Packer Report Draft Blog: Rounds 2-3

After a surprising decision to take Purdue defensive end Mike Neal in the second round, the Packers moved up to the seventh pick of the third to select ballhawking safety Morgan Burnett of Georgia Tech. We have notes and quotes about both picks from inside Lambeau.

Scout Brian Gutekunst on Morgan Burnett

Big physical kid.

Was at his pro day ... 39.5 vertical. Ran well. Showed skills at workout that you saw on tape. Good hips, rangy, good hands. "Kind of fits what we've been doing" in helping create turnovers.

Moves very well for a guy his size.

Emphasis on ball skills: Important but not everything. Defense with success forcing turnovers over years.

Good teammate. Played a lot as freshman. No problems with coaching change. A team leader. Will fit in well here.

Compares favorably to safeties drafted before him.

Ahead of Collins because of big-school competition: Maybe, but Nick played a lot. Maybe slightly ahead. Played in ACC, a lot of production. "He's pretty far along.

Darren Perry on Morgan Burnett

Likes athletic ability, versatility. Liked playmaking ability, very productive at big-time school.

Push Bigby for starter: Laughs ... feels we can. "Atari will have a lot to say about that." Likes the competition. "It should be interesting."

He can do it all. Wants safeties to play run and pass. Complex system so doesn't want just a box safety or just a cover guy.

He has a knack for getting the football. 14 interceptions speaks for itself. Still has room to grow as a true junior.

Ball skills are so important: A lot of safeties in draft can do box and LB mentality, but in this scheme, must play both. If do both, "you really bring a lot to the table."

Has a feel for coverage to get all of those INTs. A lot of young players don't have that feel. Some guys have that unique ability, and he has that natural ability.

"Absolutely" is bright. Talked to him at Combine. Can make the calls and checks. Safeties are like quarterbacks. Must be great communicator. Has to react and not just think to have good game speed.

Thin at safety last year: "No question about us being thin last year." Lost Atari early and that hurt defense. Scratching heads to come up with different packages. Bigby brought stability, especially with Collins. "this guy gives us a lot of depth and hopefully he can come in and contribute."

Plays faster than timed speed because of his intelligence. "If you understand the game of football and you have some instincts, that allows you to play faster." Game speed much better than a workout.

Inconsistecy?: Perry didn't see that.

Thinks Bigby will work even harder. He'll welcome the challenge and will "rise to the occcasion" and will use as a "motivational factor."

Morgan Burnett conference call

Why leave school early: Met with coaches and family ... pray about decision.

So many INTs: Has a knack for the ball and had good players around him, like Derrick Morgan. When I see that ball in the air, I just like to compete.

No workout at Combine: Tweak hammy week before Combine so waited to pro day.

Know Packers like?: Didn't know because draft is "tricky." "I believe I was meant to be a Green Bay Packer." Notes tradition.

What know about Packers defense: It's a good defense that ranked high. Watched some of those players throughout high school and college.

Like cold weather: Doesn't mind it and is ready to start playing football.

Run support: Versatile ... help run and pass.

Didn't miss a game in college: Played a couple of games with cast on hand on wrist. Has "competitive spirit." Sitting on bench, can't help team. Like watching brothers fight so sucked it up.

Broken thumb first four games of junior year.

Expect to go in the third round: Just waiting to get name called ... didn't care about round.

Rate compared to other safeties: All he can do is be best player he can be. Can't focus on the other guys. Wishes them luck. Now has to learn and help the Packers win.

Did majority of calls in secondary.

Much at line of scrimmage: Varied .... depending on formation. Sounds like Packers defense in that regard.

Liked watching Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu. As kid, liked Brett Favre. Why Favre? Just liked watching him play and do the great things that he did. Laughs when asked if he knows Favre doesn't play here.

Want to face him?: Oh, yes, sir. Just honored to be in NFL playing against all the great players.

Ted Thompson on Morgan Burnett

Went fishing for a trade with board "working against him."

He's very athletic, he's got good size. Great ball skills. Did quite a bit of study the last three or four weeks because didn't watch him during fall (he was a junior). Athletic enough to cover but can make tackles.

Communicator. Seems like a very bright kid.

On Neal: Very impressive in the all-star practices/games. That's when Thompson got hot on him. "Fits very well in our system. Almost ideally suited to play 3-4 end. Good in sub-packages.

Core is stronger than in past, so can trade up rather than collect picks.

Board was getting "soft" today so they decided to go get Burnett. "I don't like giving up a fourth-round pick but that was a price we had to pay."

Versatile enough to play both safety spots. All three players have that versatility physically and mentally.

Didn't see pro day but watched it four times.

"possibility" to play early. Has good competition in front of him.

14 picks in three years; seven as sophomore: He has good ball skills. Some defensive players have struggles in that regard. He does have good anticipation, good feel for space. A centerfielder. Sees ball, understands angles. Made catch when had chance.

Hard to make that trade: A little bit of calling, like he always was, but more aggressive. Discussed board and it didn't match with roster.

Defensive rookies have chance to make impact right away. Rotation will help Neal get into the lineup. Burnett has chance to play in secondary. Counting on all three to help team.

Jolly and Jenkins free agents in 2011, as is Bigby. Long term view? Always looking to add going forward because of free agency, retirements. "It's not just a snapshot of 2008. It's an ongoing evolution."

Thinks Bigby has played well but struggled with ankle injury that seemed to go on "forever." Not an indictment of Bigby. "Just have to have more quality players" in case someone gets dinged. Can't just trot 22 guys out there.

No picks until fifth round and haven't added a corner or pass-rusher. Ok with that? "All of those things are in consideration early in the day yesterday and today." ... "You can't pick them all."

Ammunition to move up to fourth round tomorrow? Doesn't think he'll pick again in third, he joked.

You betcha when I asked about future of Harrell and if there's room for him.

Packers trade up for Burnett

The Packers gave up their third-round and fourth-round picks to move up in the third round to take Georgia Tech safety Morgan Burnett.

A ballhawking safety, he intercepted seven passes in 2008 and four in 2009. He finished with 14 in his three seasons. In those three seasons, he ranks second in school history in interceptions (William Clay had 16) and eighth among defensive backs in tackles.

The 6-foot-1 Burnett ran a 4.54 40 at his pro day but plays faster on the field.

This is the third time that general manager Ted Thompson has traded up, with Jeremy Thompson in 2008, Clay Matthews in 2009.

Ted Thompson to the podium shortly. We'll have on-the-fly comments.

More on Purdue's Mike Neal

The so-called experts (I'll include myself in that, using the word "expert" loosely) didn't have a second-round grade on Purdue's Mike Neal.

Of course, the Packers' scouts watch a heck of a lot more film than the so-called experts, and they know how a player fits the scheme. That is why the Packers liked Neal: He fits their defensive scheme.

Shaun Herock on Neal

Watching him for last two years. Talked to Neal at bowl games, at his pro day.

Has played all over the line, inside and out. "The thing that's nice about him is he's got the quickness of an outside guy as a pass rusher but he's also got the brute strength on inside that he can bang around." Nice fit; do a lot of things with him.

Play to his strength: He's got extraordinary strength. He can get push back on a guy and push pocket and create movement. Short punch and short-area quickness to get penetration. Good combination of power and quicks to get to the quarterback.

Knock on motor: Didn't see that. Played entire game. Eventually, a big guy like that is going to wear down. He has a motor. He's like anybody, you're going to throttle down a little bit to catch breath. Can't go 100 mph every play. Didn't see him having letdowns.

Third-round grade from some: Scoffs. I think people were on him pretty early and had a high evaluation of him. He played at a high level and was going against good teams and good players. Feel comfortable about how he played whole career.

Projecting him from 4-3 at Purdue to 3-4 in GB: Yes there is some projection. "You're always looking for a guy who can do a little extra like he does, where he can go on a passing down inside. He gives you a little soemething to play with."

DL coach Mike Trogvac on Neal

Great punch, very strong at point of attack. "You can see that in his play" he said of Neal's weight room strength.

Does a lot of movement, like Cullen Jenkins, and is strong at point. Very lost a one-on-one block. Perfect fit for defensive scheme. Did a nice job of getting hands on players and is fundamentally sound that way. "He very seldom ever left the game."

Good pass rusher. "Very good athlete" as numbers show in workouts.

"He'll be a defensive end."

Three-technique at Purdue, and his linemen play that 50 percent of the time. It's tough to run against that defense.

Very seldom came out of game and got worn down because Purdue played defense a lot.

"Good" inside rusher. "Some things to work on as far as technique but athletically he's very good. We'll work on him with some technique things." Can beat guys with quickness. Trgo will teach the rest.

He'll take snaps in nickel.

Can play all three downs, which is what the team wanted.

Defense runs a lot of movement with line, which parallels his style.

Trgo watched him at Combine but didn't talk to him.

Need to get a DE? "You can never have too many of those guys. I think he's a guy that can come in and compete with the guys that we have."

Didn't think rotation wore down last year.

Like as pass rusher more than guys like LSU's Al Woods and D'Anthony Smith of La. Tech: "In my opinion, I had him as a better player than both of those guys."

Mike Neal conference call

Surprised, and what was Packers interest: Had no clue that Green Bay would pull the trigger and grab me. It was a blessing. Prayed on this happening, so it was no surprise because put faith in God.

Honestly does not remember talking to Packers.

Defensive end in career?: Played end in high school and some at Purdue. "Whatever they want me to play" is what he'll play.

I'm a hard-nosed player. Tough. "That's what I'll bring to the Packers."

What know about Packers defense: Big A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews fan. "I like what they do up here."

Torn labrum in 2007 but didn't know he tore it. Surgery went well. Came back faster than expected. Didn't affect him at all.

Running three or four times a day and working out a lot.

Bench 510: Right before senior season.

Senior Bowl: "I think it was really important." Played in East-West game and then got invite to Senior Bowl. Capitalized on it and helped his stock.

Face Bulaga: Not that he remembers.

Technique not as good as it needs to be ... can't rely on strength, like he did in college, he says.

Goal as a rookie: Contribute to the team immediately.

Football over basketball: Was told he had to play one or the other as sophomore in high school, so he chose to play football because he wasn't that tall and he was so strong.

Packers take Purdue's Neal

In a surprise selection, the Green Bay Packers selected Purdue defensive end Mike Neal with their second-round pick.

Neal (6-3, 294) finished his career with 13 sacks and 26 tackles for losses. One of the strongest players inthe draft, he has a 510-pound bench press, 615-pound squat and 385-pound clean.

Neal became a big factor over his last two seasons, posting 5.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for losses in 2009 and 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for losses as a junior.

The pick obviously is an insurance policy should Johnny Jolly's legal problems take him out of the lineup.

Packer Report's Day 2 Big Board

Ted Thompson wasn't going to, in his words, "overcook the goose."

With the first round in the books, Thompson had no urge to go back to the war room and fiddle with his draft board on Thursday night. Thompson and his experienced staff had spent eight or nine months putting that board together and there was no reason to spend another couple hours questioning all of that work.

"Sometimes during the course of drafts, and we might do this after (Friday) night's thing, sometimes you adjust the board a little bit based on what you've acquired and what other teams have acquired and what's available on the board and things like that," he said shortly after picking Iowa's Bryan Bulaga in the first round. "But right now, I think we'll just play it like it's just a continuation of today."

Speaking of today, what's next for the Packers? Barring a trade, they own the 24th pick of the second round (No. 56 overall) and the 22nd pick of the third round (No. 86 overall). In a deep draft, they should have talented players available in both rounds.

If I were running the draft, I'd get a playmaker and a defensive back. Such as running back/receiver Dexter McCluster or cornerbacks Akwasi Owusu-Ansah/Chris Cook in the second round and Mardy Gilyard or one of the leftover safeties/corners in the third round. I have broken down all of the realistic possibilities at several positions in this piece for subscribers.

We'll be live from Lambeau/Hot subscription deal

The path from the Senior Bowl to the Scouting Combine to the pro days has taken the Green Bay Packers to tonight, the second and third rounds of the 75th NFL draft. We are reporting live from Lambeau Field throughout the three-day draft.

The second round begins today at 5 p.m. The third through seventh rounds will be held on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. Central. There are 7 minutes per pick in the second round and 5 minutes thereafter.

Refresh throughout the night for updates and on-the-fly comments from various coaches and the draft picks.

Plus, if you're a subscriber, join publisher Bill Huber in the chat room for all three days of the draft. Now is a great time to subscribe. Buy one month of coverage and get two months for free. To take advantage of this first-ever offer, click here or call our superb customer service department toll-free at 888-501-5752 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Central.

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And for the link including about 100 Packer Report draft exclusives, including pre-draft visits, workouts and our interviews with the top prospects, click here.

Looking back and looking ahead

— I'll be bringing the news from Lambeau right here in this piece, with on-the-fly comments from the draft picks/assistant coaches/scouts after the picks are made.

— First-round pick Bryan Bulaga, who grew up a Bears fan, struggled early in the season against Brandon Graham and O'Brien Schofield. He tackles his thyroid problem, and Philbin weighs in on Bulaga's short arms. That, and quick-hit notes about Round 1 and big railbird news.

— For subscribers, Bulaga might not have to start right away but it's absolutely critical he gets up to speed right away. Bill Huber's perspective, for subscribers.

— For a national perspective, keep up with things in our blog staffed by all of our publishers.

— John Crist from our Bears site, with nothing to do yesterday, provides a national perspective on some of the picks in this free piece.

— Ed Thompson tells you about four small-school prosepcts. worth considering today.

— And our Chris Steuber has his second- and third-round mock draft.

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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