Green Bay Packers NFL Draft 2010 Preview: Round 1 Primary Targets
As the 2010 NFL Draft approaches, Ted Thompson is quietly huddled down in his basement sharpening his darts and practicing his target throwing. For now, he’s been using photos of punters Derrick Frost and Jeremy Kapinos as targets ( he wore out the Brett Favre target last off-season). But come Thursday night (I still can’t get used to saying that), who will Ted Terrific be aiming for?
Of course no one, not even Teddy, knows for sure what he’ll do until the time comes. With his best player available (BPA) approach, it could be a quarterback or a wide receiver (although in that scenario, I would hope he’d be looking for a trade). But in addition to his BPA leanings, Ted will have a target list of five or so players that will be no-brainer automatic pull-the-trigger choices (on his player board) if they are there at #23.
While only Ted and the Packers’ inner circle know who those players are, I’m going to take a stab at it. Here are my 5 target players for the Packers at pick #23:
(Note: I’ve eliminated players where the overwhelming consensus is that they will be long gone by the time the Packers pick.)
Jerry Hughes – Texas Christian University
6′2, 248 pounds
Outside linebacker/Defensive end
A beast as a speed pass-rusher, Hughes has a lightning-fast first step and never stops until the whistle blow. Has struggled against the run and has little experience in coverage, as he played predominantly defensive end in College. While few could argue with Hughes’ ability to rush the passer, he may never be a 3-down player in the NFL. At best, he will need a few years to develop his skills against the run game and in coverage. For these reasons, I would consider Hughes a bit of a reach in the first round, but his pass-rush ability is so enticing. If my other options are all gone, I might just roll the dice on Hughes and hope his sack total makes up for everything else.
Charles Brown – University of Southern California
If the Packers were to select an OT with their first pick, this is the guy I would want. A fantastic pass-blocking left tackle, Brown could step in and protect Aaron Rodgers’ blind side with aplomb. Unfortunately, his run blocking is not great and he is just not strong enough yet to be a starting left tackle. While the Packers’ version of the zone blocking system somewhat relaxes his issues with drive blocking, the former tight end needs some time to build up strength and power. Conveniently, Chad Clifton is there to hold down the fort while Brown hits the weigh room.
Kyle Wilson – Boise State
Kyle Wilson has everything the Packers look for in a corner with one exception – height. If I’m Ted Thompson, perhaps I make an exception for a playmaker like Kyle Wilson. Fast, quick, fluid, physical, smart; these are all adjectives thrown around when scouts describe Kyle Wilson. Many feel he could step in and start year one for a lot of NFL teams. Throw in his punt return abilities and Kyle Wilson could see a lot of the field for the Green Bay Packers.
Brandon Graham – University of Michigan
Outside Linebacker / Defensive end
The most physical of the top outside linebacker prospects, Brandon Graham knows how to bring it. He lives in the offensive backfield, having amassed 45 tackles for loss in his final two years at Michigan. Blocking Graham, whether on pass or run plays will be a difficult assignment for any NFL tackle. He may not record as many sacks in the NFL, as he lacks the overall speed rush abilities of a Jerry Hughes, but he will consistently be making life difficult for NFL quarterbacks. A guy who can bring pressure on every play? Yeah, the Packers could use some more of that…
Sergio Kindle – University of Texas
To these amateur NFL scout eyes, Sergio Kindle is the most complete outside linebacker in the draft. With his ability to play the run, pass-rush and cover in space, Kindle will be a three down player in the NFL from day one. A perfect combination of speed and strength for an outside linebacker, Kindle played the Texas “elephant” position, in which he played many roles, moved from side to side, hand down, hand up, etc. Basically, he was the disruptive force on the Texas defense that opposing teams had to plan for. While Kindle has things to work on, like disengaging from blockers more quickly, they are mostly technique related – i.e. things that can be taught. I see Kindle looking to have a similar NFL impact as his former teammate Brian Orakpo did last season (11 sacks and being named a Pro Bowl Starter will be tough to match, but I hope to be able to watch Kindle try).
If none of these players are there, then quite simply, I’m looking to trade down…
Jersey Al Bracco is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.