April 26, 2008

Thompson true to form on day one; trades down

Category: Packers — Patrick Stumpf @ 11:54 pm

For all those fans who were surprised the Packers dealt their first rounder, it’s time you do a little more research. The Packers’ head man didn’t waste any time accumulating picks on Day 1, dealing the 30th overall pick to the Jets for their second and fourth rounders (#36 and #113, respectively). I was thinking and hoping this would be the case, especially after watching Mike Jenkins, Antoine Cason, and Kentwan Balmer evaporate quickly off the board before 30. Dustin Keller, Brandon Flowers, and Limas Sweed were all there, but honestly, they weren’t alot better talent-wise than who they could have got trading down, and I’m glad Thompson recognized that. Now on to the picks:

With the #36 pick, the Packers select WR Jordy Nelson from Kansas State. Rip this pick as much as you want, but after watching this guy’s game film, he looks special. I especially loved the clip of him torching Kansas’ Aqib Talib (who went 20th to Tampa Bay) for a TD. Nelson possesses great size (6’3, 217 lbs), great hands, and tremendous route running skills. One aspect of Nelson’s game scouts question is his timed speed (he ran a 4.50 40), but for those same “experts,” please remember this kid was a track star in the 100 and 400. Nelson was incredibly productive during his senior year, racking up over 1,600 yards and 11 TDs. So productive, in fact, that his worst statistical game was 82 yards against San Jose State. There are definite concerns, however. He only had that one standout year; his first two years at receiver he had 84 grabs, while during his senior year he racked up 122. Packer fans can also question his role in 2008, as I did originally. At the moment, he appears to be at best #4 on the depth chart, with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones ahead of him. He has return experience, which looks to be the most likely route for him to break onto the scene next year, but in the long run, Nelson should replace Driver and find his niche as the perfect slot guy for the Packers. 

With the #56 pick, the Packers select QB Brian Brohm from Louisville. Another pick that’s controversial at this point (what Thompson pick isn’t), Brohm provides one thing as  Nelson does: competition. Thompson has stressed that so often throughout his tenure and it hasn’t changed; it’s just amazing how many people are still surprised by these kind of choices. Regardless of position, Brohm was the best player available. The Packers were rumored to be interested in Brian at 30 and also trading up for him before 56, but to the team’s surprise, he fell to them. Had he declared last year, Brohm might have been a top 10 pick. He is a perfect fit for the West Coast Offense, as he is extremely accurate and has good timing on his throws. The knocks on him are his arm strength as well as his durability, both attributes Aaron Rodgers’ lacked out of Cal. It’s Rodger’s job to lose, and hopefully having Brohm behind him will push him to perform up to his full potential. I didn’t expect the Pack to take a QB this early, but he is too talented to pass up.

With the 60th pick, the Packers select CB Patrick Lee from Auburn. This was probably, for the majority of fans, the most sensible pick of the night. Lee is a big, physical corner that fits the mold the Packers look for in their press scheme. Working at AM 1570 the Score in Appleton, WI, I was able to listen to an interview conducted by host Justin Hull last week with the same Patrick Lee. Justin asked Patrick how he’d feel coming into Green Bay with Woodson and Harris to learn from, and Lee welcomed the opportunity. I expect Lee to have the best shot to make an immediate impact of the first three picks, possibly at nickel-back, but also on special teams. He needs to become more polished (he didn’t start at Auburn until his senior year), but he has all the makings of a solid future starter in Green Bay.

Overall, I thought the Packers did a great job on Day 1, setting themselves up for the future. As far as positions I think will need to be addressed tomorrow, a tight-end and change of pace running back would be nice. Guys like Jermichael Finley (TE, Texas) and Steve Slaton (RB, West Virginia) could be possibilities. Plenty more analysis to come tomorrow, as the team holds at least six more selections (one 3rd, three 4ths, one 5th, and one 7th). Draft coverage starts at 9:00 AM, so get up early, because players will be flying off the board real fast. Some of the best of the rest: LB Dan Connor (Penn State), CB Charles Godfrey (Iowa), QB Josh Johnson (San Diego), OG Jeremy Zuttah (Rutgers), and CB Antwaun Molden (Eastern Kentucky).

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