Draft Needs Start With Linebacker, Offensive Line

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Clay Matthews

The Packers could use some playmaking help for Matthews.

The Green Bay Packers will go into this year’s NFL Draft with a roster that doesn’t have a lot of holes.

The team could use upgrades in two key areas, though. The Packers still don’t have a pass-rush threat at linebacker opposite [intlink id=”454″ type=”category”]Clay Matthews[/intlink] and could also use help along the offensive line.

[intlink id=”1335″ type=”category”]Erik Walden[/intlink], [intlink id=”1058″ type=”category”]Frank Zombo[/intlink] and [intlink id=”443″ type=”category”]Brad Jones[/intlink] started at outside linebacker at various times in 2010. Of the three, Walden played the best, but doesn’t appear to be the long-term solution.

The three players combined for seven sacks, two forced fumbles and no interceptions. Matthews, by comparison, had 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception, himself.

If the Packers can add another playmaking outside linebacker, their defense could be even more formidable than it was in 2010.

Ditto the Packers offense if they can improve their offensive line.

Left guard [intlink id=”94″ type=”category”]Daryn Colledge[/intlink] is a free agent and it’s uncertain if he’ll be back. Left tackle [intlink id=”225″ type=”category”]Chad Clifton[/intlink] is 34. He will return in 2011, but he maybe has one season left.

Even if Clifton and Colledge both return, neither is an effective run blocker and the Packers could upgrade both positions.

[intlink id=”925″ type=”category”]Bryan Bulaga[/intlink] will eventually replace Clifton, but that leaves the Packers with a hole at right tackle. The team is likely to give [intlink id=”583″ type=”category”]T.J. Lang[/intlink] a shot at left guard or right tackle, but it will be hard for the Packers to pass up a top-tier offensive lineman like Bulaga, if there’s one available when their first pick comes around at No. 32.

To a lesser degree, the Packers also have a need at receiver.

Although [intlink id=”76″ type=”category”]Donald Driver[/intlink] has said he wants to play until he’s 40, there’s no guarantee his body will let him. [intlink id=”204″ type=”category”]James Jones[/intlink] also goes into the offseason without a contract and it seems probable someone will offer him the chance to start when he hits free agency, which means the Packers will need to add at least one receiver in the offseason.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

18 Comments on "Draft Needs Start With Linebacker, Offensive Line"

  1. FrozenFanatic84

    A part of me is hoping that the Pack drafts Casey Matthews…two brothers giving each other a nod pre-snap and then sandwiching the opposing QB in the backfield play after play would be awesome!!!

  2. nurseratchett

    Excellent analysis!

    Our O-Line & kick returners (as well as special teams D) have been my concerns all year. Although Rodgers’ sack total was down this year, I credit that as much to him developing a quicker release as much as O-line protection. Wasn’t Rodgers hit over 16 times in the super bowl? We have to protect him better if we want to see him play a decade or so!

    I want Driver to play as long as he can, and then become wide receiver’s coach. Injuries have been a growing issue with Donald, but at 38, DAMN he can still make it happen out there! TO’s available….I’m KIDDING!!! The last thing our locker room needs is another prima donna. We got rid of one in 2007, and I think the team is better for it.

    I still think instead of getting rid of Jackson we should consider him on special teams returns, plus, then he’s around to back up Grant & Starks.

    I’m indifferent about James Jones; so many dropped balls in key situations, but good plays as well. I think if he becomes a free agent, he will likely command big bucks on the open market.

    Just jonesing for the draft & OTA’s. Wish I could get into college basketball, NBA, or baseball to get me through the offseason…

    GO PACK GO!

    • BuddyXLV

      AP would go good along with Sydney Rice as well. It would be like salvaging the turbo from a piece of shit car and adding it to an already high torque car. We would be looking at a dynasty.

  3. Shawn iltarion

    Actually, Sydney Rice isn’t the worst call. Minnie would be idiots to let him go though. The notion of raping Minnie of Rice or AP is hilarious.

    Casey Matthews would be a great pick, but there could be issues from having brothers together. I’m not as concerned at OLB as this article. Jones, Zombo, and Walden were all serviceable. Yeah, they aren’t Clay Matthews, but who is?

    I am more concerned with the linemen protecting our franchise and his WRs. TT has proven gifted at picking WRs so far. Let’s get another one.

  4. Rymetyme

    I like Sidney Rice’s ability and talent but I believe he has missed games 3 of the past 4 seasons. Not sure if he’d fare better getting him off of the astroturf, but it’s a significant risk. I’d rather see TT continue his fine work drafting receivers. And damn its sad James Jones can’t be consistent, he’s a true beast.

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  6. T.J. Rubley

    the only problem with trying to find an OLB in this draft is there are not any impact players outside of Von Miller. Akeem Ayers and Justin Houston are not upgrades over Walden in my eyes.

    The value at the end of the first will be DE and Guard.

    DE: tons of guys that fit what the packers need are available. the only question is if the packers actually have a need here. but you can never have enough quality depth along the DL.

    Guard: Danny Watkins and Mike Pouncey look like really solid players. One of them may still be available. From a need standpoint this is probably the best choice.

    • DJ

      Yes, I agree. Pickett & Jenkins are both over 30yrs old and Woodson wont be around forever…so any investment we make in the DL is a good thing & the value should be there like u said. OL is obviously a need too. Our LBs are really young though (as a group)…so although they might not be impact now their ceiling is still high & they’re only going to get better….and as a group they’re pretty good now….so I agree that we shouldnt reach there.

  7. johnny dakota

    It seems to me James Jones is the starter, he was listed as such on most the depth charts I saw in the second half of the season. We build through the draft, so I don’t think we’ll be letting him go after only 3-4 years. Jenkins is gone, he wants to much, and after a ring, everyone is gonna want to to bring him in. I see the Raiders giving Walden a 5 year 50 million contract if history repeats itself. Just keep bringing dept TT.

  8. Abe Frohman

    I recall hearing that the Packers are afraid of letting James Jones go only to see him reach his full potential. I mean wouldn’t it suck for him to leave and finally put it all together? Instead, perhaps some incentive laden deal based upon performance seems to make sense. I think he’s a guy the Bears, for one, would love to steal from us.

    I kinda hope Colledge goes. I’m not a big fan. Monty, you’ve ignored Jason Spitz. We could sign him on the cheap if he’s fully healed. I always liked him better than Colledge.

    My priority lies along the OLine first becuase we have to keep Rodgers healthy if we want to win. Using guys that can run block also helps take the pressure off XLV MVP with the play fake threat. Starks and Grant can get it done.

    My second priority would be OLB.

    Third is a KR/PR. Tramon is too valuable to lose for some special teams mishap.

  9. Aren’t people talking about us maybe getting Titus Young?? I mean, I don’t follow college ball AT ALL, so I have no idea if he’s going early or something, but one of my buddies told me he does KR/PR duties… Sounds like a hell of a signing to me.

  10. Randy R

    How many years does Shawn Slocum get to produce bottom of the league special teams? Is he not accountable for their performance? With at least “average” special teams play, running game returning next year(hopefully) it would be hard to stop us. How many outcomes of games did special teams have a hand in, an o lineman running 67 yards?…REALLY?

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