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These are the Top 10 (realistic) Free Agents the Packers should target

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by FrankRizzo, Jan 25, 2014.

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Which of these guys would you choose if you had the power to bring in just ONE guy as a FA for us?

  1. Safety Pollard $ or $$

    13.6%
  2. Safety Whitner $$ or $$

    4.5%
  3. Safety Ward $$$$

    18.2%
  4. Safety Jenkins $$$ or $$$$

    4.5%
  5. OLB Schofield $

    4.5%
  6. OLB Griffen $$ or $$$

    13.6%
  7. OLB Worilds $$ or $$$

    4.5%
  8. ILB Butler $$$$

    9.1%
  9. NT Paul Soliai $

    27.3%
  1. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    http://packersinsider.com/?p=6254

    ~Since Ted Thompson brought in Dom Capers to run the Packers defense in 2009, the Packers have invested 13 picks on defense in the top-five rounds of the five drafts.

    Seven of the players have been first or second round picks, premium picks.

    Here is a look at the players selected on defense in these five drafts since Capers was hired:

    • 1st Rounders: B.J Raji, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Datone Jones
    • 2nd Rounders: Jerel Worthy, Casey Hayward, Mike Neal
    • 3rd Rounders: Morgan Burnett
    • 4th Rounders: Mike Daniels, Jerron McMillian, Davon House
    • 5th Rounders: Terrell Manning, Josh Boyd
    This is 13 defensive guys in the last 5 drafts, top-5 round picks.

    I only stopped at round five, the round Seattle plucked Richard Sherman in that 2011 draft, after Thompson selected his own CB, Davon House a few picks earlier.

    The other two main guys on defense over this time have been the two former Buckeyes, A.J. Hawk, the 2006 number-5 overall pick, and Ryan Pickett, the rare free agent addition who was once a first round pick of the Rams.

    What Dom Capers needs, besides more talent, are guys who are smart and experienced enough to understand the intricacies of the schemes he runs.

    Giving him rookie reaches like McMillian, M.D. Jennings out there puts a tremendous strain on the defense. That back end has to hold up.
    The same is true at linebacker and defensive line. Datone Jones, Mike Neal, Jerel Worthy, Nick Perry didn’t provide much their first year or two, despite being very talented. In time, who knows.

    But what about now?

    Is there another way where Capers could be provided a talent upgrade in a manner where the player doesn’t need to learn the first part of the alphabet in the NFL? Like, possibly, a veteran?

    Why, sure there is. That’s called Free Agency, or even the trade wire.

    And that’s how Super Bowl teams Seattle and Denver have recently added: Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice for the Seahawks, and Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Trindon Holliday, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Shaun Phillips, Quenton Jammer, and Terrance Knighton (6-3, 335 pounds, does much more than Raji despite similar size).

    San Francisco was just eliminated by Seattle, but the 49ers had Anquan Boldin, Ahmad Brooks, Justin Smith, Carlos Rogers, and Donte Whitner among their starters who were all obtained as veteran additions either in free agency or trade.

    Thompson, since the 2006 Woodson and Pickett additions, and 2007 Ryan Grant trade, has not added anyone of significance to this roster other than as draftees or street pickups.

    That really should chance over the upcoming few months. This defense doesn’t need a complete overhaul. It just needs a fine-tuning, and adding a veteran safety would be the first order of business.

    Lucky for the Packers, there are a few available who won’t come close to breaking the bank. They won’t even come close to making what the Packers are forking over to Burnett.

    The top target should be Super Bowl champion Bernard “Weekend at Bernies” Pollard. He made $1.9 million this season with the Titans. He quickly learned the Tennessee defense this year after leaving Baltimore after they won the Super Bowl last year and had to clear cap space to overpay Joe Flacco.
    They lost Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Daniel Ellerbe, and Pollard due to financial considerations having to deal with Flacco.

    [​IMG]
    Bernard Pollard was an unsung cog on the champion Ravens defense last year, and he wasn’t afraid of mixing it up with the big, bad 49ers. He’s a physical presence, something the Packers defensive backs are clearly missing. And he’s affordable, making only $1.9 million this season with the Titans on a one-year deal.
    That's about 40 percent what Burnett made, and he didn't have a single interception or forced fumble. Pollard had three this season, in a new defense on the Titans. His hits have forced 13 fumbles over his career, and he's gotten to the QB for 9 1/2 sacks. He's smart, he's seen it all, so he will be an immediate improvement over anyone we have now back there, Burnett included.

    He's 6'1", 225, only 29 years old, he's eight years younger than Charles Woodson.

    Thompson should have brought Pollard in last off-season, but he banked on the draft & develop thing with his draft pick Jerron McMillian and his youngster M.D. Jennings improving, as well as Burnett developing. That proved very costly as all can see now.

    The Packers also could use more pass rush at OLB, for various reasons. Number one, nobody has stepped up and claimed that opposite-to-Clay spot at LOLB yet. Perry has the tools, but is less durable than a Chinese knockoff product. Mike Neal showed some signs, but he’s a free agent.

    Number two, Matthews himself has not been able to last a full season recently. So depth is welcome always, but more so now, perhaps, as Matthews has not been able to avoid missing time, whether it's hamstrings or thumbs.

    O’Brien Schofield and/or Everson Griffen would both be great additions and again are affordable. OBS would be very cheap, while Griffen might take about a 4-year $17 million dollar deal, but he’s a stud.

    If the Packers would be able to add a piece at each position there, they would immediately become a better defense.

    [​IMG]
    Aaron Rodgers has already gotten to know Everson Griffen. He would very much welcome getting to know him a lot better -as a teammate.
    Everson is everything the Packers dreamed Nick Perry could become, or Mike Neal could become. And he’s a good person off the field. Stealing a Minnesota Viking, in the beginning part of his prime, would be an added bonus.

    This signing should set the Packers OLB’s up with great frontline talent and depth. They’d have the trio of USC guys in Matthews, Griffin, and Perry. On passing downs, each or all of them could wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

    But beyond that, it would free up Thompson in the draft to draft the best player available and not have to just pick a safety for sake of filling that black hole back there.

    If he sees a wide receiver, or tight end, or defensive end, or inside linebacker who he feels is a #10 guy on his board but is still there at #21 when his pick is up, he can swing for that premium talent without worrying about that safety hole, or lack of pass rush.

    Or if it’s a young safety, he can still take that safety. He just won’t have to play right away in Capers system and he can learn and develop for a while without being relied on to instantly start despite not knowing what they’re doing out there (see Jerron McMillian).

    Here are the TOP TEN free agents I would try and target. I would really want to make sure to get a safety and a linebacker, or even help on the defensive line. I believe there are a couple of guys the Packers could sign combined for less than what Raji wants, who will each out-perform Raji.

    The Packers could use an inside linebacker more than an outside linebacker in my opinion. But the talent available -at a reasonable price- appears to be quite attractive at outside linebacker.

    You might notice the absence of Brian Orakpo, Jimmy Graham, and Jairus Byrd, the safety from the Buffalo Bills. Yes, they might be better overall players. But let’s be realistic here. Thompson is not going to pay any Maserati prices for free agents. Ever, and especially not this year when he has over a dozen of his own free agents he’d like to retain.

    Here is my top ten list, with my estimated expected amount of money it will take to win the players’ services. The amount of $ factors heavily in my rankings. It’s not just best players 1-10.

    1. Bernard Pollard, Safety, Tennessee Titans $$
    2. Everson Griffin, Outside Linebacker, Minnesota Vikings $$$
    3. Donte Whitner, Safety, San Francisco 49ers $$$
    4. O’Brien Schofield, Outside Linebacker, Seattle Seahawks $
    5. T.J. Ward, Safety, Cleveland Browns $$$$
    6. Jason Worilds, Outside Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers $$$
    7. Paul Soliai, NT/DT, Miami Dolphins $
    8. Malcolm Jenkins, Safety, New Orleans Saints $$$
    9. Donald Butler, Inside Linebacker, San Diego Chargers $$$$
    10. Terrence Cody, NT/DT, Baltimore Ravens $
    [​IMG]
    O’Brien Schofield is a very talented outside linebacker, from the University of Wisconsin. He was set to be a first or second round pick in that 2010 draft. But he tore his ACL leading up to the draft. Arizona still selected him in the 4th round, knowing he’d be redshirted his rookie season. He did pretty well for Arizona in 2011 and 2012, but they shockingly cut him before last season began. He was courted immediately by numerous teams. He chose Seattle, who had expressed serious interest in drafting him originally.

    http://seattletimes.com/text/2021513533.html
    Let’s pretend, for a moment, you are frugal and prudent, and you only have 4$ to spend. Does that sound more realistic than Thompson spending a fortune on one guy like a Byrd or Orakpo? It sure does.

    I bolded above what I would do with that small 4$ amount of money. That scenario would give the Packers boost at all three levels of defense.

    I really like Schofield.
    But I really love Griffen.

    I’d be tempted to sacrifice the DL help and spend a bit more, perhaps, to just come away with two guys in Griffen and Pollard.
    I think Griffen is good enough he could match Matthews in sacks, depending on the blocking matchups.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2014
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  2. Packers_16-0

    Packers_16-0 Cheesehead

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    Agree we should get pollard and griffin both will help
     
  3. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    The title and the poll don't match, and I'll be the first to say it: Pollard would be essentially useless. He doesn't do a single thing to fix the biggest hole in our secondary. If Morgan Burnett is the only one covering your back end, expect a breeze.
     
  4. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    I should see OB this spring/summer at some point, if he doesnt have a team I will make sure to ask him who he thinks hes gonna land with
     
  5. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    I think safety would make the biggest difference and I like ward of all the safeties
     
  6. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I wouldn't be interested in any of the guys you listed, the four guys I eould be interested in are S Chris D. Clemons and ILBs Vincent Rey (he's a RFA), Akeem Jordan and Arthur Moats. Of course I would like TT to sign only one of the ILBs.
     
  7. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    If he doesn't have a team by then (which would shock me), tell him he needs to fire his agent and call me.
     
  8. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    I didn't list any restricted free agents.
    As for Clemons, I feel all the other safeties listed are better options.

    Here's what they say about Clemons on Miami:
    LINK: http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12645/chris-clemons
     
  9. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Rey is the only RFA I listed.

    Aside of Jenkins all other safeties you mentioned are better suited to play SS, IMO not what the Packers should be looking for.

    While Clemons isn't one of the highlight reel guys he doesn't give up a lot of big plays (Jenkins on the other gives up a lot of them).
     
  10. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    Do you think Burnett is a better SS or FS?
    He can't tackle well.
    But his ball skills also were nowhere to be seen last year.
     
  11. packfan1

    packfan1 Cheesehead

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    According to Packers.com Burnett had 96 tackles last year, 2nd on the defense. I have never thought tackling is a skill lacking with Burnett. I don't routinely see him miss tackles he should make. I think he is good/solid at tackling and covering space as a FS type. He did not have the INTs last year, but also look at the other safety position. We need another guy. I think Burnett was used more in the box as he is a decent tackler given how our DL got a little banged up and he was needed more down near the line of scrimmage as the season wore on. He can do both...not elite, but definitely solid. I'm confident you would see more of his skills (INT's) if we had another decent safety and we were able to play both in either role.
     
  12. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I'm not sure Burnett is a great fit at SS, but there's no way I want him to start at FS next season.
     
  13. GreenDeath

    GreenDeath Canuck

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    With the way the league is going, if your safeties aren't ballhawks it really negatively impacts your defense. Those big in the box thumpers like Roy Williams and LaRon Landry are becoming non-existent and getting harder to find employment because the league is all about four wide shotgun and slinging the football. I think we would have the top blown off our defense with Burnett at FS next season.
     
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  14. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    I just feel like TT has paid him and thought of him being the guy who's gonna replace Collins back there and be a ballhawk in the back hole.

    I have seen so many guys bounce off Burnett's tackles it's hard for me to consider him a strong safety.
     
  15. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    I'm a little surprised to see Solaia having 5 votes (including mine) out of 13, and in the lead at this writing, given the general draft preference for safeties and linebackers expressed in these page.

    This might be related to the single-$ Frank assigned to Solaia which would represent a peculiar bargain. The guy is just 3 years removed from a franchise tag and is coming off a 2 year, $12 million deal. He earned his rep in 3-4, but he's played well these past two years from what I can tell in the 4-3, suggesting versatility between NT and base DE if needed.

    Even though the guy is 30, a single-$ value is probably too low unless there's some injury issue I'm not seeing. I'll take 2, please, at that price.

    The guy comes from California and has played exclusively for the Dolphins in the pros. You never know, but you cannot help but suspect some FAs, particularly the warm weather guys, might demand a premium to come north.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  16. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    I should have put 2$ probaby..... but at his age, with other NTs much younger like Raji on the market, I don't know how much someone would be throwing at him.

    I didn't know more than 2 or 3 Packer fans even knew who the guy was!
     
  17. buggybill2003

    buggybill2003 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think any of the above players would be a good addition to our squad, but there doesn`t seem any point if we KNOW they will get injured. Our problem is the medical/conditioning staff. We ALL know this to be the truth, it`s just that the organisation doesn`t seem to know it for some reason. I don`t want to pee on anybodies bonfire here, but until this problem gets resolved properly, its always going to be the case :(.
     
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  18. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    Isn't it just bad luck?
    I mean that hit on Cobb?
    That Finley neck hit?
    Nick Collins, pure unlucky fluke?
    Matthews, whacks his thumb....
    Sherrod? Newhouse just sent Tamba Hali around him and into Sherrod.

    All luck here no?
    Gotta balance out soon no?
     
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  19. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I would agree that it´s bad luck if it happened only once. But three out of four years is too much to consider it just bad luck. IMO the strength and conditioning staff should be fired immediately and someone having a track record of being able to keep his players healthy should be hired.
     
  20. yooperpackfan

    yooperpackfan Cheesehead

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    Each year for the last 3 years I've been expecting our luck to turn.
    Each year our luck seems to get worse.
    It's the curse of owning 13 NFL Championships I tell you.:devilish:
     
  21. buggybill2003

    buggybill2003 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I`d agree to a point Frank with the examples you give, but what about the legion of hamstring injuries etc ?, they can`t ALL be down to just bad luck surely ?
     
  22. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    Questioning the training staff when it comes to muscle strains and pulls makes sense but look at the examples above. Collins and Finley's injuries were the fault of the training staff? Cobb and Matthews broken bones the fault of the training staff? And Newhouse can certainly be faulted for not finishing blocks but frank posts as if he purposely caused Sherrod's broken leg.

    So in a sarcastic post about the training staff IMO all the injuries listed were not the fault of the training staff.
     
  23. yooperpackfan

    yooperpackfan Cheesehead

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    Your point is well taken.
    At least outside the 1265.
     
  24. buggybill2003

    buggybill2003 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    TJV I thought I was clear in the fact I accepted and agreed with Franks examples, but I maintain my view on the stupid injuries such as hamstring injuries which we seemed to have in bucket loads. ;) You can own the most expensively bought racehorse, but if you don`t know how to train it properly, it ends up just a Nag, good only for everyday use.
     
  25. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I posted that article about the Stanford training staff and their methods some weeks ago. It seems like it´s even possible to prevent injuries like torn ligaments and broken bones with proper training.
     

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