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Monday, April 29, 2013

Your Worst Nightmare: The Packers 2013 Draft Analysis

Was anyone really concerned when Rambo and Colonel Trautman were surrounded by a Russian tank brigade in Rambo III?

Of course not. It’s Rambo for goodness sake. And his ridiculously long knife. And the guy that taught Rambo how to be such a badass. One does have to wonder, though, why it is that the U.S. armed forces in total apparently trained only one person on how to run any kind of covert ops. I mean come on, where’s the rest of the budget going? And can’t anyone at least afford to buy a spandex shirt for Rambo so he doesn’t keep tearing through them? Haven’t they ever heard of Under Armour? But I digress.

The reason we’re not concerned about Rambo’s safety is because he’s ultimately reliable. We’ve seen him in sticky situations before and he’s always pulled through. Time and time again we say to ourselves “how the heck did he get himself into this situation and how is he going to fix it?” And time and time again Rambo just pulls out a ridiculously big gun and blows everyone away. Heck, he doesn’t even bother with cover because if he gets shot, he just grunts and shrugs it off. And that’s exactly the same way Pack fans feel about GM Ted Thompson.

Just as free agency is wrapping up and nothing happens except for the appearance of a multitude of gaping holes, Thompson swoops in during the draft and fixes everything. Well, not quite everything, but all the major things. Now, I’ll just reiterate, I’m no fan of the Packers (previous article), but I’m always interested in what they do since they impact the Bears. And once again, just as Rambo was Zaysen’s “worst nightmare” in Rambo III, Thompson was mine in the 2013 NFL Draft. During free agency, I thought the Packers should address the defensive line, running back, wide receiver and tight end (previous article). And Thompson took care of three of the four in spades.

Defensive Line

As I stated previously, the Packers needed to at least replace Jerel Worthy after he tore his ACL and needed to find help on the defensive line to pair with B.J. Raji and Ryan Picket (both of which are in the last year of their contracts).

Getting Datone Jones was a great answer. He fits exactly into the Packers defensive 3-4 scheme, but is versatile enough to play a four man front. His combine 40-yard dash (4.80) scared a few people off, but it’s clear that there are more important attributes for a defensive end than just pure straight line speed. He has good technique inside and outside as a pass rusher, and although he doesn’t excel as a run stopper, he does have good pursuit and an ability to set the edge. Best of all, he’s well known for his positive attitude, high character and strong work ethic, all of which will help him see significant work on the Packers D-line in his rookie year.

I see Josh Boyd, on the other hand, more as depth and insurance against further injuries. He definitely offers good run defense, but doesn’t excel in pass rushing. One can never be too cautious though, as no one expected Worthy to go out with such a devastating injury late last year.

Running Back

I pointed out in my last article that running back is a perennial weakness for the Packers. And boy did they knock this one out of the park.

Last week, I predicted that the Packers would take Eddie Lacy in the first round (previous article). I was only partially right. Lacy slipped until the second round allowing the Packers to completely steal him from the competition. And then picking up Johnathan Franklin in the fourth round was an amazing move. It reminds me of the heyday of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew or DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Eddie Lacy is an all-purpose, every down back that can tote the ball 25-30 times a game and keep defenses from keying so much on Aaron Rodgers and his receivers. Franklin is a shifty back with great receiving skills. He had 323 yards receiving with 9.8 yards per catch in his last year at UCLA. In fact, Lacy had similar receiving numbers in his last year at Alabama (338 yards at 9.7 yards per catch), so defenses won’t be able to automatically read “run” with Lacy and “pass” with Franklin. Aside from the minor durability concern that Lacy carries (he did have turf toe and ankle sprain concerns in college), this promises to be the best running back tandem Green Bay has seen in a very long time.

Wide Receiver

Though not as impressive, I give Thompson props for realizing that building the aerial corps for the future is important in light of losing Greg Jennings this year and potentially losing James Jones next year to free agency. In taking Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey in the seventh round, Thompson got some good potential long term prospects to work on during the season. Johnson has some serious straight line speed (a 4.39 40-yard dash during his pro day) and Dorsey has great vertical ability to go get down field and snag passes at their highest point. Dorsey has very limited numbers (only 18 catches last season), but his raw skills can be a boon with the right quarterback. Rodgers may be that quarterback.

Offensive Line

OK, OK, I admit it. I didn’t think the offensive line was as important and several of you pointed that out to me. Multiple times a piece and usually in a very forceful manner. Point taken. The Packers did a great job taking care of protecting their prized quarterback by grabbing David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter in the fourth round. Bakhtiari is a solid and smart offensive tackle with ability to slide in at either right or left tackle. Tretter will work well in a zone-blocking scheme if the Packers continue to do that. Either way, both can be seen as improvements to what was one of the NFL’s weakest offensive lines last year.

Ultimately, I’d say the Packers did well in the draft. At least well enough to put them in a position to continue winning in the future, and possibly even win in different ways (i.e. not have to rely so much on Rodgers). Either way, I feel this line referring to Rambo in Rambo III could apply to Ted Thompson as well:

Zaysen: Are you insane? ... Who do you think this man is? God?

Colonel Trautman: No. God would have mercy. He won't.

Great, now I’ve ruined Rambo III for myself as well. Another reason not to like the Packers. Sigh…

By Ha Kung Wong (Twitter: @Rhihan)


  1. Packer fan here. Not all of us hate the Bears or their fans. I for one share the same repect for them that you have for the Pack as mentioned in your other article. In fact, when the Pack are down and out (like the 2006 season) I'll root for The Bears. So cheers to you for keeping it objective!

    And that was a good, insightful article Sir! You know your X's and O's. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks very much! I appreciate the kind words!

      I too "hate" the Pack but still root for the division! I've always had respect for the Pack since, heck let's face it, they're basically the face of NFL football as we know it. I mean, who can hate on Lombardi? But I have to admit, football is a lot more fun when you have rivals. ;-)

      So cheers to you and the Packers, they did a great job (as usual) in the draft. But I'll be wearing navy and orange come November 4 and December 29. ;-)

  2. I always wished they could find a way to make a dual Rambo/Rocky movie (post-Rocky IV). That would have kicked ass.

    Lacy is going to be a stud for the Packers. Your Bears better watch out!

    1. Yes, that would be totally awesome. In fact, if they could make Apollo come back as a Zombie and we find out that Drago is a terminator sent back in time by Skynet to terminate Rambo, but got confused and went after Rocky instead, that would be AMAZING. Why in the world am I not a movie producer?

      In all seriousness, Lacy is going to be great. I thought he was a good fit before, during and after the draft. And I'm still having nightmares of him trouncing my Fighting Irish in the BCS Championship game, so I sure hope I don't keep having nightmares of him trouncing my Bears... :-(

      Thanks for reading!

  3. You are correct! i feel the same way about the mutual respect for the Bears..If the packers are out i root for the bears.. great article! and im glad that some fans can judge objectively when writing an article!

    1. Well, I have to say, you guys have to be the nicest group of Packers fans I've run into yet! And just so it doesn't become a scandal, I HAVE bought Packers Stock before...but only as a gift for my sister-in-law who happens to be a Packers fan. ;-)

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Honestly,

    I grew up in Wisconsin and live in California now. All I can say is Packer fans and bear fans are the same. Insanely loyal to their teams, no matter how good or bad. Don't mind playing in the elements. It's a mutual respect thing. I also like to see the Bears do well especially if the Packers are a game up in the division.

    Being around Minnesota or the fans out here. They only care when the team is good. That's what I love about Bear fans... You guys have had a rough go of it and still Chicago is a football town first and foremost. What's not to love about that.

    1. Here here! Well said! I feel the same way about Packers fans. And what good is a friendly rivalry when your opponent isn't good? Much rather have it competitive for both sides! And I know a thing or two about being a fan of a losing team. I just so happen to be a Cubs fan too. And that 1908 World Series Tshirt is getting awfully old. ;-)