I will say that with Louis Nix and Ra’Shede Hageman in the mix the Packers might be tempted to Gamble that Nix might drop knowing that Hageman would still be available if he did not. Here’s the breakdown as I see it:
- Thompson has invested too much in BJ and BJ, though it was not his best year, is still a better choice. BJ did not have his best season as a Packer this year but he is extraordinarily athletic for a Nose Tackle of his size. It seems a lot of Packers fans have forgotten how big BJ was in our Super Bowl run a few years back and with Johnny Jolly back healthy (hopefully) we can expect some of that fire to return. How many nose tackles do you see dropping back in coverage and making interceptions and then having the athleticism to run them in for touchdowns?
- Nix won’t be available. I see Nix going before the Packers pick…to either the Giants or Steelers.
- Hageman will not be the best player available but will not last long enough to be there when the Packers pick in the second.
I will just say that I believe BJ Raji is the best NT for the Packers. He is faster than Nix and Hageman is NOT suited for the 3-4 defense as he is longer and not a gap stopping, double-team drawing machine. He has taken on double teams but his forte is one-on-one which means he is best suited for a 4-3 defense.
So I believe that Raji gets his contract and Packernation does NOT regret it in the end. He needs to return to his former glory but if the Packers can focus their draft picks on linebackers…Raji will just have to take up blockers, become more gap sound, and go up the field ONLY when the timing is right. I don’t see the Nose Tackle position as a place where the Packers want to start from scratch and neither of the top two prospects at the position are an upgrade to a faster veteran with playoff and Super Bowl experience who knows the system (not to say he doesn’t need to improve).