True? Or False?'s Doug Ritchay offers his opinion on the truths and non-truths of the annual NFL draft

The NFL draft is a week away and every Mel Kiper impersonator has his opinion on what's going to happen, including with the Green Bay Packers at pick No. 16 in the first round.

I've watched/covered too many drafts to count, but there are some things which have proved true and false over the years that I'm going to share with you. Here they are, including one truth which will boggle your mind:

True: A good first-round pick doesn't make a draft. See what the Packers have done over the years in the drafts, especially when Ron Wolf was the GM and you realize a team is built as much in the later rounds as it is in the first day.

False: A visit from a prospective draftee indicates interest. No, it doesn't. In the final weeks we hear about teams flying in potential picks for interviews and then they make sure they get word to the media how much they like the guy in an effort to fool others.

Then when the draft comes that team looks past that player quicker than a man does when he sees Roseanne walking down a sidewalk followed by Halle Berry.

True: Teams don't always visit with their first-round target. Last year, the Packers never flew in A.J. Hawk, but never hesitated taking him at No. 5. The Packers knew he was a sure bet.

False: A top 10 pick is a guaranteed star. Does Jamal Reynolds ring a bell? A dumb bell. You don't have to be in the top 10 to find a quality player. Last year, Joseph Addai was the 30th pick and Laurence Maroney was the 21st. Meanwhile, Mario Williams was the top pick.

True: A bad draft can damage a franchise. All you have to do is look at the Packers' 2001 draft. Here are the Packers' picks in each round and who they passed on in parentheses:

Reynolds (Steve Hutchinson, Pro Bowl guard)
2. Robert Ferguson (Chris Chambers, Pro Bowl receiver)
3a. Bhawoh Jue (Steve Smith, Pro Bowl wide receiver)
3b. Torrance Marshall (Dwight Smith, Super Bowl MVP)
4. Bill Ferrario (Justin McCareins, No. 3/4 receiver)
6. David Martin (T.J. Houshmanzadeh, No. 2 receiver with Bengals)

Wonder why Mike Sherman was stripped of his GM duties?

False: Pick need over best player. Never. Whoever is on the top of your draft board when it's time to pick, take him, unless there's little difference between the need player and the best player. Why take a need player who might be good when the best player could be great? Too much talent is never a bad thing.

True: Second-round picks can make impacts. OK, the Packers flubbed on the likes of Ferguson and Derrick Mayes, but before he was injured last year, Greg Jennings was opening eyes, running toward a 1,000-yard season. Also, Daryn Colledge started last year on the Packers' offensive line, Devin Hester was a Pro Bowl kick returner and Maurice Jones-Drew was third in the NFL last year with 16 TDs.

False: Pick a kicker/punter if you need one. The Packers know this all too well with Brett Conway and B.J. Sander. With only seven rounds, position players are the way to go. Kickers and punters, competent ones, can be found elsewhere (see Ryan Longwell and Dave Rayner).

True: Return specialists are worth picking. Unless you're the Packers, who have missed badly with the likes of Joey Jamison and Cory Rodgers. Hester proved last season what a quality returner can do for a team. The problem is finding one. I'm thinking Ted Ginn Jr.

False: You can grade a draft the day after it happens. No, but most media outlets do it, mainly because it makes for good reading. Any football mind knows drafts can't be accurately graded for at least two years. I'm thinking the Packers' 2001 draft gets an F. Last year's draft looks good, but let's wait another year.

True: The Packers will pick offense in the first round. It's either Cal's Marshawn Lynch or Miami (Fla.) TE Greg Olsen. The Packers' offense needs more weapons for Favre.

False: Don't pick Ginn. Put him in a Packers jersey and here's what you have: A receiver who can blow by most corners on fly routes, so he can stretch defenses. That opens it up for Donald Driver and Jennings. He's a great returner, meaning Charles Woodson does not have to risk injury on punts and better field position can be gained on kickoffs. And, knowing he's a former cornerback, Ginn is scratching the surface of how good he can be. He would add electricity to an offense.

True: The Packers won't pick Ginn. Don't see it happening, but if Lynch and Olsen are gone, why not?

Doug Ritchay

Doug Ritchay is a frequent contributor to and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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