The draft is finished and free agency is dead for now, although it will rev up in June after some pricey veterans get the heave-ho.
Nevertheless, there are things to contemplate as we wait for summer to arrive. Friday, the Packers waived wide receiver Koren Robinson and after the draft NFL draft experts doled out grades for each teams' draft. These are two of five items I will look at as you read on.
1. Robinson waived: His time was up when the Packers selected Jordy Nelson in the second round. The Packers didn't pick Nelson to sit the bench. He'll fit in behind Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones, and if Jones doesn't watch it, Nelson will jump ahead of him. As for Robinson, hopefully he finds a new home, plays well and stays sober. He seems to be on the right track.
2. Draft grades: The Packers fared well by most and even received an A-minus from The Sporting News. However, these grades are about as useful as carrying a second punter on a roster. Three years is the time to grade, which brings us back to the 2005 draft, where the Packers selected Aaron Rodgers in the first round. Others picked in order were Nick Collins, Terrence Murphy, Marviel Underwood, Brady Poppinga, Junius Coston, Mike Hawkins, Mike Montgomery, Craig Bragg, Kurt Campbell and Will Whitticker.
I don't know what Mel Kiper's grade was but I traced back the 2005 draft and he listed the Packers as one team that failed to grade high. Looking back, he's right. Rodgers has yet to do a thing (although he has an excuse as someone named Brett Favre was in front of him until now), Murphy's career was cut short by an injury as a rookie, while Poppinga, Montgomery and Coston have become average starters.
Whitticker started as a rookie but never developed and was cut his second season. Collins was the best pick, but he's a little better than average right now. No great impact in this draft, but Collins, Poppinga, Coston and Montgomery remain three years later. Rodgers could make this draft really good if he becomes really good.
3. Who's the best in the NFC North? Doesn't matter now, but most believe the Vikings are ready to perch themselves atop the division. They've made some improvements, starting with trading for defensive end Jared Allen, but unless Tarvaris Jackson becomes average at quarterback the Vikings may not unseat the Packers, who also have a quarterback issue with Rodgers, who has never started in the NFL.
Today, the Vikings with their improvements look like a team on the rise, but I've never seen a team win a title in May. A lot can happen, and if Rodgers does become a good quarterback the Packers should retain the division title for another season.
4. Packers' backup QB situation: It has gotten mixed reviews. Some say better to have a player like second-round pick Brian Brohm as the backup as he has talent and a career ahead of him rather then signing an aged veteran who may have experience but dwindling skills. Yeah, that sounds good as long as Rodgers plays well and stays healthy. But what if Rodgers gets hurt in the first month? Brohm won't be ready but the Packers may have no choice then to put him on the field.
This could lead to a poor 2008 or the start of a great career by Brohm. It's a risk the Packers look like they will take, transferring them from one of the most stable QB situations over the last decade-plus to one of the most tenuous.
5. Bears banking on Grossman or Orton: One of the surprises of the NFL draft was Chicago not plucking a quarterback early. Brohm was a second-round pick the Bears could've had. For some reason the Bears are going with Rex Grossman to start the season, which is good news for Green Bay, Detroit and Minnesota.
Grossman played poorly last season and with no running game to speak of, where will the points come from? Kyle Orton should get a shot once again. He won 10 games as a rookie, mainly because the defense was so good, but like Grossman he's not the long-term answer unless the question is, "What situation got Lovie Smith fired?" Also, Bernard Berrian is gone, so who's going to make plays? I guess nobody, since there won't be a quarterback capable of finding anybody. That offense will rank in the bottom five, it just has to.