The Packers’ 2017 Draft Needs
Last season was one to remember for sure, Green Bay entered week 12 with 4 wins and 6 losses, only to go on a magical run that ended in the NFC Title game in Atlanta. As Green Bay gets ready to reload for this season, there are a few pressing needs in the draft that need to be addressed if they are to have a repeat performance or go further in the 2017-18 season. There are a few aspects of the current roster that present problems that need to be addressed.
As the season ended, SI Writer Chris Burke mentioned that Green Bay would be up for the 29th pick of the draft, and they should look for an edge rusher. Star Linebacker Clay Matthews was out with injuries throughout the bulk of last season and the Pack, (“Owes him over $26 million for the next two seasons,” Burke, p. 1) Matthews only managed 5 sacks in 12 games this season, so Green Bay may be taking a risk on him if they hope for a bounce back 2017 season.
Furthermore, Nick Perry and the aging veteran Julius Peppers became free agents as well as Datone Jones who alternates between DE and OLB, only contribute more to the problems that plague the pass rush. Especially when you consider the fact that Jones is looking to play elsewhere and Peppers has signed a contract with the Carolina Panthers. Peppers came to Green Bay in 2014 from Chicago and has enjoyed three playoff appearances as a result. Since 2014, Peppers has had 25 sacks, 2 interceptions, and over 100 tackles, but there’s no telling how age will affect his production at 37. But the Panthers will find that out for themselves this year, and the Panthers will host the Packers at an undetermined date.
One possibility for the Pack, is to draft T.J. Watt from Wisconsin to try and fill the void at Linebacker, the Younger brother of Houston Texans’ star J.J. Watt just might be able to help Green Bay become dangerous again. Plus, Watt won’t have to move very far if he is drafted by the Green and Gold.
The Packers have also parted ways with DBs Sam Shields and Micah Hyde, losing two veterans in the secondary may do more harm than good. Dumping Shields makes some sense because he’s been constantly sidelined with concussions the past few seasons. But getting rid of Hyde might be the point where these moves on the defense are poor. The Packers were one of the worse teams in the league defending the pass, giving up 269.2 passing yards a game ranking 30th in the league. So getting rid of these players aren’t the best choices. The Packers were more competent at stopping the run, ranking 8th in that category, giving up only 94.7 yards on ground per game. This puts the Packers at the 22nd best defense in the league, leaving a lot to be desired and a lot of room for improvement.
The second most pressing need for the Packers is on the offensive side of the ball, the running game took a huge hit last year with Eddie Lacy being out for most of the season due to injury. This forced second year wideout Ty Montgomery to take over as the running back. Montgomery’s best game was against Chicago in week 15 when he ran for 162 yards and 2 tds in a 30-27 win at Soldier Field. As for Lacy, he is currently in the free agent market having finished a promising meeting with the Vikings. The Packers have been rumored to go after Adrian Peterson, but the former Vikings RB seems more interested in other teams as opposed to the Green and Gold. Forcing the Packers to think outside the box for what they want in the running game. Montgomery is a solid back, but unlike Lacy, Montgomery doesn’t have the power to plow through defenders like Lacy. He does possess agility so Green Bay’s going to need a strong O-Line to plow the lanes out for Montgomery.
Another possible need in the draft is a TE, Jared Cook is no longer in Green Bay, but the team has signed Lance Kendricks and Martellus Bennett. The Packers will have new version of their offensive game for the 2017, with 3 Tight Ends on the roster, this isn’t as much of a pressing need for the Packers, but these moves have been a bit unpredictable so there’s no telling what the Packers may do for the remainder of the offseason.
The Packers have high hopes for this season after falling one game short of the Super Bowl the previous season for the second time in the past 3 seasons. Getting rid of Lacy, Cook, Shields, and Hyde seem like foolish moves, but we’ll just have to wait until the season starts to know for sure if these moves were truly worth it.