The Green Bay Packers have one of the best general managers in the league with Ted Thompson. He enters this year with his 9th at the helm. Other teams constantly pick through his team members but he still produces year in and year out. Mike McCarthy is starting his 8th season as the teams head coach and he has a big say in personnel decisions. Last season was another very solid draft for the Packers. The stand out was 2nd round selection Casey Hayward at defensive back. He played most of his time in the nickel package and allowed only 4.7 yards per attempt, second best in the league. Also the jury is still out on the 1st overall selection from this class, Nick Perry, due to his limited time because of injuries. As Ted Thompson has correctly stated in the past, it takes 3 years to effectively evaluate a draft class. His record is much longer than 3 years and Packer fans should feel very confident as long as he is running the draft room. Despite finishing 11-5 and taking 1st in the NFC North the room for improvement is always the biggest room in the house. The Packers still have needs that should be addressed in the 2013 draft.
The running game as a whole is a big need for the Packers. Last season teams played pass the whole way, by staying in the Cover 2, and the Packers couldn't take advantage because of a weak running attack. The bigger hole in this equation may be the offensive line, but the running back sort needs an upgrade too.
The offensive line did not play good last year. Aaron Rodgers still had a great year by all standards; 4300 yards, 39 touchdowns and a passer rating over 100, but he was being rushed far too often. One thing the team has going for them is the return of former first-round picks Dereck Sherrod and Bryan Bulaga from injured reserve. If the team has a strong belief in what they have seen from them, this position may only need to be addressed for depth.
One thing the Packers have clearly shown is their lack of a pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews. The team initially hoped that Nick Perry would be the guy who could step up and fill that role, but it seems that may not be the case. In a pass heavy league defenses have to be able to pressure the quarterback consistently and from more than one position if they hope to be successful. Add to that the potential for injury and this quickly becomes a priority. The team has not only the draft, but a lot of money to spend which it could use to fill this spot. Ted Thompson is known for being creative and flexible in the draft and could still add a veteran that will take away from Perry's playing time.
The Packers run a very smart draft room and they know better than to spend too much on a running back in todays NFL. Going into this draft they have the 26th overall pick, a prime spot to take a back if the talent level is there. Eddie Lacy, a strong, powerful back at 5-11, 231 lbs. out of Alabama he would immediately bring an upgrade to the position. He has a thick, strong lower body which means he is built to last in this game. He has decent speed, turned in a 4.53 40 time, but more than that he shows elusiveness. He has impressive feet and balance which allow him to shift and find spots in traffic. He is not at the elite level, but he has a variety of moves which will make him effective. He will also be a good safety valve for Aaron Rodgers in the backfield. He has a low fumble rate, which means he is dependable, and he catches the ball well. That's important in the type of offense Green Bay runs, but not nearly as important as how well he picks up the blitz. What really separates the elite backs from everyone else is how well they pick up blitz coverage. If the back misses his assignment and allows a blitzer to run free it can spell the end of a whole series. Thompson and McCarthy understand the need to draft players that fit well in their system and the results speak for themselves. Their front office is one of the vest in the business from the top down. They seem to always have one of the better drafts.