The Green Bay Packers finished the 2012 season with a record of 11-5 and won the NFC North for the second straight year. However, they also lost in the divisional round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year. With holes on both sides of the ball, the Packers will have plenty to think about with what to do with their first round pick.
On offense, the Packers have an established passing attack led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but have lost one of their top wide receivers in Greg Jennings in free agency. Though Jennings is a big loss, the Packers should have enough depth in their receiving corps to replace him.
It’s the running game and the offensive line that needs to get fixed for the Packers. Their rushing attack was ranked 20th last season and failed to have a 1,000 yard rusher for the third straight year. At the end of last season, running back DuJuan Harris showed some promise, rushing for 157 yards on just 34 carries. Harris might be a suitable backup, but the Packers still need an fresh legs in the backfield. Alex Green is young quick running back, but he has struggled to establish himself with the team.
With all of this said, the Packers would be wise to draft someone like Montee Ball with their first-round pick. Ball rushed for over 5,000 yards in his four years at Wisconsin and scored a total of 82 touchdowns. Ball has the perfect combination of power and speed and is great at making sharp cuts at the line of scrimmage and down the field. He had a slow 40 time at the combine, but his cone drill was one of the best with a time of 6.88 seconds. Ball is the type of player who will be a star in the league and can be the perfect compliment to Rodgers and the Packers offense.
If Ball is not drafted in the first round, the next best option for the Packers is to get help with their offensive line. The o-line allowed Rodgers to be sacked 51 times last season and struggled with both pass protection and run protection. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga missed most of the season due to injury and will instantly improve the line once he returns at the start of next season. With Josh Sitton as the right guard, the Packers are pretty much set on the right side of the ball. It’s the left side, particularly with left tackle Marshall Newhouse who struggled to protection Rodgers blindside. With the retirement of Jeff Saturday, Green Bay also needs an upgrade at the center position. However, their isn’t a valuable center that should be taken in the second round.
While the Packers struggled on defense, they shouldn’t draft a defensive player in the first round. The entire draft last season was on defensive players and they are have a core group of players who need time to improve and get chemistry playing together. So in this draft, offense is what the Packers need to focus on in the first round.
Follow me on Twitter @KVP_10