Draft Strategy: Safety First?

A first round or even a second draft choice should be capable of contributing immediately.  There may not even be NFL football in 2011 and that really hurts 4 key players for the Packers (Harris, Woodson, Tauscher, and Clifton).  This should make the Packers approach 2010 with even more urgency. Where do we need the most help immediately?  On the defense where our team can be beaten regardless of how well our offense is playing!  Our offensive line will be playing at the beginning of 2010 much like they were at the end of the 2009 season.  We clearly need a Left Offensive Tackle but we should not need him to start until an injury occurs.

The first priority should be upgrading the Safety position and I see this as well worth a first or second round draft choice.  Why?  Because we get a top quality player that is on the field for every down.   In fact, this player would be on the field even when Woodson and Harris are healthy and at their best.  Something you could not say about drafting a top quality cornerback.  There are no valid backups on the roster for either safety position.  In addition, it addresses our greatest defensive weakness, big play passes.

This argument depends on TT seeing a Safety as being available at the right time and all the other players available on the Packer draft board are rated roughly the same in capability/potential.  Overall, I would not be disappointed with rounds one and two being an OLB, CB, or an Offensive Tackle.  This year I wouldn’t even mind TT trading down in order to get three second round choices.  I see second rounders as better team players, still having excellent skills, and fewer ego issues.

Larry

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  • Packer’s Advocate

    I wouldn’t go to the bank then Rocky70, if I were you!!!!!! The “08″ team collapsed because they lost Jenkins and KGB and the abilty to mount any sort of consistant pass rush opposite Kampman and the run D suffered because of that also. Finishing the problem was the loss of Barnett and Bigby’s “barely there” injury filled year.

    “09″, last year, saw the same problem. W/o Kampman to mount a pass rush opposite CM3, the decent QB’s were able to defeat it. Then again, throw in the other injuries of Harris and some of the backup DB’s inuries and it’s “08″ all over again but to a bit of a lesser extent.

    I’ve been reading alot of articles spouting off about the O-line’s poor play (and the guy at Bleacher Report is an idiot, as far as I’m concerned). Most throw out the generic sack amount, but it was a season of two seperate O-lines. The one that was on the field at the end of the year, like it or not, was good enough to help put up 45? on a playoff team. The D allowed 51?.

    Now, Cliffy and Tausch are getting up there in years so we need to try and find a way to get a LT for the future and since there’s no way of knowing how injuries will play out, should Cliffy stay healthy and play really well all year, are you willing to come up a pass rush short, again next year? A 1st rd. LT on the bench or inserted in Cliffy’s spot will not outplay a fairly healthy Clifton.

    Now………. we’ve had back to back years of seeing what happens when a pass rush can’t be generated from both sides!!! You want you LT of the future or a LB (???) to compliment CM3 next year?????????????? And the S is not a bad idea either. Plays every down and a good one could cover up the field or a weak DB.

    In summation………………….. We didn’t lose because of our offense. We lost because of our defense.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    All that said…………. if one of those stud LT’s fall to TT like Rodgers did, you can be damn sure he’s gonna take him!!!! He’ll try to work on improving the pass rush another way then. Probably round 2.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Oppppps, mistake…………… take out the word “consistant” from the second line in my 1st post. That should be “mount any sort of pass rush”.

  • Rick

    Very good points PA, and ones that I happen to agree with.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Ditto……………….. We seem to be on the same page a bit Rick. I don’t follow the draft too close, but I’m thinking LB 1st and your choice of Kindle would fit that. Curious to see how your picks do. Hope you do well, as they are things the Packers need next year, though I can’t actually admit to knowing anything about Kindle or Cox. But I imagine TT does and if they’re good, he’ll snatch them up. Actually, I proposed a little draft game last year but it never grew any legs……….. Of course, then I had to keep in defense of TT and MM after that, yet some more. Some had trouble w/the fact that losing two of your top three pass rushers (both on the same side, at that) and the injuries down the center of your D w/the lose of Barnett and only a 60% Bigby to rely on could affect the year. After an almost perfectly healthy team made it to 13-3 the previous year, they just couldn’t understand how the Pack could fall to 6-10??????

  • jonnyfootballhero

    I would also like to see the Packers take an OLB high in the draft this year. But with the number of teams now playing a version of the 3-4, I seriously doubt that Kindle will be there at #23. There are a coulple of other OLB guys that I’ve been hearing good things about on Sirius NFL, but I don’t rembember their names at this time. I think the Pack will take one within the first two rounds.

  • Rick

    Jerry Hughes OLB should be there but he is a one trick pony. Pass rush yes, run stop and coverage are no.

  • Rocky70

    You guys are all going to be cry’in the blues if/when AR goes down after being pummeled game after game with a line consisting of lineman that are presently on the roster ……….. And you realize that the 2nd or 3rd round OL drafted is 2 or 3 years away from being a starter if ever ……….. A 1st round pick on the defensive side of the ball will not do squat to protect AR ………… I’ll say it one more time ………. This draft is all about protecting your ‘best player’ for the next several years ……….

    TT/MM didn’t even consider or look at any free agent OLineman (Except Cliffy & Tausch) ……….. This is a clue that they are relying on the draft almost exclusively to beef up the talent level on the OLine ………… It wouldn’t surprise me abit if both the 1st & 2nd round are offensive linemen …………. If Brad Jones can’t cut it in 2010 & Chillar, Popps or Thompson can’t do any better, then draft an OLB in 2011.

    If AR misses considerable time or goes down from the hits, I don’t care if Sergio has double-digit sacks, GB will be an 8-8 team.

  • Rick

    Rocky I agree that keeping AR upright is crucial to GB success. But these same men did a good job of that in the last half of the season. The best O line FA were Tauscher and Clifton and we kept them both. With Spitz signed on his RFA we are no wrose then the end of last year.

    We saw the Steelers game and the Playoff game. What happened? We suffered injuries that pulled us out of Capers scheme and we could move Woodson around. We need a solid OLB that can pass rush. Brad Jones was serviceable and did well in coverage but applied NO pressure. Could he this season, maybe. None of my film work shows that he can’t, he just does not have that quick burst speed I expect from a player in that role.

    I do say that TT might draft an OT, but I lean against that being the case.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Well Rock, I see what your saying. Question is is what gives a team a better chance to win a SB. I know you can win w/a Dilfer and a great D, but can you win it w/a great O and a decent D? In your thinking, I actually think we need two players then to get that dynamic offense. LT and a lightning fast/quick RB. To make a dynamic D I think it only takes one player (should get Harris back and maybe Lee can step up). Put another CM3 on the other side and the QB has ALOT more to worry about. They can double CM3 and a good QB can read the D for the blitz but put two guys out there who can beat one on one blocking and now they have to keep in two extra players to block. Then the DB’s will have less guys to cover. If they don’t keep in a couple extra to block, it’s pretty tough for a QB to watch the left and right right sides along w/a blitzer up the middle and his receivers all at the same time. You watched what happened last year when Barbre was at RT…. Either way, I don’t think just a decent D and a decent O allows a team to win a SB. Just my thinking……..

  • Larry

    Gotta response on Woodson to safety….he eventually ends up there to prolong his career its only a matter of time. The 5th or 6th tackle is not an option at 23…they’ll wait and get one in round 2. The OLB is a real possibility seeing how the draft is unfolding…they’ll be some strong candidates at 23. Bigby’s a problem…they really need a safety!

    Maybe TT will move up in rd 2 to snare the fallen OT early.

  • Rocky70

    With Peppers, Allen & even Vanden Bosch coming at AR in 2010 & you guys are content with a 34-year old LT who’s got more stitches in him than Frankenstein’s monster or a 33-year old RT whom the press ridiculously dubbed as the OL’s savior in 2009 ………… Can anyone tell me at this point who the back-up LT & RT will be in season 2010 ??? ………….. Who believes Cliffy & Tausch will start & play 16 games ???

    2009 payoff teams were led by the following QBs ………… Brees, Warner, Romo, McNabb, BF & AR in the NFC ………… Rivers, P. Manning, Palmer, Flacco, Brady & Sanchez in the AFC ……….. If any of these QBs had gone down for a substantial amount of time in 2009 that teams’ playoff chances would have been severely diminished or gone entirely ( Except Sanchez & the Jets ) ……….. What does this signify? ………. The NFL is a QB driven league ………. The rules have changed in recent years to highlight the QB ………. Protecting your “elite QB” (if you have one) is top priority …………

    All the comments here have merit but this draft has to be tailored to increasing the odds that AR will stay upright in 2010 ………. It’s not just sacks, it’s QB hits ……….. Barbre, Breno, Colledge, Dietrich-Smith & even Spitz as depth is crazy ………. Especially with Cliffy & Tausch past their prime & injury prone ……….. Put down your ‘Fantasy Football Spreadsheets’ …………. The upcoming draft is the “real NFL”.

  • Rick

    Rocky- Everyone agrees with you that a solid O line keeps a QB intact. A great QB that is not hurried dominates in the league.

    You also must admit a solid defense keeps you in more games then a dominate offense. You can look to the Steelers and Cardinals playoff game for proof to that. Our dominate offense could not produce wins we needed defensive stops that we could not get.

    What I am saying is simple, in the draft at the end of round one there probably will not be a dominate O tackle available but there should be a fairly dominate defensive player that fits our system and what we do.

    If we draft an O lineman in the spot we are not doing ourselves harm. TT and MM know our players health issues far better then we do.

    So value in the draft especially in round one is crucial and that is why I see a defense draft pick instead of offense.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    I agree w/Rick, Rocky. I’ll even bet you a whole sentence of humble pie on it, to be paid after the draft!!!! Unless Okung, Bulaga or Williams fall to them I don’t see it, Brown has turned some teams off and Campbell doesn’t have much film and TT/MM know we need D.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Has anyone heard anything on the Williams’ case? It’s been two and a half years for Christ’s sake. I can’t help but believe that the NFL is laying down on this since one of their favorites (Butt Farve) is playing for them.

  • Rick

    The Federal judge ruled yesterday that the state court can rule in the matter which means no decision probably by this season.

    The issue should be challenged by the players union so a uniform anti doping rule to protect its members can be in place.

    We will see.

  • Rick

    Also a draft update. Alex Brown signs with Saints to play right side DE.
    So the wheel turns.

    #32 Saints Brandon Price, DT UCLA – was E. Griffon

    Round Two
    #4 Chiefs Everson Griffin, DE USC -was J. Hughes
    #13 Broncos Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB TCU -was Brandon Price
    A chance that Tyson Aluala, DT California is drafted instead by the Broncos.

  • Rocky70

    All I can say is ……….

    ” Send in the clowns ……….. They’re already here. ”

    As Vitale would say ……….” OL all the way, baby! “

  • Rick

    :) You are a nut Rocky

  • Rocky70

    No matter what TT/MM decide to do come draft day, I concede ………. Although I believe the focus should be OL, I do trust TT/MM to have a better idea than I could possibly have ………… The draft is ‘pure crapshoot’ at all positions including OL ………. Joe Thomas was a sure thing ………. No OL appears in that category in 2010.

    Per Rick:

    ” You also must admit a solid defense keeps you in more games then a dominate offense. ”

    I’d like to believe this but the rule changes over the last few years have tilted the playing field strongly to the offensive side & increased scoring …….. This is TV & Fan driven ………… What’s the game to watch ………… A 13 – 10 nailbiter or a 41 -38 nailbiter ? ………… Even the new OT rules promote more scoring.

    Get used to it …….. It’ll be this way until the pendulum swings again.