As Emmitt Smith would say, the winner of the conference championships this week "could possibly go on to the Super Bowl." But for the other 28 teams who are clearly looking ahead to next season, they're watching the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando this weekend. According to the Press-Gazette, GM Ted Thompson is in Orlando for it.
One player who is getting a lot of attention is Badger DE O'Brien Schofield.
If you didn't watch the Badgers play at all this season, you missed out because Schofield was worth the price of admission. If there is another Clay Matthews coming out of the 2010 draft class, Schofield is on the short list. He's similar to Matthews in that he's undersized, but he is fast and gets into the backfield. From Todd McShay (via UW Badgers.com):
Day One: "Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield is expected to move from end to linebacker in the NFL and he started making the transition this week in practice. Quickness and straight-line speed do not appear to be an issue."
Day Two: "It's been interesting watching Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield. He's switching from DE to LB this week -- and it's a traditional LB, not just a pass rusher -- so we give him credit because he's flying around, mixing it up and showing he's very coachable."
"Schofield was easily the best player on the East team. Considering he played defensive end in college, he really helped himself by performing so well in a standup position. He showed very good quickness and the speed to cover tight ends in man coverage. He showed very good hips while turning and running with his man off the line. He played with excellent knee bend and leverage."
I don't know if the Packers should go out of their way to draft Schofield. I'll bet he becomes a heck of a pro, but he might not be a significant upgrade over LB Brad Jones, and not any better at rushing the passer than LB Aaron Kampman. But there should be a place for Schofield in the NFL, and it would be great if he got his professional start with the Packers.