Pic courtesy totalpackers.com
No matter how much General Manager Ted Thompson tries to deny it, he did draft for need this past weekend, going against his perennial "best player available" strategy. Proof? Thompson traded up three times and used the first six of the Green Bay Packers' eight draft picks on defensive players. Bottom line is this....Thompson knows the defense needs to improve and its looks like he once again pushed all the right buttons, proving why he is king of the draft.
When the 28th overall pick came up, Thompson had a variety of pass rushing players to select from, most notable Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw and USC defensive end Nick Perry. Thompson pulled the trigger on Perry, a rare physical specimen who is expected to make the transition to outside linebacker and start day one. The Packers wanted an explosive edge and they got it. Perry measures 6'3" 270 pounds making him good size backer. What makes him special is his 4.58 forty yard dash time and 38 inch vertical leap. Perry may be just the player the Packers are looking for to shore up the pass rush.
In the second round, Thompson decided to trade up eight spots to number 51 overall to take Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. Worthy was one of several tackles still on the board, and Thompson couldn't wait. Worthy will fit in the Packers' scheme as a 3-4 defensive end and his quickness has people calling him the next Cullen Jenkins. That's just what the defensive needs. With Anthony Hargrove's status potentially up in the air pending the bounty scandal penalties and Mike Neal already suspended four games, Worthy can come in and start right away for Green Bay and give them that interior rush they desperately need.
With one trade having worked to perfection, Thompson pulled the trigger again, trading a third and fifth round pick to the Patriots for the 62nd overall pick. With this, Ted took Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward. Depending on how Hayward pans out, he could force Charles Woodson to move to safety, which would be a good move for Woodson late in his career. The Packers' coaches right away raved at Hayward's intelligence and how he can come in right away and help. A better tackler than nickel back Sam Shields, Hayward will see time right away in certain defensive packages.
For the next pick, Thompson waited his turn and with back to back compensatory picks in the fourth round, he selected Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels and Maine safety Jerron McMillian, respectively. Daniels is slightly undersized for a 3-4 end, but is a speed rusher from the inside and may become a pass rush specialist for Dom Capers' D. McMillian brings sure tackling to the secondary, something they needed last year. McMillian is better suited to stop the run and needs to improve his coverage skills, but he is faster than current strong safety Charlie Peprah. If he can improve his pass defense, he may have a chance to unseat the vet
Thompson wasn't quite done. He shipped his three remaining tradeable draft picks to the Patriots to pick up NC State linebacker Terrell Manning in the fifth round (163rd overall). Experts has Manning going in the second or third round, but he fell to the fifth, most likely due to his knee injuries in college. He best fits as an outside backer in a 4-3 scheme, meaning he will probably be converted to a 3-4 inside backer. He is still raw in some aspects but is another speed guy that can give the pass rush an extra "pop" on passing downs.
Green Bay still had two seventh round compensatory picks, but chose to go offense, taking Florida State tackle Andrew Datko at 241st overall and then Tennessee-Chattanooga quarterback BJ Coleman at 243rd. Datko was a first round prospect before injuring his shoulder in 2011 and Coleman has gotten some pointers from a guy named Brett Favre during the offseason. Both are intruiging prospects.