Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Playing catch-up...

It's been a few days.

Here are the updates:

1) Collins and Pickett get the long term deals they were looking for. (4-years apiece I believe)
2) Tauscher signs a 3-year deal.

My thoughts:
1) Good and it is about time. They have been nothing but solid since their arrival in Green Bay and the team couldn't expect to be better without them. There is no one better readily available at either position.  I see Collins being quite good throughout his career, and Pickett transitioning to #2 NT behind Raji over the course of the coming year.

2) I feel this is the smartest move the Packers can make at this point.  Things got better when Tauscher came back. Despite his age, he is coming off of knee surgery, and typically, a player plays better their second season after the surgery. So, a quick run-down of the current state and why re-signing Tauscher is the best decision:

    a) There are arguably no better free agents at the RT position.
    b) The alternatives are to trust players from our current roster to step up, or rely on a rookie.
    c) Tauscher will be further removed from surgery.

So, there aren't any better, more readily available options. Last year showed us that guys we thought were ready, were not. T. J. Lang has shown some promise, but he was our only healthy and capable backup last year.  He may eventually fill the shoes of the RT spot (I'd prefer to try him at center as many scouting reports pre-draft said he would be capable of), but for now, I don't think there is any good argument for not re-signing Tauscher. We now get to go into the new season, with everyone back except for Kampman (where Jones filled in quite well, considering he was a 7th round pick). So in theory, our offensive line should be the same, or slightly better than the end of 2009.  We get Spitz back, and everyone healthy. Unfortunately, all three of our division rivals now possess equal or better defensive lines than last year.  It's a good start, and the starting point we need going into the draft.  We still need to find our future linemen, but the Pack has done the right thing thus far.

From here, and I know I sound like a broken record, but try to swing a deal with the Saints for Jermon Bushrod.  He wasn't absolutely stellar last year, but he filled in at LT well enough to help the Saints to the Super Bowl.  That has to count for something.  He is young, and experienced.  If I were Ted, I'd offer the Saints something like a conditional 3rd rounder in the 2011 draft based on Bushrod's playing time.  If he plays enough, they get our 2nd rounder.  This preserves all of our picks in this years supposedly deep draft class, gives us an instant depth upgrade and possibly our future LT, gives the Saints something since they have a rare excess of young tackles, and gives Bushrod a much brighter future as Clifton has been injured a bit more lately and he doesn't have to wait behind a 28 year old, two-time Pro-Bowler (Jammal Brown).

The above move would help keep the temptation of reaching due to need out of the upcoming draft. I still think it would be a great idea to draft an OT if one of the first-round type of guys is available at number 23 and no one else has really dropped. But I think it would be far better going into the season feeling as though we have some capable depth and a team ready for the future.

As for other guys from the draft I'd love to see in green and gold, three other players are standing out in my mind during mid rounds.  Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota, and Jordan Shippley, WR, Texas.  I know we have some good depth at receiver, but Driver is unfortunately aging a bit, and you can't continue to expect him to go over the middle and sacrifice his body as much as he used to. Decker and Shippley are not really speed demons, but they are excellent route runners and show no fear going over the middle.  Combine that type of receiver with Jennings and Finely and the rest of our WR corp, and you're going to really give defenses a hard time for the next few years. Either one could be available in the third round and would be worth serious consideration.  The other guy that really comes to mind is Myron Rolle.  I still really like Bigby, but he hasn't been very durable.  Getting a guy like Rolle, in say, the fourth round, would be great because he needs a little time to get into football shape (which he'd have behind Bigby), and he's incredibly smart (which is extremely important in a 3-4). In time, it could develop into a nice rotation between he and Bigby, with Rolle playing more passing downs, and Bigby playing the run downs. 

As for guys I don't want to see the Packers take, there aren't too many.  Bruce Campbell jumps to mind.  He's a workout warrior and a great athlete.  He could stand to put on a few pounds if he wants to play tackle at the pro level.  But, his smaller size and athleticism may draw the Packers toward him with their zone-blocking scheme.  I would like to have this guy on the team and I think he would be able to fill in, but after seeing some tape on him, I just feel his chances of becoming an elite, franchise LT are slimmer than those of some of the other projected first round LTs.

How about you guys? Anyone out there you would love to see in green and gold?  How about some names you don't think would be a good fit?


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