The Packers Need Players. Hey, There’s A Draft Coming Up. What A Remarkable Coincidence!

Rarely do more people talk about something that they really know nothing about then with the NFL Draft. Most people who pontificate for hours about whether their favorite team should take this safety out of Florida or that cornerback out of Alabama have probably never seen either player actually play and no one really knows which players will best make the transition from college to pro football. It would be like if people argued endlessly about which will be the next Australian rock band to make it big in America. Which is a trick question — not because most people don’t know which bands are big in Australia nor which Australian bands will hit big in the US, but because I have insider information that Midnight Oil is primed for a big comeback. Yes, the time has indeed come to say fair is fair.

I’ll be honest. When it comes to college players eligible for this year’s draft, I barely know Levi Brown from Leon Hall. But I do know what the Packers need. And that’s how the Packers and other teams should draft, based on need. I know there are arguments out there that teams should just pick the best athlete available when they’re on the clock, but teams that follow that logic face the possibility of turning into the Detroit Lions, who overloaded on first-round wide receivers to the point that if Matt Millen were to select a WR with his first pick this year (and the second overall), he would be more hated in the Motor City than Rosie O’Donnell at a NRA convention. The irony here is that this is a year that they probably should take a wide receiver with Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson likely not going to go to the Raiders with the first pick. But I digress.

The Packers need a running back. They need one badly. They need a running back like Britney Spears needs some good PR. Like NBC needs a hit show. Like the greater Madison area needs a gaggle of White Castle restaurants. (C’mon, can’t someone make this happen?) They should take California RB Marshawn Lynch with their first pick (scheduled to be 16th overall). Even if Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson starts to slip, the Packers should still plan on Lynch due to questions surrounding Peterson’s durability. Not that Ted Thompson would trade up to snag anyone. That’s just not his style. The only obvious problem with Lynch? His character. He’s been shot at and been accused of sexual assault. Charges were never filed in either instance, and anyway, the Packers sent a message with the pickup of Koren Robinson last year that they care about character issues about as much as Dr. Phil cares about hair care.

Next the Packers need a wide receiver and a tight end. Do I think the Packers will use their first three picks on offense? No, but they probably should. Unless that whole Randy Moss trade thing is still happening, which I doubt. (Especially if the Raiders take LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell with the first pick overall; if they take Calvin Johnson, then maybe Randy Moss is on his way to Lambeau.) The Packers should concentrate on tight end first, not only because Bubba Franks and Donald Lee are a far worse combination than Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, but also because the talent pool is so much smaller for tight ends in this and most any draft. If the Packers are lucky, TE Zach Miller from Arizona State will still be there in the second round (pick 47).

Otherwise, the Packers need help at the cornerback and safety positions. Your guess is as good as mine as far as who might still be available in the fourth and fifth rounds, when they should be looking at filling these needs. Safety is a more immediate concern, as Charles Woodson and Al Harris are as good a cornerback tandem as any in the league. Problem is, they’re both old (at least NFL player old, not old like Oak Ridge Boys old). So if the Packers see someone in a middle or later round that they think has long-term potential, great. Otherwise, cornerback is probably a need that can wait a year. Although next year they might be concentrating on getting someone to compete with Aaron Rodgers for the open quarterback position. Oh wait, did I unintentionally start the 2007 Brett Favre Retirement Watch? Crap.

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