Taking a look at the Green Bay Packers complete 2012 NFL Draft

With the 2012 NFL Draft in the books, we can now say the Green Bay Packers made an emphatic attempt to improve the one facet they struggled in the most last season.

General Manager Ted Thompson went away from his “best player on the board,” motto and strictly went after defense.

Not since 2004 had Green Bay started out their draft with three consecutive defensive players. This year, they spent an unheard of six straight picks on the defensive side of the ball and even parted ways with three picks in order to trade up.

Here’s a look and a brief analysis of each of the Packers’ eight draft picks:

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Indianapolis Colts 2012 NFL Draft preview: Andrew Luck, then what?

New Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson made official Tuesday what we all pretty much knew back in January: the franchise will select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in today’s NFL Draft.

Luck is billed as the most pro-ready quarterback prospect to enter the league since Peyton Manning, the man he’s succeeding in Indianapolis. Some would go even further back and call Luck the surest thing since fellow Stanford great John Elway.

While I personally think such opinions are a bit overkill, I do think very highly of Luck, and I believe he can be the Colts’ next franchise signal-caller for many years to come. Given the recent organizational overhaul in Indy, however, quarterback is far from this team’s only thin spot. The Colts could use talent upgrades everywhere.

The fun, analytically speaking, starts with the No. 34 pick.

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2012 NFL Draft – Top Defensive Lineman

Defensive End

1. Melvin Ingram, South Carolina (6-2, 264): One of the most versatile defensive lineman in the draft, Ingram could play in both the 3-4 as an OLB or speed DE, as well as play the traditional 4-3 defensive end. Ingram has pro-ready hand technique and frequently gets his man off balance.    Prediction: Top-15

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Michigan St. Football Tattoos Getting WAY Out of Control

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The Spartans ink is getting really out of control. The Michigan State football program contains players trying to one-up one another in etching their green and white devotion into their skin. Here are the three biggest examples.

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Michigan St. B1G Title Game Loss: Emotionally Devastating

Mark Dantonio

The Michigan State Spartans pulled out all the stops last night, but it jsut wasn’t enough. They out-gained the Wisconsin Badgers in yardage by a wide margin, and took advantage of some trick plays, but it still didn’t yield a W.

Like I said in my B1G Title game preview on Wednesday:

This game has that Mark Dantonio “trickeration” feel. Like they could win the game on a trick play with a cool name like “little giants” (Notre Dame) or “mouse trap” (Northwestern)

Perhaps it’s time to give the nickname “riverboat gambler” to Dantonio after his gutsy 2nd quarter to remember. (After all, he did say at NU in ’10 “I’ve always been a risk-taker.”)

A cajones call on a critical 4th-1 set up one touchdown. Another touchdown on a lateral from Keith Nichol to B.J. Cunningham. Followed by a direct snap to Sontag for a 2-pt conversion that no one saw coming.

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Can Michigan State Reach the Rose Bowl? B1G Championship Game Preview

kirk-cousins

Here we go- the inaugural Big Ten Championship game- a play-in game for the Rose Bowl. Something MSU has has been playing for and focusing on for awhile.

This year in East Lansing, it’s all about “P4RB” meaning “Prepare for Rose Bowl” for the Michigan State Spartans. It’s a slogan you’ll find displayed on t-shirts within the program. It originated during a presentation during a winter meeting. The presentation was made by Running Backs Coach Mike Salem’s brother Wade.

“At the end of his talk, he brought up a slide that said P4RB, and his point was as we go through our winter workouts, spring practices, summer workouts and training camp, we’re not just going out to practice, or run around. We’re doing it to prepare for a Rose Bowl. And that perspective has really helped to galvanize and strengthen our workouts,” said MSU QB Kirk Cousins at Media Day.

“And the focus is not on the Rose Bowl, the focus is on the preparation and the process. And making sure we’re doing what we can towards the things we can control,” he continued.

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Michigan State’s Defense is Nation’s 3rd Best; Only LSU and Alabama Higher

jerel worthy tattoo

Michigan State has a defensive unit ranked No. 3 nationally in total defense, allowing 257.3 yards per game. Only two teams have topped 400 yards of total offense against defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s unit. Just the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide are better than State at stopping their opponents. Of course, those two SEC units will play for the national title in college football, and they’re loaded with NFL talent. MSU doesn’t have near as many next level guys, which is a testament to Narduzzi’s ability.

You understand why he’s such a hot coaching prospect; especially this year with so many jobs open.

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Michigan State (10-2) Beats Northwestern in Game they Didn’t Need

kirk cousins

By beating Northwestern today 31-17, Michigan State achieved…well they actually achieved all the big important stuff before arriving in Evanston, IL. Last week, they secured a berth to the inaugural Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis. And since beating the Wisconsin/Penn State winner (probably Wisconsin) is their one and only path to the BCS, this game meant very little in the grand scheme of things.

But don’t say that to Coach Mark D’Antonio and/or his players. Despite taking Thursday practice off, MSU came in fired up to win this game. They gave it “the ol’ college try.”

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#10 Michigan State Spartans-Northwestern Wildcats: Brutally Honest Preview

msu-cheerleaders

Uncharted territory for the Big Ten this week. What happens when a team has already clinched a league championship game berth, but has nothing to play for beyond that? It’s the situation the Michigan State Spartans are currently in, as they’re bound for Indianapolis, but their only ticket to the BCS is if they beat the Penn State-Wisconsin winner next weekend.

So will they play their A-game at Northwestern? The Wildcats have a lot to play for- a seventh win guarantees them a bowl slot. They’re bowl eligible already, but the 2007 Wildcats were 6-6 and shut of a bowl. The Big Ten has nine bowl eligible teams, and will likely had a tenth (Purdue) on Saturday; to fill only eight slots. Of course, there’s at-large slots too. Nothing like beating a top ten team to help your bowl resume. And to do it in the season finale, the recency effect will help sell the team.

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Michigan State’s Defensive Line is Just Ridiculously Good

jerel_worthy

It was truly sad that the Michigan St. community lost Bubba Smith this past year, because the current Michigan State defensive line is destroying opponents in the “Kill, Bubba Kill” spirit. Sure the unit was pretty solid last year, but this year they are even more dominant.

(BTW, you can bid on Bubba Smith‘s trophies and awards here)

In 2011 the State DL is stopping the run and rushing the passer in a fashion that would make Biggie Munn (“Biggie, Biggie, Biggie, can’t you see?”) and Duffy Daugherty proud.

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Michigan Suffers 1st Season Loss at Michigan St. Still Have Cool New Uniforms

Just like I predicted on Thursday morning, the #23 Michigan State Spartans pulled the upset over the #11 Michigan Wolverines. It’s the first loss of the season for UM, and their fourth in a row to State. Little brother no more? And entire graduating class of Spartans is now undefeated against their in-state rivalry.

But hey Michigan still has some really cool new retro uniforms (more on that later). MSU used a big 14 point third quarter to win 28-14 and take control of the Legends division in the Big Ten. The winner of this game has the inside track to representing the division in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.

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#11 Michigan Wolverines vs. #23 Michigan State Spartans: Brutally Honest Game Preview

Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans, the battle for Great Lakes State supremacy.

Basically, if you’re a college football fan who lives in the Upper Midwest, and you don’t have a boner (figuratively, not literally of course) for this game then…..you are a terrorist. There is no question about it, you’re not with us, but with the terrorists.

As relevant a national game as any this weekend, as heated a rivalry as any, story-lines galore:

the “little brother has won the last three, the big brother looks to finally be ready to move out of his parents basement now after losing his job and gaining some weight the past few years. And only one loss combined with the two teams. Let’s get it on!

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