Packers Can Fill Needs Today

Packer Report breaks down all of the realistic options to consider in the second and third rounds. Who are the top corners who could be available in Round 2? Can they add an explosive playmaker? How about more line help? We have the answers you need to know.

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.

The Packers presumably have their line solved with Bulaga, but the Packers need depth and a future starter at cornerback, a challenger to Atari Bigby at safety and a challenger to Brad Jones at outside linebacker. Another receiver (with return skills) and a pass-catching running back wouldn't be bad, either.

So, who are the targets? We take a look at realistic possibilities to be available when the Packers are on the clock in today's two rounds.

Second-round possibilities

Running backs: Mississippi's Dexter McCluster, Georgia Tech's Jonathan Dwyer, Stanford's Toby Gerhart. Bill's take: Anyone who has followed me since the Senior Bowl knows what I think of McCluster, the do-it-all runner/receiver/returner. The Vikings have Percy Harvin and now the Lions have Jahvid Best. The Packers could use their own explosive playmaker. The Packers "love" McCluster and have done a lot of homework on Dwyer, sources have told us. Gerhart is Mike Alstott with more athletic ability.


Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
Getty Images
Cornerbacks: Virginia's Chris Cook, Wake Forest's Brandon Ghee, Indiana-Pennsylvania's Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Oklahoma's Dominique Franks. Bill's take: To my knowledge, Cook is the only high-profile prospect that the Packers brought in for a pre-draft visit. At 6-foot-2, he's got the height the Packers prefer at the position. So does the 6-foot Ghee, who has good tools but was merely average in cllege. Owusu-Ansah is arguably the most-talented cornerback in the entire draft based on height (6-0), speed (4.32 at pro day) and productivity (10 interceptions in final two seasons and five return scores in 2009), but will that translate from Division II?

Offensive line: Maryland's Bruce Campbell, Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer, Massachusetts' Vladimir Ducasse.Bill's take: What was most interesting to me on Thursday was the noncommittal response to whether Bulaga was a left tackle. Some scouts think Bulaga's best spot is right tackle. Campbell and Veldheer might not get to 55, but if they do, they'd be interesting projects. Ducasse could play right tackle or guard.

Outside linebackers: Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds, Clemson's Ricky Sapp, Utah's Koa Misi, South Carolina's Eric Norwood. Bill's take: Texas' Sergio Kindle won't last long today but outside linebacker is a deep, deep group. Best part about Sapp and Norwood is they've actually played linebacker in a 3-4. Worilds is an explosive rusher while Misi is superb against the run and pass.

Defensive line: Florida's Carlos Dunlap, Arkansas State's Alex Carrington, Central Florida's Torrell Troup, LSU's Al Woods. Bill's take: Dunlap (6-6, 278) is a first-round talent in terms of athleticism and production but has character concerns. Carrington (6-5, 285) is a small-school star who starred at the Senior Bowl. Both would upgrade the up-front pass rush. Troup (6-3, 314) is ridiculously quick for his size. Woods (6-4, 309) didn't do much at LSU but he's got jaw-dropping ability and has been rising like a rocket on some teams' boards. Line really isn't a need (assuming Johnny Jolly doesn't wind up behind bars) but either of this quartet could be the best player available.

Wide receivers: Minnesota's Eric Decker, South Florida's Carlton Mitchell, Ohio's Taylor Price. Bill's take: At some point, the Packers will have to replace Donald Driver, and neither James Jones nor Jordy Nelson have shown they're starting-caliber players. Decker (6-foot-2) caught 83 balls for 1,077 yards and seven touchdowns in 2008 but missed most of last year with a foot injury. Mitchell (6-3) is big, fast and raw, with a skill-set comparable to Brandon Marshall without all of the headaches. The quick, fast and powerful Price (6-1) would be more highly regarded if he wouldn't have played with subpar quarterbacking.

Third-round possibilities


Montario Hardesty
Getty Images
Running backs: Tennessee's Montario Hardesty, Auburn's Ben Tate. Bill's take: The Packers need a back who can catch and these SEC stars can do that.

Cornerbacks: Oklahoma State's Perrish Cox, UCLA's Alterraun Verner. Bill's take: Cox (a shade under 6-0) was thrown off the team for missing curfew before the bowl game. But he sure can play, both as a corner (10 career interceptions) and kick returner (six career touchdowns). Verner is only 5-foot-10, which generally would take him off the Packers' board, but several sources have said the Packers really like the UCLA playmaker.

Offensive line: Utah's Zane Beadles, Baylor's J.D. Walton, West Virginia's Selvish Capers. Bill's take: Walton is the second-ranked center on most boards. Capers is a talented, athletic prospect at tackle. Beadles starred at left tackle but figures to be a guard in the NFL. Exceptionally smart, he seems like a perfect Packers line prospect.

Outside linebackers: Northwestern's Corey Wootton, Ohio State's Thaddeus Gibson, Murray State's Austen Lane. Bill's take: Wootton (6-6, 270) had 10 sacks in 2008 but tore his ACL in the bowl game. He played in 2009 but not as well, with just four sacks. Had four interceptions in career. Lake Wootton, Lane (6-6, 276) is a big man with surprising athleticism. Against lesser competition, he posted 23 sacks and 41.5 tackles for losses over his final two seasons. Gibson (6-2, 243) is a junior entrant who can rush the passer and play coverage but might not have the run-stopping skills for the Packers.

Safeties: Georgia Tech's Morgan Burnett, LSU's Chad Jones, Georgia's Reshad Jones, Oregon's T.J. Ward, Kansas' Darrell Stuckey. Bill's take: Of Burnett and the Joneses, there's an outside chance that one of them falls to the Packers in the third round. Burnett (6-2) is a proven ballhawk with 11 interceptions in his last two seasons, and Chad Jones (6-2, 221) and Reshad Jones (6-1, 214) are big and filled with potential. Ward (5-11) played corner before a rash of injuries and hits harder than his size indicates. The Packers like the intelligent Stuckey (6-0), who picked off eight passes and has returned kickoffs.

Inside linebacker: Washington's Donald Butler, Mississippi State's Jamar Chaney. Bill's take: Butler (6-1, 245) is an intriguing possibility considering A.J. Hawk's 2011 salary balloons to $10 million. He was the best inside linebacker at the Senior Bowl, where his stock soared. Chaney (6-1, 242) started for three years against SEC competition and is impressive in pass coverage.

Defensive line: North Carolina's Cam Thomas, Wootton. Bill's take: Thomas (6-4, 330) would add depth to the line at end and nose tackle. Wootton, with that giant frame, could add weight to play end.

Wide receivers: LSU's Brandon LaFell, Texas' Jordan Shipley, Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard, Citadel's Andre Roberts. Bill's take: LaFell (6-3, 211) is a big, powerful receiver who was good but not great in college. He's been compared to Anquan Boldin. Shipley, Gilyard and Roberts are all around 6 foot but were incredibly productive both as receivers and kick returners (Shipley and Roberts on punts; Gilyard on punts and kickoffs). The Packers have done a lot of homework on Gilyard, we've been told, and like Shipley, as well.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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