Draft for need? Draft the Best Player Available? We all know which of these strategies Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson endorses, but that does not mean that the Packers do not have needs.
Today, on the eve of the 2014 NFL Draft, we ask you the APC community to help us decide what positions are in the greatest need of improvement on the Packers current roster. Please vote in the poll and debate your choice in the comments.
This position has been beaten to death, but the play of the Packers' safeties in 2013 was mediocre at best. The unit did not record an interception, and was frequently exposed as a weak link both due to injuries and ineffective play. M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian are gone, Morgan Burnett needs to find his mojo again, and the team is now considering moving second-year corner Micah Hyde to safety to bolster the position.
Are A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones really getting it done? Hawk is praised for his mental game but has been much-maligned for his lack of impact pays. Jones worked through injuries in 2013, but his ineffectiveness may have been due to a broader issue. Jamari Lattimore and Sam Barrington bring athleticism and youth, but also inexperience to the position.
Clay Matthews and Nick Perry were hurt for much of the past two years - Matthews missing nine total games and Perry 15. The Claymaker is one of the top pass-rushers in the league when healthy, Perry has shown flashes of great ability, and new signing Julius Peppers is expected to contribute here as well, but depth is always a concern.
Jermichael Finley likely will not return to Green Bay, even if he is cleared to play medically. Andrew Quarless is back and is acceptable in most phases of the game, but won't wow anybody with any consistency. An athletic, receiving/blocking combo would be a welcome addition to the Packers' offense.
Is JC Tretter the answer? We won't know until mid-season, but signs point to the Packers going into training camp with the second-year pro as the starter. However, his 2013 season was a waste after suffering a broken ankle in OTAs. Depth behind Tretter is thin, consisting of Don Barclay and little else.
With James Jones' departure, the Packers have known quantities in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, an up-and-comer looking for continued improvement in Jarrett Boykin, and little else.
Sam Shields has a new long-term deal and Tramon Williams doesn't appear to be going anywhere for 2014, but beyond that there's little certainty. Williams could easily be too expensive for the Packers to re-sign, Casey Hayward is coming off a season lost to hamstring issues, Hyde may end up as a safety, and Davon House has not taken the step forward that many hoped or expected.
Did we miss the most critical position on the roster, in your opinion? Let us know what you think.