by Acme Packing Company
With the 30th overall selection in the 2008 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft, the Green Bay Packers have selected Sam Baker, offensive tackle, USC. Brandon, head blogger at Acme Packing Company, joins us now to explain why selecting Baker is a smart move for the Packers:
Most mock drafts think the Packers are going to take a cornerback because of the advanced age and decline in play by CBs Al Harris and Charles Woodson. But GM Ted Thompson has only drafted one cornerback, 4th rounder CB Will Blackmon was taken in 2005, in the past three years since he's run the team. Nickel CB Jarrett Bush and starting S Atari Bigby were both undrafted free agents. His preference appears to be build the team from the inside-out, and the secondary is something you address after you take care of the quarterback, offensive line, and defensive front seven.
That said, Thompson has never used his top pick on an offensive lineman either. But just as Harris and Woodson are advancing in age, LT Chad Clifton and RT Mark Tauscher are both getting up there too. Plus Tauscher is the Packers only significant free agent scheduled after the 2008 season, although few people probably expect the lifelong Wisconsin Badger and Green Bay Packer to actually leave the team. But Tauscher is finishing up a bargain basement 7 year, $19 million (yes, in total) contract, although the team did renegotiate his sixth and seventh years to make his base pay resemble what starting right tackles are paid today, and maybe he'll look elsewhere for one last big contract.
Baker doesn't make my heart swoon, but he can probably play guard as well as tackle, making him an ideal insurance policy at tackle while throwing him into the mix at right guard where there is no established starter and the starting job will be decided next preseason. He's injury prone, but the players at the bottom of the 1st round usually have some blemishes. He doesn't have great size, but the Packers play a zone blocking scheme that doesn't favor giants so he should fit right in. He reminds me of OL Daryn Colledge, who the Packers selected in the 2nd round from Boise State in 2006, so Thompson might have a soft spot for smaller tackles from the western states.
Matt Miller, host of this site as well as owner of New Era Scouting, provides his analysis below:
I am a little torn on this pick. Sam Baker is a very good offensive tackle, one who can play the left or right side and maybe even guard. He comes from a football family, his father David is the commissioner of the Arena Football League, and is a high character player. His performance on the field suffered in 2006, but he rebounded to have a very nice '07 season. I've had him as high as my number one tackle during his career, but he's hovering right around five right now.
The Packers do not have many true needs. The team is very much in limbo with the retirement of Brett Favre and the inexperience of Aaron Rodgers. There is youth at running back and wide receiver, but not much talent at tight end or youth up front (although we do like Allen Barbre). Adding Baker is a pick for the future, not 2008, and that is fine. He's a good value here (6th best player on the board) and comes at a position of great strength in this class. There are a lot of people who would love to see a tight end here (Fred Davis or Martellus Bennett), but I agree with identifying a future need and filling it.
:: Sam Baker Scouting Report - New Era Scouting :: Matt Miller's Top Five Prospects Remaining: 1. LB Dan Connor, 2. LB Jerod Mayo, 3. QB Joe Flacco, 4. Kentwan Balmer, 5. LB Shawn Crable
The last pick of the first round will be made by ETVal of Big Blue View. Well... ETVal is actually on vacation tomorrow, so he's already made the pick. But you get the drift. The Giants pick will be up tomorrow morning, and the defending Super Bowl Champions are now "on the clock". Round one wraps up tomorrow, and round two begins!