Green Bay Packers draft: mocking the first couple picks

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The Green Bay Packers led the NFL in passing yards allowed last season. Therefore, they’re going to focus on DBs and and pass-rushers first and foremost in the 2012 NFL draft right? Not so fast my friend. What about a tight end if Jermichael Finley leaves? What about the running back situation?

Then we must consider the fact that Ted Thompson is as much a “value GM” as there can be possibly be, so team needs will play much less of a factor than we think they should.

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Green Bay Packers Blow Out Detroit Lions in Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl

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No absence of storylines from the 2011 “Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl” between the Green Bay Packers an the Detroit Lions. You had:

-the Lions failing to live up to expectations/Matt Stafford throwing three picks

-Green Bay winning in dominant fashion 27-8, despite playing UGLY football for a half

-The Detroit fans getting a petition passed to prevent the crappy, overrated pop act Nickelback from playing at halftime

-Would this match-up of two potentially playoff bound NFC North teams live up to night back featuring two first place teams (San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens)

However, the real story here was Ndamukong Suh getting kicked out of the game early in the second half.

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Green Bay Packers 2011 Season Preview: Courtesy of SI

This week’s Sports Illustrated is the annual NFL preview issue, which hits newsstands tomorrow. They have six regional covers and Clay Matthews is on one of them.

 Excerpted is their Green Bay Packers preview article which highlights TE Jermichael Finley as a player who is poised to have a huge season coming off an injury in 2010. Finley tells SI’s Peter King, “All I’ve shown in my career is an appetizer. It’s time for the main course.”
SI has predicted that the Packers will win the NFC North with a record of 11-5 before losing in the NFC divisional playoffs.

NFC North Predictions

Packers Cowboys Football

By the The Sports Bank Staff

1. Chicago (10-6) Jay Cutler hoopla aside, remember one thing, this division isn’t very good. Best Quarterback=best chance at winning week to week. Yes, I know their receivers and overall pass rush is a hot mess, but who else really has the talent to beat a team that was 9-7 last year and greatly improved themselves?

2. Minnesota (9-7) Purple Jesus will have to carry the load on offense, unlike Baby Jesus, the star of the Minnesota baseball team. He has more support in generating offense. What’s with people in the land of 10,000 Lakes nicknaming their sports stars after Jesus? I thought the “Bible Belt” was in the South?

3. Green Bay (7-9)
I like Aaron Rodgers, but I don’t think he’ll have a better season than Culter. The Pack’s season will hinge on 1.) The job that new Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers does 2.) How quickly his players adjust from the 4-3 to the 3-4.

4. Detroit (3-13) Much of the old regime is gone, so that’s a good thing, right? Like the title character in “What About Bob?” said “baby steps, baby steps.” Their pathetic excuse for a ground game has been improving and I like 3rd pick DL Cliff Avril. Look for this sleeper pick to augment the pass rush.

Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgersbearscover

Defensive MVP: Lance Briggs

–PAUL M. BANKS

DAVID KAY:

1. Packers- Keeping my homering in mind, doesn’t it seem like people are sleeping on the Pack?  All the talk has been around Favre and the Vikes, Cutler and the Bears, and GB has flown under the radar this off-season.  Consider they lost 7 games last season by five points or less, dealt with the pre-season Favre circus, had a first year QB in Aaron Rodgers who exceeded expectations, and a running back who held out and then battled injuries all year, and this team should be much better.

2. Vikings- No matter what they say at camp, you can’t tell me Tavaris Jackson and/or Sage Rosenfels have any confidence in themselves right now… No way.

3. Bears- I am just not buying this whole “Jay Cutler is our savior” thing going on in Chicago.  They have no receivers and an aging defense.

4. Lions- I saw Matt Millen at Big Ten Media Day in Chicago.  He was in line behind me getting food.  He told me that he could put mustard and onions on anything and it would taste good.  Because of his butchering of the Lions franchise, I couldn’t even take his food choices seriously and instead put mayo on my sandwich, no onions.  I know that has nothing to do with this year’s Detroit team, but who really cares about the Lions in this division?

OPY: Aaron Rodgers-
Again, accuse me of homering.  I’m okay with it.  But assuming AP can’t stay healthy for the whole season when the Vikes give him 35 carries a game because their quarterback can’t complete a five-yard out route, Rodgers should be able to top his 4,038 yards and 28 TD’s from a year ago.  (I was really tempted to pick Brett Favre by the way, just to piss people off.)

DPY: Jared Allen- Just because if I didn’t pick him and he happened to see this, I would be terrified that he would shoot me with a hunting bow and then eat my carcass raw.  But seriously, I think he is an animal on the field and that he would be a fun guy to grab a beer with.

purplejesus

SHAYMUS MCLAUGHLIN:

1.) Minnesota Vikings 11-5

They won the division last year with a Tarvaris-Jackson-Gus Frerotte combo at QB. There’s no reason to think they can’t win again with Sage Rosenfels (a better QB than either of the other two) at the helm. A RB that the Bears can’t stop, plus a solid WR corps led by Berrian and a bounce-back Sidney Rice; throw in Percy Harvin and the Wildcat and things become much more dynamic on offense. They have to get over the loss of Matt Birk, but it shouldn’t be a huge problem. On defense, they’ll be as strong as usual, especially with EJ Henderson coming back from injury. Safety is the biggest concern, with the oft-injured but talented Madieu Williams and second-year player Tyrell Johnson (who filled in respectably last year) defending the pass. Overall, a solid team that got more explosive offensively and didn’t lose much this offseason.

2) Green Bay Packers 8-8

Aaron Rodgers is a very solid young QB, and he has a couple fantastic WRs in Driver and Jennings. Their O-line is decent, but not great, and the running game scares me. I don’t think Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson are helping the offense much. Their defense should be pretty good, with a solid LB duo in Barnett and Hawk, a good D-Line bolstered by 1st round draft pick BJ Raji, and a veteran group of CBs with great press coverage. Those corners are getting up there in age though, and they’re a bit thin so they need to stay healthy. It’s a solid team that probably lost a couple more than it should have last year.

3) Chicago Bears 8-8

Yes, they added their first legitimate QB in years with Jay Cutler. Yes Matt Forte is already one of the best all-around RBs in the league (He will be Brian Westbrook, minus the injuries- in a couple years.). Yes, they have patched up their offensive line nicely with Orlando Pace, 2008 first round pick Chris Williams, and the extremely underrated Kevin Shaffer. What about the receivers? Rashied Davis and rookie Juaquin Iglesias are not going to cut it, and Hester is nothing but a fly pattern runner. I don’t see this offense moving that well game-in, game-out. They will have some great games, but a few stinkers as well. millen

On the defensive side, their CBs haven’t stayed healthy in years and their starting safeties are some combination of Craig Steltz, Danieal Manning, Kevin Payne, and FA signee Josh Bullocks, the latter of which was let go by the Saints, who had one of the worst defenses in the league. Their LBs are always good, but a bit on the slower side, and their pass rush last year was nearly non-existent (especially with former rookie stud Mark Anderson disappearing).

4) Detroit Lions 4-12

They’re on the right track, but they still have quite a ways to go. Stafford should sit this year behind Daunte Culpepper and learn the playbook. Culpepper is not a bad QB either, and the Lions picked up a great playmaking TE in Brandon Pettigrew via the draft to help complement Calvin Johnson on offense. Their line still needs some work and the running game isn’t great, but they are at least moving in a direction. They just need to be patient with Stafford this year. On defense, they have a couple solid playmakers (Ernie Sims, new arrival Larry Foote, and the aging Philip Buchanan) but have way too many holes to stop even some of the weakest offenses. I’m not sure where a pass rush is going to come from, and the secondary is pretty unimpressive outside of Buchanan. It’s a work in progress for the Lions.

OPOY: Adrian Peterson (with Forte right behind…I love that kid)

DPOY: Jared Allen


DAVID PALMER

1.  Minnesota (11-5): The ‘Queens are a very balanced team with no real gaping holes on either side of the ball.  The offensive line will have to play better than expected to make a real run in the playoffs, but with a healthy Keith Farwell, EJ Henderson and Jared Allen will only help.

2. Green Bay (10-6):
A disappointing last season will see a rebound with Aaron Rodgers able to focus knowing he’s the starter this preseason; Still a very good defense behind Al Harris, AJ Hawk, Nick Barnett and Aaron Kampman. The running game is a big question mark with Ryan Grant as the primary ball carrier.  They must throw their way into the playoffs.

3. Chicago (8-8):
Even with Jay Cutler, they are going to inconsistent at best.  Charles Tillman is already hurt and he’s their best CB.  I think they have one of the most overrated defenses in the league anyway.  Great linebackers, but nobody scares me on their D-Line.  And I’m still not sure who will be catching Cutler’s throws, Hester?  Combine that with his first year in the system and I see a struggle to finish .500.

4.  Detroit (3-13):
Well, they can’t do worse than last year.  Stafford will go through some growing pains no doubt, but probably also show some signs by the end of the year.  Having Calvin Johnson can only help his development, but there are just too many holes to win many games.  No way that offense keeps up with all the points their porous defense will give up.badasses

Offensive MVP: The great Adrian Peterson.

Defensive MVP: Jared Allen.  He’s healthy after playing with one arm for the second half of last season and still compiling 14.5 sacks.

DAVID BOUCHER:

Personnel changes affect every team every off-season, but the magnitude and frequency of those in the NFC North the past few months have earned the attention of the entire nation. With Brett Favre turning over the same leaf, Green Bay changing their defensive scheme, Chicago landing a new face for the franchise, and Detroit generally puttering along in another new direction, the black and blue division has been the most dynamic in football in 2009.

However, the team with the least amount of turnover will actually fare the best: Minnesota. Even without the future HOF-er holding the reins, the team still has the most potent weapon in football. Adrian Peterson will continue to live up to his nickname, scoring “All Day” for the Vikings and earning the conference MVP award on offense, while Jared Allen paces an explosive and run-stuffing defense. The fight for second will be the most interesting, however. Although Jay Cutler could hit Devin Hester in the Lambeau end zone from Lake Shore Drive, the Packers offense has more talent from top to bottom. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson present far bigger problems for defenses than the former CB Hester and the untested Earl Bennett. Even with the Pack-Attacks’s switch to the 3-4 on defense, Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk have more lateral movement and play-making ability than the aged Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs. Barnett will need to have a career-year in order for the new scheme to pay dividends, and I think he will, becoming the Defensive MVP in the North.lions1

Which leaves us with the Lions. I wish I could say they would make it to 8-8… or even 6-10. But that’s just wishful thinking. I’ll give them five wins because I’ve been a life-long fan, but their new system, traditionally shoddy defense, and the perpetual spotlight shinning on Daunte-Stafford drama just leave too many question marks.
They’ve gotten a little better, though; Julian Peterson has got to be worth at least two wins, right?

MINNESOTA: 11-5
GREEN BAY: 10-6
CHICAGO: 9-7
DETROIT: 5-11 (Please, PLEASE let me be wrong here!)