Ever since the Packers won the coin toss to start the OT in the 2007 NFC Championship, life as a Packers fan has been devastating. Until now...
The Green Packers won the 2009 NFL Draft. We added 4 starters along with depth on the OL, DL, LB and CB positions. Most importantly, for the first time since the NFC Championship Horror Show, there seems to be smiles and positive energy in the front office.
Props to Ted Thompson. He showed aggressiveness and a win-now attitude. Sure, he may have given up too much to trade up, but, regardless, Ted Thompson got HIS GUY!
BJ Raji immediately upgrades our DL. Expect a pass rush from the interior of our DL. Raji's addition finalizes a rotation in the middle of our DL.
Clay Matthews - CM3! Stoked. Yes, I have concerns as to whether he can drop into coverage. He could be a small project. I'm not positive that he'll be able to play 3 downs during the first portion of his rookie year (It should be noted that everything I read suggests that I am dead wrong for thinking this). But, Clay Matthews will be able to pressure the QB. He is the Cutler Killer. And, he is a X-Mas present for Kevin Greene. This had to have been Greene's guy. He'll create a monster. I just wish he was wearing #57.
Meredith and Lang will eventually battle for the starting RT spot.
Could Quinn Johnson be a young William Henderson? A back that did not touch the ball, but was a bruising blocker...Henderson improved mightily as a pass catcher. Johnson could do the same. He'll also help on special teams.
Brandon Underwood makes the CB situation interesting. Great size. Great athlete. Performer. Chuckie, Ras Al and T-Mon are locks. Unless Darrell Blackman beats him out, you'd think Willie B. makes the roster as he's also our kick returner. P-Lee was our 2nd round pick last year. Does it come down to Underwood or J-Bush? For me, the edge has to go to the "U-Haul" as Underwood will be hauling in interceptions during training camp and the pre-season!
Jairus Wynn will battle Montgomery and Hunter for a roster spot. In the past, I've been quite outward in my thoughts on both Montgomery and Hunter.
Finally, Brad Jones is a pick I'm excited about. He dominated WVU in Boulder. He has 3-4 experience. He'll bring system knowledge. He'll bring know-how. He'll add speed. He can pressure. He can drop in coverage. My gut says he'll make the team and it's not inconceivable to envision a situation where veterans are turning to Jones for advice since he's lived in a 3-4. Certainly, Jones has said all the right things thus far. He's taken a great approach. Maintains the right attitude. Admits that he wants to make a name for himself on special teams and makes a point to repeat this belief to both the coaches and the media. I like what he's brought thus far.
Additionally, as undrafted FA's, I'm excited to see what happens on the following: Jamarko Simmons, Darrell Blackman, Andrew Hartline, and Cyril Obiozor. Simmons, Blackman and Obiozor have received plenty of positive pub. Simmons looks like a prime candidate for the practice squad. Blackman might be the 3rd down back that I've been asking for! I've been looking for a guy like Blackman for a couple of years. He looks a lot like Leon Washington to me. It should be noted that he can also split out wide and make plays in traffic. I hope we give him a chance. Obiozor has 3-4 experience. He's played for Sherman in the past. He'll bring a nice dimension to our training camp. I'm also interested to see how Andrew Hartline performs. I read a lot of positive things about him pre-draft. He's got Midwestern roots. Big, physical guy. Great durability. Tough. Plays with pain. Can play tackle or guard. Could he be a sleeper?
Finally, I'm curious to see what happens with the 3rd TE spot. J-Mike and Lee are locks. But, isn't Humphrey no more than a poor man's Lee? We need a Jeff Thomason type. Strong blocker who helps on 3rd and 1 and on goal line situations. I thought Branden Ledbetter might be that guy before the draft and might be worth a 7th round pick. The Packers brought him in for a tryout. I'll follow this closely. It looks like the Packers are higher on Carson Butler and Travis Dekker. Butler is an excellent athlete, but a problematic trouble maker. If he can get his past figured out, we may have a gem. Admittedly, I know nothing about Dekker.
I envision a faster, pressing, more physical defense. A healthy Bigby would help. A re-signed Collins is a necessity. When these occurs, I imagine a deep rotation. Some 4-3 sets with Jenkins, Jolly, Pickett and AK-74 lining up. AK-74 will have his hand in the dirt. Trust me. Other 3-4 sets with Thompson/Wynn, Raji & AK-74 as down lineman. Jones and CM3 pushing from the outside. I'm not convinced that AK-74 will be standing up...While we have heard nothing on AK-74 playing DE, I'm not convinced that this is a dead topic.
The Packers defense will have an explosion to it. Once again, there is excitement around the organization. I'm thankful. After all, Everyone. Yes, Everyone. Everyone. Deserves. Music. This year, Mac will be jammin' with good vibes at Lambeau!