Sunday, April 27, 2008

And so it ends...

The Packers just traded away their final pick, a 7th round draft choice, number 237, in exchange for the New Orleans Saints 6th round draft pick next year. Not a bad swap, and it brings Packer fans to the end of the road, draft-wise. (Though it'll be interesting to see what free agents the team signs in the next few days.)

The headline pick today is obviously a second quarterback-- LSU's national championship winning Matt Flynn. Sure, two QBs in one class is odd, but hell, why not take him? Flynn fails on both of the readily available predictive stats (completion percentage and games started), but he's made some nice throws, was an excellent college player and a good runner. Now at least the Packers can release those two random dudes who are taking up space on the team's roster, pretending to be NFL quarterbacks. (My apologies to Dalton Bell and Jerry Babb; it's nothing personal.) He was a seventh round pick. That late in the draft, why not take flyers on guys with some potential, but a high chance of doing nothing? It's just a seventh round draft pick, after all.

That's also my opinion of Brett Swain, the Packers' other 7th rounder. He's another Caucasian wide receiver, this time from San Diego State. Who knows if he'll turn out, but he's big and fast. Might as well give him a shot.

What's more serious and probably more important for the team in the long run, are the additions in the earlier rounds. The team addressed areas that need competition and improvement, like offensive line, tight end, and defensive end, with guys that look like they have a lot of potential.

There's the hilariously named Jermichael Finley, who looks like a very solid prospect out of Texas. Finley left after three years, and had a bunch of big games last year, including over 100 yards receiving against Oklahoma. He's 6'4", 240, has soft hands, and can move. Good stuff. Plus, since he's from Texas, you know he has natural ability. True enough, according to Rivals, Finley was the number 6 tight end prospect out of high school his senior year. That kid is raw, but he reeks of potential. As Kiper said, had he stayed another year and gotten more consistent, he would have been a first rounder. It's great that we're getting a guy with that kind of ceiling, especially at a position where we have a solid starter in Donald Lee.

Then there's Jeremy Thompson, brother of Packer back-up tackle Orrin Thompson--a big fast, mobile, smart, physical end from Wake Forest. Not much in the way of sack stats, but Wake Forest plays a funky defensive scheme. And the kid had a 60+ yard interception return for a touchdown-- as a d-lineman. Sounds good to me. Sign him up. The more athletic and sizeable defensive linemen the better. Put some pressure on KGB and Cullen Jenkins to get better.
And then the offensive linemen started rolling in. A tackle from Central Florida, Josh Sitton, who's expected to jump right into the guard competition, and an enormous (6'7" 300#) long-term right tackle prospect in the Massachusetts-by-way-of-Brazil Breno Giacomini from Louisville-- another talented athlete who needs more seasoning. Great. Tauscher probably has another couple decent years left. I like it. Bring it on.

This Packers draft reeks of long-term thinking, promoting competition, and the mixture of commitment to the BPA (best player available) with a realistic balancing of needs. For a mostly young team, I love it. This is a thinking man's draft. Competition at guard, end, and receiver, possible successors at corner and tackle, legitimately talented back-ups to A-Rodg. I'm into all of it. Congratulations to Ted and the scouting staff. Now get em' signed and coach em' up, McCarthy!

No comments: