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Drafting The Best Player Available: Could It Be Brooks Reed?

I've read about the Green Bay Packers desire to draft the best player available, most notably from GM Ted Thompson himself. As a general rule, I'm not a big fan of that strategy. Teams should be trying to address their weakest position in the draft, and make it better. But since the Packers don't have any glaring needs, maybe they need a cornerback or offensive lineman for the future but not for 2011, they'll do fine by picking the player at the top of their draft board.

If there is one position that they can always draft for, it's for a pass rusher. He doesn't have to be a replacement for DE Cullen Jenkins specifically, or an upgrade over the several candidates at outside linebacker. But anyone that can play on the front seven and rush the passer would be a welcome addition.

Rob Rang highlights the combine performance by Arizona DE Brooks Reed, who is projected as an outside linebacker in the NFL. He's not just a workout star either, as he started 34 games at Arizona and recorded 17 sacks over the past three seasons. He's similar to LB Justin Houston, who's projected to be drafted at the end of the first round. But Reed had a faster time in the ten-yard split, which might be a sign that he'd have an explosive first step as a pass rusher.

However he's got a high draft grade, it's unlikely he'll fall out of the second round, and I don't expect the Packers will be interested unless he's a complete player. The Packers don't draft project players in the first round. All their recent picks were pretty much ready to go from Day 1. So they'll want to see that he can drop back in coverage (or has the potential to do so), in addition to having that explosive first step.