With the No. 5 overall selection when the draft commences on April 29, the Packers have their highest pick since 1992 (Terrell Buckley). That could mean a getting a franchise player for the next decade or obtaining a colossal bust. The line between the two is a fine one.
While it is unlikely that Reggie Bush, Mario Williams, or Matt Leinart will fall to the Packers at No. 5, there could be some surprises in store for this draft. Remember, it was just a year ago that general manager Ted Thompson selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first round when the Packers had clear needs at other positions. He then followed up the Rodgers selection with little-known safety Nick Collins and wide receiver Terrence Murphy in the second-round to raise eye brows even further.
Here is a look at three potential eye-openers that could take place on Day One of the draft this year:
1. Trading up to the No. 2 spot to grab Mario Williams
Williams, a rising defensive end out of North Carolina State, is the one player that would fill value and need for the Packers. He is arguably the top overall player in the draft. So can the Packers get him at No. 5? They will have to pray for that to happen.
When the New Orleans Saints signed free agent Drew Brees this off-season, it changed the top of the draft dramatically. It all but assured they would not take one of the top quarterbacks and instead take Williams, a physical specimen who looks like he could be one of the top defensive players in the NFL, even in his first year.
If Williams is at the top of the Packers' draft board, and the team views him as a must-have, they will trade up to No. 2 to get him. That type of move will be difficult to pull off and goes against Thompson's draft history, but it would make a statement. Typically, Thompson values his picks, so a package deal of the No. 5 pick and a current player, like disgruntled receiver Javon Walker, would probably be the only way to get the trade done.
2. Selecting D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the No. 5 pick
While it would seem preposterous to take Ferguson based on how the Packers' roster stacks up for next year, it would seem equally absurd to pass on him because of no need at his position.
In reality, Ferguson, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound tackle out of Virginia, could well turn out to be the top player in the draft if not the most flashy one. There appears to be some debate about him among the teams at the top of the draft, which makes him most likely available at the No. 5 pick. That will make for a difficult decision for Thompson, who has shown he likes to take to best player available in the first round.
With Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher entrenched at tackle for the Packers, Ferguson would seem like a dumb pick. Ex-Packers offensive line coach Larry Beightol proved, however, that it is not what position offensive linemen play, but rather getting the best five together to form a dominant unit. Ferguson would be a step in that direction and may just convince Brett Favre to give it one final shot.
Furthermore, Ferguson would fit nicely into new offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski's zone-blocking scheme. Not only is he the sub-300-pounder that seems to work so well in that system, but he also has the athleticism to pull it off.
3. Taking value with the second-round pick as well
It would seem that the Packers would begin to address their needs after a first-round value pick, but with a deep talent pool overall, they may just go for more value with the No. 36 pick overall. That could mean choosing the best available at running back or tight end instead of need picks at linebacker or the interior offensive line.
Some of those value picks expected to be available at the top of the second round include USC's Lendale White (RB) and Dominique Byrd (TE), UCLA's Maurice Drew (RB) and Marcedes Lewis (TE), and Wisconsin's Brian Calhoun (RB).
With such a high pick in the second round, value becomes more of an option for a young team going through a transitional phase. After all, the Packers could really use help at every position, so why not simply take the best player available at that spot?
Editor's note: Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.