upgrades are needed, and how big those needs are. While GM Ted Thompson doesn’t use free agency as a
primary way of acquiring players, he’s shown a willingness to fill significant needs with free agents for the right
price (Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Cedric Benson, Jeff Saturday). With mock drafts being plentiful this
time of year, I didn’t include any specific prospects that the Packers may target, as Thompson drafts are a little
unpredictable and he’s the kind of GM that prefers to draft the best player available. So without further ado, let’s
break down the offense.
- Aaron Rodgers
- Graham Harrell
- BJ Coleman
see time if Rodgers is hurt, but frankly we don’t really know what he is. There’s not really much information to
be gleaned from a handful of preseason performances (some good, some bad) and scant regular season
snaps. No one knows Harrell better than the team, and they’ve been committed to him as the backup. That
pretty much tells me all I need to know. Coleman is a strong-armed project who’ll need to make some big
strides to even make the regular season roster, much less usurp Harrell.
Could they upgrade at backup QB? Sure. But I don’t think the upgrade is really worth paying someone like Matt
Cassel or Jason Campbell a few million dollars when the money could be better spent extending Rodgers or
Raji. They could hypothetically draft someone, but they spent a pick on Coleman in 2012 and they have more
pressing needs elsewhere. Need: Low
|Aaron Rodgers and a sandwich.|
- Alex Green
- DeJuan Harris
- James Starks
- Cedric Benson (FA)
- Ryan Grant (FA)
- Brandon Saine
point, but it’s hard to commit to any of them. Benson and Grant are probably gone, and rightfully so. Saine is
redundant with Green around, and Starks looks like he’s regressed. Harris closed out the season really well,
and is probably a lock to return. Green isn’t great at anything but decent at everything, and the team could do
worse if he’s the third back. Other than those two, I don’t see any of these guys returning.
Steven Jackson and Ahmad Bradshaw are high profile free agents, but Jackson has a lot of miles on him and
Bradshaw has chronic foot problems. Reggie Bush is an intriguing option, but is likely to be overpaid and
defines the word “inconsistent”. Rashard Mendenhall and Shonn Greene are awful. Unless DeAngelo Williams
is cut by the Panthers, none of the free agents are either good fits or worth what they’ll be paid. The draft is fairly
deep with talented backs, and I’d rather the team draft a couple guys in the middle round than spend big
bucks on an aging player. Either way, the team needs to at least find someone to platoon with Harris
- John Kuhn
- Greg Jennings (FA)
- Jordy Nelson
- James Jones
- Randall Cobb
- Jarrett Boykin
- Jeremy Ross
- Donald Driver (Retired)
won’t miss Jennings’ route running and big play ability, but the trio of Nelson, Jones, and Cobb is good enough to get them to the promised land. Boykin is a strange case in that he’s pretty much a latecareer version of
Driver; not fast or particularly adept at getting separation, but has great hands, is a willing blocker, and runs
routes well enough. Ross made some big plays as a returner (and on very bad one), and could very well take
over the returning duties from Cobb full time.
This is a ludicrously good free agent crop at wide receiver, but short of bringing back Jennings it seems highly
unlikely the Packers will sign anyone. Ted Thompson has a history of bringing in tons of undrafted free agent
types, and I wouldn’t be against using a mid to late round pick on a receiver. Anything else seems like folly.
- Jermichael Finley
- Andrew Quarless
- DJ Williams
- Ryan Taylor
- Tom Crabtree
- Brandon Bostick
and can get open, but has bad hands and his blocking is below average. Defenses devote a lot of attention to
him due to his ability, which presents some additional value. There’s been rumors for months that he’ll be cut,
but unless the team finds an upgrade it’s probably a bad idea. None of the backups are starting material.
Crabtree and Williams can block a little but both have awful hands (even worse than Finley, believe it or not).
Quarless can’t stay on the field. Taylor is a great blocker but isn’t much of an athlete. Bostick is alive, I guess.
The free agency class is fairly deep. Jared Cook is going to get paid in a big way. Tony Gonzalez will either
retire or return to Atlanta. Martellus Bennett and Delanie Walker are Jermichael Finley’s spirit brothers. Dallas
Clark is done. Brandon Myers, Dustin Keller, and Fred Davis are all pretty interesting. Davis and Keller are good receivers that have some injury concerns. Myers had a great year in Oakland and is a terrific blocker with good
hands, and due to the free agent depth could be had at a good price. He’s the only guy I’d be willing to actively
pursue, most everyone else is very flawed or will cost too much. Like running back, the draft pool is deep and a
contributor could easily be found in the early to mid rounds.
- Marshall Newhouse
- Bryan Bulaga
- Derek Sherrod
- Andrew Datko
- Don Barclay
- Kevin Hughes
marginally so. Bulaga is pretty good (aside from the Seattle nightmare) but is coming off an injury, and Sherrod
is a total wild card who is also recovering from injury. Barclay filled in admirably but has a long way to go as a
pass blocker. Datko is a development guy. None of the starters are bad, but none have shown real dominance
The free agent class has some whoppers. Jake Long, Sebastian Vollmer, Eric Winston, and Andre Smith are
all franchise tackles or close to it. Jermon Bushrod, Phil Loadholt, Sam Baker, Gosder Cherilus, Bryant
McKinnie, and Ryan Harris are solid starters, but if I’m spending money on this position it would have to be a
significant upgrade. Long and Vollmer are intriguing to me and I would fully support spending money on either
one, as both are big upgrades and are young and talented enough to be worth it. Once again, the draft is deep
at tackle and the second and third rounds should be loaded with starting level talent. It seems more likely
Thompson will target players in the draft but a splurge on a free agent wouldn’t be an awful plan either.
- TJ Lang
- Josh Sitton
- Evan Dietrich Smith
- Greg Van Roten
- Garth Gerhart
- Joe Gibbs (?!)
and Dietrich Smith is solid at center. Depth is an issue, though EDS, Lang, and Roten are all versatile players.
The free agent class is decent, but I wouldn’t really consider any of them. Ted generally drafts a couple bodies a
year and was able to find EDS, Barclay, and Roten as UFAs, so that seems like the most likely route to finding
depth. Need: Low
Part 2, defense is being worked on as we speak. Stay tuned for that.
Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.
- Jerry Eldred (@jheldred)
- Jerry Eldred (@jheldred)
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