The Green Bay Packers are coming off three straight seasons of making it to the playoffs and are averaging 12 wins per year over that time frame.
Yet, they have quite a few needs that must be filled before the start of the 2013 season if they hope to have continued success.
I have provided further information into some of the needs of the Packers in a prior article found here.
The biggest need to fill has to be the offensive line.
The Packers allowed Aaron Rodgers, their star player that could be looking at a contract extension nearing $25 million per year, to get sacked a league leading 55 times. They need to focus at least one or two early picks on fixing that issue.
The Packers also had a tough time getting to the quarterback. I think that getting Nick Perry back will be a huge boost, but they will still need more help. Finding a strong safety to beef up the secondary and give the defensive line more time to get to that quarterback will help too.
Another glaring need is a future three-down running back. The Packers need to find a back that knows how to block, can be a pass catcher out of the backfield, and can touch the ball at least 300 times on the season. If they ever had a decent run game, Aaron Rodgers would look even more like the All-Star that he is.
Finally, with Donald Driver retiring, Greg Jennings signing with the Vikings, and Tom Crabtree also parting ways with the Packers, Green Bay will likely look to address the need for another receiver or tight end later in the Draft.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a kicker drafted for some competition for Mason Crosby as well as a late quarterback pick to develop as a strong backup to Rodgers than Graham Harrell has been.
The Green Bay Packers have the following eight picks in the 2013 Draft:
Round 1, Pick 26, No. 26 overall
Round 2, Pick 25, No. 55 overall
Round 3, Pick 26, No. 88 overall
Round 4, Pick 25, No. 122 overall
Round 5, Pick 26, No. 159 overall
Round 5, Pick 34, No. 167 overall (Compensatory Selection)
Round 6, Pick 25, No. 193 overall
Round 7, Pick 26, No. 232 overall
Round 1, Pick 26, No. 26 overall: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Fluker could be the answer for an O-line that really needs some help. He is usually ranked between 20 and 30 overall and could certainly be available for the Packers. At 6’6” and 335 pounds he is a massive rock that can come in and play right tackle from day one. The Packers would be able to shift Bulaga to LT, a move they has already discussed.
This move would not only protect Aaron Rodgers, but would help open the run game up; something the Packers haven’t seen in a long time. If Green Bay can get back Derek Sherrod, and continue to get decent work out of Evan Dietrich-Smith at center, this might be the pick that starts to turn the tide.
Round 2, Pick 25, No. 55 overall: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
The Packers finally make an offensive minded move by grabbing a guy that has over 2,500 rushing yards in the past two seasons, had 14 scores in 2012 and who added another 47 receptions. Green Bay would be able to use Bernard as a pass-catching back that plays like a wrecking ball. He is low to the ground at only 5’9” but at just over 200 pounds he still packs a punch.
Current rankings have Bernard anywhere from the late 40s to the early 60s. Green Bay will not pass up his talent if he is still on the board at 55.
Round 3, Pick 26, No. 88 overall: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
The Packers moved up to take Jerel Worthy last year as the 51st pick in the Draft. A strong defensive end out of Michigan State was just what they needed. But Worthy got injured and might not be back for much of the 2013 season. In steps another Spartan, but this time even bigger than his former teammate.
William Gholston, who is a cousin of Vernon Gholston, is ranked all over the map. He has had some character issues which might be part of the problem, but his talent cannot be denied. The Packers will get a gem if Gholston falls this far and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them once again move up slightly to grab the MSU stud if needed.
Round 4, Pick 25, No. 122 overall: Robert Lester, SS, Alabama
The Packers could definitely use another ball hog in the secondary and Robert Lester would be a great fit.
Lester has been overlooked by some (CBS ranks him 155th over) and applauded by others (89th on FFtoolbox). His closing speed makes him very attractive. He recorded four picks as a senior and could have had more but teams were afraid to throw towards him. A secondary of Burnett, Williams, Heyward, Jennings, Bush, and Lester would be solid.
Round 5, Pick 26, No. 159 overall: TRADE to the 49ers for picks 180 and 227.
I know, it’s a strange move to predict a trade. But the Packers have a few holes they want filled and some talented guys available in the 6th and 7th rounds.
Based on the NFL trade value chart, this pick is worth 30.6 points. The two picks received are worth 30.4. That is pretty standard Ted Thompson style and had to be thrown in.
Round 5, Pick 34, No. 167 overall: Khaled Holmes, C/OG, USC
Holmes ranks anywhere from the 130s to the 190s in current draft projections and would be a nice fit behind Deitrich-Smith at center.
He started at right guard his junior year and at center his senior year, showing his ability to move around on the line.
With the injuries the Packers have experienced the past few years, having someone with experience in multiple roles would be very useful.
Round 6, pick 12, No. 180 overall: T. J. Barnes, DT, Georgia
The Packers grab their third defender going totally after size with this choice. Barnes is 6’6” and 370 pounds! He would back-up B.J. Raji at nose tackle, but don’t be surprised if coach McCarthy looks to move him to guard if needed.
Round 6, Pick 25, No. 193 overall: Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State
The Packers would love to get their hands on a guy with Smith’s build who can add a different dynamic to the pass attack. Smith is nearly 6’6” and at 225 pounds he is a near mirror image to Megatron in stature. Smith would work his way into the receiver rotation and could easily dominate defenders with his size.
Round 7, Pick 21, No. 227 overall: Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt
Let’s see here….a slightly undersized QB (6’1”, 210) with the last name of Rodgers…while we might not take him in the first round, Aaron Rodgers’ little brother is a must-have. Who better to be mentored by than a guy you grew up playing in the back yard with? Jordan and Aaron would make quite the fun 1-2 punch at the position.
Round 7, Pick 26, No. 232 overall: Eric Herman, OG/C, Ohio
Herman’s experience has been as a guard, but he can also play center. He was an anchor for the Ohio line and demonstrated his strength with 36 reps on the bench press. He will be a nice addition for the Packers and could work right into the system as a solid backup in 2013.
The Packers would certainly come out of the Draft with alot of needs met and would actually surprise their fan with a couple of big-time offensive weapons being acquired. I expect 2013 to look very nice for the Pack.