Sunday, April 29, 2007

Packers Draft Summary... 

Only a few words need to be used to describe this years NFL Draft. Up, down, and all around. Even with the trading frenzy that was going on all around through most of the rounds, GM Ted Thompson held true to one small part of pre-draft prediction, he only made 2 trades. Which isn't more surprising than some of the picks that were made or should we say, not made. I think Packers fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with DT Justin Harrell and RB Brandon Jackson, and I'm beginning to like more and more what I see on SS Aaron Rouse, LB Desmond Bishop, T Allen Barbre and even K Mason Crosby. There's reason to be believe this will be another strong draft by GM Ted Thompson and the rest of his Packers staff.

Of course what draft would be complete without some nagging and lingering questions on the players taken in the draft. Sure, DT Harrell the #1 pick is coming off just an arm injury, OK, and RB Jackson the #2 pick has had surgery on both his shoulders, well, it goes on, almost every single player drafted has a multiple injury history. That's risky business indeed. Then listening to how LB Korey Hall is going to be used at fullback. He hasn't played FB since high school, and yet his LB credentials are impressive. What are the Packers thinking. Then they draft RB DeShawn Wynn who at 239lbs is big enough to play FB, but didn't sound like he ever has. So some things with the Packers truly are not adding up right.

One of my draft weekend email conversations went like this:

  C: BeerKid. Wow, I cannot be more unimpressed with the way today (after the 2nd round trade down) has turned out!!

BK: Anti-climatic is how I'm feeling...

C: You are much more positive than I am.

BK: (after 1st day) not optimistic... more like AC/DC's Shot Down In Flames... but I'm still expecting to pull out of the death-dive spiral and skim back up over the top of the mountain and into the blue sky... with the girl.

C: (After completion of draft) I saw smoke in the distant Western horizon. I don't think you made it over the Rockies. The girl went with someone else.

Well, it looks like the plane may have went down like the Detroit Lions draft but the Packers parachute opened during the dive and well before smacking into the ground and although we didn't get the original girl, we still seemed to have landed in a campground full of girls with lots of beer, and that has left us with growing smiles on our faces.

Come on, the Draft wasn't that bad. Spend some time and head over to Packers.Com's Draft Audio/Video Archive and listen to all of the draftee's interviews and Coaches commentaries from both days of the 2007 NFL Draft. Go Pack!

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

With The 243rd Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Clark Harris - TE, 6-5, 261, Rutgers

Finally the Packers address a need that us fans have been waiting 2 days for them to address, and by taking Harris late in the 7th round we'll see if he's enough of a player to make the team better. Check this out, he was a long snapper for both punts and field goal attempts at Rutgers.

Clark Harris during his post-pick conference call said that his strengths are route-running and catching the ball and one of his weaknesses is blocking and he was the long-snapper for several years and the Packers have asked him about his ability in that area.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

Harris compiled a string of 38 consecutive games with at least one reception, the third-longest streak in Big East Conference history... Has a tall, thick frame with good overall muscle definition Shows enough of a short-area burst to get into his routes, planting and driving with precision coming out of his breaks... 4.83 in the 40-yard dash... Bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

With The 228th Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
DeShawn Wynn - RB, 5-10, 238, Florida

Big enough to be fullback, you wonder where's the open position for him based on the previous picks at RB in this draft. In his teleconference call DeShawn made it sound like he had never played fullback before.

Running Backs Coach Edgar Bennett said during the post-pick news conference that DeShawn is an intriguing player that should be able to come in and compete for a position and that DeShawn's a big back with quick feet and will have to be consistant, but he has talent.

During his teleconference call DeShawn said he would have no problem learning to play fullback and described himself as physical.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

Even though he started 10 games during his final season, a rash of injury problems limited his playing time and effectiveness most of the year... Built more in the lines of a fullback, Wynn has the outstanding field vision and cutback agility that some teams are comparing to that of Rams tailback Stephen Davis. Has a compact frame with good muscle thickness... 4.6 in the 40-yard dash... Bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

With The 193rd Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Mason Crosby - K, 6-1, 214, Colorado

So now the Packers have a Kicker with a big leg, interesting pick to say the least.

During the post-pick news conference Special Teams Coach Mike Stock said that they want to promote competition at all positions and even though Mason slipped in performance his senior year the Packers still like him.

Mason said during his teleconference call that he's played soccer his whole life and knew he had a strong enough leg for football. He's kicked in bad weather at Colorado and now he's ready to compete for the starting role with the Packers. Asked about his performance last year, he responded that he was 17-19 inside 55 yards, and that the poor performance was based on attempting 9 field goals of 55 yards or longer.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

When it comes to the art of kicking off, few players in the collegiate or professional ranks boast the leg strength Crosby has. The holder of 31 school game, season and career records, he closed out his tenure as Colorado's all-time scorer with 307 points. 5.2 in the 40-yard dash... Right-footed soccer-style kicker.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

With The 192nd Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Desmond Bishop - ILB, 6-2, 239, California

Obvious brought in to compete with Abdul Hodge at the backup middle linebacker spot although the coaching staff is betting he'll end up backing up one of the outside linebacking positions this year.

Assistant Head Coach Winston Moss said that Desmond was rated a little higher than where the Packers were able to draft him and that he was going to get some work at outside linebacker.

During his post-pick conference call Desmond said he's ready to compete at whichever position the Packers put him at and that he believes he's the best run stuffing linebacker in the draft.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

Called the "pulse" of the Cal defense, Bishop enjoyed a banner senior year, leading the Pac-10 with 126 tackles. A model of consistency, he registered at least seven tackles in 18 of the 25 games he played in for the Bears... 4.77 in the 40-yard dash... Bench pressed 225 pounds 33 times.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

With The 191st Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Korey Hall - ILB/FB, 6-0, 232, Boise State

Another outside the box pick who's an average size linebacker that the Packers are going to give a try-out at fullback and on special teams.

Assistant Head Coach Winston Moss confirmed that Korey will be listed as a fullback on the roster during the post-pick news conference questioning.

During his post-pick conference call Korey said that he was fine with moving to fullback to get some playing time and to help the team. He also said he hadn't played fullback since high-school and that no team had really talked to him about switching to FB.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

Named second-team All-America by the Sporting News... Named Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, as well as earning first-team All-WAC honors... First among the nation's linebackers in career interceptions...

Packers.Com Draft Profile

With The 157th Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
David Clowney - WR, 6-0, 184, Virginia Tech

Another average sized wide receiver with blazing speed... 4.2 on an inside track, 4.3 on grass, and 4.4 at the NFL Combine. We'll see if he can push the other WR's on the roster for the 4th or 5th positions.

Packers Scout Lee Gissendaner said during the post-pick news conference that David is a tough guy, who can play with injuries, and that he has explosive vertical speed and with great body control when running routes. Wide Receivers Coach Jim Robinson also mentioned that the Packers will give him a chance as special teams returner because he has the ability to break tackles.

David Clowney said during his post-pick conference call that he is a football player who ran track, and that he ran 4.36 at the Combine with a bad hamstring, and that he's confident he can do whatever the coaches ask of him.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

David Clowney is a two-sport athlete who excelled in track at Virginia Tech... Has a lean, angular frame with room to carry more bulk without it affecting his quickness Has adequate power to fight through the jam and get into position to make the tough catches in a crowd... 4.4 in the 40-yard dash.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

With The 119th Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Allen Barbre - OT, 6-4, 300, Missouri Southern State

Another smart Offensive Lineman from a smaller college.

Offensive Line Coach James Campen said in the post-pick news conference that Allen is a terrific athlete, and explosive football player, had 16 legit knockdowns in one game last year, and that the Packers would play him at both Tackle and Guard.

Allen Barbre in his post-pick conference call said that he is ready to take this opportunity and run with it, and didn't even know that the Green Bay Packers had any interest in him.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

Barbre might have toiled in relative anonymity during his career with the Lions, but opposing defensive ends, defensive coordinators and professional scouts were well aware of his outstanding quickness and blocking skills. The four-year starter not only matched up and contained the opposition's best pass rusher each week, but he was also an outstanding gunner on special teams, leading the punt coverage unit in 2006. 4.88 in the 40-yard dash... Bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

With The 112th Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Traded to Pittsburgh

For 2 selections, the 119th and 192nd picks overall.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

With The 89th Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Aaron Rouse - SS, 6-4, 225, Virginia Tech

Wow, a strong safety who is almost linebacker size, and known for punishing hits. You have to like the idea of it, an over-sized safety roaming around back there waiting to hit any unfortunate to cross his path.

GM Ted Thompson said in the post-pick news conference said that Rouse will be used as a Safety and he had been more productive in his early years than the last year. A heavy hitter.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

The team's coaching staff and almost every opposing offensive coordinator agree -- pound for pound, Rouse was one of the most punishing tacklers to ever wear a Tech uniform. With his size, quickness and strength, several NFL teams are also looking at Rouse as a potential linebacker candidate. 4.55 in the 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical jump, bench pressed 225 pounds 16 times.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

Rouse could be an ideal fit for a team utilizing a Cover-2 scheme that relies on quickness, range and physicality from their linebacking unit. In 2006, Rouse finished third on the team with 57 tackles (23 solos), adding two stops for losses and a forced fumble. He batted away two passes and picked off another.

Packers.Com Draft Bio

With The 78th Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
James Jones - WR, 6-2, 199, San Jose St.

A strong wide receiver who can also return punts. Not super fast but does have the ability to throw the option pass. Hmmm....

Offensive Line Coach Joe Philbin said during his post-pick news conference said that the Packers like James Jones, he has excellent hands, plays fast, runs well after the catch. The Packers thought highly of him.

James Jones in his post-pick conference call said it was a little bit surprising that Green Bay picked him even though he had spent some time with the Packers at the combine. James is also excited to be catching balls from QB Brett Favre and he also likes to go for the jump-ball. Now that's something for Brett Favre to like.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

The consummate team player, the coaching staff took full advantage of Jones' athletic ability and versatility in 2006. He not only went on to lead the team in receptions, but he also showed a strong throwing arm for the option pass, natural hands to handle punt-return duties and an ability to keep the defenses honest by getting good yardage on the reverse. 4.6 in the 40-yard dash... Bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

He led the team with a career-high 70 receptions, gaining 893 yards with ten touchdowns. He rushed eleven times for 76 yards and a score and returned eleven punts for 121 yards.

Packers.Com Draft Bio

With The 63rd Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Brandon Jackson - RB, 5-10, 210, Nebraska

I wonder if this is the long secret rumored RB that the Packers were expected to take in the 3rd to 4th round... but thought best to take him at the end of the 2nd round.  Jackson also looks like he's a kickoff returner who in high-school as a track star ran 10.6 in the 100 meters.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said during his post-pick news conference that the Packers liked Jackson's versatility and that it stood out as they watched game tapes of him at Nebraska. Coach McCarthy also said that Jackson's size will fit the Packers lead-zone run scheme.

Offensive Coach Joe Philbin said that Brandon plays big and he should be able to contribute right away, although it might not be that easy to supplant current starting RB Vernand Morency.

Brandon Jackson said during his post-pick conference that when the Packers were on the clock that he was feeling confident his name would be called and he was ready to move on up to the next level and happy to join the team and that he was familiar with the zone-blocking scheme.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life! the end of the season, Jackson would emerge as the breakaway threat the Huskers desperately sought. Brought along slowly in the first five games, gaining 154 yards in the process, Jackson took over the starting role against Iowa State and went on to amass 835 yards on the ground in his final nine contests. 4.41 in the 40-yard dash... 36-inch vertical jump.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

Ran for over 100 yards in four games during his career, all coming in 2006... Averaged 92.78 yards per game as a starter and 27.09 yards in games as a reserve... Touched the ball a school game-record 41 times... (34 runs, 6 catches, one kickoff). Finished third on the team with 33 receptions for 313 yards.

Packers.Com Draft Bio

With The 47th Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Traded to New York with the 235th pick

For 3 selections, the 63rd, 89th and 191st picks overall.

With The 16th Pick In The Draft... 

The Green Bay Packers Select:
Justin Harrell - DT, 6-4, 305, Tennessee

There were hints that the Packers were looking at a D-Lineman to draft in the 1st round, but DT Justin Harrell kind of comes as a surprise pick.  He didn't get to play much his senior year do an arm injury, but if he stays healthy, shows some determination and drive, he should make the Packers roster easily and find a lot of playing time this year.  Pre-injury, he was originally expected to be a top 10 pick in the draft.

When asked if they could have traded down and still have selected Harrell during the post-pick news conference, GM Ted Thompson said he had felt comfortable selecting Harrell with the 16th, and that 5 teams had made offers to trade up but that the deals weren't quite worth the risk.

Justin Harrell said during his post-pick conference call that his arm injury is all healed up and he's ready to go for the mini-camps and that he is also aware that he will be following in ex-Tennessee Vol and ex-Packers Reggie White's footsteps a bit, he wore number 92 in college.

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

Harrell, the team captain who wears his emotions on his sleeve, knew the veterans were needed to step up and take charge in 2006 after a disappointing 2005 season. He was primed for a banner senior year, but suffered a ruptured left biceps tendon in the second game. 5.08 in the 40-yard dash... 30-inch vertical jump... 33-inch arm length.

NFL.Com Draft Profile

Harrell started all eleven games in 2005, shifting to left tackle. He totaled 39 tackles (21 solos) with 2.5 sacks and 7.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He intercepted a pair of passes, returning one for a touchdown and was credited with eight pressures. He also caused one fumble and batted away three passes. For his performance, he earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors.

Packers.Com Draft Bio

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Packer Palace Predicts... 

Here it comes... Here it comes... The 4th Annual Packer Palace Pre-Draft Prediction Extravaganza!!!  This is where we gaze deep into our cheese-encrusted crystal ball while drinking heavily and reveal all there is to reveal to all.  We get to show you what lays before the Packers as they head into the NFL's 2007 Draft looking to improve a team that was a weak 4 - 8 before rolling out the year on 4 game winning streak to finish at, well, to be honest, even with the almost thrill of making the playoffs at the end, the finish to 8 - 8 still left the Packers a weak team.  So!  Here's the chance for a team that did almost no off-season moves, OK, re-signing LB Nick Barnett and extending CB Al Harris' contract was huge, acquiring free agent CB Frank Walker was OK, so here's the chance for GM Ted Thompson with input from head coach Mike McCarthy to improve this team.  Take it from 2006's weak 8 - 8 team to strong 2007 playoff contending team.  That means paying serious attention to getting starting quality players at running back, tight end, wide receiver, safety and perhaps a defensive end/tackle.  What does the future unveil for Packers?  Clear away the smoke in the room 'cuz here we go...

Last year was an easy year to guess what was going on with LB A.J. Hawk all but ordained to be the Packers 1st round draft pick at the number 5 spot.  This year?  Not as easy, the Packers draft in the middle of the 1st round at 16th.  Also the Packers already have 9 picks in the draft, that leaves GM Ted Thompson little room to play at his favorite game of trading down to acquire more picks, unless he's trying to get back to the elder days of the NFL and have 15 players taken in the draft.  So if Thompson can't trade down to accumulate picks, is this year we get to see him trade up?  Maybe... It will more than likely happen on the 2nd day, We just don't see it happening with the 1st round pick, but you know Ted, that 1st round pick is susceptible for trade-down scenario, well, as are all the 1st day picks.  Does anyone really believe the Packers GM can let a day go by in the draft without a trade?  We don't either...

So by using the NFL's Draft Value Chart we're able to take the Packers 16th pick which is worth a 1000 pts, and play what if, what if the Packers were to trade down with the Jets, the value would be the Jets 1st round pick (25th - 720pts) and their 2nd round pick (59th - 310pts), well the Jets would be shorted just a bit, 30 pts, which could be the Packers 5th round pick (157th - 29pts), so a trade that swapped positions in the 1st round, 16th down to 25th, should also include a 5th round pick swapped with a 2nd round pick to balance out the value. For the Packers to move up 10 spots from 16th to the Redskins 6th overall pick, they would almost certainly have to give up their 2nd and 3rd round picks in exchange.

What the Packers should do:  Stay the course and take RB Marshawn Lynch from California.  We think there's a very good chance he will still be on the board and could make the Packers perceived weakness at Running Back become a strength.  Like everyone else We saw some flashes from RB's Vernand Morency and Noah Herron, but I saw nothing that impressed me or convince me that one of these guys is going to replace the aggressive running style of the recently departed Ahman Green.  So Marshawn Lynch should be able to fit right in as the featured running back in the Packers offense. All he has to do is be able to pick up blitz's and expect that Brett is going to throw him the ball whether he's looking the wrong way or laying on the ground or what have you.  Last year Morency looked good as the 3rd down back and so the Packers are in need of a starting RB.

What the Packers could do:  This all swirls around the alleged trade with the Oakland Raiders for WR Randy Moss, there's a good chance that the Packers have their eyes on one of 3 WR's in the draft, Robert Meachem (6'3" 211#) from Tennessee, Ted Ginn Jr (6'0" 180#) from Ohio State and Dwayne Bowe (6'2" 217#) from Louisiana State.  If the Packers are trading for Moss, or waiting for him to be released, or however Brett Favre has convinced himself that Randy Moss is coming to Green Bay, it's unlikely the Packers would draft a WR in the 1st round.

What the Packers could also do:  Looking for a fast TE to split the middle of field in between the cover-2 safety's?  Greg Olson of Miami is the man.  Certain to be available at the 16th pick, this is where most of the talk that the Packers might trade down to in the middle 20's of the 1st round somewhere and take Olson there.

What the Packers won't do:  Trade up to the 6, 7, or 8 positions of the draft's 1st round.  It might be expensive to make a jump like this, and I'm not talking dollars, I'm talking giving up your 2nd and 3rd round picks to accomplish this.  Now we know that GM Ted Thompson in 2 drafts has never traded up, it's always been down, one exception was trading WR Javon Walker for Denver's early 2nd round pick.  Thompson has made 8 trades, involving 7 Packers picks with the fore-mentioned Walker and received 17 picks in return.  Not that Ted Thompson can't break his trend and do something unexpected, it's just that, don't expect it in a big way this year.

So here it all comes down to this, with red-rimmed eyes and our usual un-focus'd gaze, this is what we see the Green Bay Packers pulling off in this years NFL Draft.  We see the trade up and we see a trade down, only 2 trades for much restrained Ted Thompson this year, and our amazing cheese-encrusted crystal ball reveals the Packers are going to trade down in the 1st round of the draft (our eyes are tearing up, we want a RB) and get the TE that coach Mike McCarthy has said his offense is supposed to be centered around, that would be TE Greg Olson of Miami.  Any hopes for getting RB Marshawn Lynch will be shattered by another team taking him before the Packers turn at 16.  Not liking the players at the position will give GM Ted his 1st chance to get a trade in after waiting for a few hours, and although we would really like to get another WR at the top of draft, our crystal (really, it's cheddar cheese-encrusted, and now tear and beer stained) ball is showing that Brett Favre really does know something besides football and tractor driving, that WR Randy Moss is coming to Green Bay.  The Draft will see the Packers taking the obvious needed position players at Safety, Running Back (rumored to be late 3rd or early 4th round) and a starting caliber DE or DT.  They have 9 picks, they'll spread them around all the positions and while our Chimay's are already chilling down for the big day, waiting to be drained honorably, with nothing else left to say, we've come to the end of our 4th Annual Packer Palace Pre-Draft Prediction Extravaganza!!!  Go Pack!

BeerKid - Still Pack 4 Life!

P.S. Honestly, does anyone really think TT would trade a 1 and 4 to acquire the T.O.-like RB Larry Johnson from the K.C. Chiefs? Really? Didn't think so... I'd rather trade for Moss, and I would NOT be throwing any 1st or 2nd rounders for him either.

Quoth Lombardi...

It's easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner, when you're number one. What you've got to have is faith and discipline when you're not yet a winner.
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