Safety is a Big Need and Other Draft Strategy

I wouldn't say that it's the Packer's most dire need, but safety's are becoming an extremely important position in the NFL. They are asked to do so much in the defense especially the Packer's defense.

This is not a comprehensive list of everything a safety has to do, but generally the safety will have to do most of these things in any given game.

1. Communication. The safety is responsible for calling out the coverages and audible the coverage. He has to make sure all the DB’s and LB’s know what their assignment is before the snap of the ball. Considering how much an offense can shift before a play it can be a challenge to get on the same page. Especially when an offense is in hurry up or 2 minute offense.

2. Deep 3rd or a deep half. This is the most straight forward assignment, but also extremely challenging. Just imagine having to play against 4 verticles when Drew Brees is throwing the football. Or biting for just a second on play action, and having to try and recover for the backside deep post. I played safety in college and it’s not easy at that level.

3. Cover the TE. This could be the most difficult match up for anyone on the defense if you are matched against Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, or Tony G. In all honesty, if I were opposing NFC North offenses I would love the matchup between any of the TE’s in our division against McMillian or Jennings.

4. Occasionally play over the slot WR where teams put guys like Percy Harvin or Wes Welker. Safetys have to be able to play zone as well as man coverage in the 3-4.

5. Oh and they still have to play against the run which in our division will include stopping Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and Reggie Bush. It’s a huge reponsibility. The safety is counted on in the 3-4 to be able to make tackles in the box. It’s not like a corner. Safetys need to bring it.

6. The safety might be responsible for the QB in certain defensive calls against the zone read.The Packers will be facing Collin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III this year. I’m not saying Charles Woodson was responsible for Kaepernick on the 45 yard touchdown in the playoffs, but he could have made a TD saving tackle. Instead, I don’t think I will ever forget watching Kaepernick blow by Charles Woodson like he was stuck in slow motion.

7. Blitzing has always been something that Capers has had the safetys do in some capacity. It’s not very often, but when he calls your number you have to get to the QB.

Just looking at the myriad of different responsibilities that a safety can have, I dare anyone to tell me that we don't need two quality starters back there. I am of the opinion that we need to improve big time in this area. Everyone seems to think that we can get away with experiments whether it is McMillian or Richardson.

Admittedly, McMillian could make a big jump this year, but he could just as easily stay where he was last year. Why everyone is in love with Richardson isn't that surprising I guess. It wouldn't be the first time everyone fell in love with a 6'2 215 lb guy that can run a 4.5. But can he play? That's a huge question mark. Don’t even get me started on M.D. Jennings. Solid special teamer, but should never be a starter. Burnette is a good player and he could end up making a pro bowl or two, but I think that getting a safety early in the draft is important. It doesn't have to be in the first, but definitely by the third round. I like Baccari Rambo from Georgia or Cyprien from FIU.

If I were Ted Thompson, I would want to get DL taken care of in the first round because of the outstanding depth of safety that should be available in the second and third rounds. I think OL can be taken care of in the 4-7 round range because I think the Packers do an good job of developing guys and I still have hope for Sherrod. If you think about it, Sherrod, Lang, EDS, Sitton, Bulaga is not a bad offensive line if everyone can stay healthy and Sherrod plays decent.

DL- 1st Round and 3rd Round

WR- 2nd or 3rd Round

S- 2nd or 3rd Round

OL- 4-7

RB- 4-7

LB- 3-5

I think that if the Packers can manage to address DL, S, and WR in the first 4 rounds by picking the best players available it will be a solid draft.

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