Grades are in for Packers' draft

Here is how some major media outlets graded the Green Bay Packers 2003 NFL draft:<p>

CBS.Sportsline.com: Best pick: Getting Ohio State defensive end Kenny Peterson in the third round was a steal. They traded up to get him, and it will prove to be a good move.

Worst pick: Fifth-round pick James Lee (Oregon State defensive tackle) looks the part, but the production hasn't been there; he was a backup most of his college career.

Reach: Some will say they reached for first-round pick Nick Barnett, but the Oregon State linebacker is just what the defense needed.

Comment: They wanted to get faster on defense. By taking Barnett and Peterson, they did just that. Grade: B-

Dallas Morning News: The Packers had to reach in the first on a picked-over defensive board to find a linebacker worthy of selection. Then the lack of a second-and fourth-rounder prevented the Packers from building any momentum. Grade: D

ESPN.com: Notable: Everyone assumed this would be the draft in which the Packers addressed the specter of an eventual life without Brett Favre, but the club never really considered a quarterback in the first round. Truth be told, this is a team starting to fade a bit, still good enough to win 10 games in 2003, but with some holes. Not having a second-round choice, which went to the Eagles in the trade for cornerback Al Harris nearly two months ago, really hurt the Packers over the weekend.

Will start as a rookie: Given that Green Bay is rebuilding is linebacker corps, it's hard to imagine first-rounder Nick Barnett not being in the lineup. He's the only prospect with a chance of getting really considerable playing time as a rookie, although third-rounder Kenny Peterson could fit into the front four rotation.

Best value: Peterson is definitely better than a third-rounder, but was hurt by his inability to finish a 40-yard drill because of hamstring problems. The guy people really love is linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (No. 5), who might never be anything more than a career backup, but who is smart, will play on special teams and find a way to make himself a decent player.

Boom or bust: You hate to say it about anyone's first round, but since Barnett is such a late-bloomer, you have to view him with a jaundiced eye until he demonstrates that he is the real deal. Grade: C-

USA Today: Brett Favre's successor wasn't selected in this draft after all. This draft was about defense, starting with the first college LB taken off the board in Nick Barnett. DE Kenny Peterson slid to third round, as Pack used their first four draftees to shore up the defense. Grade: 3 stars out of five

The Sporting News: Getting DT Kenny Peterson in the third round makes this a pretty good draft for the Pack. They filled a need with LB Nick Barnett in the first.

NFL.com: This is another rising guy. It's a surprise pick in the sense that other linebackers are still on the board. I know the defensive coordinator in Green Bay, Ed Donatell, is very specific about the players in his scheme, and I am sure Barnett has those qualities. It definitely meets a need for the Packers, and he will team up with Hannibal Navies. Pat Kirwan's analysis of Green Bay's top pick, Nick Barnett.


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