The Green Bay Packers are just a few seasons removed from a Super Bowl title and seem again in contention for another title. Led by Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the superb coaching of Mike McCarthy, the Packers would like to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in front of the Faithful again after the 2013 season.
Between now and then, the Packers have some needs to fill. The Packers have lost a few valuable players the last couple of seasons due to age or injury. The retirements of the Wide Receiver Donald Driver and Center Jeff Saturday, the decision to part ways with Charles Woodson who’s logged time at both cornerback and Safety and has been a dynamic part of their defense for several years, and the loss of Wide Receiver Greg Jennings leaves the Packers with quite a few needs to fill. The Packers are hopeful that they can solidify their roster through the draft.
As always, a chance of a trade or two, but we’re not going to speculate about that here. Here’s how the Packers can get themselves back on track.
First Round, 26th Pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Packers have a significant need at Wide Receiver, and Allen comes out of the same offensive system at Cal that Quarterback Aaron Rodgers thrived in under Coach Jeff Tedford. When Tedford was fired at Cal, Rodgers came to his defense. Having Allen join him in the offensive set could fill a huge need while creating a natural match between a big play quarterback and a big play receiver.
Second Round, 55th Pick: Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia
Safety is significant need for the Packers this off-season, and Rambo’s off-field problems have dropped him from being a projected first round pick despite having combine numbers comparable to Jonathan Cyprien who is going late first/early second on many draft boards. Green Bay’s small town, tight-knit community might be just the environment under which Rambo can thrive and keep his off-field problems from continuing to be a problem, and if so, Rambo could be a force in the secondary at Lambeau Field for years to come.
Third Round, 88th Pick: Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State
The Packers could use some size on their defensive line and some more help on their pass rush. While a little short on height at 6’1”, Hill showed he could consistently get his way intothe backfield and get sacks and make big stops while at Penn State. An NFL training regimen could add some weight to his frame and have Hill in the faces of Quarterbacks and Tailbacks in the coming seasons.
Fourth Round, 122nd Pick: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
Gholston gives the Packers another weapon on the defensive line. His length will come in handy chasing down opposing quarterbacks and getting his hands on running backs trying to come around the end. The Packers showed that their defense could use some shoring up after the 49ers burned them with the read-option in the playoffs last year, and a quick pass rusher like Gholston might be just the man to keep running quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick honest.
Fifth Round, 159th Pick: Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
Aboushi combine numbers weren’t great, but his on-field play during his time at Virginia was. He's a great blocker on the pass rush, and in Green Bay’s spread offense that relies heavily on the pass, Aboushi can help shore up a thinning offensive line. His combine specs indicate he might be a bit of a project, but working with the Green Bay training staff shouldhelp him build his strength and allow him to become one of Aaron Rodgers’ best body guards.
Fifth Round, 167th Pick (Comp): Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt
Stacy’s 40 time isn’t blazing, but he did put up some pretty good numbers (over a thousand yards) in the SEC including a pretty good game against Auburn. Stacy has also shown somepass-catching abilities, and having a guy who can catch the ball out of the backfield has long been a key point in making Aaron Rodgers-driven offenses go.
Sixth Round, 193rd Pick: Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio State
A big tight end with some speed. Stoneburner has shown that he can contribute as both an inline blocker and a receiver, and proved to have good hands in goal line situations while at Ohio State. The Packers could use some depth at the Tight End position, and Stoneburner can provide just that.
7th Round, 232nd Pick: Travis Long, OLB, Washington State University
More depth on the pass rush. Long was an energetic pass rusher at Wazzu and a master of the multi-sack game and showed he had a real nose for the ball in recording several tackles for loss, forcing a fumble, and even intercepting a pass.
One thing is certain: Green Bay has some holes to fill. This year’s draft may go a long way toward filling them.