GM Ted Thompson's Top 10 draft picks for the Green Bay Packers. No. 6: LB A.J. Hawk.
One premium that should be placed on draft successes is that the player deserves to start and is healthy to play every week. That was something I didn't emphasis enough in my widely panned Daryn Colledge article. One common factor for many draft failures is their inability to stay on the field.
Hawk never became the force I expected from a Top 5 draft pick, but he's been a starting linebacker since he entered the league in 2006, and he never misses a game. He might have snuck onto the Top 10 bust list, if he had spent the entire 2010 season behind LB Brandon Chillar on the depth chart. He barely played at all during their Week 1 victory over the Eagles.
But as the season went on, his durability turned out to be a major asset as nearly every other linebacker went down to injury. While he's still not among the best, he was much better against the pass in 2010 and recorded a career high 10 pass defenses during the regular season. He'll never be an elite run defender either, but he's a solid tackler who never gives up in pursuit. While only recording 0.5 sacks in 2010, he could be used on the blitz and force the quarterback into a quick decision.
He might never make a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team, but the Packers have a starting linebacker who never missed a game and never came off the field.
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