How excited are you about these draft picks? Now I'm thinking LB Clay Matthews will have a bigger impact on the defense then NT B.J. Raji.
The Packers brought in all the draft picks, undrafted rookie free agents, and undrafted rookies who were invited to tryout for their 3rd annual rookie camp. A mini-camp for rookies. There was a lot of news on Friday because it was open to the public. But Saturday and Sunday were closed practices.
There wasn't a lot of interesting bits in Mike McCarthy's Sunday press conference. S Nick Collins was in Green Bay to meet with Dom Capers and new safeties coach Darren Perry, although he's probably still not thrilled about his contract. A lot of discussion about the offseason QB school, which isn't as important this year since all three QBs are so much more experienced now. But McCarthy is looking forward to the new and improved defensive line in 2009:
"I've talked to Ryan Pickett, and it's definitely an opportunity for him, No. 1, to be the nose guard of this football team. When you look at our defensive line and some of our veteran players on defense, we're making a scheme change, but there are individuals we feel very strongly about. I've said it since the day we made this change to the 3-4, Ryan Pickett will be an excellent anchor for us at the nose guard position. We want flexibility in the rotation with those defensive linemen. That's why B.J. will work the nose guard and the left end position. Cullen Jenkins, we'll probably move him around more in the sub groups and so forth. So we're trying to, if you recall two years ago we had an excellent rotation we felt in the defensive line, and we're trying to get back to that. Justin Harrell is looking better and better each week in the offseason program. Johnny Jolly has been productive for us in spots. It's a group we're trying to bring together and get some more flexibility with."
Tom Pelissero has a good list of where the draft picks played:
WHERE THE DRAFT PICKS LINED UP
* 90 B.J. Raji: Nose tackle with first group. Also played left end.
* 52 Clay Matthews: Right outside linebacker with first group.
* 70 T.J. Lang: Right tackle with first group. Also played left guard.
* 45 Quinn Johnson: Fullback.
* 69 Jamon Meredith: Left tackle.
* 94 Jarius Wynn: Right end with first group.
* 33 Brandon Underwood: Left cornerback with first group.
* 59 Brad Jones: Left outside linebacker with first group.
The possiblity that Raji can play inside or outside gives them so much flexibility. But I'm expecting he'll only play inside. Maybe he'll play at end during goal line situations. Matthews is playing exactly where I expected. I'm not sure Meredith and Lang will wind up at those particular spots on the line. It looks like Wynn would challenge DE Michael Montgomery to backup DE Cullen Jenkins. I still expect Underwood will be moved to safety. Jones might be able to beat out LB Desmond Bishop for a backup spot, or maybe he's a candidate for the practice squad.