Breaking Down the Packers’ Draft Day Needs

For a roster regularly mentioned as one of the most talented in football, the Packers appear to have more than just a couple needs heading into the NFL draft. The wobbly defensive front and ailing safety position are two of several areas that fans would love to see addressed in this weekend’s draft. And while general manager Ted Thompson generally abides by his best-player-available strategy, we’ll ponder the options Green Bay has at each of their needs, should Thompson break away from his philosophy.

The Packers’ decision to cast Charles Woodson loose automatically made strong safety a top draft day need for the Packers. Free safety Morgan Burnett has shown promise but not perfection in his three seasons with the Packers and would benefit by playing next to Texas product Kenny Vaccaro. Provided that Vaccaro is gone by the Packers’ pick at 26, Thompson may eye a pair of SEC standouts in LSU’s Eric Reid and Florida’s Matt Elam. Reid brings the physical presence and tackling ability that the Packers have missed since Nick Collins’ career ended abruptly in 2011.

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Evaluating Recent Draft Classes

nfl_a_hayward_bl_400            With the NFL Draft just weeks away, it’s worth looking back on the Packers’ recent draft classes. While one can’t expect a player to pay big dividends in his first season with the team, three years of minimal production doesn’t go unnoticed in a town like Green Bay. Below is a summary of players drafted by the Packers in the first three rounds of the past three drafts.

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One Year Until Free Agency: A Breakout Season for Jermichael Finley?

Jermichael Finley Green Bay PackersJermichael Finley has always been this ball of pent up potential energy that we’ve all been expecting to explode at any moment. That hasn’t happened yet, but if it is going to happen, this is definitely the season for it.

Finley will become a free agent at the end of the coming season and that means that he has a single season to show the league that he’s worth big money. Continue reading

Before There Were Helmets: Tony Canadeo

Tony CanadeoA continuation of our series on Packer greats from before the 1943 NFL helmet rule. If you missed the others in the series, you can find them here.

Tony Canadeo entered the league in 1941, just two years before the helmet rule. He started his career with the Packers, ended his career with the Packers, and continued contributing to the organization long after he had hung up his cleats.

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Packer People: Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers Contract TalksThe selection of Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 draft just gets better and better every year.

Aaron took over the reigns of the team in 2008 at the beginning of the nightmare that had Brett Favre decide to “unretire.” Throughout that fiasco, Rodgers displayed the poise of a true professional.

Five seasons later, he’s again showing his poise and professionalism. Continue reading

Before There Were Helmets: Johnny (Blood) McNally

Johnny Blood McNally of the Green Bay PackersA continuation of our series on Packer greats from before the 1943 NFL helmet rule. If you missed the others in the series, you can find them here.

Johnny Blood McNally was a colorful personality both on and off the field. His speed and ability was unquestioned, but his… interesting antics must have caused some early gray hairs for coach Curly Lambeau.

Johnny Blood started his professional football career with the Milwaukee Badgers.. you read that right.. the Badgers. In those days there was a big struggle between college and professional football as colleges were constantly after pro teams about stealing players from the college ranks. Pro teams ceased the practice (at least openly) but college players found ways to get around the system. One of those ways was using a pro football alias.

So, one day John Victor McNally was walking past the movie theater with a friend when he spied the name of the movie that was playing, “Blood and Sand.” He turned to his friend and exclaimed, “You’ll be Sand and I’ll be Blood.” And Johnny Blood was born. Continue reading

Filling Needs by Looking for Diamonds in Small Places

Packer Players from Division II and Division III CollegesTed Thompson is not afraid to scan the Division II and III ranks in search of hidden talent he can add to the Packers. And, he’s found some decent gems that made their names in a Division II or III school.

Some of these are names we’ve come to know well. They started in smaller colleges and found a home with the Packers. Names like Erik Walden, James Starks, Jamari Lattimore, and the fan-favorite John Kuhn are all from Division II or Division III schools.

So, I started to wonder what Division II and III players have been making a name for themselves. Here are some of the players that might be on Ted’s radar this year. Continue reading

Before There Were Helmets: Don Hutson

Don Hudson Packer Hall of FamerA continuation of our series on Packer greats from before the 1943 NFL helmet rule. If you missed the others in the series, you can find them here.

In an era where the run dominated and a passing offense was rarely used, Don Hutson amassed 99 touchdowns in a career that lasted just 11 season. That record stood for an amazing 44 years after he retired from the game.

And the Packers came 17 minutes away from not signing him in the first place. Continue reading