Sydney Speaks! High-character picks

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney assesses Green Bay's 2006 NFL draft. Sydney explains why this year's draft class should put the Packers back on solid ground.

This is the time of the year that some people will start to pat themselves on the back if they aren't careful. Not everyone can though because the job has just really started. Everything that the scouts and coaches have done up to this point doesn't mean anything if these young men can't convert what they have learned in college and transform it to become successful professional players for the Green Bay Packers.

Draft time is one of the strangest times for the athlete and those involved with scouting or coaching because no one really knows how an athlete will do in the BIG LEAGUE, the National Football League. I remember wishing I had a crystal ball or something because unfortunately I have seen way too many players look like Tarzan, but play like Jane. That's one thing that I did notice about Ted Thompson and this year's draft, especially in the early rounds. He took what everyone would believe were sure things and, much more, most of them were team players that understand this concept. He didn't go out on a limb for anyone. He didn't stretch his neck out at all.

I was hoping that they would draft Vernon Davis at that fifth spot, but I'm all right with A.J. Hawk. I understand the need to be safe at this pick, especially if Bubba Franks gets used right in Mike McCarthy's offense. Franks might be able to stretch the field and do everything that Davis could do, and the Packers already have a good amount of money tied up in the tight end position. Also Donald Lee just might have a chance to flourish in the offense because he did show sparks of having ability last year. Unfortunately, the old staff made some mistakes when it came to figuring out how to use different personnel groupings correctly.

Back to the Packers' fifth pick overall. You can't, in my opinion, go wrong getting a player like A.J. Hawk. He possesses athletic ability and we all know that. Put on any film and you will see him fill the holes with reckless abandon, and he's a playmaker. Another great thing about Hawk is that he shows up in the big games, which to me means he has a lot of pride in how he plays the game. He doesn't take plays off. But he does have things to work on now that he's playing with the big boys, but then again so does everyone that ever has stepped on the football field. But that's the thing that separates Hawk, or puts him in a special class. I believe he just has that ‘IT' factor. People often ask what is that 'IT' factor? The best way to explain it is that he just makes plays that he's not supposed to but doesn't know he's not supposed to because he does it all the time and makes them look easy. Hopefully this will carry over into the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, but then again, why wouldn't it? Like I have said, I might not have picked him, but I understand why he was the fifth overall pick for the Packers.

Of course everyone knew Ted Thompson was going to do some wheeling and dealing in the draft and if you didn't that's your fault. He let go of Javon Walker and even got a second round draft pick for him. Regardless of whether they traded that pick or not it was a great job getting rid of a potential cancer in the locker room, which was the last thing Mike McCarthy needs to deal with as well as the rest of the team. The second pick, Daryn Colledge was another potentially great move, especially because he is familiar with the zone-blocking scheme because they ran something similar at Boise State. Even though he will be moved to guard I think he could be a great fit because if you look at the Denver Broncos' offensive linemen over the years they all were good athletes that could run, so I think he will fill a huge void. Then they drafted Greg Jennings as a wide receiver who is a playmaker and runs well after he gets the ball in his hands. He could be used as a specialist which they surely need. Then they drafted Abdul Hodge, who might be too small to play inside linebacker but has great instincts. To close out the first day they drafted Jason Spitz to compete at center.

The other thing I noticed especially about the first day picks are that they all come from colleges that have that Midwestern flavor, which I feel is very important. These guys are coming to Green Bay which should be very similar to where they spent the most important years of their lives growing into manhood. These guys should understand the relationships that form between themselves and the fans of Green Bay. These guys are, I believe, in the words of Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson high-character guys which are the type of athletes that they are going to need to keep this team going on SOLID GROUND!!!!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and he will forward it to him.

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