JEFF: Scouting Day One, Part II
By Jeff Falconio
The 2008 NFL Draft is loaded with defensive talent and that's good news for the Packers. Green Bay's biggest needs are in the secondary and with the 30th pick there should be plenty of options in the defensive backfield. It's likely the Packers will pick up another pass rusher as well. Cornerback and defensive end are loaded and with three picks on day one the Packers in excellent position to shore up those two positions by the end of Saturday. Here's a position-by-position breakdown for day one:
Defensive Tackle: Last year's first round pick was used on a tackle but it's not likely the Packers will use another first rounder on a DT. To begin with, the cream of the crop, LSU's Glenn Dorsey and USC's Sedrick Ellis are both top ten projections. North Carolina's Kentwan Balmer probably won't be available either. I don't imagine a scenario where a defensive tackle would be at the top of the Packers draft board but there's second round talent there, led by Notre Dame's Trevor Laws and Auburn's Pat Sims.
Defensive End: This position is incredibly deep. There's a chance four of five ends will be off the board when it's time for the Packers to pick. Two guys that might be there are USC's Lawrence Jackson and Calais Campbell of Miami. Jackson is incredibly quick but small and might struggle getting around an NFL right tackle. Campbell is big and has decent speed but he didn't quite reach his potential with the Hurricanes. Both will be projects but may find a niche on a deep defensive line like Green Bay's.
Linebacker: With the acquisition of Brandon Chillar the Packers are pretty set at this position but once again you gotta look at the trusty draft board. Most of the linebacker talent will be available at number 30 so if the Packers are really enthralled they might go LB with one of three first day picks. Two inside linebackers with late first round potential are Penn State's Dan Connor and Jerod Mayo of Tennessee. Mayo might be moved outside by the time the regular season begins and the Packers do have a knack for going after the "'tweener" types. Even if the Packers hold off on taking a linebacker Saturday, there will be plenty of second-tier players available Sunday.
Cornerback: Talent up and down the line at this position. Leodis McKelvin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are considered top fifteen material will be probably be off the board. But there's still plenty of options at this position. South Florida's Mike Jenkins is the wild card. He is a high-risk, high-reward pick. Plenty of talent but lacks desire. Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers is physical but small. Arizona's Antoine Cason might be the best cover man of the group but only brings average speed to the table and could be beaten deep. Aqib Talib of Kansas has tremendous size and good range but he brings off-field problems to the draft and may not fit the character of the Packers. There's about eight more second or third round projections at this position so don't fret if the Packers don't go CB with the first pick.
Safety: Not as deep as corner. Miami's Kenny Phillips is the only safety with a first round grade. As is the case with offensive guard, Phillips stock may rise simply because he's the only top 30 candidate. Still, safety is a positional need and there's a few good second round candidates. North Carolina State's DaJuan Morgan will go in the second round. Arkansas State's Tyrell Johnson would be a perfect late second round sleeper. Johnson has incredible strength and speed but needs to prove he can play at an elite level.