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Monday, May 2, 2011

Recap of the 2011 NFL draft

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

The 2011 NFL draft did not produce the potential star that many Packers fans wanted. This draft did provide depth at several key positions, though. With Da’Quan Bowers still on the board when it was the Packers' turn to draft in the first round, Packers fans held their collective breath; seeing a player that at one time was considered the top prospect in the draft falling to the last pick of the first round excited fans to their core. The Packers, though, saw things a bit differently. Obviously the Green Bay staff had not rated Bowers high enough to warrant a first round contract (five years).
The issue with Bowers is his knee. Many teams expect Bowers to require micro-fracture knee surgery this off-season, and this brings his ability to fulfill a five-year contract into question. To make matters even worse, for those following the draft at on their Draftcast, it was announced that the Packers had picked Bowers with the 32nd pick. Since I was one of those fans, I was immediately excited, knowing that Cullen Jenkins will not be back next year and we are looking to unproven players to fill the holes on the defensive line. It was later changed to Derek Sherrod, an offensive tackle from Mississippi State who did not have a first round grade. Bowers has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler, but at the same time his knee makes him a huge risk. Honestly though, what more can you hope for, from what is essentially a second round pick?
Sherrod is a solid player, and the heir apparent to Chad Clifton at left tackle. The pick was a boring one, and it seems to me as if it was driven by the need to fill holes instead of the need to draft the best player available. More often than not, reaching for players to fill holes ends with sadness and heartbreak. If Sherrod had been picked with the Packers’ second round pick, and he very well may have been available at that point, then the expectations would be considerably lower, and his contract would be extremely cheaper.
I guess it is time to move past the first round. Wide receiver/kick returner Randall Cobb was taken in the second round, and he fills several key needs for the Packers. Cobb was widely considered the best kick returner available in the draft, and on top of that he fills the hole that will likely be left by James Jones leaving for some clueless team giving him a big contract. Cobb is very raw, mainly because he has switched position several times in college and has been unable to focus on playing wide receiver until now.
With their third round pick the Packers selected Alex Green (I hope he wears number 30). Green averaged almost nine yards per carry for Hawaii last season, and ended the season with over 1000 yards rushing despite playing for a pass happy offense. Green has great hands, so he should be able to fill the void that the departure of Brandon Jackson will leave on third downs.
The Packers ended up with ten picks in this draft, so going through every pick would be tiresome. Honestly, I don’t think many people want to hear about players that will likely be fillers on the depth chart anyways. It became apparent that Thompson was looking to trade down and hoard draft picks in the last three rounds because he wanted to draft the players that he would have signed as un-drafted free agents, something he cannot do because of the lockout. All that the general fan base needs to know is that the Packers ended up picking (in no particular order) two linebackers, two tight ends, a cornerback, a defensive tackle, and an offensive guard after the first three players.
While this draft may have left Packers fans wanting more, I implore you to remember that the Packers won the Super Bowl last year, and they didn’t have very many holes to fill. In reality, the biggest hole was probably the return game, and Cobb satisfies that need. This was another good draft for Ted Thompson that may not leave a good taste in fans’ mouths for years to come, but the good taste will come, we just have to let it age.


  1. The issue with Bowers is his knee. Many teams expect Bowers to require micro-fracture knee surgery this off-season, and this brings his ability to fulfill a five-year contract into question.