Packer Update

The Packers select…who knows?

The fun begins Thursday

I have no idea which player Green Bay will choose in the first round, and anyone who tells you differently is lying. Ted Thompson is as tight-lipped as any GM in the league and his staff is every bit as secretive. Therefore, nothing he does should really surprise anyone. In fact, I’d only be surprised if our picks actually turn out to be the same. So for whatever it’s worth, here’s my annual exercise in futility:

Picking last is great if you’re a fan of the Packers, but it’s brutal if you’re also a writer trying to predict which player Thompson will select. This is no exaggeration – in the past week I’ve had 10 different players going at 32. Running back Mark Ingram, offensive linemen Danny Watkins and Derek Sherrod, defensive ends Adrian Clayborn, Cam Heyward and Christian “Cheech” Ballard and linebackers Brooks Reed, Akeem Ayers, Jabaal Sheard and Justin “Chong” Houston have all at one time or another been my choice. And in each case, doubt quickly crept in and I changed my mind. I’ve been the epitome of indecisiveness for the past week. In short, I’ve been to this particular mock draft what Mike Tice and the Vikings were to the real one in 2003.

On second (and sometimes third and fourth) thought, I came to the conclusion that Ingram and Clayborn weren’t going to be available and that Ballard and all four outside linebackers probably weren’t quite worth the 32nd pick. That left Watkins, Sherrod and Heyward. I dismissed Watkins because of the position he plays. I’m just not a believer in taking an interior offensive lineman in the first round unless that player has a very big upside. And while Sherrod plays tackle and does have a very big upside, 12 offensive lineman have been drafted by Thompson since 2005 and this kid isn’t similar to any of them.

And then there was one. Heyward came into the offseason as a likely top-20 pick, but now there’s a fairly decent chance he’ll be available when the Packers pick at 32. What did the former Ohio State star do to hurt himself in the past three months? Absolutely nothing. The “problem” is that Heyward simply doesn’t jump out at scouts – either on video or in person. He’s more steak than sizzle. And while that might not appeal to some GMs, you can be sure Thompson isn’t one of them. Here’s what Chad Reuter of wrote: “He has a great attitude, work ethic and immense talent. Well-liked by his teammates and coaches, he has fun playing the game. Hustles without wearing down much during the game. Don’t expect him to post big sack totals, but he’ll hold up well at the point of attack, especially as a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4 alignment.”

The player described in that quote sounds a lot like A.J. Hawk – another former Buckeye star who was just recently re-signed by Thompson to a contract worth over $30 million. Heyward won’t replace Cullen Jenkins as an edge pass rusher, but he should be stout against the run and be able to provide a decent push up the middle in obvious passing situations.

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Son of former NFL running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward… Had 33 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 8 starts as a true freshman in ’07… Had 36 tackles and 3 sacks in 10 starts as a sophomore… Enjoyed his most productive season in ’09 – recording 46 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 12 starts… Had 48 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 13 starts as senior… Underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow in January and did not work out at the NFL Combine… Similar to former LSU standout Marcus Spears, who was a first-round pick of the Cowboys in 2005.

7 Comments to "The Packers select…who knows?"

  1. Archie says:

    Hmmm…..and then Neal sits? or plays inside in the nickel? Neal has more pass rush potential than Heyward so unless you are looking for a guy to replace Pickett, I don’t see it. But I realize Heyward is the most common guy projected to GB at 32 and he does sound like Packer people!

    If he stays at 32, I would think CB/S A Williams from TX will draw strong consideration. Anothe rPacker people, he may be the 2nd coming of LeRoy Butler in GB. Let him learn from Woodson.

    If he trades down, I look for WR Greg little. Could be Andre Johnson w/o the elite speed. Great looking prospect who could make us quickly forget Jame Jones. Give him a chance to develop behind top 3.

    It would not shock me to see him take any of 3 RBs at 32 or with a small trade down and unload Ryan Grant’s overhead. Grant’s a great guy but he’s very limited other than a battering ram w speed. No hands, a liability blocking and no wiggle/escapability. First guy brings him down every time.

    Would I like another big bruising OL or DL? Always.
    Should be a blast!

  2. lars says:

    He’d be a good pick. Heyward doesn’t need to replace Cullen Jenkins’ pass rush abilities…that’s why TT drafted Mike Neal a year ago. Just more DLine value and depth and replacing the bust, Justin Harrell (will TT ever cut bait on that mistake)and the self-immolating Johnny Jolly. So, you’d have a line of Pickett/Heyward-Raji/Green-and Neal/CJ Wilson/Wynn.

    An OLineman would also be a good choice IMO. Anything but a reach for an OLB.

  3. gylland123 says:

    I agree with Michael on the big guy in the first round. Heyward or Wilkerson (check out his video on cbssportsline, man vs boys). If TT goes to OL has to be tackle. If none are available you could take the best playmaker available RB, CB, OLB. I hope we resist the temptation to draft lightning in a bottle and continue to build the lines with character people. New England follows that model (except for Randy Moss) and it works great. Who is the New England running back nowadays?? Their top reciever is a 5’9″ white guy?? (in cleats). Matt Millen made his name drafting how many recievers in a row in the first round. Rather be New England than Detroit. TT has built one of the most solid young teams in the NFL. People don’t like him because he doesn’t smile when he talks to the media. He has accomplished everything his mentor accomplished, plus he is poised to win it again. Go Pack!! Go TT!!

  4. newcomer says:

    i’ld be happy with this, but here are two possible Thompson surprises (OK I suppose anything is possible but here goes): James Carpenter OT Alabama or Greg Little WR North Carolina.

  5. Nerdmann says:

    Aside from Harrell, TT does tend to look for “safer” guys with minimal downside. Hawk and Jordy Nelson were labelled that way in particular. Btw, I still don’t give up on Harrell. His injury last year did not involve his back. Could have happened to anyone in a pile on special teams. He gets a legit shot to make this team this year.

  6. Richard says:

    Cameron sounds kind of like Vonnie Holliday. A big body that you can plug in there, but doesn’t really do anything great.

  7. D Howard says:

    National Football Post’s “top 100″ has Watkins as the #15 best player right in front of another guard Mike Pouncey. Other lists don’t have in the top 32. Who the hell knows for sure! I sure don’t. But, I wouldn’t scratch him of the list because he is projected as a guard…not at pick #32. If they do end up with Watkins at #32 it is because TT believes he is a first round talent and can play right away. They slap him into LG and and that allows Lang to fully prepare for RT.

    Just for fun….my guess is that Gabe Carimi slips and TT trades up into the mid 20′s to take him.

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