"And with the ninth selection in the 2009 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select ..."
The name that will end that sentence will be the No. 1 storyline between now and April 25, when the first two rounds of the draft will be conducted.
Scout.com is in the process of holding its first mock draft of the year. Writers and publishers from all 32 of our Web sites are taking part, adding realism to the proceedings.
So, how are things shaping up?
With B.J. Raji going at No. 6 to Cincinnati — a pick that makes sense, since the Bengals coached Raji at the Senior Bowl — the best available players for the Packers were, in alphabetical order, Florida State defensive end Everette Brown, Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, USC linebacker Rey Maualuga, Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin and enigmatic Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith.
Who didn't I pick?
I didn't pick Smith, because of obvious reasons. As a college prospect, what could be more important than making a good impression at the Scouting Combine? Between that and Smith's selfish move to talk to an agent before the Sugar Bowl — making him ineligible to play in that game — he just doesn't fit here.
I didn't pick Jenkins, not because of issues over his speed, but because I'm putting the Packers' immediate needs over their needs for a little down the road.
That left it to Maybin and Brown, either of whom would provide some much-needed juice to the Packers' pass rush as an outside linebacker.
Maybin is tempting. His upside might be bigger than any player in this entire draft. He's just so explosive that he has the potential to be a terror for opposing quarterbacks.
In the end, though, I went with Brown. Never mind the too-easy comparisons to Jamal Reynolds. They're not relevant. They're different people, and in the NFL, they'll be playing different positions. Brown was just as good of a pass rusher in college as Maybin, and his NFL-ready body makes him an every-down player right away, while Maybin might be a liability against the run early in his career.
What do you think? As always, your thoughts are welcome. And check out our two-round mock draft when it's unveiled in the next few days.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport