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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Thoughts on the 2005 Draft

by PackerNation
for PackerChatters

I know it's early yet, but I've been giving some thought to what the Packers might/should do in the upcoming draft. Here's what I think:

I think the #1 overall greatest weakness of this team is at the defensive tackle position. Grady is going to be 32 with a bad body and it is likely he'll miss some time with injuries; how much is anybody's guess. James Lee hasn't shown he can stay healthy or be a regular contributor. Ditto for Donnell Washington. And Cletidus Hunt is a career disappointment and underachiever who we could shed ourselves of for only 750K.

Behind these guys we have a couple of DE/DT hybrids like Jenkins and Petersen who are probably better DEs than DTs. We know that without Grady in the lineup we can't stop the run.....we need to change that dynamic. We have guys who can play DE....KGB, Petersen, Kampman, Truluck, Williams. But we're short of guys that we can count on to plug up the middle. Additionally, I think if we were getting stronger play out of the tackle position on the pass rush, our DEs would have more success as well.

With our first pick in the 2nd round, I'd be mightily tempted to take a guard. Since guards are usually not a big priority in the draft, it is conceivable that we could get one of the top 2 or 3 guards in the draft. Since it is my belief that Mike Wahle will not be back next year, and since reports are that Morley is a ways away from being a starter yet, I think it's important to get a guy from a big college program who can come in and start right away.

With our second pick in the second round, I'd draft Darren Sharper's replacement. Harry Sydney has stated that Sharper is a liability in coverage and I concur. Given that Sharper is scheduled to make 8.5 million next year, I'd let him go. Some people think we should take him back if he agrees to a huge paycut; I think a liability at a bargain price is still a liability. The Packers would save about 3.5 million next year by cutting him, and more the year after. So I'd draft a safety----probably one of the better safeties in the draft----and use the money to bring in a free agent elsewhere, like maybe at linebacker.

And with our third round pick, I'd draft a punter. Just kidding. With the third round pick I'd take the best player available. If Davenport gets a good free agent offer we might be wise to let him go, draft his replacement, and take the compensatory pick and do something with it. Why would I say this? Because I'm starting to have serious concerns about his durability, that's why.

So that's what I'd do on the first day of the draft. I'd part company with Wahle, Sharper, and Hunt, draft their replacements, and use the free agent money I'd saved to attract some depth. I wouldn't draft a QB because it is my belief that we'll make a big run at Drew Brees when this season ends. Obviously, if we are unsuccessful in acquiring him then it increases our need for a QB in the draft unless A) Favre does not retire at the end of the season (I believe he will) and B)Nall or OSullivan convinces the coaching staff that they are the MAN.

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