Final Packer Free Agency Scorecard:
Free Agents the Packers have signed: OLB Nick Perry, OL Don Barclay, TE Martellus Bennett from New England, P Jacob Schum (ER FA), TE Lance Kendricks from the Rams, CB Devon House from Jacksonville, OLB Jayrone Elliott (RFA), OLB Jordan Tripp (RFA), RB Christine Michael, FB Joe Kerridge (ER), ILB Joe Thomas (ER), RB Don Jackson (ER), OG Justin McCray (street FA), DE Ricky Jean Francois from Washington, and LS Derek Hart (street FA)
Packer free agents signed by another team: S Micah Hyde signed by the Buffalo Bills. OC JC Tretter signed by the Cleveland Browns. DE Julius Peppers signed by the Carolina Panthers. OG TJ Lang signed by the Detroit Lions. RB Eddie Lacy signed by Seattle Seahawks. OLB Datone Jones signed by the Minnesota Vikings. TE Jared Cook signed by the Oakland Raiders.
Unrestricted Free Agents left to sign or replace: LS Brett Goode
Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFA): DE Christian Ringo and WR Geronimo Allison,
How this draft goes for the Packers depends on how they view their situation. From a very overall point of view, if GM Ted Thompson and his coaches think the problems in the defensive secondary were the result of injuries, and healthier players will fix it, then the early rounds could go either offense or defense. If GM Ted Thompson and his coaches think the defensive problems at large resulted from the lack of talented players, then the early rounds could be very defensive in nature. Also, there are positions where the need is definitely greater than at other positions. So in this report I will look at the different position groups and see what the draft options are.
On defense, NT Letroy Guion, DE Mike Daniels, DE Dean Lowry, DE Kenny Clark, DE Brian Price, DE Christian Ringo, and newly acquired DE Ricky Jean Francois currently populate the line. The Packers are happy with Daniels, Lowry, and Clark. They might be happy with Guion if he weren’t getting suspended for four games because of substance abuse. This draft will say volumes about what they think of Ringo and Price. I suspect there will be at least one draft pick here and Guion could be traded or released. But, if Guion isn’t traded, and The Packers take one late, it would indicate to me a vote of confidence in one of the two. At outside linebacker the roster currently shows; OLB Nick Perry, OLB Clay Matthews, OLB Kyle Fackell, OLB Jayrone Elliott, OLB Derrick Mathews, and OLB Jordan Tripp. Perry and Matthews are the two to count on. Fackell and Elliot have flashed potential but have not stuck out yet. Derrick Mathews and Tripp are unknowns. Expect at least one pick here. Either way, they are probably counting on Fackell and Elliott. At inside linebacker the Packers; ILB Jake Ryan, ILB Blake Martinez, ILB Reggie Gilbert, and ILB Joe Thomas. The problem here is that they get injured a lot – and for that reason there might be a pick here. Otherwise, the group just needs experience. At cornerback the Packers have; CB Damarious Randall, CB Quinten Rollins, CB Demetri Goodson, CB Ladarius Gunter, CB Josh Hawkins, CB Makinton Dorleant, CB Herb Waters, and CB Devon House. Last year 1 of the players was in their 3rd year, 3 of the guys were in their 2nd year, and 3 of the guys were in their rookie year. House had a rough time in Jacksonville and was cut after two years. He will try to rekindle the success he once enjoyed in Green Bay. At the very least he can provide a veterans perspective. Last year, Randall, Rollins, Goodson, Hawkins, and Dorleant spent time out with injuries. The question is, does this position just need to stay healthier? Are more durable guys required? Is it simply a need for experience? Or are more talented guys required? If they take one a #29, that should answer the talent question. I think this is a position where the Packers could take one early and one late in the draft. At safety the Packers have S Morgan Burnette, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S Kentrell Brice, S Marwin Evans, and S Jermaine Whitehead. 2 of them are solid veterans, but 3 of them were rookies last year. Brice was the better tackler. Whitehead was injured a lot. There could be a pick for a more solid alternative at this position.
On offense, QB Brett Hundley will backup QB Aaron Rodgers. Looks like QB Brian Callahan will start camp as the number three quarterback. No pick required here. At running back the Packers have RB Ty Montgomery, RB Don Jackson, and RB Christine Michael. They might not be happy with either Jackson or Michael, but players are needed – so for now they are on the roster. So 2 picks could be coming here. No pick will be used for the fullback position. FB Aaron Ripkowski is now entrenched as the starter and FB Joe Kerridge is back. At wide receiver the Packers have WR Jordy Nelson, WR Randall Cobb, WR Davante Adams, WR Trevor Davis, WR Jeff Janis, WR Geronimo Allison, WR Antwan Goodley, and WR Max McCaffrey. Allison stood out last year, but Janis continues to lag in development. I don’t think the Packers use a draft pick at this position. But if they do it could be an indictment against Janis. Otherwise they have plenty to work with and develop. At tight end the Packers have TE Martellus Bennett, TE Lance Kendricks, TE Richard Rodgers, TE Beau Sandland, and TE Devon Cajuste. I doubt there will be a pick here given the talent they just added via free agency. On the offensive line the Packers have OT David Bakhtiari, OC Corey Linsley, OG Lane Taylor, OT Bryan Bulaga, OT Don Barclay, OT Jason Spriggs, OT Kyle Murphy, OG Lucas Patrick, OC Jacob Flores, and OG Justin McCray. If the Packers think that they can cover the free agent losses with guys already on the roster, then expect a late pick. If however they think they need someone who can start and that guy is there at #29, he will probably be taken then. Spriggs played extensively at guard last year. Patrick and Murphy have not played last year, but the Packers say they like what they see. Murphy especially could get a chance at guard. Flores and McCray are not sure things. That concludes my take on the Packer situation. We have only a couple weeks to find out what the results are.
All I know is that if OG Forrest Lamp, RB Christian McCaffrey, and S/CB Obi Melifonwu are all there at #29, Thompson is going to need a bottle of aspirin. All three would be immediate starters and fill a void on the Packer roster. I would go with the Obi since it was the defense that leaked. He could match up with the elite receivers in the league. Just my opinion. Next month the draft will have already happened. And I will be reviewing the draft picks and see what light they might shed on the Packer strategy. Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase your draft munchies.