I believe in Ted Thompson. I feel that he'll lead us to the Super Bowl. Maybe not in 2010, but in time, we'll be there. Each year, our core seems to be improving. He's also adding talent with personality. A flair that might eventually cater to players actually wanting to become a Green Bay Packer once again. Aaron Rodgers, Nintendo Nick, Greg Jennings, J-Mike, and CM3 are all young and worthy of respect.
Immediately after the 2010 NFL Draft, I asked my brother Chad if it was possible that the Packers had more questions after the draft than they did before the draft. After being ecstatic about the Packers first 3 rounds, I was confused with his Day 3 selections. And then, I saw his undrafted FA choices. I believe in Ted Thompson & I feel that he's positioned us for a successful 2010 Season.
Bryan Bulaga as our 1st Round pick. Be excited. On Draft Day, my good mate, Vargas, & I were discussing that the Packers should trade UP for Bulaga around pick #15. By 20, I was screaming at the TV in hopes for the Packers to TRADE UP! Ted Thompson knew better. Bulaga fell into our laps. Derrick Morgan was widely considered the best pass rusher in this years draft. During the Orange Bowl last year, I watched Bulaga destroy Morgan. Consistently, Bulaga won the point of attack. So much that I called a good friend, Andrew, and told him that I wanted Bulaga to be the Packers 1st round pick. Before the Draft, I thought Bulaga might be a top 5 pick. I figured the lowest he'd fall was to Buffalo at #9. I believe that Rodgers' backside will be covered for the next 10 years - barring injury. Aaron Rodgers feels the same. On Rodgers' twitter page he stated, "Thanks Ted! He'll look good in Green & Gold." I'm glad that Aaron & I are on the same page.
Prior to the draft, I had a gut feeling that the Packers might draft a 3-4 DE in the 2nd round. I was hoping for Alualu. However, Jacksonville shocked the draft world by selecting him at #10 in the 1st round. Insert Michael Neal. Welcome, Michael. I don't know much about him, but from what I read he can pressure the QB. This sounds like the perfect compliment to Johnny Jolly.
In some circles, Thompson has been criticized for his selection of Neal. But, it was interesting to watch the draft unfold. 7 of the 32 picks in the 2nd round were DL. I feel as though Thompson desires a 6 man rotation on the DL. With Jolly's pending suspension & Jenkins in the final year of his contract, I believe Thompson is looking for Neal to contribute in 2010. Neal holds weight lifting records at Purdue. Over the last two years, he has 11 sacks from the DT spot. Stats can be deceiving, but those are decent numbers. I'm looking forward to learning more about him. Oh, and this pick also appears to mean the end of Justin Harrell's time in Green Bay.
Morgan "Heritage" Burnett. Flowing dreadlocks. A requirement for our secondary. A true reggae boy with a pimp bounce in his step. Clearly, the most enticing of Thompson's additions. And Thompson applied his Midas Touch to trade up and get him as he traded ahead of both the Bears and Dolphins. Both teams were reportedly interested in Burnett. Rightfully so.
Burnett will add spice to the defense. A gifted playmaker. Dynamite when the ball is in the air. He'll also take on ball carriers. He can attack the QB. I'm shocked he fell to Round 3. He's going to be a star in this league - 'nuff said.
On a side note, what thrills me about this pick is that Darren Perry seems to have REALLY wanted the "Heritage." For the first time in a while, I feel like we've assembled a group of coaches that command respect. Last year, we got Kevin Greene his guy with the Claymaker. This year, Perry appears to have received his playmaker. It's important to keep your assistants happy & this appears to be a priority in Titletown.
The selection of Andrew Quarless confused me. I felt that we were in great shape at TE. Now, I question whether Donald Lee will make the team. Strangely, I asked a similar question in 2009 about the FB position after we drafted Quinn Johnson. I could not imagine the Packers keeping 3 FB's. Now, I'm wondering if the Packers are going to keep 4 TE's. Obviously, J-Mike is a lock. I believe that Havner showed enough in 2009 to keep him around. Plus, Havner is a solid special teams performer. Does this signal the end of Donald Lee's career in Green Bay?
Marshall Newhouse has solid football bloodlines. He looks to have versatility. I don't know much about him. He'll bring added competition to the offensive line.
I am superior curious about James Starks. Prior to the draft, I tried to research Starks. There's very little substance. YouTube does not offer much. Draft gurus offered vague insight. Interestingly, my Dad remembered him from his last Bowl game in which Starks performed well. Judging from his statistics, Starks can certainly catch the ball. I'm intrigued to see how he fits into the Packers plans.
Speaking of Assistant Coaches - Edgar Bennett expressed joy over the selection of Starks. Bennett entered the league at 6-0, 218. Bennett was known for having good hands, but running too upright. Starks is 6-2, 218. During Bennett's interview after the Starks selection, there was talk of him running "too upright." Does Bennett see a little of himself in Starks?
In 2008, CJ Wilson was one of the premier defensive ends in college football. He had 18.5 tackles for loss. 10.5 sacks. He prides himself on his speed. I imagine that he'll be able to compete for time as a 3rd down pass rusher from an end position.
What's interesting about Thompson's draft is that he did not address the need to get to the QB from the OLB spot rather he focused on getting additional pressure from the DE position. This makes me believe that Mike Trgovac had Dom Capers, Mike McCarthy & Ted Thompson's ear.
After the draft, I was puzzled. I was positive that the Packers would add two players that could be potential OLB's. Players from smaller schools that had the necessary height & weight dimensions. Men with a tireless work ethic. The endless motor.
When the Packers were on the clock in the 6th round, I was hoping the Packers would select Tim Knicky, OLB, Steven F Austin. I believe he has the tools to play in the NFL. Well, Ted Thompson worked his magic and signed him as an undrafted FA. I'll be shocked if Knicky does not make the team. At the college level, he was a dominant pass rusher.
Thompson also signed Frank Zombo, OLB, Central Michigan. Zombo is 6'3, 254. He runs a 4.75. Frankly, I don't know much about Zombo. But, small research revealed this from a question and answer:
You're on the Lombardi Award watchlist. What makes you a good defensive end?
My motor. It's my passion to get to the quarterback. You can have as many techniques and skills as you want, but you need that passion to get to the quarterback and I believe I have that.
Is there a part of your game that you hope to improve on heading into this season?
Playing when I'm tired. That's the hardest thing to do. There's a quote: "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." I really believe in that. When you're tired, it's so hard to play and I'd love to perfect that as a senior.
I'm sold on giving Zombo a chance.
After the draft, I was also confused as to why the Packers did not address the CB position. It's clear that he feels comfortable with the U-HAUL and P-Lee. I trust that he also believes that Ras Al will be healthy by the start of the season.
Many believed that Sam Shields would be a 5th round pick. He did not get drafted. Thompson grabbed him. The former Cane was one of the fastest players in the draft. He can return kicks and he'll add competition at CB. I don't feel as though Shields will make our team unless he can win the KR job. So, on the CB dilemma, I'm going to trust that Thompson is right with his assessments of the U-HAUL & P-Lee and hope that they'll develop.
Thompson did not address our kick returner issues via the draft, however he's added a couple of prospects via FA in Jeff Moturi, WR, UTEP and Chastin West, WR, Fresno State. As mentioned earlier, Shields can also return kicks.
Maybe it was wishful thinking that the Packers would draft a "waterbug." Nonetheless, Thompson has added an undrafted FA that fits the bill when he picked up Quinn Porter from Stillman College.
It's always fun when you buzz into someone prior to the draft and then your team adds him. That was the case with the signing of Alex Joseph, ILB, Temple. From what I've read/see, I thought that Joseph was worthy of consideration. He seems to have the intangibles to make it in the NFL. Hence, I suggested that the Packers should look at him in the 7th round. I'm happy that Thompson is giving him a look and that he'll be at the Rookie Orientation next Friday.
Somewhat surprisingly, Ted Thompson did not draft anyone from either the states of California or Michigan. He did draft one player from Texas. It is noteworthy that in FA, he added 2 players from Michigan, 2 players from Texas and 1 player from California.
In Ted, I trust.
Go Pack Go!