Ladies and gentlemen of the Acme Packing Company community: it is now up to you. Devin, Tony, and I have made our cases for the positions on the Packers' roster that are most in need of improvement this off-season. Now we need you to validate one of us and crush the other two by voting on which position is the greatest need. Of course, you could make us all feel silly and say that another position that we didn't mention is more important; basically, our whole senses of self-worth are in your capable hands.
On Monday, Devin kicked it off by discussing the defensive line. One of his primary arguments involved the need to find a nose tackle given B.J. Raji's struggles at that position and Ryan Pickett's gradual move into the "old" category (at least as far as defensive linemen go). He also brought up the need for the Packers to contain the opposition's running game, and the strategy for doing that in the 3-4 defense starts with stout linemen up front who can each occupy multiple blockers and allow the linebackers to flow to the ball carrier.
I was next up and took on the linebacking corps. The group was devastated by injury this season, losing its best inside linebacker (Desmond Bishop), his backup (D.J. Smith), and a rookie starter at outside linebacker (Nick Perry). Some of the healthy players are question marks as well, with A.J. Hawk's status very much up in the air and only three OLBs currently under contract for 2013. Given all the injury and depth concerns, my argument was that the uncertainty at the linebacker position makes it the most critical need this year.
Tony switched gears on Wednesday, moving across the ball to the offensive line. One of his key points was of course the beating that Aaron Rodgers took this season (51 sacks), though he acknowledged that several of those were due to Rodgers holding the ball too long. Perhaps of more importance, the Packers' running game has been stagnant over the past two seasons, and establishing a consistent running game will be critical for Green Bay if it hopes to return to a Super Bowl soon. Doing so starts with the offensive line.
Finally, Devin took on the unenviable task of arguing against himself and discussed the need for wide receivers and tight ends. As he appropriately noted, Donald Driver is retiring, Greg Jennings is likely leaving in free agency, and Jermichael Finley's status remains unsettled. While that still leaves three starting-caliber receivers on the team, that doesn't provide Aaron Rodgers with enough weapons to consistently set up mismatches across the board. Then, if James Jones leaves with a big contract after next year (a distinct possibility), that leaves just Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to shoulder the load. Investing in the receiver position is a long-term prospect, but Ted Thompson has tended to show forethought at those positions in the past and draft key players a year or two before they've actually been counted on as major producers in the offense.
Now the decision falls to you. Did one argument sway you in favor of a certain position? Were you convinced of your opinion before, remaining convinced throughout the week? Or are we all totally off-base and is there another position that is more pressing a need than any of these? Let us know in the comments how you voted and why.