For our SB Nation mock draft, I spent the last two days trying to decide who the Packers should select if Marshawn Lynch, running back from California, was not available with the 16th overall selection. Fortunately Buffalo traded up to grab the linebacker they really need and Tennessee didn't make a move up to grab Lynch. The Packers haven't selected a running back in the 1st round since Darrell Thompson back in 1990, but hopefully Lynch works out better than him.
The Packers could really use some help at wide receiver opposite Donald Driver, where rookie Greg Jennings struggled badly as the season wound down and there is little depth past NFL Europe legend Ruvell Martin. Defensive line was a concern for most of 2006, until Cullen Jenkins and Corey Williams stepped up and solidified the line. There is a major need for a quality receiving tight end, but I'm not convinced Greg Olson is anything more than a product of the combine. The top three cornerbacks are very solid, but Al Harris and Charles Woodson are both over 30 and Woodson has never been known for his durability.
But no position has as little depth as running back. I agree with the decision to let Houston overpay for the twilight years of Ahman Green's career, but now Vernand Morency sits atop the depth chart. He had a good yards/carry average, but struggled with fumbles and was stopped at the line of scrimmage far too often in 2006. Third down back Noah Herron outplayed Morency last season and rushed for over 100 yards in his only 2006 start, but no one would have a lot of confidence opening the season with a former member of Pittsburgh's practice squad. An alternative is a trade for Michael Turner, who reportedly is available for a 2nd round pick and he is one of the better running backs in the NFL, but I'm not interested in a back who only has seven receptions in three NFL seasons.
Lynch had 34 receptions at California last season and that puts him near the top of receiving running backs in this year's draft, to go along with his fantastic rushing stats over the past two seasons. Lynch had a solid 40 time at the combine, but a slower time in the short shuttle which gives some cause for concern. However the drop off between Lynch and the next best running back, which was Louisville's Michael Bush until he had another rod inserted into his broken leg, is starting to look like the Grand Canyon. Drafting Lynch fills a major need and just makes a whole lot of sense.