The Packers now have seven overall picks as they were awarded two additional compensatory picks by the NFL this last week. Green Bay now has picks in each of the first five rounds, plus the extra picks in the fifth and one in the seventh.
Who the Packers will select in the draft is still a question as the team will most likely sign a couple of free agents before the draft. CB Charles Woodson might be a Packer by this time next week. If not Woodson, than possibly CB Ahmed Plummer. LB Barrett Green has been mentioned as a possibility. LB Nick Greisen is still out there as well.
The Packers continue to wait for Brett Favre to give his official confirmation that he will be coming back for the 2006 season. I am firmly convinced that Favre will return. Favre last week sent some not-so-subtle hints to General Manager Ted Thompson to be aggressive in upgrading the talent on the roster. Favre said, "I still feel like I can play at a high level and obviously the Packers do, too, or they wouldn't be concerned about my decision," Favre said. "But there are some things I have to sort out. There are some things I'm looking for in the team and what they're trying to do. I guess if those don't come together, I guess I won't play. It's just kind of wait and see."
If that's the case, then Brett is going to LOVE this draft.
My selections are not to make Favre happy. Football is a three part sport - offense, defense and special teams. The good teams are solid in all three areas. The great teams dominate in all three areas. The 1996 Green Bay Packers were that type of great team. In fact, they were the BEST in all three phases of the game that year in the NFL. That is how a team wins Super Bowls. That is the way I approached this draft.
I also expect the Packers to trade down a couple of times to gain additional draft choices. One rumor I keep hearing is the infatuation Al Davis has for QB Vince Young. The Packers might have a solid option of moving down just two spots, plus pick up an additional second round pick. Davis wants Young that badly for the Raiders. He doesn't want anyone jumping over Oakland to steal Young.
The Packers want DE Mario Williams badly, but it looks like he will be drafted before the fifth pick, so this trade makes sense. I will use that scenario for this draft. I also believe the team will then trade down out of one of their second round picks and pick up an additional third round pick. With that being said, here we go:
1) Vernon Davis - TE (Maryland)
The Packers will have a tough choice at the seventh spot. The team still might have an option to pick linebacker A.J. Hawk here. I would still take Davis for many reasons. Again, go back to the 1996 Packers. The Packers ran a lot of two TE formations very successfully. Davis and Bubba Franks would be very similar to Keith Jackson and Mark Chmura. Brett Favre had his best seasons with this type of offense. Head coach Mike McCarthy is committed to utilizing the TE position as recently told the Green Bay Press Gazette, "It's critical to what we do," McCarthy said. "You have to be able to attack the middle of the field."
Davis can certainly do that and also stretch the defense. He is a man among boys at the position. Davis has a rare combination of speed, size and strength. The drafting of Davis would also minimize the issues about depth at the WR position. I think you would see a lot more two TE formations comparative to three or four WR sets. The Javon Walker soap opera wouldn't seem so severe with the addition of Davis.
2a) Bobby Carpenter - LB (Ohio State)
Carpenter doesn't get the pub that fellow Buckeye LB Hawk gets, but he's very good. Carpenter has a great size and speed combination as well.
Carpenter has the type of ability to be a three down linebacker. Plays the pass very well. Carpenter matches up very well over the TE position. Carpenter is solid against the run and also can blitz well from the edge. Carpenter would be an instant starter.
2b) Brian Calhoun - RB (Wisconsin)
Calhoun is the perfect back for the West Coast offense. He is not only a gifted running back, but Calhoun catches the ball extremely well. He is one of those backs that never seems to take a big hit and can hit the home run at any time.
Calhoun could fill in immediately as a third down back. The Packers did re-sign both Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport to one year deals, but both are coming off serious injuries and won't be ready until training camp. The Packers also have Samkon Gado who showed some flashes last year, but he also is coming off an injury.
Calhoun could be the long term answer at running back, but for now he would be a change of pace back that could also be utilized in the passing game similar to how the Eagles use Brian Westbrook.
3a) Stanley McClover - DE (Auburn)
McClover has decent size at 6-3 and 260 pounds. But he also has dazzling speed and an explosive first move as a pass rusher. McClover would be an excellent option for the Packers on passing downs, as he could be teamed with Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Aaron Kampman and Cullen Jenkins for getting pressure on the quarterback. McClover also has the propensity to cause turnovers as he jars the ball loose often from unsuspecting QBs. McClover needs to get stronger, but hard work is one of his attributes.
3b) Devin Hester - KR/WR/CB (Miami)
Hester is probably the most dangerous kick/punt returner to come into the NFL in years. All Hester needs is the slightest crack and he is gone. Hester will most likely get a shot at WR as well, although he also played CB at Miami. The Packers have needs in both areas. I believe Hester would be a great slot WR that could take short hitches, quick slants and wide receiver screens to the house. Hester will elevate not only the special teams, but also offense and defense because of his ability to alter field position.
4) Marcus Maxey - CB (Miami)
Maxey has nice size at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. Has very good speed as well. Plays tall wide receivers very well. Is a solid tackler in the run game. Maxey needs to work on his technique, but his outstanding athletic ability should help improve that part of his game. Even if the Packers sign Woodson, this pick makes sense due to the age of Woodson and also CB Al Harris.
5a) Mark Setterstrom- G (Minnesota)
Setterstrom has a very solid history in the zone blocking scheme. He is a good athlete that is an excellent technician. Setterstrom is very quick to the block and he can angle off defenders effectively. Setterstrom needs to get stronger, but has an intriguing future in the NFL. I also expect that the Packers will start either Kevin Barry or Mark Tauscher at one of the guard positions, with the other the starting right tackle.
5b) Drew Olson - QB (UCLA)
Olson is lasting this late only because of injury concerns. Olson suffered a serious knee injury his junior year, but bounced back nicely with a very solid senior season. Olson has excellent arm strength and can make all the NFL throws. Olson also sees the field well and is not as immobile as some will report. Because of Favre's looming retirement and the defection of Craig Nall to Buffalo, this pick needs to be made.
7) Cameron Vaughn -LB (LSU)
Vaughn can play inside or outside. He would be an immediate upgrade to the special teams. The former Tiger has excellent size as well. He also has a non-stop motor and never quits on a play. Vaughn would give badly needed versatility and depth to the linebacker position for the Packers.
Note: Bob Fox is a longtime Packers fan and frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.