Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Day 1 Preview for Ted Thompson

Barring a trade, which is a distinct possibility, Green Bay Packer general manager Ted Thompson is scheduled to make the last pick of the first round in the 2011 NFL Draft. The reason why I say that it is a distinct possibility that Thompson will trade back is that he has done it before and there are a number of team that have quarterback needs picking at the top of the second round that might want to jump back into the end of the first round so they can selected their quarterback of the future.

It is unrealistic to think studs like A.J. Green (WR, Georgia), Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU), or Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn) will get past the 10th pick in the draft. Even Cheesehead favorites defensive end J.J. Watt and offensive tackle Gabe Carimi will most likely be off the board by the 32nd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Based on absolutely no inside information, just pure speculation on my part, here are some players that Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson could draft with the 32nd pick of the 2011 NFL Draft:

Derek Sherrod (OT, Mississippi State): Don't grade Sherrod as high as Tyron Smith, Anthony Castonzo, Gabe Carimi, and Nate Solder. That said, getting Bulaga and Sherrod in consecutive drafts would give the Packers their bookend tackles for the next decade to protect Aaron Rodgers.

Mike Pouncey (C/G, Florida): Pouncey's versatility is attractive. Most likely a mid-first round pick thanks to having a brother that excelled in the pros as a rookie last year for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Danny Watkins (OG, Baylor): With Daryn Colledge's future uncertain, Watkins could start at left guard right away in 2011.

Phil Taylor (DT, Baylor): B.J. Raji was on the field for way too many downs last year. Taylor would give the Packers a young one-two punch at defensive tackle that would be almost impossible for teams to deal with.

Muhammad Wilkerson (DE/DT, Temple): Most likely gone by the time the Packers pick, Wilkerson has had a meteoric rise up draft board in the last few weeks because he provides nice versatility along the defensive line. Wilkerson was nice enough to answer one of my questions in a recent ESPN chat, a step in the right direction by Wilkerson if he wants to endear himself to the Green Bay Packer community.

Marvin Austin (DE/DT, UNC): Many people projected that Austin would be a first round pick last year but he decided to go back to school. Unfortunately for Austin the NCAA found him guilty of taking improper benefits so Austin was suspended for the entire 2010 NCAA season. Despite the suspension, Austin could be an impact player all along the defensive line for the Packers in 2011.

Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa): Despite what Clayborn said to me in a recent chat, Clayborn looks like a perfect replacement for defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins who will most likely leave via free agency whenever that starts. Much like Austin, Clayborn would be another quality defensive lineman to add to the young Packer defensive line.

Cameron Heyward (DE, Ohio State): The son of Ironhead Hayward would continue the bloodline theme the Packers have with their draft philosophy. Heyward is not as sexy as a number of the other defensive lineman projected to go in the first round but Heyward's bust potential is also much smaller.

Justin Houston (DE/OLB, Georgia): If Justin Houston was entering the NFL in 2005 most draft experts would say he doesn't project to a specific position in the NFL and would most likely be a second or third round pick. Luckily for Houston it is 2011 and the proliferation of the 3-4 defense across the NFL has inflated the value of combo defensive end/outside linebackers.

Akeem Ayers (OLB, UCLA): After a mediocre combine workout, Ayers started to drop on most draft boards. Anyone that lines up opposite Claymaker is going to look better than they might look on another team...think Jones, Walden, and Ayers would fit nicely at outside linebacker for the Packers.

Brooks Reed (OLB, Arizona): Probably a reach at the end of the first round, but Reed sure looks like he should start opposite Claymaker. Reed has a similar motor to the Claymaker so teaming up Claymaker and Reed would drive offensive coordinators nuts.

In case you missed my look at potential Day 2 picks in the 2011 NFL Draft for the Green Bay Packers, click here.

In case you missed my look at potential Day 3 picks in the 2011 NFL Draft for the Green Bay Packers, click here.

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