DRAFTwatch: Time to get serious about first-round options

After an unexpectedly successful 2007 campaign, the Packers ended up with the thirtieth pick in the NFL Draft.  With April fast approaching and the NFL combine beginning this weekend, the Packers need to start deciding their strategy for the draft.  We’re getting serious about the draft as well, and we will begin posting our thoughts and expectations of the draft, beginning with this post.

 Green Bay has very few serious needs to address.  The cornerback position is the only obvious need, with a pair of talented but aging corners in Al Harris and Charles Woodson.  Harris in particular choked in big games against the Cowboys and the Giants last season, and while I still think he is a solid starter, it is time to start grooming a replacement.  The top corners in the draft look to be Leodis McKelvin out of Troy State, Mike Jenkins out of USF, Arizona’s Antoine Cason, and Kansas’ Aqib Talib.  Also, a little-known player from the little-known school of Tennessee State has been skyrocketing up the draft boards.  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was impressive in the Senior Bowl and he is being projected by some as maybe even being the second or third corner taken.  I am of the opinion, however, that Rodgers-Cromartie’s stock will fall closer to its previous level if he fails to match his spectacular Senior Bowl performance in the combine.  Also, Jenkins and McKelvin will probably be gone long before the Packers pick.  That leaves Antoine Cason, Aqib Talib, and maybe Rodgers-Cromartie as potential options when the Pack is on the clock.  To me, there’s not much of a difference between these players, but if forced to choose I’d take Rodgers-Cromartie because of his blazing 4.38 40.

After the first-round, I think the Packers can afford to adopt a best-player-available strategy because there are no other real needs for the Packers (some point to the O-line as a weakness, but the last thing it needs is more young players struggling to learn the system mid-season).

That’s it for this edition of DRAFTwatch.  Check back in March when we will be posting the first of our mock drafts.

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