Best player available? Only if he plays defense

The Green Bay Packers finished last year with the worst pass defense in NFL history. To fix the problem the Packers are counting on a couple of middle-tier free agents and tomorrow’s NFL Draft. While general manager Ted Thompson always says he drafts the best player available most of the time he does in fact address certain needs. The Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji picks are recent examples, even the pick of Derek Sherrod last year was a need pick given the age of Chad Clifton. This year the Packers need is defense, and that is what I expect the Packers to target.

If Thompson picks any offensive player in the first round he will be hurting the team. There is no position on offense that warrants a first-round pick. Period. The Packers have one of the best offenses in the league and last year did it with a makeshift offensive line for much of the season. I could see grabbing some depth on the line in the middle rounds but that is about it.

My preference for number one would be outside linebacker. While you never are going to find another Clay Matthews, guys like Nick Perry and Shea McClellin are certainly better than anybody on the roster right now. I also wouldn’t have a problem with a defensive lineman who can play end and keep Raji at nose tackle full time. The one thing they need from either position is additional pass rush. Opposing quarterbacks felt no pressure last year when Matthews was double-teamed and taken out of the play.

With the release of Nick Collins today and the age of Charles Woodson, the Packers need help in the secondary as well. Can’t see anything doing there in the first round but certainly some opportunities to be had later on.

So, all three areas on defense need shoring up and the Packers have 12 picks. I hope at least 8 of those picks are on the defensive side. Maybe grab a couple of lineman, a pass catching tight end and a quarterback on offense. Should be an interesting weekend. Can the Packers reload in one year and get back to the Super Bowl? We’ll know a lot more come Sunday.

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