Thoughts on the Packers' Draft
1. Have we heard of the pick?
2. Does he play a position our team needs to improve?
Based on these two parameters, it is easy to predict how a team's fan base will react to any given pick. The math goes like this:
1. Heard of the pick + Fills a need = Fans cheer
2. Haven't heard of pick + Fills a need = Fans cautiously optimistic
3. Heard of the pick + Doesn't fill a need = Fans split
4. Haven't heard of the pick + Doesn't fill a need = Fans angry, swear words utilized.
Justin Harrell falls into category #4, which is why Ted Thompson is taking an absolute beating on some of the message boards. Packer fans are angry and confused, since they had fallen in love with Marshawn Lynch, and because Harrell had been projected a few picks lower. As a group, we're a little tired of Thompson drafting like he knows something that nobody else does.
But a lot of these fans also wanted the Packers to draft Brady Quinn, which would have been an absolute disaster. And why did they like Quinn? Well, because he was on TV every week. He must be good.
As Ron Smith in Whitefish Bay wrote:
"Thompson should be fired immediatley for his incompentence and inability to pick marquee names."(Not sure how many "marquee names" were available at #16. Maybe Thompson could have taken Troy Smith there - he won the Heisman, after all!)
Incidentally, name recognition isn't always bad. At the time, I mocked Packer fans for insisting that the Packers take Chris Chambers over Robert Ferguson just because he played for the UW. As it turns out, they were right.
On the other hand, there were teams (like Cleveland), who were angling to move up to take Quinn. It would be interesting to see if they called the Packers and what they offered for the 16th pick. They gave Dallas their #1 pick in 2008 and a second rounder this year for the 22nd - they should have given up a little more for the 16th. I would have been happier with that scenario than Harrell. But who knows.
As for the other guys they took, I'm obviously happy they took a couple of Virginia Tech guys. I watch a lot of Hokie games, and I have always hoped Rouse would someday be a Packer. Of course, I wish that for any good Tech player, as I am hopelessly biased. I think Clowney is going to be good, too - he had a pretty shaky QB in college, and he has some talent. Could end up being like Ernest Wilford, who was drafted out of Tech pretty late and is now a solid receiver for Jacksonville.
I'm not really bothered that the Packers didn't end up with a big name running back. Aside from the truly elite, most RBs in the league are fairly interchangeable. I mean, Samkon Gado looked like an all-pro running behind a good offensive line. And since the Packers' line was really coalescing well at the end of the year last season, I have faith that they'll be able to find someone that can run the ball.
As for the Randy Moss situation, I'm certain it's more complicated than a lot of message board posters are making it out to be. Any team that traded for Moss would have to renegotiate his contract, plus he said he wanted to play for a Super Bowl contender. That pretty much means he could refuse to go to teams that he didn't want to play for, by refusing to re-negotiate. Plus, any team that traded for him would end up paying him a boatload of money - which is why the Raiders unloaded him for a 4th rounder. Sure, they don't get much back, but they also don't have to pay him now. That being said, when I found out that the Patriots had traded for Moss, it felt like I got a punch to the stomach. My daughter told me to stop yelling at the TV.
Depending on the status of Koren Robinson, who the Packers could re-sign before next year, maybe Thompson thought he had enough receivers for the time being. You may remember Brett Favre sticking up for Robinson after the NFL barred him from contact with the team during his suspension - that certainly may have been a move by Favre to convince Robinson to re-sign with the Pack.
I'm as willing as anyone to just crush the Packers for having a bad draft. I thought Ted Thompson's 2005 draft was an abomination for which he should be hauled before an international tribunal in the Hague for war crimes. But this one, I think we need to wait and see.