Round 1: DT Justin Harrell out of Tennessee. The crowd erupted in boos when the Packers took Harrell. With two great receivers available in Robert Meachem and Dwayne Bowe to help Favre, no one was thinking Harrell would go this early. Coming off an injury, Harrell may have been a Top 10 pick if he’d remained healthy. GM Ted Thompson is clearly taking a very measured approach to this draft. In his eyes, with Marshawn Lynch gone and a lot of depth at the receiver position, Harrell was the guy to go with because he was one of the few good DT’s left. Harrell could end up being a huge success if he can help Ryan Pickett stuff the run. Then again, he might not come off of his injury as Thompson is hoping. Thomspon is obviously looking to build a powerhouse defense to win games instead of an explosive offense. After all, defense wins championships.
See a highlight video of Justin Harrell here.
Round 2: After trading away the 15th second round pick to the New York Jets in exchange for the 31st second rounder, the Packers raised more eyebrows by picking the Nebraska’s Brandon Jackson. Projected as a late third-rounder, Ted Thompson chose instead to take him in the late second round. These two picks will be scrutinized heavily, and Thompson had better hope that they turn out well, or disgruntled fans will be calling for his firing (Oh, wait, they already are).
That being said, Brandon Jackson does have some upside. He has good vision, a definite plus in the zone-blocking scheme which the Packers have implemented. He also shows good burst and has great agility. In short, he can make guys miss. But he’s also had problems with fumbles and injuries. He actually looks a lot like Ahman Green in his strengths and weaknesses. Ted Thompson is clearly taking some risks in this draft, going against what conventional wisdom would tell him to do. He probably should have gone with the faster Lorenzo Booker in this situation, but maybe Ted knows something we don’t.
Round 3: WR James Jones, San Jose State.
With yet another questionable pick, the Packers go with James Jones over Steve Breaston and Aundrae Allison at receiver. What the Pack really needed was a deep threat. They chose the opposite. Jones will do better with slant routes and short passes. Jones has quickness, but doesn’t have a lot of speed on deep routes (a 4.54 forty). Jones could very well develop into a good #3 receiver, even a #2 if given enough time. But he probably would have been available when the Packers selected later, and this doesn’t look like an outstanding pick.
Highlight video of James Jones
Round 3: S Aaron Rouse may turn out to be the smartest pick Ted Thompson made on the first day. And it wasn’t even a superb pick. Good: yes, great: in terms of value, yes, oustanding: no. Aaron Rouse has tremendous upside. His first 3 years at Virginia Tech were spectacular, but in his senior year he hit a serious slump. He redeemed himself somewhat with a stellar performance in the Senior Bowl, but he’s still a risk. Rouse is incredible against the run, and does reasonably well against the pass as well. However, especially in the aforementioned senior season, he has had problems being in the right place at the right time. He’s going to need to adapt quickly if he’s going to be successful on the big stage.
Click here for the highlights.