Draft Day Review Part 2

Give it up to NFL.com “Senior Analyst” Pat Kirwan and “Senior Writer” Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline.com. They alone out of the major NFL Draft “pundits” correctly picked that Green Bay would take Tennessee DT Justin Harrell with the 16th pick overall. Most others, including me (although I’m hardly a “senior analyst” or a “pundit,” I’m more of a “nitwit”) figured the Packers would take California RB Marshawn Lynch or Miami TE Greg Olsen or maybe Florida S Reggie Nelson.

(Does that make Kirwan or Prisco geniuses? Of course not. Kirwan got eight of the top ten picks wrong, while Prisco was almost a genius with five out of the top ten correct.)

So why did so many of us get it wrong? Well, maybe we didn’t. Maybe the Packers got it wrong. But again, I subscribe to the apparently idiotic theory that teams should draft based on need. Green Bay didn’t need help on the defensive line as much as they needed weapons on offense and help in the secondary. And picking Harrell, a player who missed most of his senior season after rupturing his biceps tendon, was a risky pick even if it had addressed an area of need. Now granted, Marshawn Lynch was already taken when the Packers picked, but at least three others that would have made more sense — Nelson, Olsen, or WR Robert Meachem — were available.

Maybe GM Ted Thompson thought that the areas of running back and wide receiver were going to be addressed by trades with Oakland for Randy Moss and San Diego for Michael Turner. Those thoughts went the way of the Van Halen reunion tour early this week: First New England announced it had secured Moss and had given up only a fourth-round pick to get him (in contrast, the Packers spent a third-round pick on a largely unnoticed wideout from San Jose State, James Jones. Now here’s the no-brainer question of the decade: Who would Packer fans be more excited about seeing in green and gold on September 9, Moss or Jones?) while San Diego announced that they were not trading Michael Turner. Now to be fair, the Packers did address the running back situation with second round pick Brandon Jackson out of Nebraska. But with shoulder injuries limiting his playing time (Jackson started just 11 games in his entire college career), it seems all the Packers did was add another back-up to their roster of back-ups (Morency, Herron, Pope, Beach).

Any draft analysis is mostly speculation and fans and pundits (there’s that word again) will have to wait two or three years to completely and fairly grade this year’s crop. But with no players seemingly primed to make an immediate impact in a need position, it’s tough to get excited about what happened over the weekend. The good news is that in the position that matters most, the Packers still have Brett Favre, while their NFC North rivals will try to make do with Rex Grossman, Tavaris Jackson, and Jon Kitna. But at least those three QBs got coveted weapons (Greg Olsen, Adrian Peterson, and Calvin Johnson) to play with. Favre wasn’t so lucky. And he’s likely not so happy. And neither are his fans.

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