19 Days To The Draft
The top priorities for this draft should be:
Although quarterback is the top priority because there is no backup behind injury prone QB Aaron Rodgers, the Packers would be better off waiting and using one of their 2nd round picks on one. QB Matt Ryan is the top QB and well out of the Packers reach, but little separates the rest of the other top 10 QB prospects this year. The Packers should pick their favorite of the ones still available at the end of the 2nd round.
I'm not a fan of drafting a cornerback in the 1st round either because the Packers have had terrible luck with 1st round cornerbacks in recent years (see Vinnie Clark, Terrell Buckley, Antwan Edwards, and Ahmad Carroll).
Neither cornerback or tight end are as important the offensive and defensive lines or the quarterback, so neither position should be filled with a 1st round pick. Although that's only a general rule, and there are always exceptions to it.
Below I listed four good mock drafts and these are the players they expect the Packers the draft.
CB Brandon Flowers
NFLDraftScout.com thinks he's a 2nd round talent, while NewEraScouting.com thinks he's the 7th best cornerback available and Rivals.com thinks he's the 5th best. He had a strong season on a great defensive team, but was he the reason they were great or did he benefit by playing beside great teammates? He's not a promising 1st round selection since he might not be a true 1st round talent.
CB Mike Jenkins
He's either the 2nd or 3rd best cornerback in the draft according to NFLDraftScout.com, NewEraScouting.com, and Rivals.com, but FootballsFuture.com thinks he could fall to the Packers with the 30th pick. None of the other mock drafts have him falling farther than 19th, so this is probably not realistic.
OT Sam Baker
He's listed as one of the top tackles available, but New Era Scouting thinks he might be a future right guard. The Packers incumbent (of sorts) at right guard is Junius Coston, but they tried him some at left guard before his season was ended by an injury. There are a lot of right guard candidates currently on the roster, but nothing is set and he would immediately have a chance to start. He would also be a potential right tackle candidate if the Packers did actually lose RT Mark Tauscher in free agency after 2008. Also, this mock draft was done by NFL.com's Mike Mayock who might be the best in the business.
DE Calais Campbell
New Era Scouting says he's big, strong, fast, but raw. He didn't have a lot of sacks in college, but he isn't a finished product either. Rivals.com thinks he's the 3rd best defensive end after top 5 picks DE Chris Long and DE Vernon Gholston. One of the best things you can do to improve your pass defense is improve your pass rush, and while a lot of talented cornerbacks will be available after the 1st round, there is probably no athletic freak available like Campbell. He wouldn't be likely to move ahead of starting DE Cullen Jenkins, but with the loss of DT Corey Williams, the Packers could use more depth on the defensive line.
Since I have not obviously scouted any of these guys, I'm not going to criticize whoever GM Ted Thompson selects. For all we know, the guy Thompson picks is the real deal, no matter if we are not familiar with him. My only complaint is going to be if he reaches on a player when he could have traded down, still got the player he wanted, and added an additional pick or two. Luckily he's one of the best in the NFL at trading down for more picks.