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Positions Fortified : Sound Good :

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by WinnipegPackFan, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. WinnipegPackFan

    WinnipegPackFan Cheesehead

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    Fortified positions

    by Bob McGinn
    Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

    Apr. 29, 2006

    Green Bay - The Green Bay Packers turned three first-day draft choices and the trade of wide receiver Javon Walker into five selections Saturday and three more Sunday while at the same time fortifying some of the weakest areas on the roster.

    Led by the quintessential collegiate linebacker, A.J. Hawk of Ohio State, the Packers drafted five players with no fewer than three years of starting experience and an average score of 24.8 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test, about five more than the league average.

    "All five of those guys are what I consider, we as a group consider, real football guys," GM Ted Thompson said. "Tough guys. Smart guys. I told my scouts three months ago to remind me every 15 minutes that we need real football players and not to get caught up with 40 times."

    "We trusted our board," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We peeled them right off."

    Hawk, 6 feet 1 inches and 245 pounds, immediately was installed as the starting weak-side linebacker.

    "I think he'll be an impact player," McCarthy said. "He's been consistent throughout his whole career. I think he's a complete football player."

    In the second round, the Packers took Boise State left tackle Daryn Colledge (6-4½, 301) but probably will give him every chance to start as a rookie, most likely at left guard where Junius Coston had been the nominal No. 1 this spring.

    Five selections later, the Packers used the No. 52 pick on wide receiver Greg Jennings (5-11, 198) of Western Michigan. With Walker having been traded to Denver for a second-round choice (No. 37), Jennings has the ability to push for one of the top three berths as a rookie.

    Green Bay's two choices in the third round were middle linebacker Abdul Hodge (6-0 ½, 234) of Iowa and center Jason Spitz (6-3½, 313) of Louisville.

    After staying put and taking Hawk at No. 5, the Packers traded their second-round pick (No. 36) to New England for a second-round choice (No. 52) and a third-round choice (No. 75). Using the trade value chart, they finished plus-60 on the transaction.

    Then they sent the No. 37 pick and a fifth (No. 139) to Atlanta for the second-round choice (No. 47) used for Colledge, a third-round pick (No. 93) and a fifth-round pick (No. 148). They finished plus-41 on that transaction.

    Thompson said the Packers would have taken Colledge at No. 36, and thus were pleased to find him still available at No. 47.

    Later, they dealt the third-round pick (No. 93) to St. Louis for a fourth-round pick (No. 109) and a sixth-round selection (No. 183). They finished minus-45 on that deal.

    Now the Packers will open his morning with six selections, including two in the fourth round, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh. Beginning the day, they had four second-day choices.

    Trading down three times increased to 11 the number of times that Thompson has backed up in 6½ drafts for Seattle and Green Bay. He has not traded up once.

    "I don't necessarily like to (trade down)," Thompson said. "I do it when I have a number of players available that I'd consider taking, that I know I can go back and get one of those players. I won't sacrifice a player to move down."

    Hodge will start out backing up Nick Barnett in the middle. However, the Packers intend to play their best three linebackers, and if Roy Manning and former Brown Ben Taylor don't pan out on the strong side Hodge definitely will have a chance to start.

    Spitz, a guard in college, will start off competing with Chris White for the backup center job behind Scott Wells.

    The Packers went with Hawk over Maryland's Vernon Davis, a brilliant prospect at tight end, quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler and defensive back Michael Huff.

    "There's not any category that I can think of that I'm worried about," Thompson said, referring to Hawk. "That doesn't mean he's a perfect player or anything like that. But I think the fans here are going to love this guy. He's all football."

    The Houston Texans might have used the first pick in the draft on defensive end Mario Williams but the consensus of scouts in the league was that Hawk was the better player. A Journal Sentinel poll of 16 personnel people saw Hawk get 11 votes as the best defensive player in the draft compared to three for Williams and two for linebacker Ernie Sims.

    Several scouts said Hawk clearly would prove to be a superior linebacker in the 4-1 dime defense than Nick Barnett, who played almost every snap for the last three seasons and was no better than adequate against run and pass. Now the Packers will have two linebackers with speed and can employ more 4-2 sets on passing downs, increasing their ability to stop the run.

    Hawk started for three seasons, as did Jennings and Hodge. Colledge was a four-year starter at left tackle and Spitz started 3½ years at guard.

    Their Wonderlic scores were 27 for Hawk, 30 for Colledge, 18 for Jennings, 22 for Hodge and 27 for Spitz.

    "We want to make an impact with high-character individuals," offensive line coach Joe Philbin said.

    According to scouts, Colledge fits well in the zone style of ground game that the Packers will switch to in '06. His initial success, however, will hinge on whether he is robust enough in the upper body to anchor against big defensive tackles.

    "He's got very good lower-body strength," Philbin said. "He's got good bend. He's got a chance to play with leverage."

    The program at Boise State has taken off in recent seasons so caliber of competition didn't bother the Packers.

    "He has quickness, balance and he's athletic," Philbin said. "Plus, you've got to love his durability. And he loves the game of football."

    Jennings also toiled in the lower levels of Division I-A but that didn't stop the Packers. In the Journal Sentinel poll of 20 personnel people, he tied for the fourth best wide receiver in the draft.

    "I was very impressed with his yards after the catch," McCarthy said. "He knows what to do with the ball in his hands. He has a playmaker mentality."

    McCarthy would prefer more height at wide receiver but it was a weak year at the position and the Packers had a desperate need after letting go of Walker.

    "I think he's got the ability to become a starter," new wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said. "I felt he can come in and contribute early. He's quick and agile. He played extremely hard. He plays big, in my opinion. And he's a pretty good route-runner. He broke tackles and made guys miss."

    Hodge started 37 games in the Big Ten, one fewer than Hawk, and was responsible for the same number of turnover plays with 12. Thompson said Hodge never left the field at Iowa.

    "When we watched the film he can get the ball out," new linebackers coach Winston Moss said. "We talked about him being very undersized but he is a very competitive undersized."

    Hodge played alongside Chad Greenway, an outside linebacker drafted in the first round by Minnesota.

    "He tackled just as well as Greenway," Moss said.

    Spitz was scheduled to move from guard to center in '05 but injuries elsewhere on the line prevented it.

    "He uses his hands better than anyone in the draft," Philbin said. "He's smart and very tough. He has good functional strength and uses his hands to gain separation."

    JSonline.com »
     
  2. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    TT definitely attacked our needs (O-line,LB,WR), maybe not the PLAYERS people wanted, but he got the POSITIONS.

    Time will tell if these pan out.

    Go pack!

    good find winni
     
  3. LambeauEast

    LambeauEast Cheesehead

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    "Then they sent the No. 37 pick and a fifth (No. 139) to Atlanta for the second-round choice (No. 47) used for Colledge, a third-round pick (No. 93) and a fifth-round pick (No. 148). They finished plus-41 on that transaction.

    Thompson said the Packers would have taken Colledge at No. 36, and thus were pleased to find him still available at No. 47"

    That's good to know. We picked up 2 additional picks and still got they guy we wanted anyway. Atta boy, TT
     
  4. CalifPacker

    CalifPacker Cheesehead

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    I agree. Now lets sign um and get to Mini-camp!
     

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