Packers' Plot Thickens as Draft Approaches

Through hours of detective work and countless conversations, here's what Packer Report publisher Bill Huber has gleaned about the state of the Packers' draft plans with the first round just 19 days away.

On Twitter the other day, someone — in so many words — questioned why I waste my time tracking the Green Bay Packers' scouts on the pro day circuit.

Being at a pro day doesn't mean the team is interested in anyone in particular, was the crux of his comment.

Well, yes and no. They sure as heck aren't flying a scout to Burning Stump University for the sake of getting more frequent-flier miles.

This time of year, I go from full-time writer to full-time detective. I won't BS you: I don't have all the answers. Heck, I don't have a fraction of the answers. But every once in a while, I find a red-hot trail.

I'm sworn to secrecy on this so am leaving out the player's name and changing a few of the minor facts.

Last month, the Packers sent one of their top scouts to a pro day that not only didn't feature any draft-worthy prospects but probably didn't even have any camp-worthy bodies. It's a bad football program, to say the least.

So why on earth were the Packers wasting their time?

Then the answer came. The Packers weren't scouting anyone from "Burning Stump" but they were interested in a player from another school who was taking part in the "Burning Stump" pro day.

OK, that makes sense.

That's where the trail got really hot. A couple of weeks earlier, that player's school hosted a pro day. The Packers, my records showed, weren't at that pro day. However, through another conversation, I learned the Packers sent in a scout to work out that player before he was put through his paces in front of the rest of the teams. Essentially, the scout swooped in and out of town with the stealthiness of a Navy Seal.

Before that, there was a Scouting Combine interview, as well as an interview at an all-star game.

All of this for a player who, at best, could be a player Green Bay will target in the third round and isn't a so-called "position of need."

With all of that as a backdrop, here's what I think I know with just less than three weeks until the Packers are on the clock in the first round. If you're looking for names, you'll be disappointed. Trust me, I have names, but I'm walking the fine line of telling you information and not sabotaging the draft plans of the team you know and love. I hope you understand.

Outside linebacker

This is an obvious, no-brainer need, and the Packers are searching high and low. Of the top prospects, the only pro day the Packers skipped was that of Marshall's Vinny Curry. What that means, I honestly do not know. Meanwhile, they've been at every other pro day, it seems, from FCS-level players Adrian Hamilton and Ryan Davis to under-the-radar big-school players like SMU's Taylor Thompson and Vanderbilt's Tim Fugger. That's just to name a few.

Ideally, the Packers will get their guy in the first round. Trust me on this, they have their guy if he gets within striking distance. A source on Friday told me of another player who appears to be their backup plan. By April 29, when the undrafted free agent frenzy has ended, don't be surprised if the Packers have added three or four outside linebackers. And by Sept. 1, I wouldn't be shocked if Clay Matthews and only one or two of the five holdovers remain on the roster.


The Packers are searching high and low here, too, to find a quality developmental prospect. My hunch is they'll strike with one of their three fourth-round picks. Again, no naming of names, other than one source said the Packers have been all over one prospect like he's the "only girl on the dance floor."

If their midround targets are gone, look for the Packers to strike late. Similar to the player that we led off this piece with, the Packers have seen this quarterback twice on the pro day circuit — including at one pro day in which the host school didn't have any NFL-worthy players.

Extra points

— The safety class isn't very good. Alabama's Mark Barron will be long gone in the first round. I admittedly have no insight on what the Packers think of Notre Dame's Harrison Smith, but he fits their mold as a two-way safety. My feeling, though, is they draft a cornerback and move him to safety.

— I could be totally wrong on this, but I don't think the Packers are as worried about their defensive line as most fans. Yes, the Packers missed Cullen Jenkins, but playmaking defensive linemen aren't a necessity in the scheme. Matthews, another outside linebacker, B.J. Raji and Anthony Hargrove is a big upgrade over Matthews, Erik Walden, Raji and Jarius Wynn. That doesn't mean they won't draft this nose tackle.

— The online guy with the New England Patriots put together a beat writers mock draft. With Green Bay, I selected Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler as the Packers' center-of-the-future. NFL Draft Report scout Dave-Te' Thomas profiled Zeitler for us earlier in the week and has given us exclusive access to the 40-page scouting report that is sent to NFL teams. We will be running that this weekend. Not only is it informative and in-depth, but it provides some insight into the life of a scout and why we are incredibly lucky to have Dave-Te' onboard for a second consecutive year.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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