Weeks – no, months of analysis and speculation culminate tomorrow when the 2009 NFL Draft begins. You have to hand it to the NFL – no other professional league has turned their draft process into such an anticipated event.
I toyed with the idea of posting a complete mock draft, but the interweb needs another mock draft like Republicans need taxes.
Besides, after the first couple picks, things get pretty unpredictable. It’s especially hard to predict what cagey Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson will do on draft day.
But I’ll try.
I think the Packers should forget B.J. Raji, Brian Orakpo, Michael Crabtree or Aaron Maybin. Those guys won’t be around when the Packers pick at 23. That’s right, the Packers will be trading back.
I have a feeling that Thompson isn’t in love with most of the top 10 talent and would be loath to commit that kind of money, especially if he follows the “best player available” rule he espouses. If Crabtree is that player, he’ll think twice about committing big bucks to a position that is already well stocked. And with Greg Jennings’ pending extension, there will already be a ton of cash going into the wide receiver position. Bringing in Crabtree and his huge contract will only complicate negotiations with Jennings.
If faced with that scenario, I believe Thompson will trade back, with the hopes of picking up an additional first day pick and selecting a player who may be just as talented as whoever the Packers would get at nine.
Just so happens that today, Peter King mentioned a possible trade. New England is dangling their 23rd pick and a 2nd rounder to move into the top 10. That may be too tempting for Thompson to pass up.
Assuming the two teams pull the trigger, where does that leave the Packers? This is a completely new scenario to consider, but there are some intriguing prospects towards the bottom of round one. Many would still address gaping holes on the team.
DE/OLBs like Robert Ayers and Clay Matthews may still be on the board.
Dynamic DBs like Vonta Davis, Darius Butler, and Sean Smith – who I like very much – will likely be available. Smith may actually still be there early in round two. He’s rangy (6-3), aggressive, and has good ball skills.
Considering how weak the Packers running game was last season, I am surprised to hear almost no one proposing that the Packers draft a running back. Ryan Grant lacks the instincts, ball control and receiving skills to become the Pro Bowl back the Packers are paying for. Brandon Jackson will strictly be a change-of-pace and 3rd down back during his career. If Knowshon Moreno or Donald Brown are sitting there, can Thompson really pass them up?