Thursday, April 22, 2010

With a Name Like Bulaga He's Gotta Be Good (or at least big)

The 2010 draft is under way, and the first round went down about as expected.  And, as Packer fans, I think we should be happy with the pick.  Certainly O-line, particularly left tackle, was a need, and it seems like we got a top prospect without having to trade up.  As expected, Trent Williams and Russell Okung were off the board early (by the 6th round, in fact), and Anthony Davis went in the 11th.  But no more OTs were selected until the Packers scooped up Bryan Bulaga from Iowa with the 23rd overall pick.

I have to admit, despite my Big 10 loyalty, that I'm a little skeptical of players coming out of that conference.  A.J. Hawk comes to mind as an example of a guy who looked dominant against the lower talent bar of the Big 10, but has only been decent as a pro.  Generally prefer SEC kids.  But Bulaga was widely regarded as a top 15 pick, is named after a whale, and looks like an East German body builder.  So I guess that's all promising.

As Thompson said, "We were a little surprised when Bryan was still available, and we felt like it was a very good value pick for us."  I just hope his neck width is attributable to his workout regimen, not a thyroid the size of an airbag (he had thyroiditis).  With Ndamukong Suh going to the Lions, the importance of getting help at O-line was even more critical.  So I'm glad we got a guy at that position without having to over reach.  (By the way, the Lions also scooped up Jahvid Best, who was still on the board when the Packers picked and I was secretly kind of hoping for just so we could have 2 Cal Bears in the backfield.)

So on to round 2 (in which the Packers have the #24 pick, #56 overall) and round 3 (with pick #22, #86 overall).  The priority now shifts, in my opinion, to defensive backs.  Unfortunately, the pickings are slim.  Eric Berry and Earl Thomas both went early as expected.  Taylor Mays, safety from USC is still available, but I don't know if he's any good.  There was a bit of a run on cornerbacks in the first round, with 5 of them (Joe Haden, Kareem Jackson, Devin McCourty, Kyle Wilson, and Patrick Robinson) selected.  Since that was basically all the CBs I'd ever heard of, I'm not sure whether there's anyone left at that position worthy of a look.

I still look at running back as a possibility, with only Spiller, Matnews and Best picked up so far.  But I think Thompson's most likely next move is an OLB.  With Kampman gone (and not particularly effective while he was there), it's certainly a need.  The JS Online broke down some of the top players at this position who could fit into the Packers' 3-4 scheme -- many of them are still on the board.  So that's my prediction on the next pick.

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