The Green Bay Packers picked 11 different people in the draft and the question that keeps coming to me is: Of these 11, who will make an impact on this team? Don't get me wrong, some of these guys will help this team be better if they make the team. James Jones might help out as a returner along with someone like Aaron Rouse, David Clowney, Korey Hall and Desmond Bishop. They might be solid players on special teams. This team does need better special teams play, no question about it. But you aren't supposed to draft for special teams players. They just become them while they wait for an opportunity to play offense or defense.
I know everyone has a different idea of what the draft is supposed to do for the team, especially depending on where that certain team is at. For example, as I look at the Packers I see them as having a very good mix between quality and now quantity of players. When you look at this team you have to realize that it already has a solid foundation in place. Especially on defense where you have Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk and Brady Poppinga at linebackers. That's solid leadership and youth combined.
Then on the defensive line you have Aaron Kampman leading the way, showing that hard work and effort can translate to great play on the field. He is a Pro Bowler, so what more can you say? Ryan Pickett and, hopefully, Cullen Jenkins will consistently make people believe he is worth the big contract he just signed.
Since the Packers drafted Justin Harrell with the first pick I have to believe he will be penciled into the starting spot at defensive tackle right next Pickett. But how much better will the defensive line be with him inserted into the lineup? If it isn't, was he worth it? I know what I think, but I guess we all will have to wait and see because at this position Justin Harrell can't hide.
In the secondary you have solid play with Al Harris and Charles Woodson and I expect them to pick up right where they left off last year. Just like hopefully Nick Collins will return to the form he had his rookie year, or play like he did the last game of the year against the Bears.
While we talked about the linebackers, defensive line, corners and safeties, have I mentioned anyone that really is going to make this team better on this side of the ball. As I see it I'm not really convinced that Justin Harrell is better right now than Colin Cole or a Corey Williams. If you are a first round pick there shouldn't be a question in anyone's mind and I for sure have one. Trust me, it has nothing to do with Justin because he didn't tell the Packers to draft him when they did. Even he was surprised he was drafted with the 16th overall pick.
Sure, everyone hopes that Justin Harrell becomes worth that pick and the defensive coaching staff might think they have something special in Aaron Rouse, but unfortunately many think he is just a bigger version of Manuel himself. Some of the things that we don't like about Manuel we won't like about Rouse.
Now to the offensive side of the ball where the Packers spent there second and third picks. Their second round pick was spent on Brandon Jackson from Nebraska, a running back that I don't believe can beat out Vernand Morency. Both are the same guys. They both have good vision and like to cut back, but Vernand has more burst out of the cut. As I see it, they drafted a guy to become part of the committee instead of drafting a starter, so the Packers didn't improve in this position.
With their third pick, they went with wide receiver James Jones from San Jose State who isn't better than Carlyle Holiday, Greg Jennings, Koren Robinson, and for that matter, Ruvell Martin, might give him a run for his money. The only edge that James Jones has on anyone is that he can catch a punt, but then again Antonio Chatman caught punts as well. So up to this point the Green Bay Packers and Ted Thompson drafted a bunch of guys just to take roster spots.
I was hoping that this draft would have been about playmakers and getting players that would make this team better, not just improve the depth. The one playmaker that this team could have gotten was Randy Moss. Now, as the truth starts to come out, we know that the Packers never offered the Raiders a third or fourth pick, and Randy was willing to renegotiate his contract, so money never was a problem. It came down to the fact that Ted, for some reason, thought or thinks that James Jones brings more to the table than a Randy Moss could which is real scary.
This season Mike McCarthy will have his back to the wall. He will have to coach his butt off. This team has no playmakers on offense and Brett Favre didn't get any help. All year fans will moan and groan because games will have to be won by who has the better field goal kickers. Then Mike McCarthy will have to say WE ARE STICKING TO THE PLAN!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.