In 2012 Ted Thompson seemingly bucked his ‘best player available’ strategy by selecting six straight defensive players. This year’s draft showed much closer resemblance to the GM’s need-neglecting roots. While the Packers failed to come away from the draft with a safety or inside linebacker, the 11 additions to the roster are intriguing, to say the least.
With the 26th overall pick the Packers got a nice combination of value and addressing of need in UCLA’s Datone Jones. The expectation is that Jones will start at defensive end beside B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett in Week 1 of the 2013 season. Fifth-round selection Josh Boyd will likely challenge backups C.J. Wilson and Mike Daniels for the final roster spot on the defensive line in training camp, assuming Mike Neal and Jerel Worthy are healthy.
The Packers had a very brief history of drafting running backs under Thompson, particularly in the early to mid rounds. The selection of two running backs this year showed Green Bay’s seriousness about adding balance to the offense. Even better, both Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin came across as bargains in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. The Packers hope to get the same ‘thunder and lightning’ out of this pair that the Patriots found in Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen a few years back.
With no timetable for Derek Sherrod’s return and a void at the center position, the Packers felt pressure to add depth to the offensive line heading into the draft. Thompson did exactly that with the additions of David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter. While we can’t expect either player to make large contributions in their rookie season, there is certainly hope that Tretter can step in as a center, should the Packers get the same mediocre play out of Evan Dietrich-Smith in 2013.
Thompson gave fans lots to be excited about in the 11 new bodies heading to Green Bay this July. Players like Datone Jones, Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin are eyed as potential difference makers for the coming fall.