As we continue the Team Needs series for the 2013 NFL Draft, we proceed to the team with the twenty-sixth overall pick; the Green Bay Packers. It was just another double digit victory season and another division crown for the Pack. Unfortunately, the beating they took in the second round of the postseason is all that anyone will remember of their 2012 campaign.
Aaron Rodgers once again competed at an MVP level last year but he was betrayed by Dom Capers’ defense that wasn’t prepared for the read option. Injuries played a big part in their shortcomings as well and with a lot of change of change on the horizon, here is how I think Mike McCarthy will try to make corrections in the upcoming NFL draft.
As soon as Jeff Saturday announced his retirement, you knew that there was a big need in the middle of the offensive line headed forward. Despite his poor play and even being benched for it, he was the best they had on the roster and the need for a center and even an upgrade at tackle are beginning to be pressing. Don Barclay and Evan Dietrich-Smith should only see the field if absolutely necessary. Look for the Packers to look at guys like Barrett Jones and Travis Frederick in the early rounds.
Draft Possibilities: Barrett Jones, Travis Frederick
With Greg Jennings hitting the market and wanting a whole lot of money, his time in Green Bay is likely over. Combine that with Donald Driver officially retiring and the need for a big time wide receiver is evident. Randall Cobb and James Jones are fine young players, but neither is a number one option. If they don’t make a key acquisition in free agency, this could be the way the Packers go early in the draft should one of the top prospects fall to them at twenty six. Tavon Austin would be a perfect fit.
Draft Possibilities: Tavon Austin, Keenan Allen
As early as the second round, but more likely the third, I could see Green Bay trying to find a better running option than DuJuan Harris. He played well late, but a young prospect should be brought in to help sell the play action a little better for Aaron Rodgers this season. It was a rare occasion that I didn’t believe the Packers were going to throw it on every play. Local product Montee Ball could be an ideal target in the third.
Draft Possibilities: Montee Ball, Knile Davis
With Charles Woodson now gone, there is a whole lot of uncertainty at the safety position. Morgan Burnett will likely slide into his starting spot, but the depth concerns are legit behind him. I expect the Packers to be active in free agency for the position, but if they come up short addressing this need in the middle rounds of the draft on someone like Tony Jefferson would be a safe bet.
Draft Possibilities: Tony Jefferson, T.J. McDonald
No one seems to really know what will happen with Jermichael Finley and his contract. One day the rumor is he’ll stay, the next is that he’ll go. Regardless, the position needs some attention going forward. If Finley does indeed play elsewhere in 2013, a pick will be taken in the first three rounds for the position. If he stays, one much later. My bet is that if he leaves and Tyler Eifert is there for them in the first round; that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Draft Possibilities: Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz
I realize going back over this that there wasn’t near as much attention paid to fixing defensive issues as I thought. Again, injuries and poor scheming made the Packers defense look much worse in the postseason than it actually is. But it’s hard to predict how health is going to go in a sixteen plus game season.
For head coach Mike McCarthy, this is the second consecutive season of an embarrassing playoff loss he has had to answer to. With all of the changes on this club headed forward, he’s going to be expected to knock this draft out of the park; especially with the rest of the division beginning to creep up on them.
Tagged with: 2013 NFL Draft, Aaron Rodgers, Barrett Jones, Charles Woodson, Dom Capers, Don Barclay, Donald Driver, DuJuan Harris, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jeff Saturday, Jermichael Finley, Keenan Allen, Knile Davis, Mike McCarthy, Montee Ball, Morgan Burnett, NFC, NFC North, NFL Draft, Randall Cobb, T.J. McDonald, Tavon Austin, Team Needs, Tony Jefferson, Travis Frederick, Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz