2011 NFL Draft Needs: Green Bay Packers

ARLINGTON TX - FEBRUARY 06: Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31 to 25 in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Cheeseheads across America rejoiced this past February as the Packers brought home the Lombardi Trophy to Wisconsin. As Green Bay heads into the offseason there are very few holes it will have to fill to contend for the title again next year.

The Packers were able to win the Super Bowl with significant injuries on both sides of the football. Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley were lost for the season on offense and the same goes for middle linebacker Nick Barnett. Through all the injuries, Green Bay was able to persevere and find competent replacements at any position.

On offense, Aaron Rodgers led a high powered attack that averaged 24.2 points per game. Without Grant, the running game struggled throughout most of the regular season, but sixth-round draft pick James Starks was the leading rusher in the playoffs with 315 yards. Rodgers wasn’t short on targets to throw to as Jordy Nelson and James Jones emerged this year to go along with Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.

Clay Matthews led a Packers’ defense that only allowed 15 points per game, which was the second lowest total in the NFL next to Pittsburgh. Matthews had another big year coming off the edge as he finished with 13.5 sacks. The strength of the defense is clearly in the secondary where Tramon Williams had another solid year to compliment the strong play of Charles Woodson and Nick Collins.

 

 

1. Offensive Tackle: After selecting Bryan Bulaga with their first pick in the 2010 draft, some might argue that this isn’t the Packers biggest need. While Bulaga is the right tackle of the future, Green Bay has to have some one in place to take over for the oft-injured Chad Clifton on the left side. The key to the Packers success is hinged on keeping Rodgers healthy and that’s why adding another tackle is important. If none of the top tackles are left at the end of the first round, Green Bay could add some interior help with someone like Mike Pouncey.

2. Defensive End: B.J. Raji has a bright future ahead of him at nose tackle, but what’s up in the air is who will be playing next to him. With Cullen Jenkins set to become an unrestricted free agent Green Bay should look to add one or two defensive ends in the draft. Some options at the end of the first round for the Packers include: Muhammad Wilkerson, Cameron Heyward and Christian Ballard. Even if Jenkins returns it might not be a bad idea to add some depth at that position.

3. Rush OLB: Matthews is locked in at one of the outside linebacker positions for the long term future, but finding someone to compliment him should be considered. Erik Walden and Frank Zombo are good depth players at best. One guy to keep an eye in the second round is Dontay Moch from Nevada. Dom Capers will find a spot for someone with that kind of athleticism.   

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