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Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TOPHAT, Apr 29, 2007.


    TOPHAT Cheesehead

    Mar 1, 2007
    BONUS: JSOnline Packer Insider After the draft chat with Writer Tom Silverstein

    Q: Kevin of Chicago - Tom, I know that after the first day of the 2005 Draft we were all asking who is Nick Collins and Terrence Murphy, but quite frankly when a player isn't even listed in the top 50 on Pro Football Weekly's position rankings you have to ask what is TT thinking. So what is TT thinking drafting James Jones and is this the end of the Randy Moss to Green Bay rumors?

    A: Tom Silverstein - No, this definitely doesn't eliminate the Packers' interest in Moss. The Jones selection is curious. Thompson insists the guy is big and strong and makes defenders cringe when he goes over the middle. Just because PFW ranks the guy low doesn't mean he's a stinker. Thompson and his staff spend a lot more time, money and energy researching these guys. I think Thompson knows how to judge talent and I don't doubt Jones will have a chance to make the team. I just don't know if Thompson worked the board like he should have today.

    Q: TKaz of Glen Allen - Tom, The Packers seem to be doing a brilliant job of building a mediocre team built of 3-6 rd draft picks. Like Cliffy noted last year; who's going to score TDs for this team? There seems to be no sense of urgency about aquiring playmakers of any kind. The other thing Clif was right about; they drafted def 1st and seem to be building around Hawk in the middle. Wouldn't you say that TT's job depends on this strategy working and that's why they took Harrell? I give him credit for being bland and sticking with his 'board'. Thanks. TKaz

    A: Tom Silverstein - I agree. Where are the playmakers. Arguably, New England doesn't have them. Philadelphia doesn't have them. Pittsburgh doesn't have them. But each of those teams has a system in place and at least one player who can make some kind of difference. The Packers have Favre and ....

    Q: Lynda farrington of Chicago - do you think the packers have found one offensive player to address their obvious weak links Halfback Tight end Fullbacki Wide Receiver So far we have no choice not even listed in the top fifty prospects even though that is not always what counts

    A: Tom Silverstein - I do think Jackson can help them. A lot of people are high on him, but I don't think he's Ahman Green. He doesn't have that kind of athletic ability. Maybe he's Maurice Jones-Drew or Kevin Jones. I just don't see anyone dynamic there.

    Q: Eric of Germantown - Tom, its obvious that TT had a major rebuilding project in front of him when he took over. And I think most thoughtful fans agree with the build through the draft notion and are willing to be patient since they are rebuilding. But has Thompson ever stated how long wait it is going to be? I mean how many free years does he get before we are allowed to become impatient. Yes the draft should be for the future, but I guess I am wondering when the future will be. Is there a plan ton be good in two years, three or maybe four?

    A: Tom Silverstein - I think it's this year, Eric. Like I said earlier, it's time for those draft picks to show their worth. There is no timetable, but players in their second and third years should be ready to compete for starting jobs.

    Q: Calvin B of Arlington Heights - Green Bay seems pretty comfortable with Morency as their workhorse RB. Do you think he is durable enough to handle the punishment?

    A: Tom Silverstein - No, I don't. I think Brandon Jackson will have to help. Maybe Arliss Beach, too. I think the running game is in sorry shape. The only way it can be helped is if the offensive line comes into its own.

    Q: Ron of Milwaukee - How much do guys like John Clayton and Mel Kiper really know. They might have been at the combine but it seems like a guy who has been studying film, interviewing players, and working them out woule have a much better feel for talent. Harrel was a bit of a surprise but if he's a nice guy, hard worker, good team mate, and student of the game how can you go wrong. Once Thompson trades away picks for a punter in the third round I'll start to get worried.

    A: Tom Silverstein - I think Thompson's biggest mistake was not trading up in the second to get Dwayne Jarrett or Sydney Rice. The Vikings jumped in front of him in the second round and took Rice. It may turn out both guys are flops, but they were high on the team's draft board and they failed to get them. They wound up with James Jones, who's a far riskier pick.

    Q: Digger of Andover - Hi Tom, I'm sure you're inundated with fans freaking out tonight. I expect that you'll respond typically, stating that it takes several years to evaluate a draft, so don't panic. OK then, let's talk about Thompson's first 2 drafts. How are they shaping up? They sure seem a lot better than the Shermy abominations of '03 and '04. We still can't evaluate '05 until we see Rodgers in action and '06 looks pretty good. So relax everyone and have a little faith. Agree?

    A: Tom Silverstein - This is the year Thompson better start reaping some benefits from his draft picks. It's time Nick Collins becomes a dominant safety. Rodgers, I'm not sold on him, but it doesn't matter because Favre will be here until he gets dragged off the field. But Brady Poppinga? He needs to become a player. Hawk better make huge gains this season and be more than just adequate. And the rookie linemen should make big strides, the way Clifton and Tauscher did after their first seasons. It's time for these guys to become players. If they don't it's on Thompson.

    Q: Tony of Indianapolis - Harrell looks like a real reach at 16; the guy is always injured and average, like one tackle per game. Thompson's 2005 draft was a disaster. Is this the pick that finally gets him fired?

    A: Tom Silverstein - It will if Harrell turns out to be Jamal Reynolds. But we won't know that for awhile. I know Ron Wolf's biggest regrets in the draft were taking medical risks. I don't know if Harrell fits that because he doesn't have a problem with his arm now. The other injuries are worrisome, but they're not like torn ACLs. They're contact injuries that occur in football.

    Q: robert of west allis - justin harrell you have to be kidding me..a 1'st round pick on someone who played in 3 games in 2006..let's see now we need a receiver,running back,and a tight end..we need help on offense and forget randy moss..ted thompson had a chance to draft some outstanding young talent on offense such as robert meachem, greg olsen, or dwayne bowe and what does thompson do he drafts a defensive player..this is the last straw for me.. ted thompson has to go sooner than later.. people of green bay don't put up with this bull@#%& and get rid of thompson

    A: Tom Silverstein - I don't know how many times I'm going to have to say this. Those players you mentioned weren't worth taking at No. 16. If they were, why weren't they taken at 17 or 18 or 19 or 20. That group of wide receivers wasn't worthy of mid-round selections. Where Thompson should have been more aggressive is moving up to get Lynch. If he really was sold on him, he needed to do something about it. He said he couldn't get the deal he wanted in front of him because no one wanted to move down. If that's true, then he did the right thing, sticking where he was and taking the best available player. If Harrell pans out, he has the makings of a very good defense.

    Q: Dave of Racine - Will the Randy Moss trade ever go down? I am EXTREMELY nervous with New England getting involved...

    A: Tom Silverstein - I can't say right now. All I can judge from Thompson's demeanor is that this is something he has to consider doing. He's done almost nothing to improve the offense and his back is against the wall. He's going to have to swallow his pride and give up something for Moss, otherwise he goes into the season with virtually the same offense he had last year.

    Q: SCOTT SIELEMAN of oelwein, iowa - why? why not a wide reciever or other positions we nedded much more than dt!

    A: Tom Silverstein - Who would you take, Scott? There was no one there to take at WR. It would have been far more of a stretch to take Bowe or Meachem at No. 16 than it was to take Harrell. Chicago took tight end Greg Olsen at No. 31. That tells you a little bit about his value. Don't discount this pick.

    Q: mike of chippewa falls - I realize packer scouts have spent hrs researching,but did many teams have Harrel rated this high and can't a torn biceps become a chronic problem? Why not trade down get more picks and still get Harrel while addressing more immediate needs like running back wide receiver defensive back safety or left tackle? Picking Harrell this high is quetionable.

    A: Tom Silverstein - I don't think the biceps is chronic. I remember Dallas linebacker Ken Norton showing me his torn biceps at a Super Bowl and he played with the muscle rolled up on his arm. As long as the surgery went well there shouldn't be a problem. Gilbert Brown had the same thing a couple years ago. There were no running backs to take at this spot. The Packers wanted Marshawn Lynch and would have taken him if he was available. The next wide receiver taken was Dwayne Bowe at No. 23. Now that would have been a reach. I think Thompson did the right thing getting a defensive linemen. This is an area that could be dominant if Harrell pans out.

    Q: Matt of DC - TS - I start by saying I am not one of these guys who believes we need to load up for Brett. I agree with TT to build for future. That said, there were more quality players available – with better M.A.S.H. charts – than Harrell. Hall from Michigan is example. Pack DBs are on downside. TT had better work some magic from here on out or this gaffe – along with Rodgers pick – will shorten is tenure in Titletown...

    A: Tom Silverstein - I think the only DB worth taking was Revis. Hall doesn't play the style the Packers play. He's not a tough bump-and-run defender. He's more of a zone guy. Revis can play bump-and-run and would have fit what the Packers do. I'm of the belief Thompson has to do something to get Favre some help. I just don't think you win Super Bowls with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Bubba Franks.

    Q: John Dickmann of Bremerton, WA - If that moron Thompson wanted to throw away the 16th pick in the 1st round on a player who would have lasted till the bottom of the round, why didn't he trade down? Also, Justin Harrell's past injury report is enough to give any GM pause. Am I missing something here? If you can, please explain what it is that TT knows and seemingly every other sports pundit missed.

    A: Tom Silverstein - Like I said, I don't have a problem with the Harrell pick. The injury thing is troublesome and I do believe he could have moved down to get him. But good defensive tackles are hard to find and if you really think the guy is special you should take him. Most scouts rated him as the second best tackle in the game behind Okoye, so I don't see it being a major reach at No. 16. The question is, how much upside does he have? You can't tell because he didn't play as a senior.

    Q: Marsha of Dallas - I read the analysis about Justin Herrell, and maybe they did take a talent over need. Do you think they should have applied that philosophy to pick Brady Quinn? Many think he is a better prospect overall than Rogers. Did TT drop the ball this year or what?

    A: Tom Silverstein - Marsha -- You wanted to take take Brady Quinn over Harrell. I think Quinn went exactly where he should have. No one but his agent and ESPN were touting him as a top 10 pick, so I don't see him as an option. You've got to find out about Rodgers and taking another quarterback would be a fireable offense.

    Q: Jeremy Schulthess of Milwaukee - I may be one of the few people who actually like the pick of a DT in the first round. I was a bit surprised that it was Harrell instead of Branch, but at the same time with that front 4 our LBs will now be able to roam free and make more plays. Also with how deep this WR class is you can still get a lot of quality in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Plus when it comes to TE this is a bad class and the difference between most of the players isn't that much, especially when you can get someone like Matt Trannon who is a WR but isn't fast enough to be a WR in the NFL but could make a great TE or even someone who I think could be good is Joe Newton. I just hope that people aren't going to be mad at TT just because of using the first pick on a DT because he very well could have been a huge pick and while I'm not a fan of Mel Kiper he did say that had Harrell not been injured he could have been a Top 10 pick this year.

    BONUS: JSOnline PackerInsider Top Draw Draws Boos, Not Aahs by Mike Hunt

    Green Bay - It was hard to decide Saturday who was most rattled during the NFL draft/Brady Quinn kick-a-thon, the freefalling quarterback himself or the Green Bay general manager who looked like someone had just told him Brett Favre's orthopedist was on Line 2. Clearly, Ted Thompson did not expect the faithful to boo his first-round pick of a guy who played almost none of his senior season with a torn biceps at the one position the needy Packers are stacked. Otherwise, Thompson would not have mentioned it in the course of justifying his selection of Tennessee defensive tackle Justin Harrell.
    It could've just as well been Justin Timberlake the way the stockholders reacted from the peanut gallery. Harrell was no more the people's choice than Ray Allen on that long-ago draft night when the Milwaukee Bucks traded Stephon Marbury for his rights. To Harrell's credit, he did not cry like Allen. This we know because Lambeau Field is still standing. But, come on. How about a running back or a wide receiver or even Quinn, if only to send Aaron Rodgers on his way to Al Davis' menagerie and get this whole Randy Moss thing over with?
    For the abovementioned reasons, the Harrell pick was really hard initially to get your mind around. It was also troubling when Thompson said, "His best football is ahead of him." How about a first-round pick whose best football is right now? About that 8-8 finish last year: No one is still quite sure where the fulcrum is positioned. Are the Packers on their way up or ready to slide the other way? How about a little immediate help, not a guy who will slide somewhere into the Ryan Pickett/Corey Williams/Johnny Jolly/Cullen Jenkins scrum?
    But the more you think about it, the more the Harrell pick fits Double-T's M.O. It's been, what, three drafts now? It's probably time to believe Thompson when he says, "We don't draft based on need." Otherwise, the Packers would've found a way to move up to get Adrian Peterson instead of worrying about how to stop him twice a year in a Minnesota uniform. Look at it that way, and the Harrell selection takes on a moment of clarity. There's nothing quite like a couple of big pluggers in the middle to free Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk to make tackles, which has suddenly become more of a concern with Peterson in the division. The question, though, is whether Thompson is committed to loading up the defense at the expense of the offense. The Harrell pick would make more sense if the Packers eventually make the Moss move, advisable if they were able to redo his contract with behavioral/incentive clauses. Favre would then have his extra weapon, as long as it remains pointed the right way. To further rationalize the first-round pick to the grumbling masses, Thompson threw out his usual code words. Harrell, he said, was a "value pick," a "man's man," a "grown man," a "good citizen." That is to say, Harrell fits the macho image Thompson prefers without much danger of getting into the NFL's new and enlarged doghouse. That's fine, but it would also help if Harrell is able to make a stop or two.
    Most of all, Thompson continues to draft and rebuild like a man who expects to be around for a while. Not that he should get too comfortable. If anything, the boo birds reinforced the urgency for the Packers to win, and soon.


    So, Why Exactly Did the Packers Draft Justin Harrell? by Dan Benton

    Fan reaction has not been kind for the Packers and their decision to draft Justin Harrell with their first round draft pick. Many fans, including myself, figured the team had other pressing needs that were far more important to address than defensive tackle. However, General Manager Ted Thompson didn't quite see it that way. "I think he'll fit in very good with our guys," Thompson said. "We like having a lot of good defensive linemen, and the last month or so we felt very strongly that we'd like to add another young guy with our group because we have good leadership in that group, and these guys will help this young man come along." I realize that I'm nothing more than a pathetic little blogger, but I am not sure that Green Bay fans are going to accept that excuse. This is a team without a running back, which needs another receiving threat and could also use some offensive line assistance. That's just to name a few things.


    LOSERS: 3. Brett Favre -- for now: Favre came back from potential retirement for a playoff run, but he's waiting for a big push from the Packers' personnel department. The wait netted him backup cornerback Frank Walker in free agency. That's it. Unless he was cutting the grass on his tractor, Favre might have been sitting around waiting for the Packers to acquire a big, fast receiver like Robert Meachem or find the running back to replace Ahman Green, who left for Houston to reunite with former Packers head coach Mike Sherman. The first round gave him defensive tackle Justin Harrell, a good lineman who fills a need. Brandon Jackson, a running back from Nebraska, went to the Packers in the second round but many thought he would go in the third, just like Green did years ago. Don't get me wrong: Jackson is a good sleeper back, better than people think. He's tough, he runs hard, and he should help. But sleepers may not wake up a quarterback waiting for greatness. Sounds to me like the Packers need to make that final push to get Randy Moss to satisfy Favre. That could happen Sunday. Favre might stop weeding the garden for that.


    Scott Wright of NFLCountdown.com Says: "Ooh, I don't know about this one! I have no problem with them passing on a wide receiver here because they can easily get one of those in round two or three but personally I would have gone with Greg Olsen because he is by far the cream of the crop at tight end. The Packers could use an impact defensive lineman but I am not sure Harrell is that type of player, either at tackle or end. I think this has to be one of the more questionable picks in the draft to this point and I don't think anybody saw the Cheeseheads going this direction in the middle of round one. Real shaky."


    Playing the game of risk. Questions swirl about Packers' picks By McGINN

    The Green Bay Packers chose to live dangerously Saturday in the first two rounds of the National Football League draft, selecting a talented nose tackle who couldn't stay healthy and a lightly used junior running back with an injury history of his own. Defensive tackle Justin Harrell of Tennessee was the 16th overall pick, and running back Brandon Jackson was pick No. 63 late in the second round. With the first of their two third-round picks (No. 78), the Packers took a flyer on James Jones, a wide receiver who flew under the scouting radar screen at San Jose State.
    Later, with the No. 89 choice, they went with Virginia Tech safety Aaron Rouse, a classic example of a player who in scouts' parlance "looks like Tarzan and plays like Jane."
    Orchestrating his third draft in Green Bay, general manager Ted Thompson took Harrell (6-4 1/2, 314 pounds) even though defensive tackle seemed just about the least of the team's concerns. "We don't draft based on need," Thompson said. "We don't think that's the best policy. We think really and truly the more good football players, regardless of position, that you can add to your team the better off you are as an organization and as a team." By taking Harrell, the Packers added what they rated as the finest defensive tackle in the draft. Among the players on the board at the time were Leon Hall, who rated a slight edge among teams as the top cornerback in the draft; Reggie Nelson, a dynamic ballhawk at safety; and Brady Quinn, the second-best quarterback.
    Thompson defended his choice of Harrell even though he had to sit out 15 games in his four-year career. His senior season was ruined by a torn biceps in Week 2. "I think he had the potential to be a single-digit pick," said Thompson. "He's a good pass rusher inside. He plays with length, he plays with his arms. He's a great athlete." Harrell weighed 300 at the combine in late February, then 314 a few weeks later at his pro day. At the lower weight, his 40-yard dash time of 5.06 ranked about average among the top 10 tackles. His vertical jump of 30 1/2 inches tied for second best among the top 12 tackles, and his strength in the bench press (31 reps at 225 pounds) was solid. Harrell's score of 24 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test was the highest among the 12 best players at his position.
    "Outstanding football player who we really coveted at 16," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We are going to build this football team strong with the offensive and defensive lines. You just cannot have enough big guys. His versatility is what really stands out when you watch him."
    Harrell's 34 1/2-inch arms tied for eighth longest among the 50 defensive linemen at the combine. He also was the second tallest among the top 10 tackles. Scouts decried the absence of competent tackles with brawn in this draft. Thompson referred to the shortage of big run stuffers as "a big hole" after Harrell. The Packers will be keeping their fingers crossed that a player at probably the most physically demanding in football will hold up better in the pros than he did in college.
    Thompson said Harrell would be equally at home as a nose tackle or three-technique in a 4-3 defense. He had just four sacks in 35 games (25 starts) but the GM argued that he had pass-rush ability.
    Later, the Packers had this array of players on the board when their second-round pick (No. 47) arrived: wide receiver Steve Smith, running backs Kenny Irons and Chris Henry, defensive ends Victor Abiamiri and Ikaika Alama-Francis, linebacker David Harris and cornerback Eric Wright.
    Rather than make the pick, Thompson traded down for the 14th time in his career, enabling the Jets to move up 16 spots. In return for No. 47 and a seventh-round pick (No. 235), the Packers obtained a third-round pick (No. 89) and a sixth-round choice (No. 191).
    In the span of those 16 picks, Smith, Irons, Henry, Abiamiri, Alama-Francis, Harris and Wright all were selected by other teams. Thus, Thompson attempted to plug one of his primary needs with Jackson (5-10, 208). He was the sixth running back selected. Green Bay took Jackson over backs Antonio Pittman, Tony Hunt, Michael Bush and Lorenzo Booker.
    "Tough guy," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He fits our zone scheme running downhill. Very instinctive. Natural runner. Natural athlete. Excellent feet. No wasted steps. Looks like a natural catcher." Jackson underwent operations on each shoulder to repair labrum damage in the last two years, but McCarthy said he passed the team's physical. A third-year junior, Jackson hadn't done much of anything (two starts, 442 yards) until 2006. Then he broke out of a running-back-by-committee arrangement to gain 989 yards (5.3 average) and catch 33 passes. In all, he started merely 11 games and gained just 1,431 yards before declaring a year early. "We liked Pittman," McCarthy said. "I think with Jackson's (size) he really fits our run scheme." Said offensive coordinator Joe Philbin: "No. 1, we thought he was a tough guy. Could break some tackles. Pretty good size and speed. "There were two running backs who were highly thought of and there was subjectivity from there on out. I think he is a real fine player."
    Jones' modest credentials stamp him as one of the most unheralded high picks that the Packers have made in many a year. Wide receiver was considered by some personnel people as the deepest position in the draft, and Jones didn't cause many ripples in the talent pool. A two-year starter at San Jose, Jones (6-0 1/2, 207) caught 70 passes for 893 yards (12.8) and 10 touchdowns in 2006 and was named team MVP. Invited to the combine, Jones ran the 40 in just 4.54 seconds. His jumps weren't anything special and he scored 9 on the Wonderlic test in 2006. That was the lowest among 43 wide receivers at the combine for whom scores were available. In 44 games (21 starts) Jones averaged just 11.9 per catch. He also returned punts. "He's a real football player," Thompson said. "He has size. He's about 6-1, but he plays larger than that. When he goes for the ball defenders fall apart." Said Jones: "I am so excited that I am almost speechless."
    Rouse (6-4, 220) followed up an outstanding junior season with a dismal senior season. He has prototypical size but doesn't play to his numbers. He missed a lot of assignments in coverage and was an inconsistent tackler.
    "Like most Virginia Tech players, he's a very dynamic special-teams player," Thompson said. "He's a heavy hitter. In our opinion, the coaches say he's going to be fine in coverage." At the combine, Rouse ran 40 yards 4.58, then improved to 4.56 at his pro day. He did well in change of direction drills for his size but didn't show much strength in bench-press testing, lifting 225 pounds just 16 times. Rouse was the tallest safety in the draft and also one of the heaviest. His stature might be imposing but he hasn't come close to playing up to it. At safety, Rouse will join holdovers Marviel Underwood, Tyrone Culver and Atari Bigby in an attempt to dislodge Marquand Manuel as the starting safety opposite Nick Collins.


    Needs filled at wide receiver, safety Jones also expected to be strong on special teams By TODD ROSIAK

    Choosing to address other positions with their first two picks in the NFL draft Saturday, the Green Bay Packers waited until the third round to fill two of their most glaring needs: wide receiver and safety. The Packers chose wideout James Jones of San Jose State with the No. 78 pick overall and safety Aaron Rouse of Virginia Tech with the No. 89 pick - acquired from the New York Jets in a trade earlier in the evening - to complete an interesting first day. The 6-0 1/2 , 207-pound Jones started 12 games in 2006 and caught 70 passes for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his real value to the Packers, at least early on, might come on special teams. He returned 42 punts in four seasons for the Spartans for a 7.3-yard average. His most productive season in that area came in 2006, when he averaged 11.0 yards on 11 returns with a long of 49. "No. 1, he's a tough guy," Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "He's very, very productive. We thought he was real good after the catch. Good hands. Strong guy. He was a productive player." Some of Jones' measurables weren't overly impressive; he was clocked at 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash. But Philbin said he believes Jones plays faster than he times. "He did on tape," Philbin said. "When we started out we were looking for good overall football players, guys that are complete players. He'll block, he has excellent hands. We thought he was very good after the catch, he was strong, he can break some tackles."

    At 6-4 and 220 pounds Rouse is an imposing physical specimen who general manager Ted Thompson said projects to strong safety in Green Bay, a position that could be in flux with incumbent starter Marquand Manuel coming off a subpar season. Rouse began as an outside linebacker at Virginia Tech but eventually shifted to safety, where he started 10 of 13 games last year as a senior and registered 57 tackles and intercepted one pass. "We did a lot of work on Aaron," Thompson said. "He was a very productive player, more productive in his earlier years than this last year. Like most players at Virginia Tech, he's a dynamic special-teams player. Heavy hitter, and in our opinion. . . he's going to be fine....


    Harrell a judgment call. Thompson listens to instincts with first-round selection by McGinn

    Harlan didn't hire Ted Thompson because of his people skills, his ability to tell a good after-dinner joke or schmooze with the corporate crowd....



    Mike Woods column: Harrell doesn't help Packers address needs By Mike Woods

    In 2003, The Future underwent surgery on his right leg for an undisclosed injury, then broke his ankle, then re-injured the same ankle. In 2004, The Future did not play the final two games because of a right ankle sprain. In 2006, The Future suffered a torn biceps tendon that limited him to 2½ games for the season. The Future is not a favorite of HMOs. On the plus side, The Future has been compared favorably to Johnny Jolly. Says it right here on the bio. That’s right, Johnny Jolly. You remember him … the Packers’ sixth-round pick a year ago. He was inactive for 10 games and finished with four tackles last season. That Johnny Jolly. Is your spine tingling yet?
    Packers fans, let’s meet and greet your No. 1 draft choice for 2007 — Justin Harrell, University of Tennessee defensive tackle. “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” That, at least, was the reception Packers General Manager Ted Thompson received when he met with fans who attended the team’s draft party inside the atrium at Lambeau Field, and no doubt in living rooms and bars across the state. In our microwave world, Harrell presents a problem. He can’t run the ball out of the backfield, can’t split out wide and catch a pass from Brett Favre, can’t play center field in the secondary and may not be able to cover a cough, much less a receiver.
    In other words, he can’t help the Packers address any of their immediate or obvious needs. So, one wonders, how does one improve on an 8-8 season when one fails to upgrade an area of need with the most valuable draft choice you own? Ted? “We don’t draft based on need,’’ said Thompson, quoting from Page 2 of the General Manager’s Handbook.
    In general terms, you can’t argue with that philosophy. It makes sense. Reaching for a player based on need more often than not ends badly. See Mike Sherman and Ahmad Carroll. But it’s hard to imagine that if Harrell is the guy Thompson had pegged, why couldn’t he have worked a deal to backpedal a few spots, pick up an extra pick on two, and still snag Harrell?
    Thompson said there were a few offers on the table, but none to his liking, and he made it clear he didn’t want to risk losing Harrell. But the bigger risk with this kid is whether or not he will continue to be bitten by the injury bug. If Harrell’s history keeps repeating itself, this will come back to haunt Thompson, and it will be a missed opportunity for the organization. If he turns out to be a stud, we all can remember the importance of having a strong defensive line leading a defense that operates largely in cold weather.
    If you can’t remember, turn your Way Back Machine to 1996 through 1998, when Reggie White, Santana Dotson, Gilbert Brown and either Sean Jones, Gabe Wilkins or Vonnie Holliday played up front. Those guys were players, and helped the Packers win 37 games and earn two Super Bowl berths in three seasons. We all understand what’s behind much of the resentment of this pick. The love for the modern-day Golden Boy runs deep. Real deep. Almost every fan aligned to the Packers would prefer to see Favre go out on top. Harrell isn’t likely going to help make that happen, at least in the time Favre has left.
    Well, there’s that and the expectation — however unreal it may be — that the Packers will be able to vastly improve on last year’s 8-8 mark (courtesy of a last-place schedule, please remember) with a solid draft that fills some of their obvious holes. That could happen, of course. But today, the view from the top doesn’t look so appealing. The Future isn’t looking as bright as hoped. Instant gratification no longer looks to be an option. Welcoming in the next Johnny Jolly is, well, laughable. That’s the one thing about The Future, though. You have to give it time. For it offers you the opportunity to change your mind

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

    Mar 1, 2007

    Pat Kirwan said he expected Justin Harrell to be selected around the point in the draft he was taken. Kirwan says Harrell "unique ability to disengage from blockers and make plays in the backfield."

    Vic Carucci says "concerns over [Alan] Branch's tendency to play too upright and over his health made him too much of a risk for the Packers. Harrell is healthy and a safer choice. He should be a force against the run and a solid anchor for Green Bay's defensive line for a long time."

    Collegefootballnews.com's Pete Fiutak is the latest to bring up the ol' buzzword "value." Says Fiutak: "One of the best values in the draft, he’s a top ten-caliber pick who dripped because of question marks about his health suffering a torn biceps early on last year. When he’s right, he’s a quick, strong defender who can play almost anywhere on the line and can be an anchor who takes on two blockers at a time. That’s if he stays healthy."

    The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer isn't sold on the pick. Iyer thought the Packers should have gone offense, writing, "Wow, so much for offensive help in the form of Olsen, Bowe or even another Tennessee prospect, wide receiver Robert Meachem. Instead, the Packers go with an athletic but inconsistent defensive tackle. I don't get it. I really think this team had the potential to win now if they brought someone in to help Favre. With a decent tackle group in Corey Williams, Ryan Pickett and Cullen Jenkins, Harrell is a real head-scratcher."

    Jeff West of Consensus Draft Services could't be more thrilled with the pick. "I'll tell you right now, I love the pick by the Packers. Justin Harrell is an outstanding DT and I feel he's as close to a can't miss player as there is (next to Calvin Johnson, of course)."

    SportsLine.com's Pete Prisco gives the Packers a B for their selection of Justin Harrell, saying "He is a speed rusher who will help a pass defense that needs it. Some scouts worried that he disapeared in the LSU game, but he's a need pick. They obviously wanted him, but I think Anthony Spencer was the better pick."

    Pro Football Weekly uses buzzwords like "best value" & "durability": "Ted Thompson is a value-oriented, decision-maker and almost always takes the best player on the board. He clearly followed his approach here. However, when Cullen Jenkins kicked outside to end, a void was created inside, and Harrell does also fill a position of need. Harrell is quick off the ball and shows the ability to dominate. However, durability remains an issue, and he has not shown he could stay healthy throughout his career. Harrell follows in the path of former teammate Jason Allen, who the Dolphins drafted 16th overall after he missed most of the season with injury."

    Foxsports.com John Czarnecki says "Once again, the Packers were great at leaking misinformation. They kept saying they needed playmakers to help Brett Favre in his final season. Every team tells some lies at draft time, but when I asked specifically about Justin Harrell two days ago, the Pack told me he wasn't their guy. ... Harrell may have been a top-ten player if he didn't have a biceps surgery after the Florida game last season. With the need at running back and receiver, you have to believe that the Packers are still thinking about Chargers running back Michael Turner and Oakland's Randy Moss. ... Harrell is a quality player and valiant player. He played with a torn biceps in that Florida game."

    Peter Schrager says, while Packer fans aren't enamored with this pick, "I fell hard for Harrell hard last year, when he played in the Florida game despite having torn biceps. Ever TEAR a biceps? What's that feel like? I stubbed my toe last week and almost shut it down. Tough kid. Packers fans will love him. Not sure whether his intangibles are on or off the charts — but he's a solid clog in the middle."

    ESPN.com Matt Mosley says "Did the Packers reach? The Packers fan to my right is not inspired by the choice of Tennessee DT Justin Harrell at No. 16. Some of us thought Green Bay might go with another UT player, WR Robert Meachem. My former officemate and draft genius Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News had Harrell going No. 27 to the Saints. McShay and Kiper both had him going at No. 23. So far, I think fans of the Browns, Dolphins and Packers have the biggest gripe."

    Scouts, Inc. take: Make no mistake about it Justin Harrell is a talented player and staying away from a player who has problems keeping his weight down like Alan Branch makes sense considering the problems the Packers had with Grady Jackson. However, tight end is a far greater need and Greg Olsen was still on the board so they probably could have gotten a little more bang for the buck here, especially considering QB Brett Favre does a great job of finding his tight ends.

    FOX Sports: A lot of people might be scratching their heads on this pick, but this is a very insightful move by Ted Thompson. They need another playmaker on offense, but Thompson loves to build around defense. Harrell will be the last piece in what should develop into a very strong front four for the Packers. Harrell and Pickett should make a solid inside duo. Harrell gives the Packers an interior presence who can play two-gap, clog the run, and push the pocket against the pass to give their perimeter players more freedom. Harrell does come with some durability concerns, but is a very underrated interior player.

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

    Mar 1, 2007

    :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:


    :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

    Mar 1, 2007

    GM Thompson just now appeared on ESPN with the usual clichesexchanged about rebuilding, BF, and looking at end of last year and the coming new year. Truly, the end of an era.

    Borishly predictable, the question about whether this coming new year is a step back or forward in the record, another cliche, came up ending the discussion with the experts trying to look "I am in charge and all knowing" with the ESPN stating,...'THAT IS THE QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED."


    PARABLE: Howard Cosell, in his final book, "I Never Played the Game", pointed out that you could put the sports jocks in a bottle, throw in the sea, and who would miss it??

    For the Packer fans, one Packer insider expressed the view of many fans about day one: "Why, WHO, WHAT, AND WTF." HE expected a move up for a quality impact offensive player and a Moss trade. As far as the endless Moss threads,....... :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

    Mar 1, 2007

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