A linebacker hasn't been drafted in the top five since LaVar Arrington was picked in the 2000 draft. This weekend, Hawk may add his name to that list.
Linebacker is sort of like safety. Although an important position, it's not regarded as a value pick, like, say, quarterback, defensive end, cornerback or running back. With that in mind I started wondering this week if there's another player the Packers could pick instead of Hawk, who's likely the safest pick in the draft. After going through my hundreds of college game tapes (just kidding), I stumbled upon this guy from Maryland named Vernon Davis. I had to rewind my tape a few times because this guy was so fast on film I missed him. After researching this fine, young lad I started perking my ears to any so-called expert who had an opinion on Davis. I also listed to others about Hawk.
However, there was one radio conversation I listened to that sent me over the edge. Former Ohio State and Detroit Lions linebacker Chris Spielman, who is an ESPN analyst, in addition to hosting a radio show in Columbus, Ohio, was asked about the Packers picking Hawk and he was adamantly against it, saying no linebacker is worth that high of a pick. Spielman, who was the 29th pick in the 1988 draft, knows Hawk and loves his game, but said linebackers are not worth that high of a pick unless he's Lawrence Taylor.
With that in mind, I believe the best pick for the Packers at No. 5 is Davis. He has been called the best tight end prospect ever.
All that means now is he's loaded with talent, but if he's the next Kellen Winslow (not the punk from Cleveland; the real Kellen Winslow) can the Packers afford to pick Hawk?
The Packers' offense is suspect, which is the basis for me picking Davis.
The running back spot is clogged with Ahman Green (has he slowed down?), Najeh Davenport (when will he get injured next?) and Samkon Gado (how good is he?), who all have questions to answer. At wide receiver, Donald Driver is there (we hope), but Javon Walker says he'll never play for the Packers again, and the rest of the corps are journeymen. At tight end, Bubba Franks is solid.
What's lacking is a big-time playmaker, and that's where Davis fits the bill. He ran the 40-yard dash in an absurd 4.38 seconds; he bench pressed 225 pounds as much as most linemen; and his vertical jump was almost that of Reggie Bush's.
I know, he sounds like the new version of Mike Mamula, who years ago was a workout warrior, became a top 10 pick of the Eagles and flamed out quicker than a fire in a rainstorm. I don't care. Davis (6-foot-3 1/4, 254 pounds) and Mamula can't be compared. Too many years between them and they play on different sides of the ball.
Think of what Davis can do for Brett Favre this season. An added weapon could make Brett play till he's 40. Also, as Davis matures as a player, so will Aaron Rodgers as Favre's successor. Maybe the Rodgers-Davis combo could be among the best in the NFL.
Some might question picking a tight end this high, but there are players in the NFL now and recently who have been stars at this position, including Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe. Davis has the ability to jump-start an offense which needs help. If Walker is traded, who scares an opposing defense, besides Favre when he's not throwing the ball up for grabs?
The Packers need help on both sides of the ball, no question. Hawk would not be a bad pick. He'd probably be a real good pick. Nonetheless, Davis would give the Packers something few teams in the NFL have - a legitimate playmaker in the middle of the field, who's as explosive as dynamite. Davis would be a great pick.
Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.