courtesy of Greg Bedard's blog on the Journal-Sentinel site, some bits and pieces from Packers' GM Ted Thompson regarding the usual, he doesn't give us a clue what he's likely to do.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Packers 2010 schedule coming Tuesday

Just ahead of the fan frenzy that is now the three-day NFL Draft extravaganza, the NFL will announce team schedules on Tuesday, April 20. The preseason schedule and times were set the last week, and come Tuesday we will know the Pack's schedule versus the team's designated opponents.

For those needing a refresher, here are the Packers' 2010 Home and Away opponents:

Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins

Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins
Atlanta Falcons
New England Patriots
New York Jets

Wayne Larrivee's draft prognostications
The radio voice of the Green Bay Packers, Wayne Larrivee, spoke on flagship station 620WTMJ (Milwaukee) this morning about this year's NFL Draft. His opinion is that it is not as deep overall as many media types suggest. Still, he said in the areas that the Packers have needs, good options should exist. In particular, he said offensive tackle, outside linebacker and cornerback are the areas where the Packers will need to bolster the short, pretty much what everyone knows.

Where his comments became very interesting, however, was the order in which Larrivee thought the Pack's first picks might fall. Rather than the conventional wisdom of selecting an offensive tackle with their first round pick (assuming the Pack stays at #23 rather than tradiing out of it, which could also be a real possibility given GM Ted Thompson's tendencies), Larrivee said he believed the Packers would select an outside linebacker to provide a pass rushing complement to last year's draft sensation, Clay Matthews. Larrivee then said the Pack would address their offensive tackle needs in the second round.

This does seem to make sense as there is a greater opportunity for an outside linebacker to make an immediate impact, as Matthews did. A rookie offensive tackle will sit behind Chad Clifton or Mark Tauscher to learn the trade, and perhaps won't have the possibility of starting for at least another year. Given that scenario, and the apparent equality of tackle prospects beyond those that will likely go in the first 20 picks, Larrivee's scenario might indeed be the one that plays out.

On the other hand, it could also very well be that the Packers would pop for a cornerback in the second round -- or even first -- if one of their key targets is still on the board. There are several good corner prospects in which the Packers would no doubt have interest. A few could not only provide key backup support initially -- or perhaps move into a starting spot depending upon how 35-year-old Al Harris returns from his injury -- but also have kick/punt return capabilities as well, which is also something the Packers have needed for about the last decade now.

Ah, the draft...great to be able to start talking and thinking football again, isn't it, kids? You bet!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Packers interested in Westbrook?

There was a time early in his career when, I suspect, many a Packers fan wished that Eagles running back Brian Westbrook would not be so good...especially, it seemed, in every game against the Packers.

The Eagles released Westbrook, now 30 years of age, in February. To date, no team has picked him up. There was some immediate speculation that the ViQueens might add him to their roster with Chester Taylor having signed with Da Bearz. But, not yet.

Now there is word the Pack might be considering Westbrook. He was always a solid back, equally good at receiving as rushing, which might make him an intriguing possibility for the Packers as a reliable third-down back. The catch is that he missed half of last season with two concussions. He's also absorbed a lot of hits over the years, in addition to the concussions. But if he passes a physical, perhaps playing in a limited role might be good for him and a plus for the Packers. The Packers have never been able to find a solid third-down answer under head coach Mike McCarthy's tenure. Westbrook might be a viable option, especially on a one-year contract.

You can read more about the Westbrook scenario here. And if you look at the results of the online poll as to whether the Packers should sign Westbrook or not...well, a lot of people think so.

Draft possibilities at running back
Of course, with the draft a little more than a week away, the Packers are no doubt considering their options at running back there, as well. Several mock drafts have the Pack picking up a running back in the mid to late rounds. Names mentioned include: LeGarrette Blount, Oregon (he of sucker-punch fame, whose early round draft position likely has dropped because of character issues); Joe McKnight, USC; Jahvid Best, California; Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State; Dexter McCluster, Mississippi; Charles Scott, LSU; Andre Dixon, Connecticut; Chris Brown, Oklahoma; Deji Karim, Southern Illinois; Toby Gerhart, Stanford.

We wouldn't expect GM Ted Thompson to use more than one draft pick on a running back, relying instead on his current roster (Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Ahman Green, DeShawn Wynn and Kregg Lumpkin), possibly the pick up of Westbrook, and post-draft street free agent signings to fill out the spring and summer camps. But the Packers could definitely use a solid second back to Grant, someone who could push him, as well as substitute for him especially on third downs. The Packers don't really have any pure speed/juke backs on board. A change of pace back for the opposing defense to have to scheme for would certainly help open up the Packers already potent offense.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Packers exhibition game times set

While the opponents for the Packers preseason schedule were known within the last few weeks, the exact game dates and times were still not nailed down.

Now they are. And here ya go...

Cleveland Browns, 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at Lambeau Field (Gold ticket package)

Seattle Seahawks, 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, at Qwest Field

Indianapolis Colts, 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, at Lambeau Field

Kansas City Chiefs, 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, at Arrowhead Stadium

Monday, April 05, 2010

Packers draft possibilities

Less than three weeks from now we will know who the Packers are betting on to help build the roster going into Spring and Summer camps. As well as have a good idea as to what direction GM Ted Thompson is taking in filling obvious needs on the team.

But in the meantime, mock drafts offer much to chew on. Listed below are the names which are cropping up in some of the published mock drafts elsewhere on the Web. We're just passing them along here, along with the number of times they appear in different draft scenarios. These names are mentioned as first round possibilities for the Packers only, who are currently slated to pick at #23. Obviously, things can change dramatically if Thompson trades up (rare) or down (more common) during the draft itself.

It is interesting, in reviewing the various names proferred by the mock draft-istas, to look at how the consensus seems to skew towards offensive line real surprise there. What is surprising is that some of the picks mentioned as possibilities for the Packers at #23 are slotted in other mock draft line ups as top 10 picks; Bryan Baluga, Charles Brown and Anthony Davis in particular seem to literally be all across the board, both having moved up following the NFL Combine.

...And with the number 23 pick, the Packers select (maybe)...

Mike Iupati
, G, Idaho (2x)

Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas (2x)

Charles Brown, OT, USC (3x)

Rolando McClain, ILB, ALABAMA

Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, FLORIDA

Taylor Mays, S, USC

Bryan Baluga, OT, Iowa (2x)

Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers (3x)

Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State (3x)

Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan