Lombardi: Draft day options

Who the Packers could, or should, select in NFL draft

With the draft only a few days away, the question on everyone's mind is who the Packers will draft and who the Packers should draft. I am by no means in the know and do not have as much information at my disposal as the scouts and coaches have but here is my amateur take on it. I am also going to assume that they do not trade out of the fifth pick, which is what I hope they do. They could use more picks.

I think that Reggie Bush and Matt Leinhart will be gone by the time the Packers pick, so neither of them will enter into this discussion. I discussed last week why I think it would be a crime for the Packers to draft a QB, so that leaves Vince Young and Jay Cutler out of the mix.

Here are there other options:

Mario Williams (DE) North Carolina State: He is a physical marvel. He is big and strong and fast. My only questions about him are his desire and his football instincts. He does not always seem to be giving his all. Maybe he got bored with college ball. He also is not all that experienced. He is a junior and does not seem to be the most instinctive football player. That being said, hopefully he can be motivated to play in the NFL and with experience and coaching he will become a better instinctive player. It will be hard for the Packers to pass up a pass rusher with so much upside.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson (OT) Virginia: He is a classic pass pro tackle. He has a short set and great hands. He can mirror and adjust with great quickness and agility. He rarely gets beat while pass protecting. He is not the most explosive run blocker and will not blow you up, but is still very good in the run game. With Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, tackle is not a need and any thought of moving Tauscher to guard may not make him happy. Ferguson plays left tackle, so a move to the right side may retard his growth.

Vernon Davis (TE) Maryland: He does not have incredible size, in that respect he is average for NFL tight ends, but he ran a 4.38-second 40 yard dash at the combine which makes him an elite player. He has good hands and is a good athlete who makes it hard for a linebacker to cover. Safeties should have trouble with his speed. He is a match-up nightmare for defenses. He is not a great blocker, but Maryland probably never asked him to block much. He should be able to get better. One knock against him is the Packers have Bubba Franks and could use help elsewhere.

A.J. Hawk (LB) Ohio State: The Packers need linebackers, but I hope that they do not take Hawk. I still remember Andy Katznemoyer. Everybody is saying great things about this kid – ‘He has the intangibles' – ‘He can't miss' – ‘He makes plays.' I have heard it all. Mel Kiper has the Packers drafting Hawk. I only saw him play in one game, against Notre Dame, and it seemed he got blocked all the time and knocked around the field by the Irish linemen. He still made a lot of tackles, but based on the game, he does not do it for me.

I think it would be great for the Packers to trade down, get corner/safety Michael Huff or defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and a few more picks in the second or third round. That way they could fill more than one hole.

One thing I did learn while sitting in draft rooms was that anything can happen. When I was with the Browns, they were leaning toward taking Kyle Brady, the tight end from Penn State. The Jets took him and that surprised the Browns. They then traded down with the 49ers, who took J.J. Stokes. The Browns got the Niners pick that year and took Craig Powell, a linebacker from Ohio State who was a bust. They also got the Niners' first round pick the next year and after moving to Baltimore, they took Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis for J.J. Stokes, I'll take it.


John Lombardi

Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. E-mail him at johnlombardi22@yahoo.com.


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