Monday, March 29, 2010

Supremely Wicked Mock Draft - Version 2.0

Greetings, G-Force.

Version 2.0 is in front of me. It's "Draft Month." In a month, we'll know who the Packers have added as building blocks for the future. I'm slowly compiling a handful of names that I'd be excited about the Packers drafting. Draft preparation is a fun pastime. I'm nearing my desired selections. As I've been processing 2.0 Draft thoughts, I have tried to target 10-20 names that I'd consider with each selection.

As I've wrote in past years, I'm enamored with the thought of having 4 of the top 90-100 picks. I often point to 1995 as the barometer of excellence with regards to Packers drafts. That year, the Packers had 5 of the top 90 selections.

This year, the Packers have picks 23, 56, 86, 122, 154, 169, 193, and 230. As I assess the talent in this years draft, I am confident in saying that the Packers will be looking to trade down in order to acquire additional draft choices.

A few things that have interested me during my evaluations:

* It's clear that the Packers do not want a CB smaller than 5-11. So, in essence, that means that the Packers will not draft Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama as he measured in at 5-10 at the Combine and his pro day.
* This draft is loaded with TE's. The Packers don't need a TE, although I could see the Packers bringing in a guy like Clay Harbor, TE, Missouri State as either a 7th rounder or an undrafted FA. Nonetheless, the TE's in this draft are spectacular. Expect a heavy TE run during the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
* I fully anticipate the Packers drafting a small school OLB in the late rounds. It's likely that they'll bring in a couple of them as undrafted FA's as well. Ted Thompson has a history of drafting small school players (Kurt Campbell, Julius Coston, Dave Tollefson, Ingle Martin, Allen Barbre). While Thompson has swung and missed with each of these picks, I would be surprised if he did not attempt to do take a chance again.
* Thompson really enjoys looking at schools from Texas & Michigan. Think Terrance Murphy, Mike Montgomery, Johnny Jolly, Cory Rodgers, J-Mike Finley, Will Whitticker, Greg Jennings, and TJ Lang. It's also noteworthy that Andrew Hartline from Central Michigan was one of the more coveted undrafted FA's by the Packers as well last year.
* Each year, I like to point out the Packers trading partners that Ted Thompson has dealt with in which draft picks were exchanged: The Jets and Patriots have been involved 3 times, Philly, STL, and Carolina have been involved twice, and Cleveland, Pitt, ATL, Denver, MN, New Orleans and the Giants have all been dealt with on one occasion. One would have to believe that with John Schneider going to Seattle and with Holmgren going to Cleveland - both Seattle and Cleveland are logical trading partners for the Packers heading into the 2010 NFL Draft. It should be noted that the Browns have 3 third round picks. It's also important to mention that the Seahawks do not have have 2nd round pick. Meanwhile, the Patriots have 3 2nd round picks.

Here goes version 2.0 (once again OL will not be drafted):

Round 1) If any of the following guys are on the board when the Packers select, it is my hope that the Packers draft him: CJ Spiller, Dez Bryant, Rolando McClain, JPP, Joe Haden or Earl Thomas. However, since it's doubtful that any of them fall to the Packers, my #1 player on the draft board remains Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State. He can get the tough yards. He can drop a 60 yarder on you. He'll run through you. He'll run around you. He'll outrun you. I want Mathews, but it might be unlikely. If the Packers passed on Mathews, the selection is Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan. Often compared to Lamar Woodley, Graham has a pension for getting after the QB. It may take him a little while to fully transition to a 3-4 OLB as he was mainly a rush DE at the college level. The Packers can select someone who needs minor grooming at the position as Brad Jones showed enough at the end of the '09 season to enter the '10 season as the starter. Any way, it's my Mock and I'm drafting Mathews.

After Mathews & Graham, my desired selection like this: Sean Weatherspoon, Taylor Mays, Jahvid Best, Sergio Kindle, Kyle Wilson, Devin McCourty, and Everson Griffen.

Round 2) After reading Kareem Jackson's measurables, the Packers won't draft him. He did not meet the 5-11 barometer. So, I'm forced to change this pick.

If Jahvid Best falls, I want him. It's doubtful that he'll be around. No one seems to be falling faster than Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State. I've been outward about him. I enjoy his game. I think he'd fit into our system. He has the size. He's been a playmaker at the college level. He's produced against big time competition. But, it's apparent that his social life is concerning teams. With that being said, as I've mentioned previously, comparatively speaking, you have to try pretty hard to get in serious trouble in Green Bay. Regardless, as much as I'd be happy about this selection, at don't see it happening.

I firmly believe that the Packers are going to draft a "waterbug." A guy who returns kicks, but he's also a RB/WR on offense. An elusive Percy Harvin type player. Or a Darren Sproles type. In the 2010 NFL Draft, no one plays this role better than Dexter McCluster, RB/WR/KR, Ole Miss. I have a strong gut feeling that the Packers draft him in the 2nd round.

Other 2nd round selections that'll be worth following: Tyson Alualu, DE, Cal. One of the premier 3-4 DE's in the draft. I think he has starter potential from Day 1. Great motor. Great energy. 3-4 DE size. With the Jolly trial starting in May, it would not shock me to see the Packers draft a DE. I could see the Packers having an interest in CB's Chris Cook of Virginia and Dominique Franks of Oklahoma. Both have the size and speed that the Packers seek under Ted Thompson's direction. WR DeMaryius Thomas has eye-popping size. Watch for safeties to come off the board in the 2nd round. I'm interested to see where Nate Allen, Morgan Burnett and Chad Jones get drafted. All fit into what the Packers are looking for next to Nintendo Nick at Safety. Naturally, I've paid significant attention to LB's heading into the Draft. In my previous mock, I had Eric Norwood, OLB, South Carolina being selected in the 3rd round by the Packers. It seems like he'll be drafted anywhere from the late 2nd to the early 4th. Daryl Washington, LB, TCU, totally intrigues me. Great football instincts. Finds the football. Koa Misi is a natural 3-4 OLB who played great in the East-West shrine game. Finally, Jermaine Cunningham plays with the energy that the Packers would be seeking opposite CM3 at OLB. He, too, is a player that played DE in a 4-3 system in college. He'd probably translate to a 3-4 OLB at the pro level.

Round 3: I'd love to continue with the selection of Eric Norwood, but I'm not positive that he'll be around, so I'm going to look elsewhere. While I'd prefer to draft Reshad Jones, S, Georgia, I feel the Packers will draft Larry Asante, S, Nebraska. Asante is a hard hitting safety that would instantly give Ras-A-tari competition.

Others to watch in Round 3 that might peak the Packers interest: RB Joe McKnight, USC. He's the type of scat back that I can see the Packers targeting this year. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford. On the contrary, Gerhart is the pound-it-at-you style of runner seems to be a "mudder" type who could be an effective late November, early December Lambeau Field RB. Three WR's who have electrifying tendencies are Andre Robert, Carlton Mitchell, and Mardy Gilyard. All would fit into the Packers offensive scheme. If the Packers decide on a CB, Jerome Murphy is built the way the Packers select. He's athletically gifted and comes from an aggressive defensive system. Finally, should the Packers address the DL, I'm interested in Cam Thomas, DT, UNC and Torrell Troup, DT, Central Florida. Troup totally dominated the East-West Shrine game. He has the size and agility to play both DT and DE in the 3-4, much like BJ Raji.

The third round might be the time to select a LB. Navarro Bowman, OLB, Penn State is slipping rapidly. All he did was perform at the college level. Every time you watched Penn State, you saw Bowman making plays. Also, Jason Worilds, OLB, Virginia Tech fits the EXACT mold that the Packers would be seeking across CM3. I strongly considered Worilds with this pick.

Round 4: It gets extremely difficult to predict where players will be drafted from Rounds 4-7. Most have somewhat similar projections of the top 75 or so players. While I still WANT O'Brien Schofield, OLB, WI in the 4th round, I have a hard time imagining Ted Thompson drafting a player with a torn ACL this early. Therefore, I have the Packers choosing Myron Lewis, CB, Vanderbilt. He impressed at his combine and at the pro day. He's physical. He'll get in your face. I can see the Packers being interested.

Others: At some point, the Packers will either draft QB or bring in a veteran QB to back-up Rodgers. Since Thompson has been reluctant to bring in a veteran, I don't foresee the Packers signing a veteran. Plus, I can see McCarthy wanting a new project at QB. Who better than Jevan Snead? He has all of the talent. It's just that his decision making skills have suffered. I can picture McCarthy enjoying Snead in the middle rounds. Other QB's that might attract the Packers interest: Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan and Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati. At WR, Jacoby Ford is my "waterbug" choice of the 4th round. He's quick. He can return kicks. He's lethal with the ball in his hands. He's more of a pure WR than a WR/RB/KR though. At Safety, Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech fits the mold of a Safety that could play across Nintendo Nick. However, for me, he reminds me too much of Aaron Rouse to select him. A little too stiff for my liking. Other CB's that could interest in Round 4: Patrick Stoudamire, Western Illinois, Amari Spievey, Iowa, and Donovan Warren, Michigan. In Round 4, Warren would be considered a "Tyrone Williams" type steal. While Williams was a 3rd rounder and not a 4th, he was the Packers 4th pick. Both Warren & Williams were once considered 1st round picks. However during the combine and pro days, they dropped as others dug into their characters. Note that Walter McFadden, CB, Auburn is no longer in consideration after his measurables were released.

Round 5: After receiving a 5th round pick in exchange for losing Colin Cole via FA, the Packers have two 5th round picks. Previously, I had the Packers selecting Trindon Holiday, KR/RB, from LSU. Now, I envision the Packers drafting McCluster in the 2nd round, so that would eliminate Holiday from consideration.

The two players the Packers draft in the 5th round are Brandon Sharpe, OLB, Texas Tech and Anthony Levine, S, Tennessee State. Sharpe would be the first OLB that we'd have taken in the draft. It might seem unlikely that the Packers wait to draft an OLB until this spot, but in this years draft, I assess that it might be wise to draft a couple of OLB's late as there are not many that jump off the charts at me earlier in the draft. Sharpe seems logical. He has the size & speed to play the position. Also, he produced against elite competition at the college level. Meanwhile, Levine made BIG plays against lower level competition. The Packers have had success drafting Safeties from small schools (Nintendo Nick/Darren Sharper).

Others: George Selvie, OLB, South Florida. Once considered a 1st round pick, he's now fallen off the charts. I remain interested in both Jordan Shipley and Danario Alexander. When healthy, Alexander was one of the best WR's in the country at the college level. He'd be worth a late round risk. RB Joique Bell, Wayne State, amazes me, but with Ryan Mathews as our 1st round pick, the Packers don't draft another tough runner. Deji Karim, RB, Southern Illinois fits the "waterbug" bill. Tough for his size, I doubt he's durable enough to be an every down runner.

Round 6: I'm sticking with Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor for the reasons that I mentioned in my last post.

Others: The OLB that the Packers might target in Round 6 is Tim Knicky from Steven F. Austin. He's a two-time All American with the natural instincts required to play OLB in the 3-4. If the Packers still have not selected the "waterbug", look for Brandon Banks, Michael Smith or Brandon James to be considered. James is more of a pure KR, but nonetheless, he fits that category. Andre Anderson, RB, Tulane continues to impress for the same reasons I've previously mentioned. Andre Dixon, RB, UCONN, has performed well during his off season workouts. He's battled injuries in the past, but he'll be a good late round pick for someone. McCarthy might look for his developmental QB in Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State. When given time and options, Robinson played quite admirably at the college level. CB, Jamar Wall, Texas Tech also remains on the radar. Three WR's have caught my attention as solid 6th round WR's: Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State. Ajirotutu was - at times - unguardable during the 2009 college season. Marcus Easley, UCONN, has the size and speed to be worth heavy consideration late in the draft. Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green, is an interesting prospect. Not blessed with great size nor speed. But, he runs great routes. He has strong hands. For whatever reason, he's always open. He was very reliable in the East-West Shrine Game. I don't know that I'd be happy if we drafted Barnes, but I could see him being a late round pick by Ted Thompson.

Round 7: Admittedly, I thought the Packers had two 7th round picks in the 2010 Draft. As it turns out, the trade between the Packers and Panthers for JJ Jansen generated a 7th round pick for the Packers in the 2011 Draft, not the 2010 Draft. My bad.

I've done a lot of research on potential 7th round/UFA's this year. After all, Ted Thompson has done well in this regard when you consider names like T-Mon & Brad Jones. While it would not shock me if the Packers drafted a QB in the 7th round (names like Andy Schmitt, Eastern Michigan; Tim Hiller, Western Michigan; and Eric Ward, Richmond, jump out at me), I expect the Packers to choose another OLB in the 7th round. Hence, I have the Packers picking Junior Galette, OLB, Stillman. Galette was a gem at Stillman. He transferred from Temple and possesses a quick 1st step. He's a tireless pass rusher that'd excite during the pre-season. When Galette tackles, he's thinking about the football.

I'm so certain the Packers use their 7th round pick on an OLB that I've scoured the 'net while searching for potential prospects. In addition to Galette, I remain interested in Lantz Mathers from Northwestern Oklahoma State. Chris McCoy, MTSU, is probably the third name in line for this 7th round pick (behind Galette & Mathers). McCoy is an ideal fit. He can drop in coverage and he pursues the QB. Danny Batten from South Dakota State is an athletic 3-4 OLB who has spent time in college both dropping back into coverage & attacking the QB. While statistically his numbers don't jump at you, athletically he's a standout talent. Dexter Davis from ASU has performed at the college level and appears to be similar to Brad Jones. Cameron Sheffield, Troy, was exciting to watch in the Bowl game, but he's undersized and has dropped down draft boards. San Jose State had a pair of bookends at OLB in Carl Ihenacho and Justin Cole. While Ihenacho was the better player, he's been plagued by injuries. Both are worth consideration. Lastly, Drew Berube, Hillsdale, looks to be a good special teams player with a small upside at OLB.

Others: At ILB, Alex Joseph from Temple might be a sleeper to follow late in the draft. Good size, speed and football awareness. At Safety, I'm watching three guys: Stevie Brown, Michigan; Lucien Antoine, Oklahoma State; and Josh Gordy, Central Michigan. At RB, Lonyae Miller, Fresno State, is a potential steal for someone as a late round prospect. Of course, I had to write about a "waterbug" in the 7th round as well. Curtis Steele, Memphis, is that guy. His shake makes him dangerous every time he has the ball in his hands.

Less than a month. I can't wait.

Be good.

Talkin' S-Mac.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Supremely Wicked Mock Draft - Version 1.0

Greetings, G-Force.

I've changed my draft title from the "Ultimate Mock Draft" to the "Supremely Wicked Mock Draft" as I've noticed other sites are using the "Ultimate Mock Draft" slogan.

The NFL Draft offers a deeply rooted football fan to play the ultimate game of "fantasy." As fans, we can position ourselves as GM & say "here's who I would have drafted." Through the years, I've missed mightily on some & hit others. Regardless of whether I'm "right" or I'm "wrong" - the purpose of this mock draft is entertainment.

In the past, I was high on guys like Ben Troupe. YIKES! But, I hit J-Mike on the head. I asked for the Packers to take Jeremy Thompson. Ouch! But, I wanted DeSean Jackson. I also said to stay away from Brian Brohm. I predicted the Packers would draft Robert Francois, a little-known LB out of Boston College. He finished the year on the Packers practice squad. That's what brings out the fun in the build-up of the NFL Draft.

I'm taking the 2010 NFL Draft to a whole new level. After spending numerous hours watching college football in 2009 followed by the East-West Shrine game & practices, the Senior Bowl, and a decent portion of the combine, I'm going to build my own white board. Seriously. I'm also using a variety of websites to help me concoct my opinions. In the end, it'll help build the intensity for the middle rounds of the draft.

As usual, I'm a fan of trading down in the 2010 NFL Draft. I think there could be great talent to be had in the 2nd & 3rd rounds this year. I don't like where we sit. #23 is no-man's land. Yes, you can find a gem. No doubt. But, really, it feels like you're stuck in the middle.

At this point, there seems to be a lot of uncertainty with regard to where players will be drafted. After all, the free agency period just began and the draft is only one tool for fulfilling roster needs.

It's interesting because I hear CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson could be drafted in the top 10, but I also hear that he could slide to 20 due to injury concerns. Joe Haden, CB, Florida was long thought to be a top 10 pick, but after a poor combine, he appears to be sliding. Presently, it appears to be nonsensical to wonder if Haden could be around at #23, but we'll see where he stands 5 weeks from now. If Brandon Graham is available at #23, he'd have to be strongly considered, however Graham seems to be skyrocketing up draft boards. I've seen Jason Pierre Paul, OLB/DE, South Florida being drafted in the top 3. I've also seen him in Round 2.

Over the coming weeks - if time allows - I'll spend ample energy taking a look at a position-by-position analysis. Difficulty arrives in the form of a lack of video evidence to go along with some of the players that I did not see enough of in college. Therefore, my judgments are based on others written opinion. Still fun, just not ideal.

Two guys who I know a lot about, but who I wish I could see more of are Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri & Daryl Washington, LB TCU. Both were dominant in college. Often times, they looked like grown men against High School kids. Physically, they are totally gifted. I wish I could confidently say that they could play OLB across from the Claymaker. Some websites suggest that they could. Others state that they should strictly be ILB's or 4-3 OLB. Weatherspoon will be a 1st rounder. Washington will fall to the 2nd or 3rd. Both would render strong consideration if they fit the scheme. For the record, the Claymaker has publicly asked for the Packers to draft Weatherspoon via twitter. In return, Weatherspoon expressed an interest in playing with the Packers and across from CM3. If I were positive that both could play OLB, I'd make sure that I left the draft with one of the two of these guys.

As a reminder, I do not draft OL. I don't know enough about the players. Clearly, the Packers need a LT. It's arguably our greatest requirement.

Round 1 - The Packers pick Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State. Mathews is a strong, physical back. He is tough to bring down. Oh, and he ran a 4.41 at the combine. He catches the ball out of the backfield. He's a weapon. I also considered Jahvid Best. His concussions scare me. But, he might be a perfect player for the Packers needs. Give him the ball 8-13 times a game. If the Packers trade down, it could be with the hope of selecting Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State. He'd fit the CB need that we have. He'd also be able to return kicks for us. I'd like him at #23, but it's unlikely. He'll probably get drafted between picks 30-45.

Round 2 - The Packers select Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama. Jackson wore #3 in college. He was an island cover guy in Saban's system. He's aggressive in coverage. He understands football. He'd mature gracefully beneath Ras-Al, Sir Charles, and T-Mon. I prefer Jackson over Dominique Franks, CB, Oklahoma. Most speculate that the Packers will target Franks. I also considered Koa Misi, OLB, Utah. He can get to the QB & drop back in coverage, but I feel that you can get OLB help later in the draft. It should be noted that some very good 3-4 OLB's are found later in the draft. They need agility, a motor & speed. I love the size & speed of Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech. It'll be interesting to see where he falls after breaking his foot before the combine. I heard an interview with Reshad Jones & Morgan Burnett, S, Georgia Tech. Both mentioned that Thomas was the best WR they ever had to cover at the college level. Burnett would also be a good value pick in the 2nd round. Tyson Alualu, DE, Cal, is a possible option as well. If it does not happen via FA, the Packers will undoubtedly look for depth along the DL, probably at the DE spot. Ted Thompson has placed a premium on investing in the DL. Alualu is the ideal size for a 3-4 DE & he's been extremely productive at the college level. Great size and endless motor. Plus, he played in a 3-4 defense at Cal. Seems like a logical pick for the Packers in the 2nd round.

Round 3 - The Packers choose Eric Norwood, OLB, South Carolina. He's a sack-master. At times, he dominated SEC games. He has the size & athleticism. He's a hard worker. He can rush from both the right & left side. He can drop in coverage. He might warrant a 2nd round selection for the Packers. I've seen some have him falling to the 4th round. As a Senior, he had 7 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. As a junior, he had 9 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Reshad Jones, S, Georgia is also in the running. Good range. Hard hitter. Good hands. But, he does occasionally lack field awareness. Great size and a true presence in the middle of the field. The Packers do not need a TE, but if they did, there are a boatload of great TE prospects. In the third round, you might be able to get Ed Dickson, TE, Oregon or Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami. Dickson reminds me of J-Mike. Traditionally, Ted Thompson drafts an athletic WR. This year, I'd like that guy to be Andre Roberts from the Citadel. He has all of the gifts to make it at the next level. He's a dangerous return man. He's electrifying with the ball in his hands. He goes up for the ball in traffic. He does not appear to be afraid of contact. He's elusive & he seems to have sublime football presence, which is an underestimated football talent.

For the record, I predict the Packers select Larry Asante, S, Nebraska in the 3rd round. I'd like the pick. He's a physical player who will be familiar with Green Bay as Bo Pelini was his college coach. I'm sure Pelini has told him stories. Asante is a hard hitter with an aggressive mentality. Much like Ras-A-tari. While I think the Packers will select Asante, I'm hoping for Norwood.

Round 4 - The Packers select O'Brien Schofield, OLB, WI. Realistically speaking, if I could have one guy in the 2010 NFL Draft, it might be O'Brien Schofield in the 4th round. Literally. Schofield was born to be a Green Bay Packer. He is a cold weather athlete with a working man's mentality. His size and torn ACL should prevent him from getting drafted earlier than the 4th round. Schofield is a "football player." Ted Thompson is known for drafting "football players." This is almost too good of a fit to be true. Due to his ACL, Schofield probably won't be able to play until November. Regardless, he'd be a great pass rushing addition at this spot. Walter McFadden, CB, Auburn. He's confident. At 5-10, he's a little smaller than the ideal Ted Thompson CB, which means we probably won't draft him, but McFadden plays taller than he stands. Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa is a shutdown type CB who plays the ball well. He fits the Ted Thompson height & weight at 5-11, 195. He ran a 4.47 & he seems like the type of guy Thompson might target.

Round 5 - The Packers pick Trindon Holiday, KR/RB, LSU. It's no secret that there's a mutual interest between Holiday & the Packers. They talked at the Combine. They talked at the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star game. Holiday would be an interesting addition as he's strictly a scat back/kick returner. Clearly, the Packers need to bring in a KR. Willie B. has proven to be an injury prone player. We need competition and reliability. Holiday might be a mini-version of Mardy Gilyard or Dexter McCluster. Holiday might have Dave Meggett capabilities. Joique Bell, RB, Wayne State is an interesting player. He dominated lower level college football. If you have not seen him on youtube, check this out: - there is other Joique Bell video available via youtube. He's definitely worth a look. Andre Anderson, RB, Tulane reminds me of a mix of Ryan Grant & Matt Forte. Good hands. Somewhat of an upright runner. If he steps through a tackle, look out. Good cut back runner. Brandon Sharpe, OLB, Texas Tech. All he did was have 25.5 sacks over the last two years. He has the ideal size for a 3-4 OLB. I'm not positive that he can drop in coverage, but one thing is for sure: he could rush the QB at the college level.

Round 6 - The Packers choose Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor. With Hawk likely about to play his last year in Green Bay & Desmond Bishop not performing up to his potential, I'd be surprised if the Packers did not draft an ILB in 2010. He's active. He finds the football. He's tough minded. I'd be surprised if he were not a sure fire special teams guru early in his career. Danario Alexander, WR, Missouri is injury prone. He's also a sublimely gifted WR with 1st round potential. He wins jump balls. He runs the slant. And every time he touches the ball, he's thinking 6 points. Jamar Wall, CB, Texas Tech is also a name to discuss in Round 6. He broke up 26 passes over the last two years after compiling 5 interceptions as a sophomore.

Round 7a - The Packers select Stevie Brown, S, Michigan. I would be absolutely shocked if the Packers leave the 2010 NFL Draft without a Safety. Brown has range & speed. Not overly productive in college, but he has the size, speed and athleticism to continue to develop in a legitimate NFL player. Much like Brad Jones last year, Stevie Brown could be a big school system guy that is witty enough to pick up the scheme and make an immediate impact. I also thought about Lonyae Miller, RB, Fresno State. He was Ryan Mathews teammate in college. He ran a 4.49 at the combine. He can catch the ball. He's elusive. He'd fit the West Coast style of offense. If the Packers are seriously considering a draft pick exclusively delivered towards enhancing special teams - Brandon James, KR, Florida might be that guy. James is a fascinating, elusive kick returner. He offers little to no offensive punch, but he was a dynamite playmaker at the college level. He is absolutely electric.

Round 7b - The Packers select Lantz Mathers, OLB, Northwestern Oklahoma State. Every year, I try to target a small school prospect that the Packers might choose. A late round draft pick that you hope becomes a gem a la Donald Driver. This year, I'm targeting Lantz Mathers. He's 6'1, 253. He can rush the QB. He can drop in coverage. He was an NAIA All American. From what I read, when Mathers tackles you, he's getting the football. He's been a premier player at a lower level of football. Last year, we drafted Brad Jones in Round 7 to compete at OLB. This year, it's Lantz Mathers. If you've been following, you know that I'm high on Lucien Antoine, S, Oklahoma State. Nicknamed the "Punisher." Every time I watch Antoine play, he's doing something. He lives for contact. Plays the ball well. He would compliment Nintendo Nick at Safety and bring some much needed competition to Ras-A-tari. Dexter Davis, OLB, Arizona State is a good option as well. As a junior, he had 11 sacks. As a sophomore, he had 10.5 sacks. As a freshman, he had 6. He has great size and ran a 4.56 at the combine. He's slipped due to a poor Senior Season. At this point, he'd be worth the risk.

As a side note, the Packers are assumed to be receiving a 5th or 6th round pick in exchange for the loss of Colin Cole. The compensatory picks have yet to be announced. Compensatory picks are generally given at the end of March at the annual NFL owners meeting, which is held March 21-24 this year. After the compensatory picks are awarded, I'll attempt version 2.0.

Enjoy St. Patrick's Day.


Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

2010 State of the Union

Greetings, G-Force.

Welcome to the 2010 NFL Season. I fully expect big, if not Super, things over the next 10 months. In fact, I'm going on record, if the Packers successfully attack THIS offseason, the Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl within the next 3 years. Yes, I wrote that. And, yes, I fully believe it.

Before I get into the details of this offseason, I must bid adieu to a terrific Green Bay Packer.

Dear AK-74,

This may be preemptive, but nonetheless, it's necessary. You will always remain in our hearts. You are a Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer. And while you have yet to sign with Jacksonville, it's almost a certainty that it occurs in the near future. In a 4-3 defense, you are an elite DE. In a 3-4 defense, you are a below 3-4 OLB. So, go on your way AK-74. I sure would if I were you. AK-74, I appreciate the classy manner that you displayed over the last 12 months. You are a man of character. You are a terrific football player & better yet, a great human being.

AK-74, I hope you sign with Jacksonville. You'll flourish in the Sunshine State & you'll perfectly fit into Jack Del Rio's system. You'll enjoy the natural grass surface. And, hopefully, you'll get into the face of Peyton Manning. I'll be cheering for you AK-74.

And when you leave, AK-74, you'll fit into a category that only includes one other man and he is Bryce Paup. Both were absolutely spectacular football players with hard working personalities. Both will have left due to a change in system. A system that did not fit their strengths. It should be noted that Paup won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award in 1995 while he was a member of the Buffalo Bills. AK-74, I wish you the same fortune. Thanks for your tenure and dedication, AK-74. You will be missed.

The first weekend of March marks the start of the 2010 NFL Season. You know, the time in which the naysayers utter the words "Tight Teddy." Frankly, I'm over that notion. Over time, Ted Thompson has grown on me. Mightily. He's successfully equipped us with loads of young talent and he's also given us the best QB in the NFL under the age of 30.

In 2010, Ted Thompson can put his name in the same class as Ron Wolf. But, he must aggressively engineer long term contracts for the likes of Nintendo Nick, T-Mon, and Johnny Jolly. It appears as though Spitz & Colledge will be back. Ras-A-tari should return as well. Same with Spencer Havner. I'm not overly concerned with the length of their deals, but Jolly, T-Mon & Nintendo Nick must get locked up for a minimum of 4 years & hopefully longer. If you are going to build through the draft, you have to extend the contracts of those that perform during their initial deals. Nintendo Nick, T-Mon, and Jolly all fit into that category.

On a side note, I'm pulling for Colledge. I feel he got a semi-bum rap in '09. It's true that he did not play well, but to me, he did not seem to adjust well after he initially was moved to LT. It was almost as if he never found his rhythm. His stride was dysfunctional. I'm hoping that since he'll only have to focus on playing LG, he'll return to the form that he showed when the Packers marched deep into the '07 playoffs.

Props to Ted Thompson for signing Clifton. Frankly, I wish it would have only been for 2 years. I'm sure that Ted felt the same, but he upped his ante & ensured that Aaron Rodgers' backside was protected. Cheers to you, Ted!

There were two players that I did not want to see on the Packers roster in 2010: Michael Montgomery & J-Bush. Montgomery is gone. Hopefully, J-Bush is next.

I'd like Tauscher back, but I'm not married to him. I was impressed with TJ Lang & I believe that, if necessary, he can step in and start at RT.

At this point, I have my eyes of three FA's:

1.) OJ Atogwe, S, St Louis Rams. Over the past three years, I've felt that 6 Safeties were above the rest: Palomalu, Reed, Dawkins, Nintendo Nick, Adrian Wilson and Atogwe. Atogwe is 28 years old. While he's coming off an injury, he did play in 16 games in '06, '07 & '08. In '06, he forced 8 turnovers (interceptions & forced fumbles). In '07, he forced 8 turnovers. In '08, he forced 11 turnovers. In '09, in just 12 games, Atogwe was responsible for 5 turnovers. From '06-'09, he also recovered 7 fumbles. The bottom line is that Atogwe is around the football. Additionally, Atogwe is not afraid of contact. In '08, he had 85 tackles after consecutive seasons 0f 75 tackles. In '09, after 12 games, he had 74 tackles. With Atogwe, the Packers would have a dream DB of Nintendo Nick, OJ, T-Mon, Sir Charles Woodson, & Ras-Al. Further, with the addition of T-Mon, Ras-A-tari would become expendable. I'd trade him for a 4th round pick.

Curiously, the Rams offered the lowest tender. He's off to the highest bidder. I'd grab him in a heartbeat.

2.) Dwan Edwards, DE, Baltimore Ravens. He played his college ball with Nick Barnett. He's familiar with the 3-4 defense as he started the last 11 games for the Ravens in '09. In his final 13 games, he totaled 5 tackles 6 times. He also had a sack. He'd be an absolutely phenomenal replacement for Michael Montgomery. He'd fit into the rotation & just in case Jolly gets suspended for 4 games, Edwards could fill in more than adequately.

3.) Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles. I fear that he ends up in Minnesota. Westbrook can still be an elite back in the NFL. It's just that Westbrook's carries must be limited. If you give him 8-13 touches a game, he's sure to make a play. Get him isolated and in space. He'll make a guy miss. And, he might be the component that the Packers have been missing. In every year except for 1, Westbrook has had a play of at least 34 yards. He's a game changer. He'd be a missing piece to our puzzle.

Back to being Super over the next 3 years...and what it'll require...This offseason demands that the Packers add an additional LT, a change of pace RB, a pass-rushing OLB, a CB, and a S. My Ultimate Mock Draft 1.0 is coming soon & it'll address these needs. I'm hoping it's released next week, but lately, time has not been on my side.

It's good to have football back in the life. The next 6 weeks will be loaded with fun as Free Agency thickens, the schedule is released and the NFL Draft occurs.

Be Peace & Release,

Talkin' S-Mac.