There is very little debate that Aaron Rodgers is Ted Thompson’s best draft pick during his 10 years as general manager of the Green Bay Packers. If Thompson would have passed on Rodgers because the Packers didn’t need a quarterback, the recent history of the Packers would have been quite different.
But who is Thompson’s second-best draft choice? Luckily, if you’re a Packers fan, there have been plenty of prime candidates. Here are the top 5, in my not so humble opinion:
Clay Matthews, 2009 Not only has Matthews been one of the best defensive players in the NFL, Thompson uncharacteristically traded back into the first round to grab him. The rare Thompson trade-up gives Matthews a couple extra points in the race for second best Thompson draft pick of all time.
Josh Sitton, 2008 It’s not often you find a player who might be the best in the league at his position group in the fourth round, but that’s what Thompson did with Sitton. Durable, dependable, and really freaking good — Sitton ranks right up there with the best of Thompson’s picks.
Mike Daniels, 2012 The 2012 draft is one that Thompson would probably like to forget. Nick Perry, Jerron McMillian, Terrell Manning and B.J. Coleman…bleh. But Thompson struck gold once again in the fourth round with Daniels. Imagine how weak the Packers defensive line would have been without Daniels last season?
Nick Collins, 2005 Packers fans didn’t realize how good they had it with Collins at safety until Collins’ career was suddenly ended in 2011. Until the arrival of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last season, safety had been a black hole in Collins’ absence.
Greg Jennings, 2006 Jennings over Randall Cobb? Yes, Jennings over Cobb, at least for now. With the Packers, Jennings put up big numbers and had several memorable moments, including a ridiculous catch from a ridiculous throw from Rodgers in Super Bowl XLV. Nothing wrong with being mad at Jennings for the way he left Green Bay, but don’t discount his impact on getting the Packers to where they are today.
So, who would I pick as Thompson’s second-best draft choice ever? I say it’s Matthews. It’d be nice if Thompson could draft Matthews a new hamstring, but when you look at talent, impact, energy, hustle and the complete package, Matthews delivers.
The NFL draft kicks off on Thursday and we’ll finally have some new Green Bay Packers players to root for. I’m not a Draftnik, but based on what I’ve read, listened to, seen, heard or thought, here are the top 5 players I’m most excited about possibly landing with the Packers in this year’s draft:
Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota How can you watch this and not get excited about Williams teaming with Aaron Rodgers?
Jalen Collins, CB, LSU If Collins ends up in Green Bay, hopefully he’ll take up drinking Miller Lite instead of smoking weed. If he does, the 6-foot-1, 203-pounder has all the tools to be a star.
Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA This year’s inside linebacker class isn’t jumping off the charts, but Kendricks looks like the type of versatile and athletic player who can complement the aggressiveness of Sam Barrington inside.
Ellis McCarthy, DL, UCLA The Packers are going to need at least one fat guy for the defensive line out of this draft. If they can nab McCarthy on day 2 or 3, I’d be pleased.
Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska The Packers already are overloaded at receiver, but Bell stands out as another later-round find for Thompson as wide receiver.
Packers News, Notes and Links
Which dates do you have circled on the Packers’ 2015 schedule, which was announced on Tuesday? I’ve got Oct. 18 against San Diego because that’s the date for Throwback Weekend 5 and Thanksgiving Night against the Bears because 1) it’s against the Bears, 2) Thanksgiving night at Lambeau is going to be amazing, and 3) the Packers will be retiring the number of some guy named Favre.
Speaking of Packers vs. Bears: Did anyone else notice how pissed off Bears fans on Twitter were when they learned they opened the season against the Packers? Check out some of these tweets. My favorite: “So packers open with a bye week?”
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is the best dead tree traditional newspaper reporter to read during the lead up to the NFL draft. Here’s McGinn’s profile of Iowa’s Brandon Scherff.
Want more draft insight? Download this week’s “No Huddle Radio” podcast where Jersey Al and Jason Perone break down cornerbacks and inside linebackers with Dan Shonka from Ourlads.com.
Packers GM Ted Thompson held a pre-draft news conference this week and, per usual, didn’t say much of anything. But if you want a quick summary of the nothingness, Jason at Acme Packing Company sums it up.
Are any of you planning to drop $100 to watch the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight next week? I love boxing, but I can’t fathom putting more money in Mayweather’s pocket. The guy is a clown and a serial woman beater.
Typically, the storylines surrounding the Packers as the season draws closer focus on three things:
Newly drafted players
Second or third-year players poised to become good or great players
How the Packers will fill the gap at (insert position group)
It’s fun getting to know the newest Packers and speculating which young guys already on the roster might break out. It’s also fun to second-guess general manager Ted Thompson a bit and wonder how the Packers will fare at (insert position group) with no shiny new outside free agent on the roster to help.
But this offseason, the storylines surrounding the Packers have been different, and I don’t expect it to change any time soon. Everyone is still talking about the meltdown in Seattle. They want to know how the Packers are going to respond. What changes will be made to prevent it from happening again? What did the Packers learn? Can they recover? Will they use it as motivation? How in the hell did that happen?
Yes, it gets old hearing about that miserable day over and over again. But we better get used to it, because we’ll be hearing about it for a while. The usual Packers pre-season storylines will still be there, but they’ll take a back seat to the “How will the Packers get over what happened in Seattle” angle.
To think that the Seattle debacle will just go away to make room for another story on the Packers fourth-round draft pick or Casey Hayward is wishful thinking. This Seattle storyline is sticking around for a while. To wish otherwise is the equivalent of wishing that only the positive aspects of government receive media coverage instead of only the scandals. You might have a point, but the scandals and negativity will garner more attention than the feel-good stories each and every time. That’s just the way it is.
If hearing more about the Seattle loss in the buildup to the 2015 season annoys you, you might want to steer clear of Packers’ coverage before the the opener vs. Chicago. The Seattle storylines will be coming fast and hard. And even if (when?) the Packers win 10-13 games — several in memorable fashion — in 2015, the Seahawks meltdown storyline will still be there come playoff time. That’s just the way it is.
Besides not letting a similar meltdown happen again, there’s nothing the Packers can do to stop it.
Why wait until 7 p.m. Central Tuesday night for the 2015 NFL and Green Bay Packers schedules to be announced? An exclusive source has revealed this year’s Packers’ schedule ahead of the official announcement.
Here’s the full Packers schedule, complete with reasoning why the NFL scheduled each Packers game where it did: (Humor)
Sunday, Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. – Packers vs. Rams The NFL feels bad about the Packers choking away their chances at a Super Bowl in Seattle. To help Green Bay recover, the league is giving the Packers a prime-time Sunday night game against the Rams to start the season. Beating the Rams 64-8 on national TV should be a great first step in helping Green Bay forget about what happened in Seattle.
Thursday, Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m. – Packers vs. Chiefs Because most Packers starters will be pulled by the middle of the second quarter during the demolition of the Rams, the Packers should be adequately rested to play on the following Thursday. Kansas City is the opponent because you can’t put Packers vs. Chiefs on a weekend. These are two of the biggest eating and drinking fan bases in the NFL. If this game is played on a Sunday, both fan bases would eat the entire Midwest section of the United States out of red meat and drink the region dry of Miller Lite by kickoff.
Monday, Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. – Packers at Bears The Packers are back in prime time once again. The NFL gives the Packers this Monday night game because watching an early-season Jay Cutler meltdown on national TV is always fun.
Sunday, Sept. 27, 3:30 p.m. – Cowboys at Packers The NFL needs to capitalize on the “Dez Bryant is still angry about the not-quite-a-catch call” storyline from last year’s playoffs before Bryant gets arrested and sentenced to life in prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Week 5. Packers bye
Sunday, Oct. 11, 3:30 p.m. – Seahawks vs. Packers This is my wife’s birthday and it’d be a lot of fun to watch the Packers beat the Seahawks on my wife’s birthday. The NFL recognizes this important fact and scheduled this game accordingly.
Sunday, Oct. 18, 3:30 p.m. – Packers at Raiders The Seahawks are a damn good team, so the NFL essentially gives the Packers a second bye week to recover by putting this Raiders game immediately after the battle with Seattle (which takes place on my wife’s birthday).
Sunday, Oct. 25, 3:30 p.m. – Packers at 49ers Since the weather is starting to turn cold in Green Bay, the NFL scheduled the Raiders/49ers games in consecutive weeks so the Packers can just stay in California instead of returning to the cold of Green Bay. Thanks Roger Goodell.
Sunday, Nov. 1, noon – Packers at Panthers There’s never a compelling reason to put a Panthers game in any time slot besides noon on a Sunday, so the Packers finally get out of the prime time/late afternoon slot.
Sunday, Nov. 8, noon – Lions at Packers See above. But replace “Panthers” with “Lions.”
Sunday, Nov. 15, noon — Packers at Vikings See above. But replace “Lions” with “Vikings.”
Monday, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. – Packers at Broncos *Hank Williams, Jr. voice* It’s Aaron Rodgers vs. the Corpse of Peyton Manning, here on Monday night!
Sunday, Nov. 29, noon – Chargers at Packers This game seems like it’s better than a noon on Sunday slot, but by this time the Chargers are losing every game by 9 touchdowns because Philip Rivers intentionally throws a pick on every possession to try and get the Chargers to release him so he doesn’t have to play in Los Angeles next year.
Sunday, Dec. 6, noon – Packers Lions This will be the traditional away game in Detroit where the Packers don’t bother showing up and get destroyed. At least three key Packers players will suffer injuries. Hopefully none of them are named Aaron or Rodgers.
Sunday, Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m. – Packers at Cardinals Arizona is everyone’s “sleeper” pick to win the Super Bowl in 2015, which means they’ll have two wins by the time this game rolls around. Look for this game to get flexed to Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, Dec. 20, noon – Bears at Packers
Sunday, Dec. 20, 3:30 p.m. – Vikings at Packers No, that is not a misprint. The Packers play back-to-back games on the same day, first against the Bears, then against the Vikings. Packers president Mark Murphy sold this idea to Roger Goodell as the latest NFL money-making gimmick to squeeze every last dollar possible out of late-season games involving the Lions and Vikings, two teams nobody cares about come December. Mike McCarthy will go for it because once his squad wins both games (easily), it’ll give his team an extra bye week before the playoffs.
What are your thoughts on the Packers 2015 schedule? I’ve been looking at it for the last 23 hours and I still don’t see a loss. Well, maybe the traditional collapse in Detroit, but that won’t be too huge of a deal.
Cobb won’t leave your mouth agape with a fast 40-time or some other feat of strength that looks good at the NFL Combine. His film also isn’t filled with flashy, ankle-breaking moves or scenes of him carrying five tacklers into the end zone for a touchdown. But what Cobb lacks in “wow factor,” he makes up for in production. The Minnesota Gophers’ offense didn’t have much going for it last season, but Cobb still managed a school record 1,626 rushing yards.
What they’re saying about him:
CBSSports.com: “Cobb is only one of several relatively unheralded talents in a potentially outstanding class of running backs. While he is productive, durable and reliable, there isn’t much on tape that separates Cobb from other backs.”
NFL.com: “Cobb’s highlights might bore you, but he’s custom-made for physical running teams. Adjusting his style to the speed of the NFL game might take some time, but Cobb’s downhill, run-finishing style fits what running games are becoming in the NFL and, in the right scheme, he has a shot to be more than just a complementary back.”
Excellent vision. Knows how to set up his blocks and get the most out of each and every carry.
Dependable. You’re not going to get much improvising or dancing around. Cobb knows what the call is, knows where he’s supposed to go, and he goes there. Hard.
He might not look like a bulldozer, but Cobb is strong. Check out the stiff-arms and the would-be tacklers bouncing off Cobb once he gets rolling through a hole.
There isn’t an obvious weakness in Cobb’s game. Sure, he doesn’t have top-tier speed or explosiveness, but that doesn’t mean he’s deficient in those areas. If Cobb played in an era when running backs were move valued, he’d probably be drafted much higher than the fourth or fifth round he’ll likely go in this year’s upcoming draft.
If drafted by the Packers
Cobb is a solid running back who should be able to contribute and help just about any team that drafts him. I’m not sure if he’s the type of back I’d like to have on the Packers, though. I prefer a change-of-pace type of back to come in when Eddie Lacy takes a rest — a back who can hit a hole and outrun the secondary or take a swing pass and surprise a would-be tackler with a burst of speed. Cobb is very similar to Lacy, just not as good. I don’t think he’d bring the explosive element I’d want in Lacy’s backup. That said, Cobb is still solid. If he’s high on Ted Thompson’s board in the later round, I’d have no problem with the selection.
This week’s edition of Surviving Sunday features my annual review of the best video game series on the planet: Out of the Park Baseball. But before we get to learning more about Out of the Park Baseball 16, let’s cover the Packers news and notes from this week.
Packers News, Notes and Links
It’s decision time for the Packers on Sean Richardson. The safety signed a $2.55 million restricted free agent offer sheet with the Raiders, and the Packers must decide if they want to match it by late Monday. If they do, Richardson would be the 13th highest paid player on the team based on 2015 cap numbers. That’s a lot for a backup safety, but let’s not forget Richardson’s special teams experience. If the Packers really want to improve on special teams, they should want Richardson back — event if they have to pay up to keep him.
Don Barclay will be back with the Packers next season, assuming he’s all healed up from his knee injury. I thought Barclay was a tad overrated when he got extensive playing time in 2013, but (if healthy), he should be a much better backup/depth option at tackle and guard than what the Packers had last season.
With Barclay back, the Packers offensive line is shaping up to look like this: David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, T.J. Lang and Bryan Bulaga starting. J.C. Tretter and Barclay coming off the bench. Is it September yet? Seeing the Packers offensive line return in tact, with Barclay added to the mix and Tretter with a year under his belt, makes me want to watch this team right now.
The Packers will play the Patriots, Steelers, Eagles and Saints in the 2015 exhibition season. That’s a brutal preseason schedule. I bet McCarthy is fired by week 3.
Some interesting insight here from Tex at Acme Packing Co. on how the suspension of Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell could set the standard for whatever punishment the Packers’ Letroy Guion will face.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
Every year that Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) releases a new version of its baseball management simulation game, I say the same thing: “This year’s version of OOTP is the best one yet.” Well, call me a broken record, because OOTP 16, released a few weeks ago, takes an already great game and makes it even greater.
With each new version of OOTP, I search hard for game-breaking flaws that would give me a reason to discourage people from buying the game. Every year I don’t find any. And believe me, I look. Closely. A game shouldn’t be this close to perfect, but OOTP 16 is.
If you’re unfamiliar with OOTP baseball, it’s a baseball simulation game that makes you the general manager and/or manager of a baseball team. To put the game in Packers’ terminology, you become Ted Thompson and/or Mike McCarthy — making roster moves, setting team strategies, drafting and developing, signing free agents, building team chemistry, working with a budget – to try and lead your team to championships.
Unlike console baseball games on Xbox or PS4, you don’t mash buttons or use a joystick to achieve success. In OOTP 16, you use your brain and baseball management IQ. OOTP 16 is a thinking man’s game.
The first noticeable improvement in OOTP 16 is its official MLB license. All real player names, modern-day and historical team logos and ballparks come with the game. No more having to download and install user-created mod files. A real-life MLB setup is possible right out of the box.
You’ll also notice several small additions that add to OOTP 16’s immersion. If you play a management simulation game for a certain amount of time, it can feel like you’re staring at spreadsheet instead of playing a videogame. Not the case with OOTP 16. The game’s graphical interface is second-to-none and keeps the game’s appearance fresh and interesting.
New features like improved playoff coverage, player info popups, better-written news stories and manager/coach personalities and traits completely suck you into whatever baseball universe you create.
My personal favorite mode is the random debut feature. You set up a new baseball universe, complete with however many teams, divisions, minor leagues and postseason slots you want, and the game creates a draft pool of players from throughout the history of baseball. When your initial draft is complete, you might end up with Ryan Braun in left field, Bob Uecker behind the plate and Mickey Mantle in center field.
If I had to find one gripe about OOTP 16, it’s the fact that it’s become too immersive. There are so many options to tinker with and features to explore that the game can be intimidating for new users. Heck, sometimes it’s even intimidating for me, and I’ve been playing it for 15 years.
If you read ALLGBP.com, chances are you think a little harder and deeper about sports than your average fan who might read the occasional newspaper column or tune into Sports Center. If that’s the case, you need to try OOTP Baseball 16.
You will get addicted, and before you know it, this period we’re experiencing now with no Packers football will fly by in no time at all.
You can find out all you need to know about OOTP 16, including purchase information, at ootpdevelopments.com.
The Green Bay Packers are doing nothing in free agency, the NFL draft is still too far away for me to care about, and the weather is warming up outside.
In other words, these are the dog days of the offseason for Packers bloggers. There is only so much you can write about 1) Ted Thompson’s philosophy on outside free agents, 2) draft prospects (everyone pretends to be an expert, but only a few actually are), or 3) whatever hot topics still have legs from last season.
So today, I’m going to try something completely different: Trolling. Everyone put on your swimming trunks because we’re about to dive in a giant pool of hot-takery.
Ready? I don’t care, because either way, there’s a hot Packers take coming your way whether you’r ready for it or not. Look out! Here it comes:
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is injury prone. Our worst fears about Rodgers when he took over for Brett Favre have come true. The guy can’t stay healthy.
A broken collar bone forced Rodgers to miss half of the 2013 season. If that wasn’t bad enough, Rodgers took forever to return from the injury. I bet if he pushed himself harder, he could have been back before the season finale and been sharper for the playoffs.
And how about last season? Sure, Rodgers won MVP, but the Packers’ Super Bowl chances were diminished by Rodgers’ injured calf. Yes, the guy who brags about doing yoga and all kinds of other stretch-bendy stuff to stay in shape so he can play until he’s 40 years old strained his calf on some random play against the freaking Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That’s two seasons in a row where a Rodgers injury has significantly hurt the Packres’ chances for success. And I haven’t even taken into account the two concussions he suffered in 2010.
One knock to the head in 2015 and Packers’ fans might be kissing that season goodbye as well.
Alright, alright, alright. I can’t do it any more. Pretending to be a Skip Bayless-style troll is kinda fun at times, but Jersey Al doesn’t pay me nearly the salary that Bayless earns for his full-time trolling.
So, let me try to bring this post around to something that we — the intelligent, thoughtful, insightful and non-trolling writers and readers of ALLGBP.com — can dive deeper into, if we so choose.
Does Rodgers’ health concern you? Yes, the trolling bit from above was me being facetious, but there’s at least a kernel or two of truth in there. Rodgers has suffered significant injuries the last two season. One he wasn’t able to play through and the Packers went into a tail-spin. The other he played through, but clearly wasn’t as effective as he normally is.
I’m not sure what Rodgers could have done differently to avoid breaking his collar bone or straining his calf. The collar bone injury is just a matter of how he lands when taken to the ground. I suppose you could say Rodgers could train better in the offseason to guard against muscle strains, but I haven’t heard one person ever question Rodgers’ physical fitness or his offseason routine.
The only logical argument one might have when contending Rodgers is now injury-prone is his: age. Rodgers is 31 years old. When you get past 30, your body starts acting like its more than 30 years old, no matter how good a shape you’re in.
Is Rodgers injury prone? Nah. But he is 31 years old.
It’s silly to be a troll about Rodgers durability. But it’s rational to hold your breath a little longer whenever Rodgers goes down now that he’s past the age of 30.
Happy Easter to all of our loyal readers from me and his entire crew here at ALLGBP.com. Here’s hoping everyone has the opportunity to spend the day with family, friends, good food, and a cold beverage or four. If you’re not able to spend the day that way, thank you for whatever it is you’re doing — serving in the military, working at a business that’s open on holidays, serving the public as a police officer, firefighter, or something else important.
We all appreciate it.
Easter egg hunts are always popular with the kids on this day. If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent all 32 teams on an Easter egg hunt today, here are the three eggs I’d hope the Packers would find.
1. The egg that contains a stud middle linebacker. The middle of the Packers defense still appears to be a little squishy. This franchise is long overdue for a good inside linebacker to solidify it.
2. The healthy quarterback egg. Aaron Rodgers has suffered an injury two seasons in a row. The Easter bunny needs to leave a special egg for the Packers that will keep Rodgers fully healthy in 2015.
3. An egg that contained $10. That way the Packers could bid on the Jay Cutler autographed football that didn’t get any bids at a recent charity auction.
What other Easter eggs would you like the Packers to find during the hunt?
Packers News, Notes and Links
Best of luck to CheeseheadTV writer and longtime friend of ALLGBP.com Brian Carriveau as he embarks on a new professional venture. Brian’s been around the Packers’ blogosphere longer than I have, and that’s a long time. When it comes to solid, insightful and level-headed Packers’ analysis, Brian is one of the best in the business.
The Packers re-signed nose tackles B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion on Monday, but both players will have to earn their salaries. Of the two, only Raji got any guaranteed money ($500,000). Both players have incentives and roster bonuses that are certainly achievable, but even so, these are solid, safe deals for the Packers. I thought Raji for sure would be able to command a little more on the open market.
What was your favorite Jamari Lattimore moment in Green Bay? Yeah, I can’t think of one either…
If Shaq Thompson falls to the Packers in the actual NFL draft like he does in this Acme Packing Co. mock, I’ll leap through my ceiling.
It might be the offseaosn, but the Packers Talk Radio network is still cranking out podcasts. Get all caught up on what you might have missed here.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
I wouldn’t classify myself as a Badgers fan, but watching last night’s Wisconsin win over Kentucky with my in-laws who are small dairy farmers in Central Wisconsin was a helluva lot of fun.