Posted by Mike Wendt on April 26, 2011 Jump To Comments
Just this past month, BrentFavre.com officially became one year old. Thanks to all the football fans who read the site regularly, you’re the reason why the blog is as strong as it is today. Because the site just passed the one year mark, I get a chance to title a column “2nd Annual”. Draft Day Needs was my first article on BrentFavre.com, and I’m happy that I get the chance to break down the Packers’ draft options once again.
Drafting in the 32nd spot is hands-down the best spot to pick in the draft because it means you’re team won the Super Bowl last season. It also means that your team likely doesn’t have a lot of holes that it needs to fill. Sure, the Packers would like to get younger on the offensive line, or draft a stud running back, but they could survive without drafting either. Last year I thought the Packers would draft cornerback Kyle Wilson assuming the best offensive linemen would already be off the board. When Bulaga fell to the Packers, they felt like they struck gold.
This year, there’s three possible scenarios for the Packers. First, they could stick to their gameplan and look towards an outside linebacker to compliment Clay Matthews, or once again get younger on the offensive line if Gabe Carimi or Anthony Castonzo fall to pick 32. Another possibility for the Packers is to simply draft the best player available. Every year, there’s one or two players who are expected to be mid-first round selections that fall to the second round. The Packers could see who’s sliding down the big board and grab a steal before Carolina gets back on the clock in the second round. Some scouts are saying Mark Ingram could fall out of the first round. I don’t believe it, because if he does make it to the last pick in the first round, I think Ted Thompson will pull the trigger on Ingram. Lastly, the Packers could trade down. At 32, they sit in front of a bunch of teams who desperately have holes to fill in the second round, so certain teams might try to trade up to the Packers’ spot before Carolina, Denver and Buffalo get back on the clock.
Honestly, I’d be fine with trading down. Ted Thompson has earned my trust on draft day, but for the sake of putting out a prediction let’s say the Packers stay where they are. With the 32nd pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select……..
Akeem Ayers – OLB, UCLA
Ayers is built just like Clay Matthews, and would be a perfect fit in the Packers’ 3-4 defensive scheme. Ayers is listed a 6-3, 254 pounds, and Matthews is listed on the Packers website as 6-3, 255 pounds. In three seasons at UCLA, Ayers racked up 183 tackles, 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles and six interceptions. Sounds like a playmaker to me. Ayers has fallen down some draft boards due to his 4.72 40-yard dash time at the combine, but he’s been described as a strong blitzer and a leader as a captain at UCLA. Others worry that he’s pretty raw and is not a finished product, but not many linebackers are finished products when they leave college and Ayers would benefit from learning from the best young outside linebacker in the game in Matthews. The Packers have depth at outside linebacker, but I don’t believe Erik Walden, Frank Zambo or Robert Francois are long term options for the club. If Ayers falls to the Packers at 32, I believe Ted Thompson will and another playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.
The Packers will also take a look at who’s available at offensive line. As I talked about in an earlier post, the Packers would be happy to land Tyson Smith, Anthony Castonzo or Gabe Carimi, but I don’t see those big guys falling all the way to the Packers. Of course, I misjudged the offensive lineman last year, so anything’s possible.
Thoughts on the draft? Who do you think the Packers are going to draft? As always, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me on Twitter @MikeWendt7. Be sure to check back this weekends as we recap the Packers’ draft and breakdown what it means for next season.