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Friday, March 22, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Capsules: Green Bay Packers

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2013 NFL Draft Capsules:
Green Bay Packers
 By Wild on Sports NFL Analyst Davis McGregor
On the Clock: Green Bay Packers

Team Overview:
As a memory that I’m sure still burns fresh in every Packers fan’s mind, Green Bay was knocked out of the playoffs by a Colin Kaepernick led 49er’s team. The new quarterback tore up the field passing for 263 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as well as rushing for 181 and another two scores. A beat down like this showed more than just the dominance of Kaepernick, but the need of a stronger defense for the Pack.

Team Needs:
1. Defensive Back
2. Tight End
3. Defensive End

Up until now Greg Jennings was able to “put the team on his back,” to help take the Packers to the playoffs year after year. Combined with field general Aaron Rodgers, the two were able to do major damage to defenses. Now that Jennings is gone the question is who will step up next?

With an aging, struggling defense, it needs to be someone on that side of the ball to do it. Lucky for Green Bay, this years draft is as deeper than the snow at Lambeau.

Likely Fits:
With star defensive ball hawk Charles Woodson hitting age 37 this year; it was a wise move for GM Ted Thompson to cut ties. Woodson has always had a way of making plays and establishing a presence on the field but at this point in his life it would be hard to imagine him keeping up with receivers with blazing speed such as Mike Wallace. With him out of the picture the Pack needs to turn its attention to finding another defensive stud in the draft.

SEC powerhouse LSU has always produced spectacular athletes, especially on the defensive side of the ball so where better to look now? Two different DB’s come to mind that could fit into the Green Bay defense. The first being ex-tiger, Tyrann Mathieu.

We all know of the substance abuse problems that resulted in Mathieu’s dismissal from LSU and how that could remain a problem in the NFL. However, we all also know how dominant of a player he can be on the field. As a sophomore Mathieu finished as a Heisman Trophy finalist, this kind of skill is exactly what the Packers need in their secondary.

The DB claims he has given up the life of substance abuse after realizing the consequence such actions carry after being kicked out of Louisiana State. Only time will tell whether the Honey Badger is speaking the truth but this risk could prove huge benefits for the Packers.

Mathieu’s former teammate in the secondary, Eric Reid could also be a match for Coach McCarthy. At 6’1” 215lbs Reid is a perfect size to play at the safety position. He’s a great athlete that is able to make plays in both the run game and defending the pass. A hard hitting safety that can blitz hard would fit well into the Green Bay scheme, especially with the multitude of blitz packages Dom Capers has instituted into his team over the last four years.

This strength combined with the blazing speed he showed off in the 2013 combine; with an impressive 4.53 40-yard dash make him a great pick. He will most likely drop far enough into the first round for the Packers for their 26th round pick, and if not perhaps they can pull of drafting Mathieu in either the first or second round.

Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are both spectacular but neither of them are ready to be a number one receiver. With the addition of Greg Jennings they were able to thrive due to the extra coverage on his side, but with him gone things most likely wont go as well. The Packers haven’t been the only team with this problem though, the New England Patriots are in a similar situation after losing the speedy Wes Welker. Belichick managed to find a way to combat this lose with his two juggernauts at tight end, Gronk and Hernandez. For Aaron Rodger and company to remain a threat, they should follow suit by drafting Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert.

Combined with Jermichael Finley, Aaron Rodgers could use Eifert to tear up the inside of the field in a similar manor as Tom Brady. With some much firepower concentrated between the hashes by these two, it would most likely bring down the opposing teams safeties to help out allowing Cobb to show off his blinding speed and take the top off the defense.

After the success in New England with the two tight end set, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see other teams follow suit. One team that could yield tremendous results by taking the switch is the Packers. With the only other team in dire need of a tight end being the Falcons, who pick four spots after Green Bay, there shouldn’t be too much competition over Eifert.

With B.J. Raji on the defensive line, stopping the run becomes much easier for the rest of the team. Creating an effective pass rush however, falls more upon the shoulders of the defensive ends, who quite frankly haven’t been able to cut it. With CJ Wilson and Ryan Pickett as the outside rushers you wont be able to knock down the quarterback too many time. In fact if it weren’t for linebacker Clay Matthews the Packers sack count would be practically inexistent. The two ends accounted for tackles and only 2.5 sacks, 18 sacks less than what Texan J.J. Watt was able to account for by himself. When your players can’t get the job done it becomes a very easy business situation. Find someone who can.

If the Packers want to find someone that is able to put some extra pressure on quarterbacks by rushing off the edge than they should look no further than Bjoern Werner. This German native is an absolute machine, as a true freshman he was able to rack up 6 TFL and 3.5 sacks. Very impressive for someone who had just come out of a German national football team. After an upsetting pro day Werner saw his stock plummet pretty significantly, by no means however does this mean that he cannot play. Prior to his pro day, most analysts believed him to fly off the draft board early in the first round. This sub-par workout might be a blessing in disguise for the Packers if it allows him to drop low enough to be picked up by the gold and yellow.

Werner possesses the necessary skills to make himself an elite pass rusher while still having the size to fight off a block in the run game. After receiving the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award this year, Werner decided to forgo his final year at FSU and enter the draft. Should the Packers decide to go with a defensive end in the first round, the cheese head nation can only hope that he will bring his conference leading 13 sack type of play with him.

 Check out our other 2013 NFL Draft Team Capsules

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