Since the Packers’ season ended in such a disappointing way three weeks ago, the voice of the fans and media seem to indicate that if the Packers are not going to waste the career of Aaron Rodgers, they need to spend big in free agency this year. I sure wish it was that simple.
Not that I don’t think we need help, but there are not very many proven starters available in free agency. This year has one for sure in Lions’ defensive end Cliff Avril, who is unlikely to re-sign in Detroit. There is another one in wide receiver Greg Jennings, who appears to have no interest in returning to the Packers at any price.
There are some guys that could provide immediate upgrades. Like offensive tackles Ryan Clady or Andre Smith. A safety like Jairus Byrd could help ease the loss of Charles Woodson should they choose to go that route. A guy like defensive lineman Henry Melton might bring some pass rush back to the d-line.
Of course, for every one of those guys there are guys like the Packers swung on and missed at last year in Anthony Hargrove, Phillip Merling and Daniel Muir. Running back Cedric Benson was a bust as well.
I think Thompson needs to step up his draft game. The Packer have gotten hardly anything out of their last two draft classes, this past year’s was better than 2011, but nothing from the first round pick in either. That pick is the one that makes or breaks a draft and while jury is still out, they are looking like wasted picks right now. Throw in Justin Harrell and Thompson’s first-round record doesn’t look so hot.
I would rather see the Packers move up in the draft or even just garner another first rounder somehow. It looks like the Packers will have to take an offensive lineman in the first round so maybe with an extra pick they can grab a guy like Montee Ball and not feel bad about it.
It may be a critical offseason off the field for the Packers, but it will also be a critical offseason in the locker room. The leadership everybody thought was present I don’t think is there, or if it is, it is divided. The “we’re nobody’s underdog” mentality is good, but can lead to overconfidence, both on the field and in those acquiring the talent.
The Packers need Thompson to hit it big again like he did in 2009 with Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji. I like Thompson’s chances better in the draft. I would like to see the risk taken there.