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VIC SO'OTO AND WHY HE IS A PACKER

Outside linebacker Vic So'oto has been one of the great stories of the preseason in Green Bay. Signed as a rookie free agent in the hectic days following the settlement of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, So'oto arrived as a player with little chance to make the regular season roster in Green Bay. Yet, he not only made the roster, he made such an impression that he is likely to be a contributor in his first season.

On paper So'oto 6-3 263 has the size to play outside linebacker in the 3-4. Like many who now play the position, he was a defensive end in College. However, So'oto was not drafted because he was not an exceptional defensive end at that level. He received very little coverage from the major college draft publications and websites and did not play in post- season all-star games, which is often a prerequisite to being drafted. . He was not generally identified as a top prospect.

That was not always the case. Coming out of high school in San Diego, Vic So'oto was recruited by a score of big name schools including USC, Oregon, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Michigan, Florida State and Duke. I mention that last school, because Duke, with above average academic standards, recruits only smart guys. At Carlsbad High So'oto played both linebacker and tight end and was all conference on offense and all state as a linebacker.

He chose Brigham Young University, which has a good football tradition, but is not in the top tier of programs. The coaches there, in 2005, put him at tight end, but he was injured in the second game and awarded a red shirt season. Returning to active status in 2007, So'oto was behind an all conference tight end, Dennis Pitta, and did not see much action, as he recorded 12 receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown. He caused himself another set back that season by being involved in a water balloon and property damage incident over Spring Beak, that landed him in criminal court resulting in community service and restitution.

Watch Vic So'oto's Pick 6 vs The Chiefs


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IS ANYONE ELSE WORRIED?

Through three preseason games, we have watched Green Bay quarterbacks dust off their backsides after a sack on way too many occasions. Opposing running backs gashed the defense, and mental lapses in the backfield allowed receivers for the other team to run free. Against Indiana, the defense intimidated an inexperienced quarterback for about 20 minutes of the first half. Then they lost concentration and allowed that same quarterback to engineer two touchdown drives to take the lead at halftime. On the scoreboard the Indiana Colt starters, without Peyton Manning, defeated the Green Bay starters. These lapses could be signs of the dreaded disease, Super Bowl hangover.

Though he probably did not deserve his pro bowl election last season, left tackle Chad Clifton had an excellent year as a pass blocker in 2010 and was especially noteworthy in the playoffs. In the one pre-season game that coaches take seriously for the starters, Clifton turned in one of his worst performances in recent memory. I do not believe his skill has lessened. He was not mentally prepared to handle Dwight Freeney. Left guard Josh Sitton has allowed about as many sacks this preseason as he was credited with all last season. He is on the upside of his career, and it is clearly not a question of ability.

Both of those players have spent an off-season hearing how great they are. Clifton is described as the super reliable pass protector and Sitton as the soon to be all-pro. I fear that the well-earned praise may have taken away from the edge they need to win the individual battles on every down. I am not in their heads, but how else do we explain lapses in technique and aggressiveness that led to sacks that should not have happened.

Staying with the offensive line, zone run blocking is a combination of technique and attitude. The run blocking in the preseason has been less than stellar. There will be no running game unless the linemen are hungry enough to win the battles and seize opportunities. We have not seen that so far in the preseason. Offensive line expert Larry McCarren described one failed running play against the Colts. He said that Sitton Wells and Lang dominated the defensive linemen, but none of them sluffed off to engage a linebacker. The linebacker made the tackle for a minuscule gain That is a technique issue, but also a mental lapse. None of them wanted it enough to make the play work. The Packers will not prevail simply by showing up.

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Primed and Loaded for a New Season - Maybe


Watch Finley's double catch here.


The defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers enter training camp as a strong contender to repeat. The coaching staff lost only its wide receiver coach. The head coach and his coordinators return, and they will be teaching basically the same offense and defense that were more than adequate to win every playoff game last season. In addition, the offensive and defensive schemes will be implemented by basically the same players. Many things could go wrong, and the depth and special teams present unanswered questions, but the 2011 Green Bay Packers are better positioned than most teams to compete for a spot in the playoffs.

On offense, the only significant loss was durable but mediocre left guard Daryn Colledge. If no one steps up to play as well as Colledge played last season, there will be a problem, but the team has more than one candidate with the physical ability to do the job. At the head of the class could be a second year lineman who made the team as a rookie free agent last season. Nick McDonald 6-4 316 Grand Valley State impressed the coaches last summer with his size and potential. As the season progressed, Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin were impressed by his improvement. Because he played only left tackle at a small college, it would be big jump to see his first action as a starting left guard in the NFL. Time will tell. On the other hand J.T. Lang started a game or two at the position last season, and only an untimely injury may have prevented Brian Bulaga from beating out Colledge last year in training camp. Because Bulaga is the starting right tackle, he would have to be replaced. Derek Sherrod, 6-5 324 Mississippi, this year's first round selection is also available to compete at left guard or right tackle. He began training camp playing left guard.

As training camp opens, every other position on offense is manned by the Super Bowl starter. Along with Bulaga, Chad Clifton, Scott Wells and Josh Sitton return for the offensive line. Aaron Rodgers is at quarterback along with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings Jordy Nelson and newly signed James Jones at wide receiver. The signing of John Kuhn means that he returns at fullback. Two positions are actually in better shape because of players returning from the injured list. James Starks returns at running back, but Ryan Grant is the presumed starter. At tight end, Jermichael Finley is significantly better at this point than Super Bowl starter Andrew Quarles. Grant and Finley are two additional potent weapons for the Packer offense.

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PACKER DRAFT 2011
PACKERS RETOOL FOR ANOTHER RUN



When your team drafts in the 32d position, a fan has many reasons to be happy. However with that honor goes the reality that at least 31 players will be selected before your team gets to choose. On the other hand, perennial winning squads such as Pittsburgh and New England seem to find top talent at the bottom of each round. This season, Green Bay General Manager seemed right at home drafting for the defending Super Bowl Champions. He spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday adding quality new talent to the Green Bay Packers.

The first round choice was Derek Sherrod OT Mississippi State. Unlike Brian Bulaga, who was selected in the first round last season, Sherrod is a prototypical left tackle who excelled at the position in the SEC for three seasons. At 6-5 320 he has good size and his wingspan is longer than all the tackles drafted ahead of him He did not allow a sack as a senior. The plan will be for him to learn for a season from Chad Clifton, the true pro who currently mans the position. If Sherrod is ready, I would expect him to spell Clifton from time to time to gain experience. On the other hand, should he advance quickly, he could be considered to start at left guard. He might also be considered to play right tackle with Bulaga moving to guard. In the film I've seen, Sherrod can drive defenders into the end zone, push a speedy rusher past the quarterback, and cut block a pursuing lineman. He appears to be an excellent first round selection.

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PACKER DRAFT 2011
WIDE RECEIVER

Wide receiver is not exactly a weak position for the Green Bay Packers. The foursome of Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Jordy Nelson is as talented and productive as any in the league. Some argue that the team lacks intimidating speed, but Greg Jennings seems to get behind defenders. There is no tall physical receiver for the Red Zone, but tight end Jermichael Finley has better skills than most big wide receivers. Counting Finley with the group, these receivers have no equals.

On the other hand, Driver is not getting any younger, Jones is a free agent, and Nelson, as shown in the Super Bowl, is capable of big games and many dropped passes. The Packers could use another talented receiver to compete for playing time. If he is convinced Jones is gone, General Manager Ted Thompson could select two wide receivers. Thompson is also likely to be searching for a kick returner, and that player could be a wide receiver. It makes sense for the Green Bay return man to be a wide receiver. The current number five wide out is Brett Swain, whose only notable contribution to the team last season was on special teams. Moreover, a fast shift wide receiver could be brought into the offense even if he is not a polished receiver.

The two consensus first round picks will be long gone before Green Bay even considers whom to pick. Julio Jones 6-3 220 Alabama and A. J. Green 6-4 211 Georgia are highly rated prospects. Some others are mentioned in the first round discussion and could be available at 32 if the Packers are interested. Jon Baldwin 6-4 226 Pittsburgh is big strong and fast and may be a star in the league. His inconsistent hands scare me. Titus Young 5-11 174 Boise State is a very fast pass catcher who can also return kicks. He was a star at the Senior Bowl. I am also concerned about his hands.

A player to watch at the end of Round 1 is Torrey Smith 6-1 204 Maryland. Smith was an all league return man in his first two seasons, and showed his ability to play wide receiver last season. He is a big play waiting to happen. Smith also has a good story to tell. The oldest of seven children of a single mother he was the only father his younger siblings knew. In high school he was a highly rated running and passing quarterback who managed to catch some passes as well. Moving on to Maryland, Torrey Smith made an impression in the weight room as he ranked second on the team in the 550 pound squat and set a school record for receivers with a 355 pound clean. This was augmented by 4.4 forties. Smith is not perfect as a hands catcher, but he seldom drops the ball. He could fill the role of a return man immediately while he learns the fine points from Jennings and Driver. Read Article

PACKER DRAFT 2011
OFFENSIVE LINE

The Green Bay Packer offensive line deserves some discussion. It clearly was good enough to win the Super Bowl, displaying a level of play most teams would gladly accept. On the other hand, it was a line that too often put its Pro Bowl quarterback in jeopardy. It was also a line that could not consistently support a running attack. From another point of view, the two best players last year were center Scott Wells and right guard Josh Sitton. Neither was a serious candidate for the Pro Bowl. Add in the age of two tackles, and this is a unit that may, in the next and future seasons, be good enough, only if the team features a great quarterback and a fine defense that can carry the team. The Packer offensive line could be better.

Looking ahead to the 2011 Draft, the team is set at four positions. Along with Wells and Sitton, tackles Chad Clifton and Brad Bulaga will be starting next season. The one open position is left guard, because Daryn Colledge was allowed to enter free agency. His number one reserve Jason Spitz may also be lost to free agency. Few Packer fans are losing sleep as these players leave. Colledge has never been consistent, and Spitz, a valuable reserve in past seasons, was a total failure when inserted last season.

Thanks to Ted Thompson, there is young talent in reserve, although each player has question marks. T.J Lang filled in adequately last season at left guard and with less success at left tackle. Beset by injuries, Lang did not progress as the coaches had hoped he would last year, but he remains a talented player who has shown that he will give his best effort on every play. We do not know if he can play guard at a high level all season. One complicating issue if Lang is to be the left guard is that he is also the best answer as a reserve offensive tackle. This creates an issue if he is starting at another position. Others in the mix at left guard are two rookies from last season Marshall Newhouse and Nick McDonald and free agent Evan Dietrich Smith. Some believe that the best position for Newhouse is left tackle, which could make him a valuable reserve at more than one position. Veteran tackle Mark Tauscher is still on the roster, but he is unlikely to be on the roster next season.

It is also worth a mention that the Packers are not always successful when it comes to drafting offensive lineman. Even without mentioning Mike Sherman, the names Breno Giocomini, Jamon Meredith and Allen Barbre remind us that all draft choices do not work out. Finally, Ted Thompson seldom drafts a pure guard. Only Josh Sitton played guard in college. Spitz was center and the others played left tackle. Read Article

PACKER DRAFT 2011
LINEBACKER

What a year 2010 turned out to be for the Green Bay Packer linebackers. Entering the season, the team returned four starters in Clay Matthews and Brad Jones outside and Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk inside. Brandon Chiller had been a great situational reserve the year before and veterans Brady Poppinga and Desmond Bishop provided depth. General Manager Ted Thompson added no additional linebackers in the draft.

Injuries upset all plans. Jones went down first, followed soon by Barnett, Poppinga and Chiller. Suddenly, what had been a deep position became thin, and when Clay Matthews missed a game and a half, Green Bay lost both contests. Fortunately, rookie free agent Frank Zombo earned his way onto the roster, and he performed pretty well as the third strong linebacker opposite Matthews. Even more significant was the inside play of Desmond Bishop, who, as the season progressed brought as much to the defense as Barnett had been providing. A. J. Hawk also elevated his game. The interior defense had little depth, but Hawk and Bishop; played great in the second half of the season. The other contributor was Erik Walden, who as replacement for Frank Zombo, held down the position for several games, and had a big impact against Chicago with 3 sacks.

Looking ahead, Hawk, Bishop and Chiller have all been signed for the future. Barnett is trade bait. The Packers hope that from Jones, Zombo and Walden they can find one player who can defend the run and provide an effective pass rush from the other side. Most likely, there will be two pretty good reserves already on the roster, but the Packers may look to the draft to find a first or second round talent to add competition. In later rounds, they could go after a reserve inside linebacker to add depth. Last season proved that in the 3-4 defense, it is easy to run out of linebackers.

Fortunately, the 2011 draft is deep in players who have the potential to play outside linebacker in the 3-4. Some of the best will be taken long before Green Bay has a selection. Von Miller 6-3 246 Texas A&M will be one of the first players chosen. While a bad ankle impaired his senior season, a healthy Miller came back to dominate at the Senior Bowl which validated his outstanding numbers as a junior. Other candidates will be gone as well, but the experts are not in agreement as to which if any may be available at the end of the first round of the 2011 NFL draft.

One outstanding athlete who draws both rants and raves is Akeem Ayers 6-3 254 UCLA. Ayers is either a great talent with poor instincts or a perfect fit at 3-4 outside linebacker depending upon the commentator. He is a playmaker who produced 11 sacks in 2 years and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. The concerns remain, but he will be a consideration if he drops far enough. Another highly rated linebacker likely to go in round 1 is Justin Houston 6-3 270 Georgia. One attractive feature of Houston is that he played in a 3-4 defense as a senior, and he has an advantage in making the transition to the NFL. His statistics last year, 67 tackles with 18 for loss and 40 hurries with 10 sacks suggest that he could be very disruptive for Green Bay right away.

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PACKER DRAFT 2011
DEFENSIVE END

With Cullen Jenkins likely to be playing for another team in the next NFL season, the Packers would like to add a quick defensive end to the mix who could help to replace the sacks and big plays that Jenkins has provided. It was very apparent at the end of the season that a healthy Jenkins added a unique element to the defense designed by Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers. However, staying healthy has not always been easy for Jenkins and he will be over 30 when his next season begins. The Packers will not overpay Cullen Jenkins, which makes it probable that the Green Bay defense will proceed without him.

The 2011 draft appears to have more some excellent candidates to play end in the 3-4 system. Some will be taken in the first round, but others will be available later. The Packers have used late round picks to select defensive end in recent years. Jarius Wynn was a sixth round choice in 2009 and C.J Wilson was added in the seventh round in 2010. How the Packers evaluate those two players will be part of the calculation of how high to take another Defensive End. Potentially, if Wynn can add some weight without losing speed and develop some skills, he could step in for Jenkins. Wilson also has some potential as a pass rusher Ifs do not always come true. The Packers will look for a Jenkins clone in this draft.

The logical candidate should be gone in the first 15 picks. Cameron Jordan 6-4 287 California, who ran a 4.74 forty at the Combine. Jordan was the talk of the Senior Bowl and was virtually unblockable for a group of offensive lineman who will all be high draft choices this year. Jordan. He will be gone too high to even think about trading up.

Another highly rated lineman that a few people believe may drop at least into the 20s is Corey Liuget 6-3 300 Illinois. Liuget will probably be drafted to play tackle in the 4-3, but could he be available late in the round, and he would be a consideration..

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PACKER DRAFT 2011
QUARTERBACKS

The Green Bay Packers build their offense around quarterback Aaron Rodger who is one of the best in the game and still improving. Ready to step in is Matt Flynn, who proved last season that he can lead the team against any opponent and give them a chance to win. Most observers, including me, would not be comfortable with the situation if Aaron Rodgers were to be lost for an entire season. Losing Rodgers is a small but real concern because of his chance taking style of play along with a history of concussions. Matt Flynn is not even penciled in as a franchise quarterback.

That being said, Matt Flynn is probably good enough to start for some other team for a few years. He is likely to find out if teams agree with that statement because he will be a free agent next year. The situation is not the same as when Aaron Rodgers reached the end of his rookie deal. Aaron Rodgers is 27 years old. Flynn cannot wait till Rodgers is over the hill. Assuming Flynn will find another team after next season, the Packers will need to find another reliable number two signal caller. Whether or not Flynn leaves, there is a need to find a quarterback with the potential to be a starter. As of today, the other candidate is Graham Harrell, but we have no idea if Harrell can be an adequate back up much less a starting quarterback. He may establish that in the preseason next year. The question is whether Green Bay can wait past this draft to conclude whether Harrell is up to the task.

Even if the issue is a year away. The Green Bay Packers need to think about developing a reserve quarterback. This could be a good situation in which to sign a free agent, but that is not the usual way they fill a need in Green Bay. Since they are not likely to use a first round choice on a back up next year, selecting a player in this draft may make sense. However, it needs to be a player with some unrealized potential. With three quarterbacks already on the active roster, the new guy will have to be a quarterback that can slide through to the practice squad. That means he will be a low round selection.

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PACKER DRAFT 2011
THE GREEN BAY PACKERS WISH LIST

This is fun. Year after year I have looked at the then current version of the Green Bay Packers, and I have, to the best of my ability, analyzed the needs they would have to fill in free agency and the draft in order to have a team that could compete for the Super Bowl. This year is different because the Packers already won the Super Bowl, and the players coming back are ready to play at a high level at every position. There are no glaring needs, except perhaps a dynamic return man, but there remains a desire to improve. They have, not a needs list, but a wish list.

From a general point of view, the Green Bay Packers want players to fill their basic approach to offense defense and special teams. The offense need to be able to run the ball particularly in the fourth quarter and the passing game must have enough playmakers to be effective against the best defenses in the league. On defense, the goal of having players who can defend the run is largely met, but the second half of playoff games showed that there is room to grow in defending the pass. The greatest area of emphasis should be special teams. If the team does not re-sign kicker Mason Crosby, there will be a need for a kicker. There is definitely a need for a dynamic punt and kickoff return man. These wishes and few needs may be filled by a combination of veteran free agents and rookies.

Since his first two years as General Manager, Ted Thompson has been a non-player in the free agent market. That could change. Even a strong team could benefit from the addition of a proven veteran playmaker, and players who fit that description now have a reason to consider Green Bay. First they would be joining the team that is the favorite to represent the NFC in the Championship Game next year. Second, they have seen the character of the players currently on the roster. These players overcome adversity and support each other, the type of players that most people would want as teammates. Moreover, the stigma of playing in a small venue is now balanced by the factors of a superior coaching staff, great facilities and the opportunity to succeed. With the media opportunities available for the super Bowl champs, other players will hear convincing testimonials extolling the advantages of playing in Green Bay.

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WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS MY FRIEND

To historians far in the future combing though the records, the 2011 Super Bowl will be understandable. Before the season began, the Green Bay Packers were a popular pick to make the playoffs and win the Lombardi Trophy. That is what happened. They won the super Bowl. So why are so many Packer fans existing in this state of stunned amazement? Why are players still saying that they cannot quite believe the reality of the victory? They really did it. The Green Bay Packers are champions of the National Football League. The team that lost to Washington and Detroit is the world champ. General Manager Ted Thompson will not be able to trade back in round one of the draft. His team earned him the last pick.

Historians who dig a beyond the most obvious facts will learn that final victory was far from assured. The defense was opening the season without cornerback Al Harris and safety Atari Bigby who were both put on the physically unable to perform list. Defensive end Johnny Jolly had his own problems that led to a one-year suspension by the league. The Packers responded. General Manager Ted Thompson used high draft choices at safety with Morgan Burnett and at defensive end with Mike Neal. There was also hope that former first round draft choice Justin Harrell might finally contribute on the defensive line because he had played well at the end of training camp.

Then the bottom started to fall out from under these best-laid plans. Justin Harrell was lost for the season on September 14, which was not a big loss, but starting safety Morgan Burnett joined him on October 7th. A week later they lost their leading tackler and a major playmaker as linebacker Nick Barnett went down. Late October was a particularly hard time for the injury riddled Packers. On October 26th both Mike Neal and an important reserve linebacker, Brady Poppinga were lost for the season. Starting outside linebacker Brad Jones was placed on IR a day later. One month later, Brandon Chiller, the only remaining source of proven depth at linebacker was added to the list.

That was not quite the end of the problems on defense. Super star Clay Matthews missed a game and a half and the team lost both contests. Defensive end and inside pass rusher Cullen Jenkins was hobbled most of the season. He missed a game and played with a cast on his hand for many weeks. Because of injuries on the defensive line, B.J Raji was the only available big defensive lineman in one game. In some cases, the replacements did not remain healthy. To shore up the safety position and special teams, the Packers re-signed two former players, safety Anthony Smith and tight end/linebacker Spencer Havner. Each only lasted a few weeks before joining their old teammates on injured reserve.

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GREEN BAY PACKER MOCK DRAFT 2009
Jerry Gilbert 4/24/2009

ROUND I 9TH OVERALL

This high in Round One, the player has to be able to start from day one. You want a player who is more than an accomplished college player. He should be blessed with the talent to be a future all-pro, and hopefully, he occupies a position of immediate need. Provided he is still available, the pick is Andre Smith OT Alabama 6-4 330. Endowed with unusual strength and agility, Smith could step right in at right tackle. Time will tell if he can excel at his college position on the left side, but, unless he eats himself out of the league, Andre Smith could become great offensive lineman for the Packers very quickly.
Alternatives: Trade Down, Brian Orapko OLB Texas, Tyson Jackson DE Louisiana State

ROUND II 41ST OVERALL

Round 2 should also produce a player ready to step in and contribute. Some would consider this a reach, but the Packers need defensive lineman suitable for the 3-4 and not many prime candidates for defensive end will be available later in the draft. The choice is Fili Moala DT/DE 6-4 305 Southern California. A defensive end in the 3-4 defense basically absorbs blockers so that linebackers can make the tackle. Moala filled that role in the USC defense, and his efforts contributed to the high draft status of the USC linebackers. He also has some quickness, as shown by the statistic that ten of his 30 tackles in 2008 resulted in a loss. Moala is especially valuable because he can probably spend some time at NT right away, and with added weight, he could become a fixture in the middle.
Alternatives Jamon Meredith OT Tennessee, Connor Barwin OLB Cincinnati, Jaron Gilbert DE San Jose State

ROUND III 73rd OVERALL

The first round of the second day produces the scramble to grab players who unexpectedly slipped through without being selected. Cody Brown OLB 6-3 248 Connecticut is the selection. His 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in 2008 demonstrate some of the skills needed for the position. Another important statistic is 16.5 tackles for loss in each of his last two seasons. A down lineman in college, the 3-4 should work to his strengths.
Alternatives: Cornelius Ingram TE Florida, Marcus Freeman OLB Ohio State







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2009 NFL Mock Draft
Joseph B. Coaty April 23, 2009

Note: Draft order is indicative of the order on April 23, 2009. Trades already completed by NFL teams are reflected in this draft order.

Note: The position listed for a player is not necessarily the position the player performed at in college. The position listed is the position I would project that player to play if he was drafted by the team that selects him in this mock draft.

(*) = denotes underclassman













Round One:

  • 1. Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford/QB/Georgia (*)
  • 2. St. Louis Rams Jason Smith/OT/Baylor
  • 3. Kansas City Chiefs Eugene Monroe/OT/Virginia
  • 4. Seattle Seahawks Aaron Curry/OLB/Wake Forest
  • 5. Cleveland Browns Michael Crabtree/WR/Texas Tech (*)
  • 6. Cincinnati Bengals Brian Orakpo/DE/Texas
  • 7. Oakland Raiders Darrius Heyward-Bey/WR/Maryland (*)
  • 8. Jacksonville Jaguars B.J. Raji/DT/Boston College
  • 9. Green Bay Packers Tyson Jackson/DE/Louisiana State
  • 10. San Francisco 49ers Mark Sanchez/QB/Southern California (*)
  • 11. Buffalo Bills Andre Smith/OT/Alabama (*)
  • 12. Denver Broncos Aaron Maybin/OLB/Penn State (*)
  • 13. Washington Redskins Brian Cushing/OLB/Southern California
  • 14. New Orleans Saints Malcolm Jenkins/CB/Ohio State
  • 15. Houston Texans Knowshon Moreno/RB/Georgia (*)
  • 16. San Diego Chargers Michael Oher/OT/Mississippi
  • 17. New York Jets Josh Freeman/QB/Kansas State (*)
  • 18. Denver Broncos (from Chicago) Rey Maualuga/ILB/Southern California
  • 19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Peria Jerry/DT/Mississippi
  • 20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas) Everette Brown/DE/Florida State (*)
  • 21. Philadelphia Eagles Jeremy Maclin/WR/Missouri (*)
  • 22. Minnesota Vikings Eben Britton/OT/Arizona (*)
  • 23. New England Patriots Clay Matthews/OLB/Southern California
  • 24. Atlanta Falcons Robert Ayers/DE/Tennessee
  • 25. Miami Dolphins Vontae Davis/CB/Illinois (*)
  • 26. Baltimore Ravens Percy Harvin/WR/Florida (*)
  • 27. Indianapolis Colts Evander Hood/DT/Missouri
  • 28. Buffalo Bills (from Carolina through Philadelphia) Brandon Pettigrew/TE/Oklahoma State
  • 29. New York Giants Hakeem Nicks/WR/North Carolina (*)
  • 30. Tennessee Titans Kenny Britt/WR/Rutgers (*)
  • 31. Arizona Cardinals Chris Wells/RB/Ohio State (*)
  • 32. Pittsburgh Steelers Darius Butler/CB/Connecticut






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Top 300 Prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft
Joseph B. Coaty April 16, 2009

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft as of April 16, 2009. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.

NOTE: The position listed is the position that player played at during the 2008 season. The one exception to this listing is Kevin Akins (#297) who played CB in 2008 but projects to OLB in the NFL.

(*) = denotes underclassman







  • 1. Aaron Curry/OLB/Wake Forest
  • 2. Eugene Monroe/OT/Virginia
  • 3. Jason Smith/OT/Baylor
  • 4. Michael Crabtree/WR/Texas Tech (*)
  • 5. Malcolm Jenkins/CB/Ohio State
  • 6. Matthew Stafford/QB/Georgia (*)
  • 7. B.J. Raji/DT/Boston College
  • 8. Jeremy Maclin/WR/Missouri (*)
  • 9. Brian Orakpo/DE/Texas
  • 10. Chris Wells/RB/Ohio State (*)
  • 11. Tyson Jackson/DE/Louisiana State
  • 12. Everette Brown/DE/Florida State (*)
  • 13. Michael Oher/OT/Mississippi
  • 14. Andre Smith/OT/Alabama (*)
  • 15. Knowshon Moreno/RB/Georgia (*)
  • 16. Mark Sanchez/QB/Southern California (*)
  • 17. James Laurinaitis/ILB/Ohio State
  • 18. Rey Maualuga/ILB/Southern California
  • 19. Peria Jerry/DT/Mississippi
  • 20. Darrius Heyward-Bey/WR/Maryland (*)
  • 21. Brian Cushing/OLB/Southern California
  • 22. Darius Butler/CB/Connecticut
  • 23. Aaron Maybin/DE/Penn State (*)
  • 24. Alphonso Smith/CB/Wake Forest
  • 25. Clay Matthews/DE/Southern California
  • 26. Kenny Britt/WR/Rutgers (*)
  • 27. Eben Britton/OT/Arizona (*)
  • 28. Hakeem Nicks/WR/North Carolina (*)
  • 29. Donald Brown/RB/Connecticut (*)
  • 30. Vontae Davis/CB/Illinois (*)






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PACKER DRAFT 2009 CORNERBACK
By Jerry Gilbert 4/16/2009

Last season, the cornerbacks for the Green Bay Packers generally played at a high level. Charles Woodson was All Pro, and Tramon Williams proved he could step in for an injured Al Harris and be an effective starter. Harris also had a decent season. Behind them are two players who have flashed potential, Will Blackmon and Charles Lee. Nevertheless, many people see drafting a cornerback as a priority because of the advancing age of the starters and the absence of a player who has shown the ability to be a starter other than Williams. Thus, a cornerback is likely to be drafted, but how soon to select at that position remains an issue.

More than a few observers have predicted that the ninth selection of the first round will be used by Green Bay to bring in Malcolm Jenkins 6-0 204 Ohio State. Jenkins was a shut down corner in the Big Ten. In 2008 the receivers he covered caught a total of 7 passes for 66 yards. In seven games he shut out the man he was covering. The All American was very effective in run support, and generally as a down field tackler. In 2008, he registered 57 tackles, and prevented 22 third downs. If the Packer coaches and scouts are convinced that his game speed is not reflected in the pedestrian 40 yard dash times he has turned in this Spring, then Jenkins may be a good pick if he is available at number nine. On the other hand, Jenkins would probably start the season as no higher than the number four cornerback on the roster. A team with as many needs as the Green Bay Packers has to carefully consider whether to use such a high draft choice on such a player.

Another reason to pass on Jenkins is that there are a number of talented corners who could be available in later rounds. One interesting prospect will likely be drafted in round 2. Sean Smith, 6-4 214, Utah is unusually tall for a cornerback, and he could match well against tall receivers. His height also forces quarterbacks to loft the ball over him. Smith is not noted for his tackling, but that may be less of a concern in a Dom Capers defense than it would have been in previous seasons. The fact that Smith began his career as a wide receiver means he understands passing routes, but it also means he is very inexperienced on defense. His size will cause him to be drafted early, but he may not be the answer for the Packers.

There are two players who could fit the Green Bay defense, and at least one may drop to their selection in round 3. Mike Mickens, 6-0 184 Cincinnati, was a four year starter whose 14 career interceptions are a school record. He was also aggressive against the run. A late season injury caused him to miss some games and to leave early from the Senior Bowl. but there are indication s that his pro day and private workouts may move him up into at least the second round. Injuries have had an even greater impact on Kevin Barnes 6-0 187 Maryland. A broken shoulder blade ended his 2008 season, and he has only recently been able to run. The combination of 65 tackles and 4 interceptions in last full season as a starter shows the ability to play the position.





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PACKER DRAFT 2009 OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Jerry Gilbert 4/9/2009

The last time the Green Bay Packers were unusually successful in drafting offensive linemen was in 2000, the year they drafted tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher. Each man started and played well as a rookie, and they have been fixtures on the line till now. In second place would be 2006, which brought Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz and Tony Moll. The latter three players have all started, Colledge and Spitz from year one, but none have brought the every week consistency that have made Tauscher and Clifton so valuable to the franchise. Inconsistent play in the middles of the line has resulted in the addition of a contender or two in every draft, the most recent being guard and possible right tackle Josh Sitton and tackle Breno Giacomini who were drafted last year. Although both Allen Barbre in 2007 and Colledge the year before were drafted as potential left tackles, neither now appears to be the heir apparent to Chad Clifton. Given his age and gimpy knees, a candidate to replace Clifton at some point is a focus of this draft.

Free Agent guard and center Duke Preston was added this off-season. He will join the competition for the three interior positions, which makes it quite unlikely that the Packers will be looking for a center or guard in the 2009 Draft. On the other hand, right tackle will be a position of concern because Mark Tauscher is injured, aging and not under contract. The injury and contact status are related because it is hard to judge his value until the quality of his recovery is known. A few seasons ago, the Packers gave Tauscher a new contract while he was on injured reserve, but that was a different injury and he was 3 years younger. There is a danger that contract negotiation could suddenly break down, and the veteran tackle would sign with another team simply because his and their opinion of this recovery differs from the opinion held by the Packer coaches. It would be shame to lose the popular Wisconsin native, but draft strategy will have to include the possibility of needing a new starting right tackle on day one.





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PACKER DRAFT 2009 WIDE RECEIVER AND TIGHT END
Jerry Gilbert 4/9/2009

Most observers would agree that wide receiver is not a position of need for the Green Bay Packers in the 2009 College Draft, but most of us said that last year and the Packers drafted 2 wide receivers and a pass catching tight end. Partly because of the high pick used last season for Jordy Nelson and the continued availability of seventh round selection Brett Swain, we may say with confidence Green Bay is highly unlikely to choose a wide receiver before the late rounds of the draft. Greg Jennings is a rising star and Donald Driver remains good enough to serve as a high quality number 2. In his second season, Jordy Nelson should be more of a factor in the offense and may reveal whether he can be a replacement for Driver in the next year or so. If he can stay healthy, James Jones is another wide receiver with the ability to be a starter. Only Ruvell Martin would seem to be vulnerable to be challenged for a roster spot by a talented rookie.

Restricting to second day selections, there certainly will be some young men who can contribute as wide receivers and on special teams for the Packers. The offense could certainly use some help in the red zone and speed is always welcome.

A player with a size and speed combination unique in this draft is Ramses Barden 6-6 229 Cal Poly. Barden did not stand out at the Senior Bowl nor run a fast time at the combine, but the kid has great hands and the ability to catch the high pass. Last season, he dominated inferior competition, catching 67 passes for 18 touchdowns and averaging over 100 yards per game. He also scored 18 touchdowns and had a higher per game yardage average as a junior. At the Senior Bowl, he did prove to be a willing an effective blocker. Although his speed is suspect, Barden could be a force in the red zone and in a variety of special team roles.



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NEW!
2009 NFL Mock Draft March 23, 2009

By Joseph B. Coaty

Note: Draft order is indicative of the order on March 23, 2009 (see ^ below).

Note: The position listed for a player is not necessarily the position the player performed at in college. The position listed is the position to I would project that player to play if he was drafted by the team that selects him in this mock draft.

(*) = denotes underclassman

(^) = Pick #232 is currently projected to the Jacksonville Jaguars. On March 19 the Jacksonville Jaguars traded defensive lineman Tony McDaniel to the Miami Dolphins for a seventh round pick. However, the Dolphins currently held three seventh round picks and it was not reported which of the three picks were included in the trade. For the purpose of this mock draft, I have projected the middle of the three picks to the Jaguars. Please note that instead of pick #232, pick #214 or pick #237 could be the pick that has been traded to the Jaguars.

Round One:

  • 1. Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford/QB/Georgia (*)
  • 2. St. Louis Rams Jason Smith/OT/Baylor
  • 3. Kansas City Chiefs Brian Orakpo/DE/Texas
  • 4. Seattle Seahawks Aaron Curry/OLB/Wake Forest
  • 5. Cleveland Browns Michael Crabtree/WR/Texas Tech (*)
  • 6. Cincinnati Bengals Eugene Monroe/OT/Virginia
  • 7. Oakland Raiders B.J. Raji/DT/Boston College
  • 8. Jacksonville Jaguars Jeremy Maclin/WR/Missouri (*)
  • 9. Green Bay Packers Malcolm Jenkins/CB/Ohio State
  • 10. San Francisco 49ers Mark Sanchez/QB/Southern California (*)
  • 11. Buffalo Bills Everette Brown/DE/Florida State (*)
  • 12. Denver Broncos Tyson Jackson/DE/Louisiana State
  • 13. Washington Redskins Andre Smith/OT/Alabama (*)
  • 14. New Orleans Saints Vontae Davis/CB/Illinois (*)
  • 15. Houston Texans Brian Cushing/OLB/Southern California
  • 16. San Diego Chargers Michael Oher/OT/Mississippi
  • 17. New York Jets Darrius Heyward-Bey/WR/Maryland (*)
  • 18. Chicago Bears Percy Harvin/WR/Florida (*)
  • 19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Peria Jerry/DT/Mississippi
  • 20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas) Rey Maualuga/ILB/Southern California
  • 21. Philadelphia Eagles Hakeem Nicks/WR/North Carolina (*)
  • 22. Minnesota Vikings Eben Britton/OT/Arizona (*)
  • 23. New England Patriots Aaron Maybin/OLB/Penn State (*)
  • 24. Atlanta Falcons Robert Ayers/DE/Tennessee
  • 25. Miami Dolphins Clay Matthews/OLB/Southern California
  • 26. Baltimore Ravens James Laurinaitis/ILB/Ohio State
  • 27. Indianapolis Colts Kenny Britt/WR/Rutgers (*)
  • 28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina) Knowshon Moreno/RB/Georgia (*)
  • 29. New York Giants Brandon Pettigrew/TE/Oklahoma State
  • 30. Tennessee Titans Josh Freeman/QB/Kansas State (*)
  • 31. Arizona Cardinals Chris Wells/RB/Ohio State (*)
  • 32. Pittsburgh Steelers Alphonso Smith/CB/Wake Forest


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PACKER DRAFT 2009 DEFENSIVE LINE
By Jerry Gilbert 3/26/2009

As of today the roster of the Green Bay Packers contains only two players who will probably be part of a six to seven man defensive line rotation when the season begins. Only defensive end Cullen Jenkins and nose tackle Ryan Pickett could now be entered in pen as likely starters. This basic numerical reality suggests that at least two draft choices should be used to add candidates for the front three on the all-new Packer Defense. Obviously, the addition of a free agent or two could affect both the whether and the when of drafting defensive linemen, but happily there are some candidates for most positions throughout the draft eligible pool.

Beginning with defensive end, the Packers will be looking for a different type of player than in the past. Recent draft choices Michael Montgomery 6-5 273 and Jeremy Thompson 6-4 270, are not the right body types to thrive in the 3-4, although Thompson will compete to be an outside linebacker in the system and to back up Kampman or Jenkins when they go to the 4-3. The surprising re-signing of Montgomery suggests that he will also be in the mix at defensive end.. The best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL are mostly former tackles because the proto-typical defensive end is about 6-5 and weighs 300 pounds. Few collegiate ends fit the criteria.

However, there is one such player, with first or second round ability, who played defensive end in college in a top conference. Tyson Jackson 6-4 295 LSU was a four-year starter and important component in the dominating LSU defense. Unfortunately, Jackson would be a reach at pick 9 and will not be available when Green Bay makes its second round pick. However, should they trade down in round 1, Jackson, a ready to go defensive end, would be a possible selection. At the other end of the draft in the sixth or seventh round, there is another collegiate defensive end with the right size. From the small school ranks, the Packers might consider Northern Iowa product Everette Pedescleaux 6-6 305, who originally played at Division I Minnesota. Pedescleaux totaled 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss last season and was named third team All-American. Lots of scouts showed up for the recent Northern Iowa Pro Day. Possessed with ideal height and weight, this 3-4 defensive end prospect will be drafted by some team.





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Top 300 Prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft 3/16/09
By Joseph B. Coaty

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft as of March 16, 2009. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.

(*) = denotes underclassman

  • 1. Aaron Curry/OLB/Wake Forest
  • 2. Eugene Monroe/OT/Virginia
  • 3. Jason Smith/OT/Baylor
  • 4. Michael Crabtree/WR/Texas Tech (*)
  • 5. B.J. Raji/DT/Boston College
  • 6. Jeremy Maclin/WR/Missouri (*)
  • 7. Malcolm Jenkins/CB/Ohio State
  • 8. Everette Brown/DE/Florida State (*)
  • 9. Brian Orakpo/DE/Texas
  • 10. Matthew Stafford/QB/Georgia (*)
  • 11. Chris Wells/RB/Ohio State (*)
  • 12. Michael Oher/OT/Mississippi
  • 13. Peria Jerry/DT/Mississippi
  • 14. Tyson Jackson/DE/Louisiana State
  • 15. Andre Smith/OT/Alabama (*)
  • 16. Brian Cushing/OLB/Southern California
  • 17. Knowshon Moreno/RB/Georgia (*)
  • 18. Mark Sanchez/QB/Southern California (*)
  • 19. Darrius Heyward-Bey/WR/Maryland (*)
  • 20. James Laurinaitis/ILB/Ohio State


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2009 NFL Mock Draft
February 21, 2009

By Joseph Coaty 2/21/2009

Note: Draft order is indicative of the order on February 21, 2009. Trades already completed by NFL teams are reflected in this draft order. I have done my best to make sure all trade information is accurate. However, due to the conditional aspect of some trades, I had to make a "best guess" with some of the later round traded picks. Please keep in mind that the NFL will add compensatory selections at a later date, which will result in about 30 additional players being selected.

Note: The position listed for a player is not necessarily the position the player performed at in college. The position listed is the position to I would project that player to play if he was drafted by the team that selects him in this mock draft. (*) = denotes underclassman





Round One:

  • 1. Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford/QB/Georgia (*)
  • 2. St. Louis Rams Eugene Monroe/OT/Virginia
  • 3. Kansas City Chiefs Aaron Curry/OLB/Wake Forest
  • 4. Seattle Seahawks Michael Crabtree/WR/Texas Tech (*)
  • 5. Cleveland Browns Brian Orakpo/OLB/Texas
  • 6. Cincinnati Bengals Jason Smith/OT/Baylor
  • 7. Oakland Raiders Jeremy Maclin/WR/Missouri (*)
  • 8. Jacksonville Jaguars Andre Smith/OT/Alabama (*)
  • 9. Green Bay Packers B.J. Raji/DT/Boston College
  • 10. San Francisco 49ers Mark Sanchez/QB/Southern California (*)
  • 11. Buffalo Bills Everette Brown/DE/Florida State (*)
  • 12. Denver Broncos Aaron Maybin/OLB/Penn State (*)
  • 13. Washington Redskins Michael Oher/OT/Misssissippi
  • 14. New Orleans Saints Malcolm Jenkins/CB/Ohio State
  • 15. Houston Texans Vontae Davis/CB/Illinois (*)
  • 16. San Diego Chargers Rey Maualuga/ILB/Southern California
  • 17. New York Jets Tyson Jackson/DE/Louisiana State
  • 18. Chicago Bears Darrius Heyward-Bey/WR/Maryland (*)
  • 19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Peria Jerry/DT/Mississippi
  • 20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas) Brian Cushing/OLB/Southern California
  • 21. Philadelphia Eagles Knowshon Moreno/RB/Georgia (*)
  • 22. Minnesota Vikings D.J. Moore/CB/Vanderbilt (*)
  • 23. New England Patriots Larry English/OLB/Northern Illinois
  • 24. Atlanta Falcons Alphonso Smith/CB/Wake Forest
  • 25. Miami Dolphins James Laurinaitis/ILB/Ohio State
  • 26. Baltimore Ravens Hakeem Nicks/WR/North Carolina (*)
  • 27. Indianapolis Colts Eben Britton/OT/Arizona (*)
  • 28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina) Brandon Pettigrew/TE/Oklahoma State
  • 29. New York Giants Percy Harvin/WR/Florida (*)
  • 30. Tennessee Titans Kenny Britt/WR/Rutgers (*)
  • 31. Arizona Cardinals Chris Wells/RB/Ohio State (*)
  • 32. Pittsburgh Steelers Alex Mack/C/California


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Top 300 Prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft
By Joseph Coaty 02/08/09

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft as of February 8, 2009. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.

  • 1. Aaron Curry/OLB/Wake Forest
  • 2. Eugene Monroe/OT/Virginia
  • 3. Michael Crabtree/WR/Texas Tech (*)
  • 4. Jason Smith/OT/Baylor
  • 5. Jeremy Maclin/WR/Missouri (*)
  • 6. B.J. Raji/DT/Boston College
  • 7. Malcolm Jenkins/CB/Ohio State
  • 8. Chris Well/RB/Ohio State (*)
  • 9. Everette Brown/DE/Florida State (*)
  • 10. Brian Orakpo/DE/Texas
  • 11. Andre Smith/OT/Alabama (*)
  • 12. James Laurinaitis/ILB/Ohio State
  • 13. Tyson Jackson/DE/Louisiana State
  • 14. Michael Oher/OT/Mississippi
  • 15. Rey Maualuga/ILB/Southern California
  • 16. Peria Jerry/DT/Mississippi
  • 17. Knowshon Moreno/RB/Georgia (*)
  • 18. Matthew Stafford/QB/Georgia (*)
  • 19. Brian Cushing/OLB/Southern California
  • 20. Mark Sanchez/QB/Southern California (*)


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PACKERDRAFT 2009 TEAM NEEDS AND OVERVIEW
By Jerry Gilbert 1/19/2009

The question as to what players may be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2009 College Draft may have been totally changed by the hiring of Dom Capers to coach the Defense. If Capers has been added to install a 3-4 defense, the players to man such a unit may not be in place. On the other hand, the addition of one or two outstanding talents could improve the defense regardless of what scheme or combination of schemes will be employed.

We turn first to the players now on the roster, beginning with the defensive line. In 2008 the defensive line proved to be inadequate. It could not stop premier running backs nor generate consistent pressure on the passer. Adding to the problems is the fact that its best player last season, end Aaron Kampman, doe not appear well suited to a 3-4 alignment. On the other hand, nose tackle Ryan Picket played fairly well and should be adequate in a 3-4, provided that he has good back-ups, so that he can stay fresh. Colin Cole and Justin Harrell were not up to that task last season. Harrell may have the talent, but we will not know how he will perform until next season. Tackle Johnny Jolly regressed in 2008 and he faces serious criminal charges in Texas. Veteran Michael Montgomery will not be adequate in either a 4-3 or 3-4, and rush ends Jason Hunter and Jeremy Thompson are works in progress.

A sign of hope is found in the other starting defensive end, Cullen Jenkins, who missed most of the season with an injury. When he did play, it was at a very high level. At 6-2 305, Jenkins may have the bulk to contribute in a 3-4 alignment. Assuming that he returns at full strength, Jenkins should be able to play very well in the four-man front. If he is available and can stay focused, Johnny Jolly is another player who can contribute in either system.


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WHAT HAPPENED TO 13-3
By Jerry Gilbert 12/28/08

A year ago the Green Bay Packers were the surprise of the league. The youngest team in the NFL, the Packers usually found a way to win games and entered the playoffs as Division Champion, sporting a record of 13-3. This year, with most of the same young players a year older and hopefully better, the Packers have 5 wins against 10 losses and, achieving the same record became a mathematical impossibility weeks ago. The reasons for the decline in victories are many. We will begin at the top and work down.

The first culprit is the NFL itself. The league is committed to parity among the teams. One way this is accomplished, involves the schedule. A successful team one year will have a harder schedule the next. This policy allows teams such as Atlanta and Miami to go from rags to riches, and teams such as Jacksonville and Green Bay to slide into mediocrity. However, the schedule itself is not the only factor. Last year the Packers met good teams such as the Giants at a point in the season when they were not playing very well. This year, Green Bay faced Tampa and New Orleans when each team was at its peak.

Another league-imposed problem is the fact that the officials are given new points of emphasis each year. One focus this season is to make certain that offensive tackles are closer to the line of scrimmage. Anything that gives the pass rusher a little help will create problems for the Green Bay offense because it is based to a significant extent on passing. There is more to the story than the officials, but Green Bay left tackle Chad Clifton has not protected the blind side of his quarterback as well as he did last season. Inconsistent pass protection probably cost a couple of victories.


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CROSSING THE LINE: BUCS 30 PACKERS 21
By Jerry Gilbert 9/30/2008

One of my all time favorite movies was The Alamo. There have, of course, been multiple versions featuring from Fess Parker to Billy Bob in leading roles, and we can all pick our favorite retelling of the story. Every one of them features the historical dramatic moment when Colonel Travis explains the reality of the situation to his troops. He offers everyone a chance to depart with honor, but asks those who agree to stay to step across a line. For the men who stepped forward, it was a heroic moment. In Tampa Florida on Sunday, crossing the line had a different meaning.

For 60 minutes in Raymond James Stadium, Packer fans watched the offensive and defensive linemen from Tamp Bay playing the game on the Packers' side of the line of scrimmage. The Green Bay linemen were beaten over and over. The defense had its moments and the offense opened a couple of holes for a back, but the dominant theme of a game was a butt kicking in the trenches. That is why the team lost.

What is notable about the game is that three playmakers, Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Charles Woodson nearly produced a victory despite the situation they faced. Rodgers was running for his life, but he still made plays. Woodson is an amazing football player. I would say something similar about Jennings except that he dropped two passes in a game in which dropping passes cannot be permitted. The penalties, mistakes and the Ryan Grant fumble prevented the victory which Charles Woodson and the others almost made possible. Ultimately they could not overcome the play of the Packer linemen.


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PLAYERS WHO NEED TO STEP UP
By Jerry Gilbert

The loss to Dallas on September 21 was not a disaster. The youngest team in the National Football League, the Green Bay Packers may realistically be expected to improve as the season progresses and could be in the race to the Super Bowl by the end of 2008. On the other hand, the Packers may be the type of team that can beat teams like Detroit but not compete with the best teams such as Dallas.

Which team we will see as the season progresses will depend on the ability of players to make game changing play as at critical times along with playing consistently well on a down to down basis. Consistent play by both the offensive and defensive linemen was not in evidence against the Cowboys. On defense, nose tackle Ryan Pickett played his worst game of the season. He will return to form, but on the other side of the ball different starters could be the answer. The return of Scott Wells at center will permit Jason Spitz to resume playing guard, and two positions should be better than they were against Dallas. The question is whether any of these players will provide crucial plays that change games. Consistency may be about what we can expect from these players.

Returning to the defensive front four, end Aaron Kampman and end and tackle Cullen Jenkins are each capable of changing games. Jenkins showed that ability on Sunday with two consecutive plays in the offensive backfield to force a punt by the Cowboys. He brought back memories of Reggie White. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is unlikely to be the play maker he once was, but if he steps forward a time a two, the team will be better. The real key to success on defense will come from better play at defensive tackle. Here the key performer could be nose tackle Colin Cole or, when he returns from injury later in the season, Justin Harrell. Ryan Pickett cannot plug the middle on every play. Some stops on third or fourth and one need to be made by the other tackles. Johnny Jolly is capable of a big play on occasion. Colin Cole needs to rise at least to that level.


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PACKERS TRY TO FILL NEEDS IN DRAFT
By Jerry Gilbert

Although Green Bay Packer General Manager Ted Thompson regularly insists that he always selects the best player available, Coach Mike McCarthy admitted that their Draft board has a horizontal component to go with the vertical rankings. If you need a tackle, the fourth rated tackle may go before the top rated safety. This is drafting for need, which is exactly what the Packers did this weekend. There were surprises, because Ted Thompson evaluates his needs, and, while not everyone agrees with his evaluation, Mr. Thompson makes the picks. Nevertheless, however much he may protest to the contrary, this was a draft that was designed to fill specific needs.

The first need he tackled was at wide receiver. All the pundits and many fans have been calling it a position of strength. That is why Ted Thomson is the General Manager, and the rest of us watch from afar. First, he remembered that when Donald Driver is not in the lineup, there is a noticeable reduction in performance. I suspect that Greg Jennings, by next season, will be able to fill that void, but who then replaces Jennings? Valuable as they were last season, James Jones, Koren Robinson and Ruvell Martin will not make anyone believe they compare to Reggie Wayne. The way they played last season gives little confidence that one of them can totally replace either Driver or Jennings in the starting rotation. Starting receivers inevitably miss time with injuries, and Donald Driver is 33 years old. The Packers need to develop another difference maker at receiver. In time, second round draft choice Jordy Nelson could be that player.

It is possible that James Jones may advance in his second year as much as Greg Jennings did last season, but I would not bet the franchise on that. Koren Robinson has been a premier receiver in the league, and possibly could regain that form, but Ted Thompson is not counting on that. As for Ruvell Martin, we are talking about a great person, but he is not a starting receiver in the National football League. There is another relevant factor. As Jennings and Jones illustrate, almost no receivers make a major impact in their first season. Jordy Nelson, or some other potential starter, needed to be added this year to give him time to develop. If it works out, he will be ready to step in before Donald Driver begins to lose his effectiveness. Even if Jones, Robinson or another player should emerge as a go to receiver, the selection of Jordy Nelson still provides an additional candidate to fill that need.


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Top 300 Prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft April 20, 2008
By Joseph B. Coaty

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft as of April 20, 2008. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.
NOTE: For players with two positions listed, the first position listed is the position that player played at during the 2007 season, the second position listed is the position I currently project that player to play in the NFL.

  1. Darren McFadden/RB/Arkansas (*)
  2. Glenn Dorsey/DT/Louisiana State
  3. Chris Long/DE/Virginia
  4. Vernon Gholston/DE-OLB/Ohio State (*)
  5. Sedrick Ellis/DT/Southern California
  6. Jonathan Stewart/RB/Oregon (*)
  7. Jake Long/OT/Michigan
  8. Rashard Mendenhall/RB/Illinois (*)
  9. Branden Albert/OG/Virginia (*)
  10. Keith Rivers/OLB/Southern California

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PACKERDRAFT 2008 CORNERBACK
By Jerry Gilbert

The Green Bay Packer cornerback situation is well known to Packer fans. Al Harris, age 33, and Charles Woodson, only 31 have to be rated one of the best starting tandem in the NFL. However, last year, as in previous years, the nickel cornerback was not nearly as effective. Jarrett Bush began the season, but as the year went on, a total unknown named Tramon Williams stepped in and, after a brief learning experience, he brought solid play to the position. Also in the mix for next season is the best athlete of the group, Will Blackmon, but Blackmon has, over the last two seasons, has spent more time recovering from injuries than playing. He needs to show the world that he can stay healthy.

Even if the starters were not candidates to hit the point of diminishing ability in the next couple of years, it would be a good idea to add a potential starter to this mix. Because they are both over 30, the addition of at least one new cornerback is a high priority for the upcoming draft. Fortunately, there are a number of former collegians who could fit in.

While watching the Senior Bowl, I became a huge fan of Dominique Rogers-Cromartie 6-2 184 Tennessee State. Some of my evaluation may have come from the last name. I was a huge fan of Antonio Cromartie two years ago. He was drafted by San Diego 13 picks after Green Bay selected A.J. Hawk, and Cromartie became a star. The younger Cromartie is his cousin, and the knock on this outstanding athlete was his small college background. At the Senior Bowl, he easily covered all the big name receivers, stepped up and tackled big running backs and made game changing interceptions. At the Combine, he was the fastest and the most impressive competitor. Unfortunately, Cromartie will be gone long before the Packers select at number 30, unless General Manager Ted Thompson breaks a career long tradition and trades up in the first round. Watch for flying pigs if that happens.


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PACKERDRAFT 2008 OFFENSIVE LINE
By Jerry Gilbert

When Packer fans discuss the play of the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers, the dominant theme is usually the deficiency in run blocking. A second issue is the age of the tackles. Discussed less often is the fact that the young guards and center improved so much last season as pass blockers that the empty backfield became a key part of the offense. This is the same group of linemen who needed help from backs and tight ends on nearly every pass play a year earlier. Before anyone gives up on this young line, the great progress between 2006 and 2007 in pass protection must be recognized. It should provide a reason to believe that they can improve significantly in the running game next season. The success of Ryan Grant in the second half of last season was partly due to improved run blocking by these players.

Nevertheless, the offensive line could use another player or two to compete at guard and tackle. The ideal candidate could compete immediately at left guard and offer the potential to be a starting left tackle in a couple of years. Any guard who can pass block but also drive back large bodies with his strength would also be welcome. Fortunately, the 2008 NFL Draft presents a number of talented offensive linemen including several who could potentially fit in at either guard or tackle.

As the first round comes to a close, the biggest names such as Jake Long and Chris Williams will be gone, but a number of highly touted candidates, such as Boston College right tackle Gosder Cherilus and USC left tackle Sam Baker, will remain. Baker 6-5 309 USC is a player who might fit in. The stalwart left tackle on a great Trojan unit, Baker was All American for 3 seasons despite playing through some injuries. He was rated the best pass blocker at the Senior Bowl. At his size, Baker could be good fit at guard with the very real potential to return to his college position. Nevertheless, the offensive line talent pool is deeper than the first round, and General manager Ted Thompson will probably decide to wait till later to draft a lineman.


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PACKERDRAFT 2008 RUNNING BACKS
By Jerry Gilbert

Facing a number of questions about the running back position, Green Bay Packer General Manager Ted Thompson is likely to consider drafting a ball carrier, probably in the second day of the NFL Draft.

By every measure, Ryan Grant arrived in 2007 as a quality NFL running back. Playing a significant role in only nine games, Grant achieved a rushing average of 5.1 yards and a total of nearly 1000. However, he has been a starter for less than one complete season, and he could be injured at any time. Who can replace him if he falters or is injured is the first question the Packers face.

The second issue is whether any of the other tailbacks on the current roster can be an adequate replacement. The leading candidate is the second round selection from last year, Brandon Jackson, who started poorly but appeared to be coming on as the season ended. If the coaching staff has lost confidence that Jackson is good enough to start, the selection this year could be in the early rounds.

Among the other candidates, there is some potential, but there is nothing close to a sure thing. Vernand Morrency was a serious candidate to start last season, but due to some combination of the new system and nagging injuries, Morrency was nothing more than a spot player. DeShawn Wynn was the starter for a couple of games before being injured. Wynn has adequate talent, but has not maximized that talent since high school. He could be a factor, but only if he can prove to be consistent and durable.

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PACKERDRAFT 2008 TIGHT ENDS
Jerry Gilbert

Following what looked to be a breakout season, Green Bay Packer tight end, Donald Lee, is being counted on to anchor the position for years to come. On the other hand, veteran Bubba Franks was released, which leaves the team, that likes to feature 2 tight ends, with no proven support nor an adequate back up for Lee. Unless a free agent surprise emerges, we can expect the Packers to attempt to draft a tight end in the early rounds. Fortunately, a number of candidates will be available.

The top prospect all season set the single season reception record for USC and received the Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation. However, Fred Davis was steady but not outstanding at the Senior Bowl and has not distinguished himself in post-season workouts. At both the Combine and his pro day, Davis was unable to catch the ball on a consistent basis and his route running was a disappointment. As a college player Davis, 6-3 255, was both an adequate blocker and an elusive down field threat as a receiver. However, some scouts are not convinced that he will be as effective against better athletes on defense in the NFL. Probably still a first round selection based on college production, Davis does not seem to be a good value for the Packers at pick 30. However, should he drop into the second round, they might consider him.

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PACKERS DRAFT 2008 QUARTERBACKS
Jerry Gilbert

The retirement of Brett Favre will have a huge effect on the offseason plans of the Green Bay Packers. Had he continued to play, they may have added a young quarterback in the 2008 NFL Draft, but drafting a quarterback was not a necessity. Now it is. With only Aaron Rodgers to play quarterback, and he has a history of being injured, the Packers ideally would like both a veteran who is ready to start if needed. The draft should provide a rookie who might develop into a starter in the future.

That plan has some problems. Today, many NFL teams do not even feature one decent quarterback, which means an excess of veteran talent from which to choose will not be out there. Drew Bledsoe and Vinnie Testaverde could have jobs in the league if they wanted to play. Moreover, there could be a timing issue. The best option may not become available until after the draft as each team settles on its quarterback rotation. Tampa Bay , for example has 5 or 6 veterans under contract. In this unsettled situation, the Packers team may be compelled to draft a young quarterback with the potential to play as a rookie, if necessary. The selection of a first or second round quarterback is not out of the question.

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Top 300 Prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft March 10th, 2008
Joseph Coaty

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft as of March 10, 2008. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.

NOTE:For players with two positions listed, the first position listed is the position that player played at during the 2007 season, the second position listed is the position I currently project that player to play in the NFL.

(*) = denotes underclassman

  1. Darren McFadden/RB/Arkansas (*)

  2. Chris Long/DE/Virginia

  3. Glenn Dorsey/DT/Louisiana State

  4. Sedrick Ellis/DT/Southern California

  5. Vernon Gholston/DE-OLB/Ohio State (*)

  6. Jonathan Stewart/RB/Oregon (*)

  7. Jake Long/OT/Michigan

  8. Kenny Phillips/S/Miami, Fl (*)

  9. Rashard Mendenhall/RB/Illinois (*)

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2008 NFL Mock Draft February 16, 2008
Joseph Coaty

Note: Draft order is indicative of the order on February 16, 2008. Trades already completed by NFL teams are reflected in this draft order. A few projected trades have been included as well.


Note: The New England Patriots forfeited their first round pick (#31 overall) by illegally videotaping opponent's signals from the sidelines.


(*) = denotes underclassman


Round One:

  1. Miami Dolphins Chris Long/DE/Virginia

Quarterbacks have been the first overall pick in six of the last seven drafts, so there is a good chance the Dolphins could select Boston College's Matt Ryan with this pick. But Bill Parcells was known as a defensive guru as a coach, so I expect him to start off the Dolphin's rebuilding process with a potential franchise defender in Chris Long.


  1. St. Louis Rams Glenn Dorsey/DT/Louisiana State

The popular thought is that the Rams will take Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long with this pick. The Rams offensive line was a mess in 2007, but their defense didn't fare that much better (21st in total defense). La'Roi Glover is up there in age, and nose tackle Adam Carriker may be better off at another position along the line. I think Dorsey grades slightly higher than Jake Long at this point in time, so I have the Rams selecting Dorsey in this mock. It's also worth noting that the Rams should have an opportunity to select a quality offensive tackle prospect at the beginning of the second round (USC's Sam Baker, Boston College's Gosder Cherilus, Kansas' Anthony Collins).

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COULD NOT HAPPEN TO A MORE DESERVING GUY
Jerry Gilbert

On e of the big stories leading up to Super Bowl involved Randy Moss, who is thought by many Packer Fans to be the important player that Packer General Manger Ted Turner let get away last Spring. It has always been my belief that Randy Moss always wanted to go to New England. He encouraged the Green Bay possibility only to improve his bargaining position.

There was plenty of evidence for my point of view in the spring and by running his mouth in January, Randy Moss confirmed it. Last Spring we knew that Moss had been very unhappy in Oakland, and his lackadaisical approach to the 2006 season proved it.

His play was so bad that some suggested that his skills had deteriorated and that he was past his prime. The fact that no one offered a draft choice as high as the second round shows the effect that his performance in Oakland had on how he was perceived. Remember also, that Moss had a lucrative contract still in effect with the Raiders. Any new team had to make a deal with Oakland and another deal with Randy, and as he said, and as is true with most veterans changing teams, one of the key factors in choosing a new team is whether that team appears to be a contender for the Super Bowl. With New England in the picture, there was no way that Moss would accept an equivalent or even slightly better deal from Green Bay.

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Top 300 Prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft
Joseph B. Coaty

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft as of February 5, 2008. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.

NOTE: For players with two positions listed, the first position listed is the position that player played at during the 2007 season, the second position listed is the position I currently project that player to play in the NFL.

(*) = denotes underclassman. List assembled by Joseph B. Coaty.

  1. Darren McFadden/RB/Arkansas (*)
  2. Glenn Dorsey/DT/Louisiana State
  3. Chris Long/DE/Virginia
  4. Sedrick Ellis/DT/Southern California
  5. Vernon Gholston/DE-OLB/Ohio State (*)
  6. Jonathan Stewart/RB/Oregon (*)
  7. Jake Long/OT/Michigan
  8. Kenny Phillips/S/Miami, Fl (*)
  9. Rashard Mendenhall/RB/Illinois (*)
  10. Ryan Clady/OT/Boise State (*)
  11. Read Article

THE STORIES WE WILL NOT BE HEARING
Jerry Gilbert

When the New York Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, the journalists who cover the National Football League were deprived of many of the stories they were expecting to develop. An NFC championship in Dallas may not have turned out to be a better game, but the canned story lines, which were all there for the telling, will now be largely left untold in the mainstream media.

First among these is the question of whether fate or some other otherworldly influence has decreed that Brett Favre cannot win in Texas Stadium. Obviously, the story will continue until he does win a game, but an objective analysis is needed. I am ready to be corrected, but I believe I watched every game, and none of them were classified as an upset. Dallas was always the better team. Brett Favre has lost playoff games to an inferior team. Atlanta in the cold and Philadelphia with 4th and 26 come to mind. However, in Dallas the better team won.

This season could have presented the exception. For the midseason encounter, the Packers were without, arguably, their best cornerback, Charles Woodson, and their best pass rusher Kabeer Gbaja Biamila. Add to that the fact that Al Harris played his worst game of the season, and the nickel corner position was in disarray as Jarret Bush proved to be not up to the challenge. The result was a defense that could not stop the Dallas passing attack. Fast forward to next week. None of the listed defensive problems from the first game should part of the contest, and the entire defense is playing better than it did against Dallas.

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NOT THERE YET PACKERS LOSE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Jerry Gilbert

One day after the Green Bay Packers came within one under thrown pass of winning the NFC Championship, I am over the shock and gloom, and objectivity has almost returned.

The comparison to the victorious New York Giants exposes the limitations of the Packer team. The Giants featured three veteran playmakers on offense and many on defense. They managed a balanced offensive attack while Green Bay was limited, by a combination of defense and weather, to short and intermediate passes. Ultimately, Eli Manning, Plaxico Burris and Amani Toomer made enough plays to beat the Packers. The Packer offense was one play or one defensive stop short of finishing the job.

In general, the Packer defense played pretty well except for untimely penalties. They mostly controlled the run, and on occasion pressured the passer. Manning completed some passes that no cornerback could have stopped. Those passes need to be tipped at the line, or the quarterback needs to be too hurried to make a good throw. The touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw, which was nullified by a borderline holding call, is another concern. The Packer defense was not quite up to the challenge.

Special teams were another mixed bag. There were two fine returns, but the coverage team was only fair. The Giants also had a couple of successful g runbacks. Mason Crosby was solid when called upon, but Punter John Ryan, who learned to kick in Canada, had nothing to offer in the frigid conditions. A net win on special teams could have made the difference.

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IT IS ALL IN THE TIMING PACKERS 42 SEAHAWKS 20
Jerry Gilbert

Think back to the first game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 30. Late in the game, the Green Bay Packers were leading and just needed to run out the clock. Reserve running back Ryan Grant entered the game and promptly fumbled away the easy victory. Fortunately, the defense held, and victory was secured, but Ryan Grant found himself on the far end of the bench. A week later, rookie receiver James Jones fumbled twice and he too was benched. Flash forward to the playoff game on Saturday, and two fumbles by Ryan Grant in the first four minutes. Many of his teammates, including quarterback Brett Favre, rushed over to tell him they still believed in him. Coach McCarthy said he never even considered yanking his star running back.

It was a question of timing. Grant's fumbles occurred after many games in which he had shown himself to be a dependable ball carrier. Everything he had shown in practice and on the field said that the problem would be corrected. The fumbles also occurred so early in the game, that a group of confident players could still have good reasons to believe that they could come back and win the game. Fifty-six minute of playing time remained, and the Packers had not yet begun to fight.

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NEW!
PACKERDRAFT 2008 CORNERBACK

By Jerry Gilbert

The Green Bay Packer cornerback situation is well known to Packer fans. Al Harris, age 33, and Charles Woodson, only 31 have to be rated one of the best starting tandem in the NFL. However, last year, as in previous years, the nickel cornerback was not nearly as effective. Jarrett Bush began the season, but as the year went on, a total unknown named Tramon Williams stepped in and, after a brief learning experience, he brought solid play to the position. Also in the mix for next season is the best athlete of the group, Will Blackmon, but Blackmon has, over the last two seasons, has spent more time recovering from injuries than playing. He needs to show the world that he can stay healthy.

Even if the starters were not candidates to hit the point of diminishing ability in the next couple of years, it would be a good idea to add a potential starter to this mix. Because they are both over 30, the addition of at least one new cornerback is a high priority for the upcoming draft. Fortunately, there are a number of former collegians who could fit in.

While watching the Senior Bowl, I became a huge fan of Dominique Rogers-Cromartie 6-2 184 Tennessee State. Some of my evaluation may have come from the last name. I was a huge fan of Antonio Cromartie two years ago. He was drafted by San Diego 13 picks after Green Bay selected A.J. Hawk, and Cromartie became a star. The younger Cromartie is his cousin, and the knock on this outstanding athlete was his small college background. At the Senior Bowl, he easily covered all the big name receivers, stepped up and tackled big running backs and made game changing interceptions. At the Combine, he was the fastest and the most impressive competitor. Unfortunately, Cromartie will be gone long before the Packers select at number 30, unless General Manager Ted Thompson breaks a career long tradition and trades up in the first round. Watch for flying pigs if that happens.

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NEW!
PACKERDRAFT 2008 OFFENSIVE LINE

By Jerry Gilbert

When Packer fans discuss the play of the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers, the dominant theme is usually the deficiency in run blocking. A second issue is the age of the tackles. Discussed less often is the fact that the young guards and center improved so much last season as pass blockers that the empty backfield became a key part of the offense. This is the same group of linemen who needed help from backs and tight ends on nearly every pass play a year earlier. Before anyone gives up on this young line, the great progress between 2006 and 2007 in pass protection must be recognized. It should provide a reason to believe that they can improve significantly in the running game next season. The success of Ryan Grant in the second half of last season was partly due to improved run blocking by these players.

Nevertheless, the offensive line could use another player or two to compete at guard and tackle. The ideal candidate could compete immediately at left guard and offer the potential to be a starting left tackle in a couple of years. Any guard who can pass block but also drive back large bodies with his strength would also be welcome. Fortunately, the 2008 NFL Draft presents a number of talented offensive linemen including several who could potentially fit in at either guard or tackle.

As the first round comes to a close, the biggest names such as Jake Long and Chris Williams will be gone, but a number of highly touted candidates, such as Boston College right tackle Gosder Cherilus and USC left tackle Sam Baker, will remain. Baker 6-5 309 USC is a player who might fit in. The stalwart left tackle on a great Trojan unit, Baker was All American for 3 seasons despite playing through some injuries. He was rated the best pass blocker at the Senior Bowl. At his size, Baker could be good fit at guard with the very real potential to return to his college position. Nevertheless, the offensive line talent pool is deeper than the first round, and General manager Ted Thompson will probably decide to wait till later to draft a lineman.

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NEW!
PACKERDRAFT 2008 RUNNING BACKS

By Jerry Gilbert

Facing a number of questions about the running back position, Green Bay Packer General Manager Ted Thompson is likely to consider drafting a ball carrier, probably in the second day of the NFL Draft.

By every measure, Ryan Grant arrived in 2007 as a quality NFL running back. Playing a significant role in only nine games, Grant achieved a rushing average of 5.1 yards and a total of nearly 1000. However, he has been a starter for less than one complete season, and he could be injured at any time. Who can replace him if he falters or is injured is the first question the Packers face.

The second issue is whether any of the other tailbacks on the current roster can be an adequate replacement. The leading candidate is the second round selection from last year, Brandon Jackson, who started poorly but appeared to be coming on as the season ended. If the coaching staff has lost confidence that Jackson is good enough to start, the selection this year could be in the early rounds.

Among the other candidates, there is some potential, but there is nothing close to a sure thing. Vernand Morrency was a serious candidate to start last season, but due to some combination of the new system and nagging injuries, Morrency was nothing more than a spot player. DeShawn Wynn was the starter for a couple of games before being injured. Wynn has adequate talent, but has not maximized that talent since high school. He could be a factor, but only if he can prove to be consistent and durable.

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PACKERDRAFT 2008 TIGHT ENDS
Jerry Gilbert

Following what looked to be a breakout season, Green Bay Packer tight end, Donald Lee, is being counted on to anchor the position for years to come. On the other hand, veteran Bubba Franks was released, which leaves the team, that likes to feature 2 tight ends, with no proven support nor an adequate back up for Lee. Unless a free agent surprise emerges, we can expect the Packers to attempt to draft a tight end in the early rounds. Fortunately, a number of candidates will be available.

The top prospect all season set the single season reception record for USC and received the Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation. However, Fred Davis was steady but not outstanding at the Senior Bowl and has not distinguished himself in post-season workouts. At both the Combine and his pro day, Davis was unable to catch the ball on a consistent basis and his route running was a disappointment. As a college player Davis, 6-3 255, was both an adequate blocker and an elusive down field threat as a receiver. However, some scouts are not convinced that he will be as effective against better athletes on defense in the NFL. Probably still a first round selection based on college production, Davis does not seem to be a good value for the Packers at pick 30. However, should he drop into the second round, they might consider him.

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PACKERS DRAFT 2008 QUARTERBACKS
Jerry Gilbert

The retirement of Brett Favre will have a huge effect on the offseason plans of the Green Bay Packers. Had he continued to play, they may have added a young quarterback in the 2008 NFL Draft, but drafting a quarterback was not a necessity. Now it is. With only Aaron Rodgers to play quarterback, and he has a history of being injured, the Packers ideally would like both a veteran who is ready to start if needed. The draft should provide a rookie who might develop into a starter in the future.

That plan has some problems. Today, many NFL teams do not even feature one decent quarterback, which means an excess of veteran talent from which to choose will not be out there. Drew Bledsoe and Vinnie Testaverde could have jobs in the league if they wanted to play. Moreover, there could be a timing issue. The best option may not become available until after the draft as each team settles on its quarterback rotation. Tampa Bay , for example has 5 or 6 veterans under contract. In this unsettled situation, the Packers team may be compelled to draft a young quarterback with the potential to play as a rookie, if necessary. The selection of a first or second round quarterback is not out of the question.

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Top 300 Prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft March 10th, 2008
Joseph Coaty

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft as of March 10, 2008. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.


NOTE: For players with two positions listed, the first position listed is the position that player played at during the 2007 season, the second position listed is the position I currently project that player to play in the NFL.


(*) = denotes underclassman


  1. Darren McFadden/RB/Arkansas (*)

  2. Chris Long/DE/Virginia

  3. Glenn Dorsey/DT/Louisiana State

  4. Sedrick Ellis/DT/Southern California

  5. Vernon Gholston/DE-OLB/Ohio State (*)

  6. Jonathan Stewart/RB/Oregon (*)

  7. Jake Long/OT/Michigan

  8. Kenny Phillips/S/Miami, Fl (*)

  9. Rashard Mendenhall/RB/Illinois (*)

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2008 NFL Mock Draft February 16, 2008
Joseph Coaty

Note: Draft order is indicative of the order on February 16, 2008. Trades already completed by NFL teams are reflected in this draft order. A few projected trades have been included as well.


Note: The New England Patriots forfeited their first round pick (#31 overall) by illegally videotaping opponent's signals from the sidelines.


(*) = denotes underclassman


Round One:

  1. Miami Dolphins Chris Long/DE/Virginia

Quarterbacks have been the first overall pick in six of the last seven drafts, so there is a good chance the Dolphins could select Boston College's Matt Ryan with this pick. But Bill Parcells was known as a defensive guru as a coach, so I expect him to start off the Dolphin's rebuilding process with a potential franchise defender in Chris Long.


  1. St. Louis Rams Glenn Dorsey/DT/Louisiana State

The popular thought is that the Rams will take Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long with this pick. The Rams offensive line was a mess in 2007, but their defense didn't fare that much better (21st in total defense). La'Roi Glover is up there in age, and nose tackle Adam Carriker may be better off at another position along the line. I think Dorsey grades slightly higher than Jake Long at this point in time, so I have the Rams selecting Dorsey in this mock. It's also worth noting that the Rams should have an opportunity to select a quality offensive tackle prospect at the beginning of the second round (USC's Sam Baker, Boston College's Gosder Cherilus, Kansas' Anthony Collins).

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Top 300 Prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft
Joseph B. Coaty

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft as of February 5, 2008. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.

NOTE: For players with two positions listed, the first position listed is the position that player played at during the 2007 season, the second position listed is the position I currently project that player to play in the NFL.

(*) = denotes underclassman. List assembled by Joseph B. Coaty.

  1. Darren McFadden/RB/Arkansas (*)
  2. Glenn Dorsey/DT/Louisiana State
  3. Chris Long/DE/Virginia
  4. Sedrick Ellis/DT/Southern California
  5. Vernon Gholston/DE-OLB/Ohio State (*)
  6. Jonathan Stewart/RB/Oregon (*)
  7. Jake Long/OT/Michigan
  8. Kenny Phillips/S/Miami, Fl (*)
  9. Rashard Mendenhall/RB/Illinois (*)
  10. Ryan Clady/OT/Boise State (*)
  11. Read Article

EARNING A BYE PACKERS CRUSH LIONS 34-13
Jerry Gilbert

A team entering for the NFL playoffs needs to have a level of confidence that is generally undermined if they are playing badly at the end of the season. That was the fear after the Bears game, because the Green Bay Packers, soon after their loss in Dallas were once again defeated, this time by an average team. Having already qualified for the playoffs, the Packers underperformed in Chicago, and this was of particular concern because at least some of the playoff games would be in the cold and windy confines of Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Most of the reasons for concern were eliminated by the excellent performance by the Packers against Detroit in the final regular season contest on December 30. A first team offense, that had sputtered in Chicago, was sharp and efficient a week later, as Brett Favre led his teammates to 3 touchdowns in slightly more than one quarter of play After that, he took a seat, and an offensive group consisting mostly of back up players finished the game. Directed by an inconsistent Craig Nall, the second unit managed to add another 13 points to the scoreboard, which equaled what the Detroit first string was able to do in the entire game.

The one sided nature of the contest is made more significant by the fact that the Green Bay starting offense was without its starting receivers, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, tight end Donald Lee. Only Jennings was injured, and Coach McCarthy said later that the speedy wide receiver could have played. The offensive performance was also largely without starting tailback Ryan Grant, who was held out after sustaining a minor injury to his hand.

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REALITY CHECK PACKERS LOSE TO BEARS 35-7
Jerry Gilbert

In near zero blustery conditions, the youthful Green Bay Packers were no match for the Chicago Bears and suffered their only blowout defeat in an otherwise successful season. On this day, the Packer Defense was facing a team that, because of weather and personnel issues, was compelled to run the ball. The Bears have all season been a low ranked rushing attack. On Sunday, the Packers could not hold them in check.

On this day, the highly regarded Packer passing attack was never established. The wind blew passes. Receivers dropped catchable balls. With an entire game to adapt to the conditions, they never did. By contrast, Bears quarterback Kyle Orton missed some opportunities by throwing too hard in the first half. He adapted to the wind and cold, and had some success throwing the ball throughout the contest.

Special Teams tell the story. Chicago did not even need its great returner Devin Hester, Bears special teams out-hustled the Packers, resulting in two blocked punts and no significant punt or kick returns for Green Bay. The unit that had dominated the Rams one week earlier was itself dominated in Soldiers Field.

There are many explanations. Having clinched the post season, some edge may have been lost. Weather conditions worse than most of them had ever seen further beat them down. A flat performance during bad weather is a recipe for the butt kicking that happened. It is also possible that the run defense truly missed Ryan Pickett. Having already lost for the season two stout defensive tackles, Johnny Jolly and Colin Cole, losing Pickett may have been the tipping point. Justin Harrell and Corey Williams made many fine plays, but they also allowed some large holes to be opened. On offense, had Korey Hall been available, the agile fullback may have helped in the slippery conditions.

The game tells us, that this team may be a few players and a season or two away from truly being the team they have appeared to be in last few weeks. Against Oakland and St. Louis, the Packers faced beatable teams and dispatched them as a good team should. The 2007 edition has been more dominant in that type of game than many excellent teams of the past. Even the best Holmgren and Lombardi teams seemed to have had their share of close calls against weak teams. It was a rare pleasure as a Packer fan to relax during some fourth quarters this season. Blowing out the Vikings was a special treat.

The weather and the Bears tarnished that perception. This is a very good team, but it is open to question whether the players have the character to prevail against the elements as well as a determined opponent. These players are generally young, and the season has been a fairy tale. Reality jumped up and bit them last Sunday. We will see how they respond. To succeed in the playoffs, they cannot play as they did against Dallas or the Bears. Tired young players will need to find a second wind and show themselves to be professionals

On defense, coach Bob Sanders has to devise some ways to improve the pass rush. We are hearing that Cullen Jenkins is recovering from a variety of injuries and may be regaining his quickness. Corey Williams also needs to step up as an inside pass rusher. Whatever the reason, that aspect of the defense has been in decline for several weeks.

The offense also must improve, and there is some hope. It was during garbage time of the fourth quarter, but Brandon Jackson showed some hard running against the Bears. If he can provide some quality minutes, Ryan Grant, who is statistically the top NFC rusher since he took over the starting role, will be even more effective. The return of Bubba Franks makes the two tight end offense a threat once again, and he could catch a first down or TD pass in a key situation. Franks saw considerable action in Chicago, and should be ready to be a contributor against Detroit. On the negative side, when was the last time rookie James Jones made a play? Has he hit the "rookie wall"? Problems in the offensive line are not likely to go away soon.

Special teams should also rebound. Korey Hall and Tracy White are two star performers who should be at full strength for the playoffs. Punt protection will likely not break down again. The concern is that there is little margin for any special team lapses at this point in the season. These young players will have to perform like seasoned veterans, and that is asking a great deal.

It is too much to say that the loss to the Bears is either a big negative or positive. It was a single game in very unusual conditions. However, it was a test that this team failed. We will see how they respond.

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THANKSGIVING VICTORY 37-26 TIME TO REFLECT
Jerry Gilbert

There are probably very few fans of the Green Bay Packers who did not either see the Lions game or, at least, benefit from many highlight films and print accounts. I will devote this article to discussing some of the reasons for the improbable reality that the Packers boast a record of 10-1, have almost clinched the Northern Division Championship, and are in a position to virtually guarantee home field advantage in the playoffs with a victory next week in Dallas.

This is a team that, as the season began, had major question marks at several positions, and, amidst much criticism, had not added a single major free agent. Now, ten impressive victories later, it is time to give a great deal of credit to General Manager Ted Thompson and Coach Mike McCarthy for their success in selecting and developing talent. The Green Bay Packers we have seen the past couple of weeks are a group of very talented individuals who combine their skills to produce a very good team. They make plays on offense defense and special teams, and even as players go down with injuries, the team performs well enough to win. How was this team put together?

For all the discussion about building through the Draft, Ted Thompson has effectively used trades and free agency to add significant players. The defense would be far less effective without nose tackle Ryan Pickett and cornerback Charles Woodson who were brought in last season as free agents. The star of the special teams has been free agent Tracy White. Another valuable free agent addition was punter and sometime running back Jon Ryan. A player of growing impact is veteran free agent Koren Robinson. This season, a trade has provided a running attack with the addition of Ryan Grant, who has replaced the injured Vernand Morrency who was acquired by trade last season.

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PACKERS OVERWHELM VIKINGS 34-0
SO THIS IS WHAT IT COULD LOOK LIKE

Jerry Gilbert

As the Green Bay Packers have shocked the world by defeating almost everyone they have faced, there has been a consistent theme expressed here, by Coach Mike McCarthy, and elsewhere, that the team still has much room to improve. On Veterans Day 2007 against the Minnesota Vikings, the Green Bay Packers played fairly close to their potential at that moment and routed the Minnesota Vikings 34-0 before the largest official crowd in the history of Lambeau Field. It was also the occasion for Brett Favre to join Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks to pass for more than 60,000 yards.

It is fair to say that the Vikings did not bring their A Game to Green Bay. The collision between defensive backs that produced the last touchdown and missed tackles on running plays are signs of a defense not playing its best. A quarterback missing open receivers, and converting no third of fourth downs are signs of a pretty bad offense. On the other hand, this is a team that one week ago defeated the San Diego Chargers 35-17 with a smothering defense and record setting running back. There was every reason to expect that the Viking offense could present a great running attack and a fair passing attack, based mostly on play action. Why did what looked like a fairly even match up turn into a one sided affair?

Possibly the most important reason for the blowout, and a positive factor for the future, is the fact that Mike McCarthy and his staff totally out coached the Viking brain trust. In preparing for the game, the Packer Coaches totally analyzed why the Viking Defense had been successful, and designed an attack to beat it. It began with varied formations and play calling. The spread offense has been a staple of the Patriots and many college teams for years. By spreading out as many as five wide receivers, the Packers created so many options in the passing attack that the Viking linebackers and defensive backs were unable to cover everyone. However, Green Bay did not stick with that formation. They also used one, two or three running backs and motioned players in and out of the backfield. In one creative formation, there were 2 fullbacks on either side of the tailback.

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NEW ARTICLE!!!
PLAYERS MAKING PLAYS PACKERS 33 CHIEFS 22

Jerry Gilbert

The Green Bay Packers are at the halfway point of the 2007 season with a record of 7-1. Neither national expert nor devoted fan would have predicted this feat last summer. Brett Favre stumbles as he tries to explain the success to reporters, often sounding as if he expects it to end at any second. He is right. With no running attack, no star in the return game and offensive and defensive units prone to damaging penalties, what could possibly insure continued success as the season progresses?

The answer is that the 2007 Green Bay Packers have enough talented players, so that one of them has shown up often enough to earn victories. Most prominent has been the Franchise Quarterback, Brett Favre. He was under constant pressure and mostly ineffective against the Eagles in the opener, but there was that one improvisational drive that made the difference. He was also missing in action against the Redskins. However, in every other victory, a key ingredient has been the play calling, deceptiveness and the "only he could do it" passes of Brett Favre.

The upset in Kansas City is an example. Burdened by a bad day form his offensive line, Brett Favre nevertheless completed pinpoint passes to his reliable Donalds, Driver and Lee and also to his emerging young wide receivers, Greg Jennings and James Jones. Each of them has made a great catch at some point, which also has made a difference. Being optimistic, one would hope that a potentially better receiver than any of them, Koren Robinson may also make a great play or three as the season continues. Any sign of life from the running game could make this offense a potent unit.

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BY GEORGE THEY DID IT. 17-14 WIN 0VER WASHINGTON
Jerry Gilbert

I do not have the statistics to prove these statements but, as a long time observer of the NFL, I believe them to be true.

1. A team that surrenders 5 turnovers is unlikely to win the game.

2. A team that dominates the first half offensive statistics without also dominating the score frequently loses the game.

3. An offensive team that repeatedly puts itself in difficult situations due to penalties is a candidate to lose the game. The odds increase exponentially if the defense repeatedly stops the opponent only to have the drive continue because of a penalty. Add poor field position because of penalties by the return unit special teams, and you truly have a recipe for a bad outcome.

4. When the opponent's offense and defense outplay you in the fourth quarter, a loss frequently occurs.

This having been said, if the trajectory of Quarterback Brett Favre's desperate "hail mary" pass had been slightly different, it may have landed solely in Donald Driver's grasp resulting in a tie game and a chance to win in over time. For all their problems, the Green Bay Packers still had a chance to win at the end.

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NEW ARTICLE!!!
BEARS BEAT PACKERS 27-20

Jerry Gilbert

I do not have the statistics to prove these statements but, as a long time observer of the NFL, I believe them to be true.

1. A team that surrenders 5 turnovers is unlikely to win the game.

2. A team that dominates the first half offensive statistics without also dominating the score frequently loses the game.

3. An offensive team that repeatedly puts itself in difficult situations due to penalties is a candidate to lose the game. The odds increase exponentially if the defense repeatedly stops the opponent only to have the drive continue because of a penalty. Add poor field position because of penalties by the return unit special teams, and you truly have a recipe for a bad outcome.

4. When the opponent's offense and defense outplay you in the fourth quarter, a loss frequently occurs.

This having been said, if the trajectory of Quarterback Brett Favre's desperate "hail mary" pass had been slightly different, it may have landed solely in Donald Driver's grasp resulting in a tie game and a chance to win in over time. For all their problems, the Green Bay Packers still had a chance to win at the end.

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THEY WON THE FIRST GAME PACKERS 16 EAGLES 13
Jerry Gilbert

Opportunistic and lucky special teams combined with a stout defensive unit were sufficient to produce a victory over the favored Philadelphia Eagles in the season opener.
By any objective assessment, it was a lucky victory. The Packers seemed to have the ball bounce their way. Except for the Donald Driver pass interference flag, most of the calls and non-calls by the officiating crew seemed to favor Green Bay. The usually effective Philadelphia Eagle offense stopped itself at key times either because a pass was dropped or poorly thrown. In many ways, the Green Bay Packers were handed a victory.

On the other hand two thirds of the team played pretty well. For most of the game, the Green Bay Defense held the Eagles in check, and particularly in the second half, they were able to contain the Eagle attack to allow the offense to score some points. The only interception turned into points because Mason Crosby was able to kick a 53 yard field goal even though the offense netted negative yardage after the turn over.

Special teams saved the day. It is not a stretch to say that the second quarter 53-yard field goal by a rookie kicker in his first pro game was the reason the Packers emerged with a victory. His successful 37 yard effort in the third quarter and the game winner from 42 with 6 seconds remaining in the game were other key moments of the game. However, it was two muffed punts recovered by the Packer special teams that produced the home team's only touchdown and set up the game winning field goal.

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UPDATE ON DRAFTEES AND CAMP BODIES
Jerry Gilbert 9/1/2007

As Packer Training Camp 2007 comes to a close, it is a good time to look back on the draft choices and camp bodies we have been watching and discussing, and draw some conclusions. In general, draftees and camp bodies have not made the biggest impact. The story of this camp has been the development of players already on the roster. Subject to a couple of exceptions, veterans from the 2006 roster are more likely to determine whether the team succeeds in 2007 than will the newly added talent. A position by position analysis will illustrate the point.

As last season came to a close, the Green Bay Packers possessed one reliable quarterback, Brett Favre, and he was widely criticized for poor ball security and inconsistent judgment. The present situation is far different. Brett Favre, at least to some extent, appears to have bought into Coach Mike McCarthy's strategy that the quarterback required by this team is a game manager who takes what the defense gives and minimizes risk. The real change however is in holdover backup Aaron Rodgers. Basically inadequate a year ago, Rodgers turned his game around, and has proved in this preseason that he could, if needed, lead the Green Bay Packers in 2007. The Draftee from 2006, Ingle Martin, and a free agent this season, Paul Thompson are non-factors. The improvement in Aaron Rodgers' game is the big difference.

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LACKING THE ABILITY TO SELL
Jerry Gilbert 8/17/2007

Put yourself in the position of an NFL General Manager. You have a veteran player who may not fit well into your plans in future years. He has perfect size for his position. Although a starter for a couple of years, this player had volunteered for all special teams. Though not a gifted returner, he had sure hands and always gave his best when asked to return punts and kicks. As a wide receiver, this former high draft choice has never excelled, but he will go over the middle, and he has the speed to go long. Described in those terms, Robert Ferguson sounds like a player who could be traded to another team.

However, no person will offer value for what he or she can get for free. Packer General Manager Ted Thompson, aided by coach Mike McCarthy and all the staff, portrayed Robert Ferguson as surplus baggage. It is no surprise that last minute efforts to trade him were unsuccessful. An opportunity was wasted.

Now that he is gone, they praise his effort and attitude, he was great in the locker room, and he was often a victim of bad breaks, such as an illegal close line tackle that ended one of his seasons. On the other hand, all the talk and actions in the last two years have painted a different picture. Two high draft choices have been used at his position, a second last season and a third in 2007. Once Greg Jennings and James Jones were in camp, each was placed in an optimal position to show his stuff in practice and pre-season games. Recent statements by Greg Jennings suggest that James Jones is getting the chances that he got last season. Jones is a primary target for the pass play while Jennings runs a low percentage fly pattern to occupy a safety. Jennings said he identifies with the frustration that Ferguson must have felt.

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CAMP BODIES PART 5 LINEBACKERS
Jerry Gilbert 8/5/2007

Linebacker is expected to be a position of strength for the Green Bay Packers this season because Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk and Brady Poppinga are all talented, and they now have a year of experience playing together. On the other hand, the back up situation is unsettled, which creates and opening for a camp body to break through. Last season's top reserve, Ben Taylor, was not re-signed, which leaves only special team stalwart Tracy White to back up on the outside and former Iowa star Abdul Hodge to play the middle. White played very little from scrimmage last season, and Hodge had one forgettable start when Nick Barnett was injured. Many believe that Hodge could emerge as a valuable member of the team, but his performance in the off-season has not supported that view. White is probably not the answer as a reliable reserve at outside linebacker.

Given the apparent openings on the roster, it is surprising that no significant free agent was added at linebacker. Two linebackers were drafted, but they are unlikely to fill the needs. Korey Hall from Boise State was drafted for his special team ability, and he has been switched to fullback. California's Desmond Bishop is basically a clone of Abdul Hodge. Both were tackling machines as college middle linebackers, but neither is thought to have the speed to play any other position. If Bishop makes the roster, it will probably be because he beat out Hodge at middle linebacker. At least one camp body should have a good shot at making the final roster.

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NEW ARTICLE!!!
CAMP BODIES PART 4 DEFENSIVE BACKS

Jerry Gilbert

On paper, the Green Bay Packers should be set at defensive back. They return their top three corners, Al Harris, Charles Woodson and Patrick Dendy, and, in the only significant free agent signing thus far, General Manager Ted Thompson added veteran corner back Frank Walker. Returning from injured reserve is 2006 draft choice Will Blackmon. The starters at safety, Nick Collins and Marquand Manuel, also return along with top reserve Tyrone Culver who was drafted last year. As with corner, there is a highly touted returnee form injured reserve, 2006 draftee Marviel Underwood. Finally, the Packers used a third round pick in 2007 to add safety Aaron Rouse. Five safeties and five corners would appear to more than fill the roster. Nevertheless, some camp bodies return from the last year and more have been added.

The cornerback with the best chance to crack the roster is Jarrett Bush 6-0 197 Utah State. Timed in college at 4.45 and having shown coverage skills, Bush was signed as a free agent by Carolina and was one of their final cuts before the 2006 season. He made 13 tackles and defensed 3 passes along with a fumble recovery in the preseason for the Panthers. Because Green Bay was so thin at corner following the wasted draft choices of Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas and the failed experiment with Jason Horton, Ted Thompson quickly signed Bush to the roster, and the cornerback played in every game on special teams and was the third leading tackler. As a gunner on the punt unit Bush was frequently charging the waiting returner or battling to keep the punt out of the end zone. He remains a camp body, because of the lack of game changing plays on special teams and his inability to add much in the nickel and dime. However, he now has a full season of experience and is in the mix at cornerback.

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CAMP BODIES PART 3 OFFENSIVE LINE
Jerry Gilbert

The somewhat unexpected departure of 2 veteran offensive linemen this week has improved the prospects for the camp bodies who play on the offensive line. While the dismissal of tackle Kevin Barry is not a huge surprise, commentators here and elsewhere have opined that Josh Bourke, returning from injured reserve, was a prime candidate to back up at both offensive tackles. Bourke, possibly due, in part, to last season's back injury, was also cut by the team. With 2 tackles out of the way, free agents will have an opportunity to perform in practice and make an impression. Moreover, another prominent holdover, guard Tony Palmer, is nursing injuries. That also creates opportunities for the backups at offensive guard to show what they can do.

We have previously discussed center Pete Bier 6-3 297 Army. He should survive most of training camp simply because teams need several centers. The other candidates on the roster, other than starter Scott Wells, all have another primary position. This reality should provide a long term but still temporary home for this camp body.player.

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CAMP BODIES PART 2 DEFENSIVE LINE
Jerry Gilbert

In the final third of 2006, the defensive line of the Green Bay Packers began to perform at a high level, and was, as a group, one of the most effective and consistent units on the team. Aaron Kampman played at a pro bowl level all season, and except for some minor injuries, nose tackle Ryan Pickett was a consistent force in the middle. One reason for success at the end was the emergence of Cullen Jenkins as a force against both the run and the pass. Corey Williams also showed some consistency by season end as an inside pass rusher and run stopper. These four starters all return, along with every reserve who was on the regular roster at the conclusion of the season. To this crowded and reasonably talented field, the Packers added first round draft choice Justin Harrell from Tennessee.

Barring a trade or serious injury, the reserve defensive end candidates who return are Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Jason Hunter as pass rushers and Mike Montgomery as a run stopper. Colin Cole and Johnny Jolly are the back up tackles. Justin Harrell is virtually assured a roster spot because he is a first round draft choice. There appears to be very little room for an unknown to crack the final roster of 53. Nevertheless, there are candidates, and we will proceed to introduce each player.

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CAMP BODIES PART 1
Jerry Gilbert

As we bid farewell to the NFL Draft and wait impatiently for the season to start, one of the primary subjects for sports columnists is the long shot player, the non-drafted free agent in his first, second or even fourth training camp, who just may defy the odds and make the final roster. Of course, the long odds exist for a reason. The vast majority of these players will fill a back up position for the preseason and then go back to brake jobs or offering "fries with that", while the real players perform on Sunday. On the other hand, there is the occasional player who breaks through. Assuming that most of you who read this website will not be scouting all these players in person, this series of articles will provide a little background about these camp bodies as a starting point to judge the breathless commentary as some nobody makes a few plays at practice and is the favored "maybe he has a chance" news subject of the day. We begin with those camp bodies brought in for tryouts during the first mini-camp.

If you checked the Green Bay and other mainstream Wisconsin news outlets, you know by now that University of Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco was one of the tryout players who was not offered a contract. You may perhaps also have read a sentence or two about the UW Lacrosse basketball player, and theoretical tight end prospect, Joe Werner who also was not offered a contract. Three tryout players were signed for training camp, and each has his own story.

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COMMENTS ON PACKERS DRAFT 2007
Jerry Gilbert

In the NFL Draft of 2007, Green Bay General Manager Ted Thompson basically filled needs. He says that he follows the best player available approach. By adding the qualifier, "best player available at a position of need," we can explain the first round, because a good case can be made that defensive tackle Justin Harrell was a better player than the receivers, running backs and defensive backs still available at pick 16. However, by the time of the trade down in round 2, the draft turned almost entirely into a process of filling needs. The selections of Brandon Jackson in round 2 and James Jones and Aaron Rouse in round 3 can only be explained at "need picks" at running back, wide receiver and safety, because the Green Bay Packers need help at those three positions.

As the second day began, the "best player" was traded away, and the Packers moved down in round 4 and selected small school offensive lineman Allen Barbre 6-4 300 Missouri Southern. Barbre was drafted to back up at left tackle, a position that has not had a backup for several years. Fans will recall that center Mike Flanagan and guard Daryn Colledge have been the reserve left tackles in the past two seasons when Chad Clifton was injured. Barbre has not played against NFL competition, but he has the size and quick feet needed contribute at either guard or tackle in the Packer offense.

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A LOOK AT DAY 1 OF THE NFL DRAFT
4/29/07

Jerry Gilbert

One way to look at the approach of the Green Bay Packers to the first day of the NFL Draft is that they evaluated some current or recently departed players at certain positions, and General Manager Ted Thompson drafted some replacements. In the first round defensive tackle Justin Harrell, a tackle with quickness to penetrate and the strength to clog the middle, will be the backup and possible replacement for Corey Williams. Williams' rookie contact will expire soon, and defensive tackles who can rush the passer can be hot commodities in free agency. On the other hand, Williams is not worth big money to the Packers unless he begins to show up on an every down basis. At the same time, if he plays at a Pro Bowl level in 2006, he could easily become too expensive. Justin Harrell will back up at both tackle positions this season, and this year or next, he could become the starting tackle along side Ryan Pickett.

In the second round, Green Bay selected Nebraska running back Brandon Jackson. Jackson was drafted to replace long time starter Ahman Green, who, coincidentally, also attended Nebraska. Jackson now weighs about 212, which is similar to Green's size when he entered the league. Running backs seldom become every down players in their rookie season, but if Jackson is the good receiver and blocker he is expected to be, he could be, at minimum, a third down option while Vernand Morrency handles most of the carries. In a running back by committee situation, Jackson will be part of the replacement for Ahman Green.

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WIDE RECEIVERS FOR GREEN BAY
4/26/07

Jerry Gilbert

The story for wide receivers in this year's draft is all about pairs. USC has a pair of highly rate receivers, as do LSU and Ohio State, and in every case, some think that the lesser of the two may become the better pro. The bottom lie however, is that if three schools have 6 top prospects, this wide receiver class is talented and deep. This suits eh needs of the Green Bay Packers, who despite having the established Donald Driver and the promising Greg Jennings., need a home run threat to add to their offense. They need to replace Javon Walker.

Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson is the best of the class, who convinced the world that he has no equal when he ran a 4.32 forty at the combine in borrowed shoes. At 6-5 239, with great hands, there is little more one could ask of a rookie wide receiver. The Packers have no shot at Johnson. On the other hand, who will be picked next is wide open and there will be many fine receivers in the first few rounds.

Of the two LSU receivers, Dwayne Bowe 6-2 221 4.5 is the higher rated , but Craig Davis 6-1 200 4.41 will also be drafted very early. They are both proven receivers who teamed with quarterback JaMarcus Russell to create an overpowering offense. For Southern Cal, Dwayne Jarrett 6-4 219 4.6 has the big name, but Steve Smith 6-1 200 4.44 could be drafted ahead of him. They will also be gone by the conclusion of round. two.

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TIGHT ENDS FOR GREEN BAY
Jerry Gilbert

Unless Bubba Franks can rediscover his ability to score touchdowns, the Green Bay Packers would appear to face major issues at the tight end position. With the departure of David Martin, who outplayed Franks in 2006, there is no one else to be an every down tight end. There are some candidates on the roster who may contribute, but expect the Packers to draft at least one tight end in 2007. They will have to be very good or very lucky to find much immediate help in this Draft.

The top guy is thought to be Greg Olsen of Miami, but he has shown nothing as a blocker, and he is not worth being selected at number 16. A possibility in round 2 is the second guy on most charts, Zach Miller 6-5 256 4.87 from Arizona State Miller appeared to be a pretty good blocker in college, but he was only able to lift the 225# bar 16 times at the combine. However, Miller surpassed Todd Heap's record for career receptions at Arizona State, and has the size and hands to be a short yardage and endzone threat. The Packers may agree with my friend Joe Coaty and select Miller in round 2.

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2007 NFL Mock Draft
April 26, 2007

Joseph B. Coaty.

Note: Draft order is indicative of the order on April 26, 2007. Trades already completed by NFL teams are reflected in this draft order.

Note: The Cincinnati Bengals used their third round selection in last year's supplemental draft to select LB-Ahmad Brooks.

Note: The position listed for a player is not necessarily the position the player performed at in college. In this mock draft, the position listed is the position to I would project that player to play if he was drafted by the team that selects him in this mock draft.

(*) = denotes underclassman

Round One:

  • 1. Oakland Raiders JaMarcus Russell/QB/Louisiana State (*)
  • 2. Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson/WR/Georgia Tech (*)
  • 3. Cleveland Browns Brady Quinn/QB/Notre Dame
  • 4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Gaines Adams/DE/Clemson
  • 5. Arizona Cardinals Joe Thomas/OT/Wisconsin
  • 6. Washington Redskins Amobi Okoye/DT/Louisville
  • 7. Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson/RB/Oklahoma (*)
  • 8. Atlanta Falcons (from Houston) LaRon Landry/S/Louisiana State
  • 9. Miami Dolphins Levi Brown/OT/Penn State
  • 10. Houston Texans (from Atlanta) Robert Meachem/WR/Tennessee (*)
  • 11. San Francisco 49ers Adam Carriker/DE/Nebraska
  • 12. Buffalo Bills Patrick Willis/ILB/Mississippi
  • 13. St. Louis Rams Jamaal Anderson/DE/Arkansas (*)
  • 14. Carolina Panthers Greg Olsen/TE/Miami, Fl (*)
  • 15. Pittsburgh Steelers Leon Hall/CB/Michigan
  • 16. Green Bay Packers Marshawn Lynch/RB/California (*)
  • 17. Jacksonville Jaguars Reggie Nelson/S/Florida (*)
  • 18. Cincinnati Bengals Darrelle Revis/CB/Pittsburgh (*)
  • 19. Tennessee Titans Dwayne Bowe/WR/Louisiana State
  • 20. New York Giants Joe Staley/OT/Central Michigan
  • 21. Denver Broncos Jarvis Moss/DE/Florida (*)
  • 22. Dallas Cowboys Ted Ginn Jr./WR/Ohio State (*)
  • 23. Kansas City Chiefs Alan Branch/DT/Michigan (*)
  • 24. New England Patriots (from Seattle) Michael Griffin/S/Texas
  • 25. New York Jets Aaron Ross/CB/Texas
  • 26. Philadelphia Eagles Chris Houston/CB/Arkansas (*)
  • 27. New Orleans Saints Lawrence Timmons/OLB/Florida State (*)
  • 28. New England Patriots David Harris/ILB/Michigan
  • 29. Baltimore Ravens Ben Grubbs/OG/Auburn
  • 30. San Diego Chargers Dwayne Jarrett/WR/USC (*)
  • 31. Chicago Bears Jon Beason/OLB/Miami, Fl (*)
  • 32. Indianapolis Colts Justin Harrell/DT/Tennessee

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CORNER BACKS FOR GREEN BAY
4/23/2007

Jerry Gilbert

Last year's signing of free agent Charles Woodson, and the decision this year to extend the contract of Al Harris give the Green Bay Packers a pair of fine cornerbacks. Harris shadows the opponent's best receiver, and Woodson, when allowed to freelance, can provide interceptions. However, either could be injured slightly or permanently on any play in any game. Moreover, given the popularity of the three or more wide receiver offense, every defense needs at least three reliable corners. Last season the nickel back was Patrick Dendy, who works very hard and gives his best, but Dendy does not have the skills to be a top-level cornerback. Finally, because Woodson is best against slot receivers, the player who is needed has to have the physical presence to stand up to a big receiver and the speed to run with anyone. The Packer defense needs one more topflight cornerback.

Fortunately there are a number of players in this draft who could fill that requirement. Unfortunately, none of them looks like perfect based on performance. The Packers will need to select the right man.

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RUNNING BACKS FOR GREEN BAY
4/21/2007

Jerry Gilbert

With the departure of long term starter Ahman Green, general manager Ted Thompson and his staff will almost certainly use the 2007 NFL Draft to find at least one player who can help at the running back position. Many are predicting that the Packers will select California tailback Marshawn Lynch with the 16th pick in the first round, and that may happen. At 5-11 215 with 4.46 speed, Lynch has been both a workhorse and a big play performer. As a senior he averaged over 6 yards per carry and found the endzone on an average of nearly once per game. He also caught 34 passes for a 9.4 yard average and scored 4 more touchdowns as a receiver. Scouts say that he is a good blocker who can pick up the blitz.

A negative for Lynch is that he has been a fumbler in big games in college, and unless he can add some good weight, Lynch will not be a back who moves the pile. He also has serious off field issues including a charge of sexual assault by an ex girlfriend that was dropped for insufficient evidence. She did convince a family court judge to give her a restraining order. The perceived maturity and dedication of this college junior will determine where he is drafted. There is little question about his physical skills. The problem for the Packers is that if they are convinced that he is worthy of pick 16, another team is very likely to select Lynch in the top 15. He may be gone, even if Ted Thompson wants him. It is therefore important to look at some other running backs.

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MISSING PIECES COULD BE NEAR BY
Jerry Gilbert

During this season of free agency and the upcoming college draft, football fans tend to concentrate on the players who can be added from outside the team to fill needs on a football team. However, many successful football teams are primarily built from within, as back up performers replace starters who retire or sign elsewhere as free agents.

This discussion arose in a particular context recently as long time running back Ahman Green was offered a huge contract by the Houston Texans, and the Green Bay Packers did not match it. The loss of Green generated controversy, particularly because the Packer brain trust had remained on the sidelines while many of the league's top running backs, including Thomas Jones, Travis Henry and Willis McGahee, were changing teams. Understandably, the questions then turned to whether the Packers' first round draft choice would necessarily be a running back.

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2007 NFL Mock Draft March 24, 2007
Joseph B. Coaty

Note: Draft order is indicative of the order on March 24, 2007. Trades already completed by NFL teams are reflected in this draft order. Please keep in mind that the NFL will add compensatory selections at a later date, which will result in about 30 additional players being selected.

Note: This mock draft also includes projected trades. A projected trade is marked with a T with a following number that indicates which trade it is. All trade information is summarized at the end of the mock draft.

Note: The Cincinnati Bengals used their third round selection in last years supplemental draft to select LB-Ahmad Brooks.

Note: The position listed for a player is not necessarily the position the player performed at in college. In this mock draft, the position listed is the position to I would project that player to play if he was drafted by the team that selects him in this mock draft.

(*) = denotes underclassman

Round One:

  • 1. T1 Cleveland Browns (from Oakland) JaMarcus Russell/QB/Louisiana State (*)
  • 2. T2 Washington Redskins (from Detroit) Calvin Johnson/WR/Georgia Tech (*)
  • 3. T1 Oakland Raiders (from Cleveland) Brady Quinn/QB/Notre Dame
  • 4. T3 Buffalo Bills (from Tampa Bay) Adrian Peterson/RB/Oklahoma (*)
  • 5. Arizona Cardinals Joe Thomas/OT/Wisconsin
  • 6. T2 Detroit Lions (from Washington) Gaines Adams/DE/Clemson
  • 7. T4 Pittsburgh Steelers (from Minnesota) Leon Hall/CB/Michigan
  • 8. Atlanta Falcons (from Houston) LaRon Landry/S/Louisiana State
  • 9. Miami Dolphins Levi Brown/OT/Penn State
  • 10. Houston Texans (from Atlanta) Amobi Okoye/DT/Louisville

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Top 300 Prospects for the 2007 NFL Draft March 21, 2007
Joseph B. Coaty


The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2007 NFL Draft as of March 21, 2007. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.

NOTE: For players with two positions listed, the first position listed is the position that player played at during the 2006 season, the second position listed is the position I currently project that player to play in the NFL.

(*) = denotes underclassman. List assembled by Joseph B. Coaty.

  • 1. Calvin Johnson/WR/Georgia Tech (*)
  • 2. Adrian Peterson/RB/Oklahoma (*)
  • 3. Joe Thomas/OT/Wisconsin
  • 4. Gaines Adams/DE/Clemson
  • 5. LaRon Landry/S/Louisiana State
  • 6. Leon Hall/CB/Michigan
  • 7. Alan Branch/DT/Michigan (*)
  • 8. Brady Quinn/QB/Notre Dame
  • 9. JaMarcus Russell/QB/Louisiana State (*)
  • 10. Ted Ginn Jr./WR/Ohio State (*)

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THOMPSON ON RIGHT TRACK
by Jerry Gilbert

No General Manager in the National Football League will ever approach perfection. Players become injured, malcontented or simply old beyond their calendar age. No one can predict the future. Nevertheless, in this early stage of the year 2007, it is fair to conclude that Green Bay Packer General Manager Ted Thompson has done a pretty good job.

The fact that he had a pretty easy act to follow is only a small part of the story. Anyone would look better by comparison to the disastrous reign of General Manager Mike Sherman. Sherman left the team with high draft choices such as Ahmad Carroll, Joey Thomas, Kenny Peterson and B. J. Sander. He also bequeathed to his successor generous contracts to such non-stars as Cletidus Hunt, Na'il Diggs and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Finally, the bottom spots on the roster were filled with players who were ineffective on special teams and not good enough to step in when injuries knocked out a starter. Ron Wolf commented in 2005 that the team had too many players who were barely good enough for NFL Europe.

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New Article!!! 2007 NFL Mock Draft February 25, 2007
Joseph B. Coaty,

Note: Draft order is indicative of the order on February 25, 2007. Trades already completed by NFL teams are reflected in this draft order. Note: The Cincinnati Bengals used their third round selection in last year's supplemental draft to select LB-Ahmad Brooks. (*) = denotes underclassman

Round One:

  • 1. Oakland Raiders Calvin Johnson/WR/Georgia Tech (*)
  • 2. Detroit Lions JaMarcus Russell/QB/Louisiana State (*)
  • 3. Cleveland Browns Adrian Peterson/RB/Oklahoma (*)
  • 4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Joe Thomas/OT/Wisconsin
  • 5. Arizona Cardinals Gaines Adams/DE/Clemson
  • 6. Washington Redskins Jamaal Anderson/DE/Arkansas (*)
  • 7. Minnesota Vikings Ted Ginn Jr./WR/Ohio State (*)
  • 8. Houston Texans Brady Quinn/QB/Notre Dame
  • 9. Miami Dolphins Alan Branch/DT/Michigan (*)
  • 10. Atlanta Falcons LaRon Landry/S/Louisiana State
  • 11. San Francisco 49ers Leon Hall/CB/Michigan
  • 12. Buffalo Bills Dwayne Jarrett/WR/USC (*)
  • 13. St. Louis Rams Amobi Okoye/DT/Louisville
  • 14. Carolina Panthers Levi Brown/OT/Penn State
  • 15. Pittsburgh Steelers Adam Carriker/DE/Nebraska
  • 16. Green Bay Packers Marshawn Lynch/RB/California (*)
  • 17. Jacksonville Jaguars Sidney Rice/WR/South Carolina (*)
  • 18. Cincinnati Bengals Reggie Nelson/S/Florida (*)
  • 19. Tennessee Titans Robert Meachem/WR/Tennessee (*)
  • 20. New York Giants Darrelle Revis/CB/Pittsburgh (*)
  • 21. Denver Broncos Dwayne Bowe/WR/Louisiana State
  • 22. Dallas Cowboys Lawrence Timmons/OLB/Florida State (*)
  • 23. Kansas City Chiefs Michael Griffin/S/Texas
  • 24. New England Patriots (from Seattle) Patrick Willis/ILB/Mississippi
  • 25. New York Jets Zach Miller/TE/Arizona State (*)
  • 26. Philadelphia Eagles Paul Posluszny/OLB/Penn State
  • 27. New Orleans Saints Aaron Ross/CB/Texas
  • 28. New England Patriots Jarvis Moss/OLB/Florida (*)
  • 29. Baltimore Ravens Justin Blalock/OG/Texas
  • 30. San Diego Chargers Brandon Meriweather/S/Miami, Fl
  • 31. Chicago Bears Greg Olsen/TE/Miami, Fl (*)
  • 32. Indianapolis Colts Jon Beason/OLB/Miami, Fl (*)

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2007 Draft Central is HERE!!!!
Top 300 Prospects for the 2007 NFL Draft

Joseph B. Coaty, February 18, 2007

The following list is whom I consider to be the top 300 prospects for the 2007 NFL Draft as of February 18, 2007. This list is in no way a prediction of where I think players will be drafted. The list is simply a ranking of players with regards as to how I think they will eventually perform in the NFL.

NOTE: For players with two positions listed, the first position listed is the position that player played at during the 2006 season, the second position listed is the position I currently project that player to play in the NFL.

1. Calvin Johnson/WR/Georgia Tech (*)
2. Adrian Peterson/RB/Oklahoma (*)
3. Joe Thomas/OT/Wisconsin
4. Alan Branch/DT/Michigan (*)
5. Jamaal Anderson/DE/Arkansas (*)
6. Gaines Adams/DE/Clemson
7. LaRon Landry/S/Louisiana State
8. Brady Quinn/QB/Notre Dame
9. JaMarcus Russell/QB/Louisiana State (*)
10. Ted Ginn Jr./WR/Ohio State (*)

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CONSOLATION CONTENDERS
by Jerry Gilbert

Like many of you, I play Fantasy Football, and in our league, as in most others, the teams good enough to defeat other good teams, vie for the league championship. Meanwhile, the lesser teams in our league compete in what we call the "Toilet Bowl". Other leagues may refer to it as the "Consolation Bowl".

Looking back on this season for the Green Bay Packers, they have been a Consolation Bowl type of team. Pair them with a bad team such as Arizona, Detroit or San Francisco, and the Packers seem dominant. They appear to be a pretty good football team. However, when the opponent is the Bears, Eagles, Patriots or Jets a different team shows up. At the start they appear over-matched. By the end they prove to be inferior.

Contrast this with other lower down teams. San Francisco has beaten some good teams such as St Louis and Seattle. The Cardinals outplayed the mighty Bears for three and one half quarters on national television. The Lions have kept it fairly close in most games.

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2006 Former Packer All Star Team

by Jerry Gilbert

As a result of the coaching change in Green Bay, this season produced a larger pool of former Green Bay Packers available to comprise this team. Seeking his own type of player for his system, new head coach Mike McCarthy cut several players and did not re-sign others. In addition, the fact that former coach Mike Sherman is now an assistant in Houston, means that some people he brought to Green Bay will be given another chance in Texas.

This second Former Packer All-Star team, like the original, provides data for evaluating the personnel decisions that have been made over the years. The team is composed of players currently on the roster or practice squad of an NFL team. To be considered a former Packer, the player must have at least participated in training camp. Nearly all of them played at least a season in Green Bay.

This is a deeper team than last year's edition and significantly better at the skill positions on offense. While the number of starting quarterbacks has been reduced by the demotion of Kurt Warner and Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck is a returning all pro and any of the others could fill in if needed. While last year we stretched to find a running back, this team has four who have seen substantial playing time. With Javon Walker joining Terry Glen and Corey Bradford, this team boasts receiver unit as good as many in the NFL. Tight end is the only position that could use an upgrade.

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WHO SHOULD MAKE THE FINAL 42 FOR THE GREEN BAY PACKERS?
by Jerry Gilbert

The Green Bay Packers will open the regular season against the Chicago Bears with their regular season roster of 53 players. Unfortunately for the team and the affected players, the current roster of 75 plus does not contain 53 players worthy of inclusion on the opening day roster. If the Packers are to have any chance to be competitive, there will be up to 11 new faces added to the locker room.

Whether offense defense or special teams, the back up players in training camp have, in the preseason games, proven themselves not ready to compete in the NFL. Nearly every position on the roster, with the possible exception of defensive line and linebackers, is in desperate need of new talent.

It starts at quarterback. Brett Favre is drawing ever nearer to the end of his career, and Aaron Rodgers has shown nothing in the games to date to show he is ready to take over this season if needed. He has potential and should retained to carry a clipboard, but a veteran reserve should be signed. Kerry Collins, recently signed by the Titans, looked better Friday afternoon than either Rodgers or Ingle Martin, and Collins had only had a few days practice with his new team. There are 2 survivors at this position.

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SECOND PRESEASON GAME 5 PLAYS THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE
by Jerry Gilbert

Packer fans have to be happy with the turnaround in the second preseason game. After being humiliated a week earlier in San Diego, the Green Bay Packers rebounded and defeated the Atlanta Falcons 38-10 at Lambeau Field. The offensive line protected its quarterbacks against a fairly good Atlanta defense. The line also opened some holes for a decent running game. On defense, after allowing an opening drive touchdown, the Packers were dominant and allowed only a 51yard field goal. They were particularly effective in the third quarter when they entered the field on consecutive drives with the Falcons near or beyond the fifty yard line and stuffed the opposing offense, not allowing even a field goal attempt. The defense also recorded three interceptions, which resulted in 17 points. On the other hand, without what might be called luck or Lambeau Field Magic, the final score could have been far different.

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TRAINING CAMP REPORT THURSDAY AUGUST 17, 2006 9:00 A.M.
by Jerry Gilbert

The abbreviated practice session for Thursday Morning began slightly before 9:00 a.m. The crowd seemed a little smaller than afternoon and evening practices. The day was overcast and very comfortable. Most veterans on offense were missing from the practice including Favre, Driver, Franks, Green, Clifton, Tauscher, Henderson and probably some defensive players that I cannot confirm because they practiced at the other end of the field. The focus seemed to be on providing a walk through an some experience for the reserves and young starters.

Several players arrived early. One fun looking rookie is Guard Jason Spitz. He always seems to have a smile on his face and laughs and jokes with the other linemen. The practice had been advertised as no pads, but shells, which are padded vests worn under the shirt, were being passed out.

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TRAINING CAMP RPORT WEDNESDAY 8/16 2:00
by Jerry Gilbert

This day's only practice opened on a sunny summer day. On Thursday, a young man told me that A.J Hawk had refused to give a pre-practice autograph on Wednesday. Hawk said: "Sorry, I have to go." I told the young fan that Hawk was being truthful, because well before this practice started, all the linebackers were on the field with their coaches listening to instructions and walking through game situations. It was very good to see Brady Poppinga out there. He was mostly watching, but he is in pads and on the field.

Tight end Zac Alcorn and receiver Chris Francies ran routes to warm up the three backup quarterbacks. Favre arrived later.

As the actual practice began, it was a very low key affair as offense and defense separately walked through plays. "Low key' was the term I used in my notes at the field to differentiate this practice form others I had seen. I have since read that McCarthy thought it was too lackadaisical, and called the team over and demanded more intensity.

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TRAINING CAMP REPORT TUESDAY NIGHT PRACTICE AUGUST 15,2006
by Jerry Gilbert

On a beautiful Green Bay summer evening, practice opened right at 6:30 and continued till nearly 9:00. Two more camp bodies were added at defensive back. A new #20 is Antonio Malone 6-0 188 Toledo, and the new #42 is Jeremy Modkins 6-0 197 Texas Christian. Both looked lost throughout the practice.

A focus of the practice was clearly the correction of problems revealed in the opening game disaster in San Diego. From the blast of the horn that opened practice, the offense was working on basic pass protection and running plays. As the drills progressed, quarterbacks and wideouts were practicing quick passes from a three step drop. Adding the line and backs, the team ran through draw plays, screen passes and quick dumps to the backs.

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WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
PROFILES OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE "LONG SHOT" PROSPECTS
UPDATED 8/20/2006

by Jerry Gilbert

The Green Bay Packer offensive line is set for starting tackles with Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher; however their veteran back up players, Adrian Klemm and Kevin Barry have both suffered season ending injuries. At every other starting and reserve position, there is a question as to who will emerge to make the final roster.

This situation has presented opportunities for an unknown to shine through. Last season, an undersized converted offensive tackle from Southern Mississippi, Chris White, made the team even though there were veterans and draft choices ahead of him at every position. This season the chances for such a break through are even stronger.

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MINIMIZING DISTRACTIONS
Future stability of the Packer organization?
by Jerry Gilbert

The actions and of the Green Bay Packer executives and coaches in recent days have all pointed to a strategy of working diligently to minimize distractions from the work to be conducted on the fields and classrooms of Training Camp. Leading up to Packer Training Camp 2006, off-field issues have understandably dominated Media stories and discussions among fans because there were no on-field issues available. It is now clear that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy will do their best to prevent or minimize such distractions in the future.

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Following the 2003 season, a fine writer and former regular contributor to ThaPack.com, Mark Quarderer, wrote a provocative article, which argued that Quarterback Brett Favre would never lead the Green Bay Packers back to the Super Bowl.

There is a link to that article HERE.

History has proved him right to this point. However, with time to consider his previous position, Mark now updates that article.


Packer Fans Still Betting On Long Shot
Green Bay Packer Fans
Packers are betting two very long shots this season.
by Mark Quarderer

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As a lifelong Packer fan, I've had the great pleasure of watching this team have two great runs and hope that Ill get to see at least one more in my lifetime. But as I ponder the various strengths and weaknesses of our team its clear to me that our next run isnt going to start this year.

The 2003 team featured one of the great rushing attacks in NFL history, a group of young, talented receivers, and a defense that after a shaky start developed into one of the stronger defenses in the league. Yet, they made the playoffs only due to a miracle play that knocked Minnesota out on the last day of the season. They won an overtime playoff game against Seattle and then the next week their season ended in an overtime game against Philadelphia that has been discussed ad nauseum at various Packer fan site ever since.

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WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
PROFILES OF THE "LONG SHOT" PROSPECTS
Green Bay Packer Rookie Offensive Line
Taking another look at the longshot prospects of the Packer's rookie offensive line.
by Jerry Gilbert

Every year The Green Bay Packers sign twenty or more young free agents, most of whom will never earn a living playing football. They are playing for the love of the game, and the dream, which is realistically shared by very few of them, that this year or next, they may actually stick with an NFL team. We will add players as training camp progresses.
The Green Bay Packer offensive line is set for starting tackles with Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher. At every other starting and reserve position, there is a question as to who will emerge to make the final roster. Such a situation could present opportunities for an unknown to shine through. Last season, an undersized converted offensive tackle from Southern Mississippi, Chris White, made the team even though there were veterans and draft choices ahead of him at every position.

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Stuck in the middle with Youth.
Green Bay Packer Rookie Offensive Line
Commentary on a young offensive line.
by Jerry Gilbert

This ar ticle is a commentar y on th e offensive line of the Green Bay Packers. As matters now stand in early July of 2006, it appears that the middle of the offensive line will be manned by rookie Daryn Colledge, third year draftee Scott Wells and another rookie, Jason Spitz. It has been said that youth must be served, but this is not a situation that will help quarterback Brett Favre sleep at night. The current top reserve at both guard positions is second year player Junius Coston.

The fine left and right offensive tackles for Green Bay, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher may also miss some sleep should Donald Driver, Bubba Franks or both of them sustain an injury. Imagine a skill position group of Robert Ferguson, Rod Gardner and David Martin. Tauscher, one to the best examples of Packer People we may ever see, will have to be thinking, clowns to the left of me jokers to the right, here I am.


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WHO ARE THESE GUYS? PROFILES OF THE "LONG SHOT" PROSPECTS
Green Bay Packer Rookie Offensive Line
A look at the 2006 Packer defensive line.
by Jerry Gilbert

Every year The Green Bay Packers sign twenty or more young free agents, most of whom will never earn a living playing football. They are playing for the love of the game, and the dream-realistically shared by very few- that this year or next, they may actually stick with an NFL team. We will add players as training camp progresses.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN On the surface, there do not appear to be any roster spots for a street free agent on the Green Bay Packer defensive line. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Aaron Kampman are set at defensive end with Mike Montgomery and Kenny Peterson in reserve. Veteran free agents Ryan Pickens and Kenderick Allen join returning veterans Cullen Jenkins, Colin Cole and Corey Williams. The Packers used draft choices to bring in tackle Johnny Jolly and pass rushing defensive end Dave Tollefson. On the other hand, draft choice disaster Donnell Washington has been cut and Kenny Peterson is using this last chance to prove he belongs. Jolly has an injury and could wind up inactive in his rookie season. One long shot defensive lineman just might make the final 53



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WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
PROFILES OF THE "LONG SHOT" PROSPECTS
Green Bay Packers
A look into the rookie class of wideouts and tightends.
by Jerry Gilbert

Every year The Green Bay Packers sign twenty or more young free agents, most of whom will never earn a living playing football. They are playing for the love of the game, and the dream, which is realistically shared by very few of them, that this year or next, they may actually stick with an NFL team. We will add players as training camp progresses.


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THE REFS AND THE COACH PART 2
packers

Packers defeat the Lions in OT.
by Jerry Gilbert

After the opening game depressing loss to the untalented Detroit Lions, I suggested on this site that the coaching by Mike Sherman and his staff and the officiating by the incompetent referees combined to give the Green Bay Packers what has turned out to be their worst loss of the season. After the Sunday night rebound overtime victory by the Packers in a rematch with the Lions, it seems that a story about refs and coaching is again a pretty good way to sum up the game.

s is the norm, this crew of NFL officials was too athletically limited to stay up with today's professional football player. They were inconsistent and often wrong. However, the net effect helped rather than hurt Green Bay this time. They gave Roy Williams a disputed touchdown grab that Packer cornerback Al Harris will never recognize as the right call. On the other hand, they correctly determined forward progress during the Packer defense's heroic goal line stand in the second half. A few plays later, they judged that Samkon Gado's clumsy forward push of the ball as he was being tackled in his own end zone was in fact an attempted forward pass. Gado's heady play to avert a safety deserved to be upheld after the indecisive officials initially got it wrong.
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SAME OLD SAME OLD
packers lose

Packers lose to Bears.
by Jerry Gilbert

As I watched the Green Bay Packers lose to the Chicago Bears 19-7, I realized that even as this team continues to play hard, they continue to do the same things that make them lose every week. On offense, defense and special teams, mental an d physical errors stand in the way of success .

The first Packer offensive drive was a portend of things to come. Brett Favre missed three open receivers. The offensive line committed two penalties. To add injury to insult, Bubba Franks, who had been counted on to help both with the running game and in the red zone, had to leave the field for the second time in two weeks because of back pain resulting from a tackle Then, Punter B. J Sander compounded the futility by shanking a 17 yard punt. For each of those plays, 9-10 players on the field did what they needed to do. A mental or physical breakdown by one or two doomed the play.
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2005 Former Packer All Star Team
packer's allstar team

2005 Former Packer All Star Team
by Jerry Gilbert

No fan of the Green Bay Packers can look at the current roster and say with a straight face that the assembled talent is first ra te. Former General Manager Ron Wolf recently went on record as describing some Packer play ers as only qualified to play in NFL Europe. Over the years, many players have come and gone, and a sufficient number of former players to comprise a football team are still active in the league.

To provide some data for evaluating the personnel decisions that have been made over the years Ron Garvida and I have compiled another all star tem. This team is composed of players currently on the roster or practice squad of an NFL team. To be considered a former Packer, the player must have at least participated in training camp. Nearly all of them played at least a season in Green Bay.
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IS IT TIME FOR SOME CHANGES?

by Jerry Gilbert
On Sunday against a decimated Philadelphia Eagles team I watched Packer Quarterback Brett Favre repeatedly miss open receivers. A pass behind Bubba Franks put the tight end in the hospital, because the future all pro quarterback broke a cardinal rule of his position. Do not lead your rec eiver into coverage. But as Favre said earlier this season, I am what I am and dont try to change me. What he is today may no longer be the right fit for the f uture of the Green Bay Packers

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Consider a few basic facts. With the Chicago Bears looking like genuine competition, success in the Northern Division will go through the Silver Dome and the Metro Dome. Brett Favre has a miserable record in both Detroit and Minneapolis. This is in addition to the fact that he is zero for forever in Pennsylvania. A game at Lambeau Field used to provide a certain victory. The last two seasons, the Packers have experienced a home field disadvantage.
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TED THOMPSON PART TWO

by Jerry Gilbert
In an earlier c olumn, I was fair ly complimentary about the draft choices and rookie free agents assembled for the 2005 season by Green Bay Packer General manager Ted Thompson. However, there is more to the story. Along with rookies, a general manager should make trades and sign veteran free agents in an effort to improve his team.

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In 2005, there was one notable trade; cornerback Chris Johnson was traded to St Louis for linebacker Robert Thomas. On one level, Thomas has played pretty well and looks to be a good addition. On the other hand, the knock on that former first round draft choice is that he has not been able to stay healthy. That pattern continued in Green Bay. Thomas has been out for several weeks leaving Paris Lenon and rookies to play the position.
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2005 Fantasy Rehab/Injured Reserve Team

by Jerry Gilbert
Thanks in large part to the original idea and hard work of my friend Ron Garvida, we are now in a position to present an All Star Team composed entirely of players who will not be playing in the 2005 season in the National Football Team. The idea for a team of this type grew out of the large number of players lost to injury by the Green Bay Packers, as well as the major talent now missing from other teams.

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As we worked on the list, we were particularly impressed by the offensive skill players on the list. Imagine the mutual happiness for Javon Walker to go long for a Daunte Culpepper bombCulpepper to Moss revisited. If our admittedly mediocre line breaks down, Culpepper (or Pennington or Griese) could dump off to Priest Holmes or Ahman Green. Tight Ends Kellen Winslow, Boo Williams and Eric Johnson would also be available to move the chains. For short yardage, the quarterback could hand the ball to Deuce McCallister.
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TED THOMPSON DID HIS JOB

by Jerry Gilbert
While we are not precisely at the half way point of the Green Bay Packers 2005 campaign, this is a good time to reflect on the season to date. It is becoming clear that General Manager Ted Thompson made some very good selections in this year's draft and free agency. Second round draft choice Nick Collins is an adequate NFL safety in his first season. He has missed some interceptions, but not many tackles. Collins is likely to continue to improve. Cornerback Mike Hawkins is talented but green. He also is holding his own as a nickel corner, and he also may continue to improve.

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Of the other rookies who play defense, linebacker Brady Poppinga has been a star on special teams. Fellow linebacker Roy Manning has spent considerable time at lineback er replacing the injured N a'il Diggs. Defensive end Michael Montgomery is part of the defensive line rotation. Among the rookies, only safety Marviel Underwood has thus far disappointed on defense. Turning to free agents on defense, linebacker Robert Thomas has been making plays. Thomas may not be the ultimate answer, but because of his newness to the Bates system, it is too soon to make any long-term judgments..
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RUNNING ON EMPTY?

by Jerry Gilbert
Before the 2005 season began, it appeared that the Green Bay Packers were in good shape at running back. Ahman Green was a returning Pro Bowl honoree, and Najeh Davenport had proven to be a quality back-up. Tony Fisher was not seen as a potential starter, but he has proven to be an excellent third down back and special team performer. The problems seemed to be all in the future. All three backs will be free agents after 2005. Who should be the priority to sign?

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That seemed to be a major question as the season began, but some answers have emerged. For four games Najeh Davenport did not seem up to the task as a full time back. In game five he was a star, until his season ending injury. The conclusion has to be that Najeh Davenport has shown neither the consistency nor durability to be a full time starter. On the other hand, his injury will probably make him more valuable to Green Bay than to any other team. Davenport will likely sign a one-year deal hoping to prove in 2006 that he can be a starting back somewhere. Assuming that he returns next year at 100% (a supportable assumption for a runner with a broken ankle), Davenport will provide depth at the position, but not the answer.
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2006 NFL Mock Draft October 12, 2005

by Joseph B. Coaty
Note: Draft order is based on the Super Bowl odds as of October 12 , 2005. Trades already completed by NFL teams are reflected in this draft order.

Note: No underclassmen were considered eligible for this moc k draft.


AP Photo

From the start, the most frequent subject of discussion for the national and state pressas well as across the internetwas the problem of replacing departed guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle. As the line struggled during the first four games, the general consensus was that the new guards must be the problem. After all, Mark Tauscher, Chad Clifton, and Mike Flanagan were the returning core of one of the better lines in the league. Oft injured Adrian Klemm and rookie William Whittiker were the obvious targets.
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OFFENSIVE LINE TURNING THINGS AROUND

by Jerry Gilbert
Continuing the momentum established in the final 20 minutes of the Carolina game, the Green Bay Packer Offensive Line protected its quarterback and opened holes for its runners on the way to a 52-3 drubbing of the New Orleans Saints. This is almost the same group of offensive linemen who have been a constant source of criticism and comment going all the way back to training camp. They deserved the flak they received. For nearly four games, the Green Bay offense could neither run nor pass effectively. Whether on offense or defense, football begins on the line, and no offense will have consistent success without good play from the big guys up front. That level of play began to develop in the Carolina game, it and was present for 60 minutes in Green Bay last Sunday

Jim Biever'the MAN' Rocks

From the start, the most frequent subject of discussion for the national and state pressas well as across the internetwas the problem of replacing departed guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle. As the line struggled during the first four games, the general consensus was that the new guards must be the problem. After all, Mark Tauscher, Chad Clifton, and Mike Flanagan were the returning core of one of the better lines in the league. Oft injured Adrian Klemm and rookie William Whittiker were the obvious targets.
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TURNOVERS

by Jerry Gilbert
Even though John Madden made the same point on ABC, it did not deter me from summing up the Packers 32-29 loss to the Carolina Panthers with this observation: KGBs forced fumble recovered by Cullen Jenkins completely turned the game around and gave the Green Bay Packers a real chance to win. Before that play, the injury battered Packers were headed for a shameful drubbing. After that play, the offense ignited, the defense stiffened, and a team to be proud of briefly emerged. Even though the final drive sputtered to a halt, the Packers were in the game to the final minutethe last quarter was really exciting.

Jim Bi
ever'the MAN' Rocks

Lest we forget, however, the first 3 quarters were abysmal. It was the sorriest spectacle since Lindy Infante strode the sidelines of Lambeau Field. And do not blame the horrible play on injuries. Long before left tackle Chad Clifton limped off the field with an injury, he whiffed on Defensive End Mike Rucker who crushed Brett Favre. Mike Flanagan also contributed very little before his departure. On defense, the theme of the day was penalties and giving up big plays. Special teams were also way short of special.
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REFLECTIONS ON TRAINING CAMP

by Jerry Gilbert
I truly enjoy the spectacle that is a Green Bay Packer Training Camp. Every year some unknown rookie will make a play or two, the newspapers will feature him in an article, and fans across the world will get excited about the potential of such past luminaries as Terdell Sands, Devin Lewis and Erwin Swiney. I currently believe that Leigh Torrence could be an NFL cornerback, but, realistically, he will not be on the roster this season unless someone gets hurt. Among the young linebackers who are causing a buzzNick McNeil, Roy Manningthey are long shots to stick with the team.
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WHAT WAS I THINKING?

by Jerry Gilbert
Not thinking, reacting emotionally is closer to the explanation for why I had been expecting a playoff run by the 2005 Green Bay Packers. However, two horrendous games; two losses to bad teams will have a tendency to bring a dreamer back to reality.

Now, with expectations lowered, I look forward to watching my team each week in order to enjoy the process. I will cheer when they succeed; yell and swear in bad times. I am a Packer Fan. They are my team. As the song goes, they are the greatest team to ever play the game; even if from time to time theyve been a little lame.
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BLAME IT ON THE REFS AND THE COACH

by Jerry Gilbert
The mighty Green Bay Packer Offense was a no show against the Detroit Lions in Sunday in Detroit as the Packers gave away the opener 17-3. The team did not play very well, but they may have been able to steal a win but for the most inept display of officiating I have seen in years.

Watch other cornerbacks in other games; closer to home, watch Green Bays Al Harris. Every cornerback does what Ahmad Carroll was flagged for, but only the refs designated bad boy gets the yellow flag.. The lead official even announced a penalty against number 28 on a special team play when Carroll was sitting on the bench.
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The Final 53: Why?

by Jerry Gilbert
The Green Bay Packers of 2005 are no longer Mike Shermans team. Gone are Cletidus Hunt and R-Kal Truluck, two defensive linemen for whom then General Manager Sherman paid a great deal. Hunt was paid millions. Truluck cost draft choices. Neither was worth what was given up for them. The same may be said of defensive tackle James Lee, who was a draft day gamble that never worked. Also gone are veteran offensive linemen Brad Bedell and Matt ODwyer.
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Patriots 27 Packers 3: Much Worse Than the Score Would Indicate

by Jerry Gilbert
Fridays third of four, hopefully meaningless, preseason games opened with all the bad elements of game two. The Green Bay kickoff coverage unit allowed a huge runback as the game began. Then the defense permitted a virtually unopposed touchdown for the defending world champion New England Patriots. A penalty on Al Harris nullified the good play that started the series when Cullen Jenkins broke through to bring down Corey Dillon. After that, the touchdown seemed inevitable.
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Buffalo 27 Packers 7: Not as Bad as the Score Would Indicate

by Jerry Gilbert
Take away reprehensible play by coverage special teams and some stupid penalties, and the game was not so bad. Take away dropped passes and the offense could have scored some more points. Bottom line: it was a pre-season loss that demonstrated some glaring need for improvement, but there were also some bone jarring hits and some excellent play by rookies. It was a setback in some respects, but also a game to build upon.
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TRAINING CAMP REPORT WEDNESDAY 8/3 MORNING

by Jerry Gilbert
Overcast and still hot today. Seemed to be an even bigger crowd on Oneida Avenue Most of the practice was not fan friendly. After warm-ups, the units separated and spent most of the time running through plays and formations. Lots of players missing-Sam Breeden and Terrence Murphy WR Brady Poppinga LB Jason Horton, Chris Day and Joey Thomas all CB's; David Martin
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TRAINING CAMP REPORT TUESDAY MORNING AUGUST 2, 2005

by Jerry Gilbert
Another very hot day in Green Bay. Candidates to run back punts and kick-offs showed up early and caught high kicks from the machine. As is common, Antonio Chatman was the first to arrive and he was followed by Vince Butler, who seems to be rated by the staff as one of the top free agent types with a chance for the practice squad. As others arrived, the coaches added a twist. The player holds a ball in one hand a catches the kick with the other. Butler only caught about 3 out of every 4 in his first opportunity.
11on 11 Started Favre under center against first defense Vince Butler, who seems to be rated by the staff as one of the top free agent types with a chance for the practice squad. As others arrived, the coaches added a twist. The player holds a ball in one hand a catches the kick with the other. Butler only caught about 3 out of every 4 in his first opportunity.
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TRAINING CAMP 2005 AFTERNOON MONDAY 8/01
by Jerry Gilbert
Almost nothing of much interest occured in the brief afternoon special teams practice held in 90 degree temperatures. A highlight was an individual practice session in which punter Bryce Benekos tried to improving his punting which has been sub-satandard. Antonio Chatman was receiving. There wa s no center.
Benekos boomed several kicks; however, after he turned around, it was quite apparent that he had benefitted from a stron tail wind. As the coaches arrived and used him to put to retrun men (against the wind), he seldom reached where they were standing.
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TRAINING CAMP REPORT SUNDAY 7/31 MORNING

by Jerry Gilbert
I arrived late, and missed the warm-ups and drills. As I settled in kickers were at work. Ryan Longwell was solid no matter who was the holder, but none of them seemed comfortable. Meanwhile B.J Sanders ws punting just okay and the other contender Benekos was not even adequate in the couple of punts I saw.
11on 11 Started Favre under center against first defense Complete Over the Middle to Donald Driver Driver would prove to be hisfavorite all morning On the next play, safety Earl Little closely covered the receiver and the ball popped into the air dangerous situation for the offense. Out of the shotgun, Favre ran a draw play. Then completed a pass to Driver about 12 yards up the middle.
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TRAINING CAMP 2005 AFTERNOON SUNDAY 7/31

by Jerry Gilbert
Sunday afternoon, I was there early and saw the pre-practice activities. While playing catch with coaches, Aaron Rodgers repeatedly caught the ball one handed. Healso pitched an undrhand spiral about 20 yards. On all the drills, william Hendrson looks as fit and agile as the younger backs.
11 on 11 (this is shorts and uniforms--advantage OFFENSE)
Craig Nall began with a completion to Driver on a stop pattern. He then overthrew Walker on an out pattern to the right. He followed with a short pass to Luchey and then hit Chatman on the right side.
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By Jerry Gilbert

Much like the defensive line, the 2005 edition of the Green Bay Packer defensive backfield is filled with players who present a wide variety of background, skill sets and dramas. The best of the group, Al Harris, who entered the league as a small school 6th round draft choice, was generally viewed as a career back-up while in Philadelphia. Last season, he battled against the best receivers in the league and played at a pro bowl level. Arguably the worst of the bunch, based on last season, was cornerback Ahmad Carroll, a large school first round draft choice.
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By Jerry Gilbert 7/20/2005

There are many reasons to be pessimistic about prospects for the Green Bay Packer Defensive Line in 2005. To begin, the line was not very effective much of last year. Quarterbacks had plenty of time to find receivers, and runners broke into the backfield with regularity. It gets worse. Both starting tackles from last season are currently holding out for one reason or another. Because Cletidus Hunt missed the mini-camps, and Grady Jackson is holding out for an unknown period of time, the Packers cannot monitor their weight and conditioning, and there is no reason to be certain either or both will be in Green Bay at the start of training camp.
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By Joseph B. Coaty 7/17/2005

As of July 17th, the Green Bay Packer's roster consisted of 94 players. But the roster must be trimmed to 53 players between now and the first regular season game of the 2005 season. During the later years of Ron Wolf's Green Bay Packer tenure there would generally only be about a half a dozen roster spots up for grabs in most seasons. But the situation in 2005 appears to be vastly different. While there is little doubt as to which running backs will make the 2005 roster, other positions like offensive line could realistically have as many as four roster spots up for grabs. The following is an assessment of the Packer's roster and which positions could see the greatest amount of competition during training camp in August.
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NAJEH IS THE KEY

By Jerry Gilbert 6/22/05

One the surface, running back is one of the few positions for the Green Bay Packers that presents no issues. Ahman Green is one of the better halfbacks in all of football, not only as a great runner, but also as a dependable blocker and receiver. Now in his contract year, Green has every incentive to avoid fumbling and to run as well or better than ever.
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IMPROVEMENT NEEDED AT LINEBACKER

By Jerry Gilbert 6/30/05

One year ago, Green Bay's linebacker group made hundreds of tackles; however, they did not create many turnovers, and they did not produce a high number of tackles for loss. At best, the group was competent; under new defensive coordinator Jim Bates, the linebackers need to be great.
If the Bates scheme is significantly better than what has existed in recent years, the talent level of returnees Na'il Diggs, Nick Barnett and Hannibal Navies may well produce better results simply because they are used properly.
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TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: TIGHT END

By Jerry Gilbert 6/22/05

One of the mysteries of this off-season is the fact that the Green Bay Packers have done very little to address the position of tight end. As the 2004 season ended, starting tight end Bubba Franks and his back-up David Martin were both free agents. Martin drew no interest around the league and re-signed. Franks would have been a hot commodity in free agency but for the fact that he was awarded the teams transition tag, which requires another team to lose a first round draft choice in order to sign him.
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Green Bay Packers-2005 NFL Draft

By Joseph B. Coaty

While no one expected him to reveal the teams draft board in his pre-draft press conference, the Packers new general manager Ted Thompson was even more tight-lipped than most expected. But it certainly wouldnt require a genius to figure out what the teams primary needs were. The Packers finished the 2004 season ranked 25th in team defense, and the only thing that would surprise Packer fans about that ranking is that it indicates that 7 teams actually did a worse job of playing defense than the Packers did in 2004. Read Article

Favre Shows Faith
by Jerry Gilbert

The palace guards are gone along with the leader of the defense forces, yet the Prince returns. Am I striving to be too literary for a sports fan website? Maintain perspective. I am extremely happy right now. The emotional and physical leader of the Green Bay Packers, Quarterback Brett Favre, agreed this afternoon to return for one year, and barring a health issue, perhaps few more Read Article

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