The Green Bay Packers selected three receivers in the NFL Draft. They had two things in common — tall and fast.
Apparently, that wasn’t just the directive at the receiver position. Coach Mike McCarthy said the Packers are making a concerted effort to get bigger and faster across the board.
“Two years ago, coming off the NFC Championship Game (in Atlanta), we really needed to increase the speed on our football team. It was very evident throughout that season,” McCarthy said. “Frankly, one of the constant conversations with Brian (Gutekunst) and I is we need to be a bigger football team. All the way through.”
Although the team’s first-round pick, cornerback Jaire Alexander, doesn’t exactly fit the mold, most of the of the rest of the Packers’ draft picks and free agent signing do.
Alexander is fast, but he’s a little shorter than the Packers usually target in a cornerback at 5’10”. Third-round pick Oren Burks is also fast, but a little undersized for a linebacker at 233 pounds. Of course, if the Packers are looking at Burks as a hybrid safety, then he has fine size.
The team’s two big free agent signings — tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson — definitely fit the mold.
“It’s definitely a focus,” McCarthy said. “Something we’ve looked at, particularly the speed and the size, particularly the length of some of our players.”
It’s an interesting change, especially on offense. The Packers haven’t had many big, fast targets for Aaron Rodgers to throw to over the years. Graham should have an immediate impact. We’ll have to see if any of the new receivers can get in sync with Rodgers in year one.
The question is why this took two years. What was Ted Thompson’s focus last year?