This weekend marked the commencement of a couple of great truths:
1.) The finalization of the 53-man roster for the '08 Green Bay Packers.
2.) The beginning of "Who Are You Watching Now?" as the college football season kicked off. As a reminder, the "Who Are You Watching Now?" portion of the blog will be dedicated to Juniors/Seniors that you have watched this year that could be available in next year's draft. I was not overly impressed with the level of play this past weekend. With that being said, a small handful of players did catch my eye. I was in a pub all day, so my vision may have been blurred. Couple that with about 5-6 games going on and I'm certain I missed some playmakers. No real surprises & some are carry overs from last year's list...Briefly stated in random order:
QB: Tim Tebow, FL
Chase Daniel, MO
Patrick White, WVU (can he play WR at the next level?)
Matt Stafford, GA
Todd Reesing, Kansas
John Parker Wilson, AL
Cullen Harper, Clemson
Matt Grothe, South Florida
Todd Boeckman, OSU
RB: Charles Scott, LSU
P.J. Hill, WI
Brandon James, FL (a special kick returner)
CJ Spiller, Clemson
James Davis, Clemson
WR: Demetrius Byrd, LSU
Brandyn Harvey, Villanova - Big, fast WR. If you get a chance, take note.
Will Judson, IL (undersized, but showed he could get deep. Might be nothing to look for, but he caught my eye in Week 1).
Brian Robiskie, OSU
Aaron Kelly, Clemson
Mohammed Massaquoi, Georgia
TE: Chase Coffman, MO
Travis Beckum, WI (I know that he did not play, but it just felt good to write his name down.)
Anthony McCoy, USC
DE: Tyson Jackson, LSU (He'd look pretty in Green & Gold)
George Selvie, South Florida (A speed rusher who I have been following closely since he dominated WVU last year in front of my naked eye)
LB: James Laurinaitis, OSU
Darry Beckwith, LSU
Jonathan Casillas, WI
Mortty Ivy, WVU
Ray Maualuga, USC
DB: Michael Jenkins, OSU (He could end up as my favorite player in this draft - at this stage, it's a close battle with Beckum)
Mike Mickens, Cincy (For those of you who have followed the blog, you'll know that my Big East lovin' wife has turned me onto this guy last year. Do what you can to get up close & personal to the TV screen to check him out)
Victor "Macho" Harris, VA Tech (like Beckum, he was hurt, but it felt good to put his name on the screen)
It was interesting to see how the Packers formulated the '08 roster. 7 LB's. 2 FB. Only 9 DL. Keeping Peprah who did not play a game. Keeping Giacomini. Cutting both Herron & Morency. No long snapper. Clearly, Thompson is not done wheeling & dealing. Tracy White has to be a guy that they are shopping. Before the year, Pittsburgh offered him a nice contract. Rumor has it that they have excess OL & are looking to shop. Could this be a nice match?
Thompson has shown that he will keep his best 53 players. He did so last year when he was heavy on the DL. This year - his best assets were his LB's. We did the right thing by initially keeping 7 LB's. Bishop & Hodge were terrific in the preseason and forced the Packers hand.
After watching the replay of the Titans game last night, I am shocked that the Packers did not keep Joey Haynos on the active roster. He looks mobile. He looks physical. Never did the 1st guy bring him down. He showed great hands. He may also run the best down-and-out on the team at the TE position. I would have kept him over the oft-injured Tory Humphrey. Haynos can play in the NFL. In some ways, he reminded me of a young Chmura.
I'm really confused as to how we grossly estimated our capabilities at each position. Our only offseason addition came at LB, which happens to be our greatest position of strength. Our OL seems to be in a worse spot than we were last year. Same with our DL. We're far inferior to last year's team at QB. Our offseason judgment has me scratching my head.
But, I will commend Thompson for Lumpkin. We were the only team to offer him a contract & I'll be shocked if he does not impact on our team this year in some way, shape, or form. He brings an added dimension to our roster. A physical runner with soft hands, shifty hips, good vision, and football toughness. He seems to lack concentration at times, but this can be trained. He could end up as our 3rd down back.
Our roster is currently constructed to be strong on special teams. J-Bush, Kuhn, Hall, Poppinga, White, Bishop are all valuable special teams players. I imagine that Hodge will eventually fit into this mix as well.
Flynn has shown me enough that I am OK with him being our back-up QB this year. Hell, in '05, we had Rodgers as our back-up and he did not look any better than what Flynn offers today. Same with '06.
I'm curious to see what tricks Thompson has up his sleeve for the next 24 hours. We need a long snapper. Additional veteran help at OL would be valuable. We also need a pass rusher. Can Thompson find magic?