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Packers keeping visits close to vest

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    By TOM SILVERSTEIN
    tsilverstein@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: April 20, 2008

    It's not easy to tell what Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson is thinking when it comes to the National Football League draft, but if some of the interest he and his scouts have shown recently for specific players means anything, a couple of things are apparent

    Wisconsin receiver Luke Swan has visited the Green Bay Packers.

    Based on the players the Packers have had in for predraft visits and the attention they've shown with many mid-to low round players and free-agent types, Thompson and his staff are looking for a third-down pass-rusher, a dynamic returner, a slot receiver, a pass-catching tight end and offensive linemen of any type.

    And, oh yeah, a quarterback.

    Chances are good Thompson will take a quarterback, but how he ranks the individuals in that class isn't easy to decipher.

    It is known that the Packers held a private workout for San Diego State quarterback Kevin O'Connell, a 6-foot-6, 225-pounder who led the team in both passing and rushing last year.

    But whether that means they're just doing more homework on the quarterback class or they have a special interest in O'Connell isn't known. It does, however, show their interest in drafting a quarterback.

    Most of the players the Packers bring in for visits are low-round or free-agent prospects who they'd like to know more about. Thompson and his staff don't tip their hand much about their interest in first-day picks, particularly where the first round is concerned.

    But Thompson is as thorough as any general manager in scouring the country for talent and the Packers have had relatively good success unearthing talent in the late rounds and free agency. And some of the talent he searches for there reflects on the talent he will be seeking throughout the entire draft.

    One of the players Thompson brought in for a visit was Wisconsin wide receiver Luke Swan, a former walk-on who blossomed last season before tearing his hamstring against Illinois Oct. 6.

    Swan had reconstructive surgery and is in the process of showing teams that he's all the way back.

    Swan has done everything but run a 40-yard dash so far. When he visited the Packers it was both a get-to-know-you session and a check-up on his hamstring.

    "It was a good experience to see their facilities and talk to the receivers coach and the meet the staff," said Swan, who played at Fennimore High School. "I've never been to a game there (Lambeau Field). I was at an intrasquad scrimmage once. But I got to see the locker room and the weight room, which was great."

    Swan is one of several slot receiver-types the Packers have either brought in for a visit or spent considerable time with during the combine and pro-day workouts. Like most of the players brought in, Swan has no idea about the Packers' interest in him, whether they're willing to draft him or if they want to sign him as a free agent.

    He was one of a couple of players who had injury issues that the Packers were interested in examining. One of the highest-rated to come in reportedly was Miami linebacker Tavares Gooden, who had hip and hamstring injuries this spring that raised red flags for teams.

    The others, however, are all hoping to get drafted and, at the very least, receive some kind of bonus for signing as undrafted free agents. None of them knows for sure whether he'll be a Packer after draft weekend.

    Here is a list of mostly late-round and free-agent prospects to visit the Packers over the past couple of weeks. The list comes from an array of NFL and college sources and several media reports:

    WR Luke Swan, Wisconsin, 6 feet, 195 pounds, 4.59-second 40-yard dash - Potential slot receiver who hails from Fennimore High School. Averaged 18 yards per catch before tearing hamstring Oct. 6 against Illinois. Walked on at UW and became a fan favorite for his clutch catches.

    C Eric Scott, Kentucky, 6-3, 298 pounds, 4.93 - Played TE and DE before moving to center in '06. Started 16 out of 40 games, including every game in '07.

    WR Brett Swain, San Diego State, 6-0, 200, 4.63 - Slot receiver type who caught 58 passes for 973 yards (16.8) and five TDs for pass-happy Aztecs. Doesn't have blinding speed but has some quickness.

    CB Cary Williams, Washburn, 6-1, 185, 4.45 - Division II prospect who had seven interceptions and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns last year. Ranks third in NCAA with overall 29.2-yard kick-return average. Senior year, he averaged 28.6.

    DE Hilee Taylor, North Carolina, 6-3. 242, 4.64 - Tweener who could be pass-rush specialist. Had 10½ sacks and 16 tackles for loss as a senior. Second team all-Atlantic Coast Conference last year. Hasn't played linebacker since freshman year.

    LB Danny Lansanah, Connecticut, 6-1, 244, 4.72 - Moved from outside to inside in '07 and was first team all-Big East. Finished with 323 tackles, nine spots behind school's all-time leader, Packers college scouting director John Dorsey. Classic middle linebacker.

    P Ken DeBauche, Wisconsin, 6-1, 218, 4.95 - Averaged 42.5 yards, which ranks second all-time at Wisconsin. Only 115 of 231 attempts were returned. Can hold also.

    TE Matt Sherry, Villanova, 6-4, 255, 4.7 - More of a receiver type. Caught a team-high 37 passes for a team-best 461 yards and five TDs. Very smart. Currently enrolled in MBA program. Lifted 225 pounds 28 times.

    RB Tim Hightower, Richmond, 6-0, 226, 4.58 - Two-year starter. Gained 4,448 all-purpose yards, most in school history. Rushed for 3,617 yards and 34 touchdowns, including 1,829 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior. Could be a very good special teams player.

    LB Joe Mays, North Dakota State, 5-11, 245, 4.87 - Great West Conference defensive player of the year. Led team in tackles three of four years. Big hitter who lacks height. Had 90 tackles, 2½ sacks and nine tackles for loss.

    S Kareem Moore, Nicholls State, 5-11, 213, 4.67 - First-team all-Southland and conference's defensive player of the year as senior. In 10 games last year, finished with 73 tackles and four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

    LB Justin Roland, Kansas State, 5-11½, 238, 4.74 - Team captain during his first year as a starter. Played inside. Second-leading tackler in '07 with 70, 6½ tackles for loss, one sack and one interception. Benched 225 pounds 23 times.

    TE Mike Peterson, NW Missouri State, 6-2, 247, 4.59 - Started out as a baseball player before quitting and going to work. Then walked on at NW Missouri State. Caught 39 passes for 649 yards and four touchdowns in '07.

    DL/LB Andy Studebaker, Wheaton, 6-3, 251, 4.55 - Athletic edge rusher whose production was off the charts. As a junior, had 55 tackles, including 24½ for loss, 17½ sacks. Last year, injured his foot and played in only five games. Still had 6½ tackles for loss and five sacks.

    CB Brandon Carr, Grand Valley State, 6-0, 207, 4.44 - Was conference's defensive back of the year. Had 48 break-ups, including 11 interceptions, during three years as a starter. Might be better suited for safety.

    LB Tavares Gooden, Miami, 6-1, 234, 4.62 - Could be a first-day pick. Teams are investigating a hip injury that kept him from participating in Senior Bowl week and a more recent hamstring pull. Ran the 40 in 4.53 at his pro day and had a vertical of 39 inches. Moved inside last year and led the team with 100 tackles.

    WR Pierre Garcon, Mount Union, 5-11½, 210, 4.42 - In '07, led the team with 67 receptions for 955 yards (14.3) and 14 touchdowns. Transferred after freshman year at Norwich. Caught 246 passes for 4,380 yards (17.8) and 60 touchdowns during four years of college. Last year, had seven punt returns for 51 yards (7.3), adding 99 yards on five kickoff returns (19.8) Also ran outdoor track and finished second in the conference in the 100 and 200 in '06.

    Others who've drawn interest from the Packers:

    DE William Hayes, Winston Salem State; OLB Brian Smith, McNeese State; WR Brooks Little, South Dakota; S Lamar Morgan, Louisiana-Lafayette; OT Darren Marquez, Southern Illinois; S Jerod Parrish, Tennessee; WR Chaz Schilens, San Diego State; RB/WR/KR Anthony Aldridge, Houston; OL Chester Adams, Georgia; DE Brian Johnston, Gardner-Webb; WR Donnie Avery, Houston; WR/KR Samuel Gigure, Sherbroke University (Montreal); C Adam Hill, Louisiana-Monroe; WR Brian Paysinger, Oregon; OL Tim McCutcheon, California (Pa.); OL Jeremy Zuttah, Gardner-Webb; OL Mitch Erickson, South Dakota State; QB Tommy Grady, Utah.
     
  2. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    Tom Silverstein keeps topping himself as far as obvious headlines go.

    Thompson secretive? You don't say.
     
  3. Bobby Roberts

    Bobby Roberts Cheesehead

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    TT probably doesn't know which way he's going to go yet because there are 29 picks ahead of ours. The key, and he has always stated this, is BPA.

    Last year he picked Harrell because he thought he was top 15 talent that slipped due to his injury. This year he's likely going to grab someone he also believes should have gone in the top half of the first round, but slipped. Who could that be?? No one has a clue until Saturday since we'll have to see which 29 players go first. Maybe there will be a run on DEs, which will push a great WR or RB down to us. Maybe there will be a run at RBs, which could push a DE down to us.

    The point is, TT has done a great job drafting because he goes for the BPA. This has added quality depth to the roster and will continue to do so as long as it's followed.

    GO PACK GO!!!
     
  4. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Heh. Does TT like looking at people with injury histories? Maybe sometimes they're a red flag and scare other people off, and will almost lose a season, but they'd be benchwarmers anyways their first season so it's a non-issue? Trying to get inside TT's head and make some sense of it.

    I'd like a fast TE that can catch. A twin-TE threat is always nice. And that C that can play TE kind of intrigues me.
     
  5. PackOne

    PackOne Cheesehead

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    P Ken DeBauche, Wisconsin, 6-1, 218, 4.95

    That pick is money.
     
  6. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    I don't think Ted goes for strictly the BPA. I think our perceived needs influence Ted's decision quite a bit, at least in the early rounds.

    Looking at the Harrell pick, I've started to believe more and more of late that Ted picked Harrell because he was concerned about depth at DT. People might say I'm wrong because we had Jolly and Cole, but if you look at the time of the draft then I don't think Ted could've predicted how much Jolly would improve, and while Cole is solid, I don't think Ted and the staff thought of Cole as being more than a situational player.

    Same thing with AJ Hawk, I recall the only starting LB still on the team at the time was Barnett.

    Ditto for Greg Jennings, we traded away J-Walk, Ferggy was a bust, and Terrance Murphy was unlikely to play a snap in the NFL again. We had nothing after Driver.

    Similar thing with G Colledge and Spitz, we were coming off a season where our lack of starting talent at G became glaringly evident.

    Last year, we lost Ahman Green, and Ted went and chose B-Jack with the second round pick. We had Herron and Morency, but still needed someone.

    My point is that Ted astutely mixes need with BPA. If we have a glaring need at CB and a less intense need at TE, and if a TE that is rated higher than a CB is still on the board, then Ted will merge need with BPA and select the TE.

    So once again in this draft I expect to see Ted blend the two, in the early rounds at least.
     
  7. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    I expect Ted to piss everyone off in April but have everyone patting him on the back in December.
     
  8. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    Really think so?

    I don't think there is a lot to make people pissed this time around. Ted's proven his approach to building a team yields results, so I think that'll instantly save him some criticism for his picks.

    More importantly though, picking at #30 there won't really be many sexy names that can be chosen. That itself, I think, will limit the criticism Ted gets. He may pick a player that many of us aren't familiar with, but I don't think many will moan because said picked player came at the expense of some other big name.

    I can't see a big name player dropping all the way to #30. The only possibilities that I've seen in mock drafts are RB Stewart and CB Mike Jenkins. I don't think Stewart makes it past Dallas @ 28 (or if he even makes it past Seattle @ 25), and if Jenkins drops all the way to #30 then I think it's solid proof that God is a Packer fan. I can't see a player like Jenkins getting past a team like Dallas @ 28, or even the Charges @ 27.
     
  9. Andy

    Andy Cheesehead

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    Watching paint dry might match TT's low key personality. But he has had success. Three pretty good drafts in a row. How many people heard of Greg Jennings or James Jones before they were selected? I don't see a trade down. I think quite a few teams might be looking at a QB when our time comes at 30. Then it will be up to TT. If the QB is the best player on HIS board, then he will select him, sort of like Rodgers in 2005. However, if not, he will trade down to move down a few spots, plus get another early pick in a pretty deep draft.
     
  10. Veretax

    Veretax Cheesehead

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    I honestly think TT might go after a back at some point. I just don't know how soon he might do that.
     
  11. Bobby Roberts

    Bobby Roberts Cheesehead

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    I think you're right about his first couple of drafts, but mostly because the depth on the team sucked at that point. He had no choice but to address major needs, especially since he wasn't using FA to fill most of those needs.

    As for the Harrell pick though, I still don't see him as a 1st round need pick. You didn't mention the fact that Williams was playing great, Cole was solid/improving and Pickett was a stud. Sure Jolly was unknown, along with some other guys, but DT was probably our strongest/deepest position. Harrell was the BPA at that point, irregardless of position (as determined by TT) and he therefore added the quality depth. Unfortunately, due to injuries, we needed that depth.

    As for the Jackson pick, I think TT had the idea that we needed help at RB, but Jackson wasn't a reach.

    That is the key. You may have some needs, but don't reach for players based on needing to fill holes. Sherman did that several times and it cost us picks to trade up, along with reaching for players to fill holes. Almost filling out a checklist while shopping.

    So, yes I recognize that TT does look at needs for the team while drafting, but it's likely because it's very difficult to have a perfect running list of the players in order of BP. By the 2nd round, there are likely about 10 guys or more worthy at the time you're picking. If you determine that those 10 are essentially equal in value, then pick the one that will most valuable to the team. This may be what you're referring to with the mixing of need with BPA.

    GO PACK GO!!!
     
  12. wpr

    wpr Cheesehead

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    This is such a shock to me. :shock: I figure TT should just let everyone see his book and know where he stands. After all the Packers are a publicly owned team. 8)
     

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