Packers XLV

Thinking About the Draft and 2011 Schedule

Posted April 10th, 2011 @ 03:04pm

Two weeks and change until the only player-related activity in this locked-out offseason. The draft is creeping closer and most of us are thinking about what the Pack will do at #32.

I think the Packers will have 6-7 guys in mind when the draft starts and will watch how things fall on Thursday night. Wouldn't surprise me at all if a team calls Ted Thompson and offers him a sweetheart deal to move out of the first round. Say there's a player, a QB maybe, who a team covets, but they're afraid he won't be there when they pick early in the second. They offer their second and maybe a third, or a #1 next year to pick at #32.

But assuming the Packers make the pick, the smart money is on a front seven defensive player, either a defensive end or outside linebacker. It's a deep DE draft and with Jenkins and Jolly unlikely to be back and Pickett getting older, the team may have a chance to add an immediate starter to the defensive line. And certainly, a bona fide pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews would add some serious punch to the unit. Yes, Zombo, Walden and Brad Jones all flashed last year. But adding a thoroughbred here would be fun.

Then there's the "how did he fall to us" scenario: Maybe not a position of need, but a guy that was so high on the team's draft board that they can't pass him up. A guy like running back Mark Ingram might qualify. If Miami and New England pass him up, he may be there at #32.

Like most of you, I hope and expect the Pack will address the return game. The new kickoff rules marginalize the kickoff returner position a little, but a punt returner must be added. There's no way they put Tramon Williams back there, now that he's become a Pro Bowl corner. The team brought in two returners last week: Antoine "Shaky" Smithson of Utah and Cal's Jeremy Ross.

Smithson was the nation's leading punt returner in yards and average in 2010 and was a first team All American. Ross leaves his school as the second best punt returner ever, behind DeSean Jackson and like Smithson, is nearly 6 feet and over 200 pounds. They both have the size and speed to contribute on special teams, but I question their value as receivers. Both guys were mainly return guys in college and the Packers always talk about a return guy needing to help out as a receiver as well.

Smithson caught just 25 passes for 383 yards and three TDs in 2010, and Ross was even less of a factor: 18 catches for 210 yards and no touchdowns. I would argue that picking a guy like Smithson and Ross is vital, whether he contributes to the offense or not. We know what a dynamic return guy can mean to a team. It's time the Packers draft one.

Another NFL rite of April is the schedule release, which should happen in the next week or two. It's lost some of its luster this season because of the labor uncertainty. But if a deal is reached before September, the Pack will likely open the season at home on Thursday, September 8th against the Bears. The only other candidate would be the Saints, matching the previous two Super Bowl champs.

On paper, the home schedule looks easier, with the Broncos, Raiders, Rams and Bucs joining the NFC north teams in playing at Lambeau. The road schedule is highlighted by likely prime time games in Atlanta and San Diego, plus trips to the Giants, Chiefs and Panthers along with the division games. We can expect four prime time games and a number of 3:00 starts, since we enter the season as world champs.

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Comments (27):

I would love TT to trade this years #1 for #1 next year however TT wouldnt do it. He had a chance do the same Browns who wanting Brady Quinn instead TT took Justin Harrell... Also TT has sa more then once to the media he doesnt believer in giving up one year of service for a future pic.... Its had to disagree since we are Super Bowl Champs... but I still do it.

on April 11th, 2011 at 06:32pm

I'm suffering from withdrawl as this site has been dormat for several weeks. Glad draft is coming....will give us some meaningful talking points. I still stand by my original mock draft and believe our first pick will be a player on our future Hall of Fame QB's side of the ball. Come on you regulars to this site ....lets hear from you. GO PACK GO !!

on April 11th, 2011 at 08:44pm

Hate the cliche of "best available" however this year it should apply. We have needs but none that really stands out over other areas. Take the best overall within the RB, OL, DL, WR/KR. Don't think we can miss if we use that logic as we head back to the Super Bowl. As we are all aware, it really does not matter what we do for this year since the Pack always does SB's in back to back years. The draft will maybe help us do back to back to back this time around! GO PACK GO!

on April 11th, 2011 at 10:33pm

Something tells me this draft will be similar to the draft the Yankees had in '94. Full of guys that want to go get that extra piece of chicken. Guys that can't sleep without a dog in the room next door. Teddy has a chance to build what would be the 4th greatest dynasty in NFC history. Please go to the boards and pull down some doozies. That's my two cents.

on April 12th, 2011 at 04:30pm

How does the selection of NBC's pre-flex games work? The prime time guys (NBC & ESPN) love the Bears/Packers matchup, even when it's unlikely to matter come playoff time. The only way the opening game isn't Bears @ Packers is if Fox absolutely refuses to give it up (can they do that?)

on April 12th, 2011 at 08:29pm

The Packers will take the Best Available Player (whoever that may be regardless of position) since that is Ted Thompson's draft philosophy. For example, Aaron Rodgers, QB in 2005. Although, I do find it interesting that the Packers drafted BJ Raji #1 then traded with New England to grab Clay Matthews, III also in the first round in 2009 when they were switching to the 3-4 defense. That was a very shrewd move on TT's part...I hope the Packers stay at # 32 & draft the BAP whether he is an OL, DL or OLB unless they are offered a REALLY juicy deal to trade out of the first round & they can still pick up an excellent player in the 2nd round. I also hope they draft a dynamic returner but he needs to be able to play WR, RB or even CB or S to help the team...The first home game of the season has to be against the Bears since we faced them in the NFC Championship. The precedent was set last year when the NFL network had the Vikings@Saints a rematch of the 2009 season NFC Championship...I really hope this labor mess gets settled so that we can get back to NFL football. Dave, thanks for writing & allowing us to post comments. Go Pack!

on April 13th, 2011 at 01:26am

Apparantly we now have an OLD SW side guy on the blog...do not confuse with me.

on April 13th, 2011 at 07:21pm

No other Dennises comment on here, you should come up with a more original name OSSG.

on April 14th, 2011 at 11:07am

Dennis....I think you meant Old SW side guy should come up with a more original name.....not me....OLD South Side Guy....aka OSSG

on April 15th, 2011 at 10:11am

Gentleman, fortunately for me, there is only one SchenySchen, although SoCalSchen breaks in during the football season, so there may be some level of confusion. --Anyway, I think that the depth at D-line will give TT a chance to trade the first round pick (32) for a 2nd round pick, say (39) and a 4th round pick. They will get the last of the D-lineman that grade that high and then use the 4th rounder on a small school WR/KR that was good at that level but will need to be coached up and then use the 4th rounder to get the OG that they will need. The original 2nd rounder can be BPA. I hope and pray that they don't use the first pick on a RB, regardless of that players perceived value. GoPack!

on April 18th, 2011 at 11:48am

Davey, we only have 10 days left, when is mock draft XXXI going to arrive. We are busy debating HeadCheese handles and which people have chosen names that are too close to other names...........we need some new material Davvvvvvvvveeeeeeyyyyyyy. GoPack!

on April 18th, 2011 at 11:52am

Hey guys, I'll have a new blog up tonight to look at the schedule and mock draft XXXI will be up on Thursday, one week before the draft.

on April 19th, 2011 at 02:28pm

ask and yee shall receive.....that is the beauty of TheHeadCheese.com. GoPack!

on April 19th, 2011 at 04:06pm

Packer schedule gets released today :)

on April 19th, 2011 at 09:48am

thanks for share!

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on February 27th, 2012 at 12:54pm

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on January 19th, 2012 at 08:09pm

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on January 19th, 2012 at 08:09pm

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on January 19th, 2012 at 10:23am

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on January 20th, 2012 at 01:07am

Home run! Great slugging with that anewsr!

on January 20th, 2012 at 02:09am

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on January 21st, 2012 at 01:08am

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on January 21st, 2012 at 04:04am

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on January 21st, 2012 at 06:07am

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