Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State: Many Packers fans may have been disappointed after this pick. The Packers already have 5 talented receivers who, by Coach McCarthy’s admission, could be starters on any team in the NFL. That being said, I can tell you exactly what Ted Thompson was tyring to do here. He wanted to be able to get an extra pick and still get CB Brandon Flowers, who would have been a reach in the first round. However, Flowers went right before the Packers picked, which probably set the Packers war room scrambling.
But don’t despair Packers fans. Nelson is actually a great pick. He’s an incredibly hard-working and versatile athlete. He played QB in high school (and he can still show off his arm on trick plays), then played at defensive back his first two years in college, and then finally transitioned to a receiver. He’s also a dangerous kick returner. He’s got pretty good size, not just vertically, but horizontally. He’s got a wide, strong frame that will allow him to get good position on defenders, and he’s got great hands. Ted Thompson has proven himself adept at drafting talented, relatively unknown wide receivers. See Greg Jennings and James Jones. And then add Jordy Nelson to that list.
Jordy Nelson Highlight Video:
Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville: The Packers dropped quite a bombshell by picking Louisville QB Matt Ryan with the #56 pick. In terms of value, it was an outstanding pick. But it does raise an unsettling question. Is there doubt about Aaron Rodgers? Hopefully not. This pick is probably a very good insurance policy. If Rodgers is hurt, we’ve got a great young quarterback to step in. If Rodgers performs extremely well and holds out for an absurd contract, well, Brohm can step in. If Rodgers is injured, Brohm can step in. Brohm was the second best quarterback in the draft. Sorry, Joe Flacco. No matter how you look at this pick, it was a steal.
Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn: Thompson finally adressed Green Bay’s need at quarterback. And he did a pretty good job given the fact that all the corners seemed to go right before Green Bay was on the clock. Patrick Lee is a great cover corner. He is very fast and instinctive. Lee can be physical, but he has not yet proven that he can play with the play-to-play physicality of a bump-and-run defense. With the proper coaching, Patrick Lee could develop into a premier defensive back.
Recap: While Green Bay fans might be disappointed that the Packers traded out of the first round, there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about the results of the first day of the ’08 draft. The Packers found first-round talent in quarterback Brian Brohm, and may have found a real gem of a wide receiver in sleeper Jordy Nelson. Additionally, Green Bay addressed their needs at cornerback by selecting Auburn’s Patrick Lee, a solid player.
What to look for on Day 2: The Packers will likely want to address their needs at offensive line and tight end. A backup running back wouldn’t hurt either. There’s a lot of talent that has slipped past Day 1, and if any of the really gifted athletes are still available when the Packers pick again, it would be in their best interest to go after them, regardless of positional needs.