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NFL Green Bay Packers

2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Priorities for the Green Bay Packers

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2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Priorities for the Green Bay Packers

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Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

The all-important NFL Draft is approaching for the Green Bay Packers. Since winning the Super Bowl, the Packers have had back-to-back seasons with disappointing outcomes in the postseason, falling well short of expectations to return to the Super Bowl even though they have arguably the NFL’s best quarterback in a pass-oriented league.

The Packers have had yet another quiet offseason in the free agent market. So much so that they haven’t even been able to agree to a long-term deal with their most prominent star: quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Not only have the Packers failed to add any new pieces, but they have also watched as starting wide receiver Greg Jennings, back up tight end Tim Crabtree, and starting outside linebacker Erik Walden all sign with other teams. This puts added importance on the draft for the Packers to replace some of the parts they’ve lost and add young players that can help get them back on track and get back to the Super Bowl next season.

Green Bay doesn’t pick until late in the first round, so they may not be able to get a game changer that can make a big impact right away. Instead, they’ll be looking to address specific needs that will make their areas of weakness less obvious and less likely to be exploited like they have been the past two seasons. If the Packers have scouted well and make smart picks, they should be able to subtly strengthen their roster. Here’s a look at the top five priorities that the Packers will have in this year’s draft.

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5. Wide Receiver

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Jeff Hanisch - USATODAY Sports

It’s hard to imagine the Packers with a shortage of offensive playmakers after what Aaron Rodgers has done the past few seasons, but with the retirement of Donald Driver and Greg Jennings going to the Minnesota Vikings in free agency, there’s room for at least one more receiver. It would be asking a lot of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to fill the void left by Jennings and Driver without getting any help. Luckily for the Packers, this is a deep wide receiver class and they should be able to wait a few rounds and take a receiver later in the draft.

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4. Defensive Tackle

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Mary Langenfeld - USATODAY Sports

Green Bay isn’t thrilled with the job B.J. Raji has done the past couple of seasons. He’s big and takes up a lot of space, but the production just hasn’t been what they would like it to be. The team may look to draft a defensive tackle that can challenge Raji for playing time and possibly usurp him as the starter.

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3. Offensive Line

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Nelson Chenault - USATODAY Sports

It’s tough to pinpoint a specific position along the offensive line where the Packers need help the most because the line as a whole is in rough shape. Green Bay may look to use their first round pick on an offensive tackle that can give the entire unit a big lift, but if not then they’ll probably use two or three picks on offensive linemen that can play multiple positions in order to plug some holes and provide some depth.

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2. Defensive End

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Mike Neal - USATODAY Sports

The Packers have to feel good about what they have at linebacker, but the players in front of them have to be better if Clay Matthews and company are going to be able to put pressure on the quarterback consistently. Look for Green Bay to draft at least one, if not two athletic defensive ends that can help set the edge. There are plenty of mock drafts out there that have the Packers addressing this need with their first round pick, so don’t be surprised if that’s what ends up happening.

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1. Running Back

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Matthew Emmons - USATODAY Sports

Green Bay’s running game was so bad last year that Aaron Rodgers was their second leading rusher. The Packers only had eight rushing touchdowns last year, and only four of those were scored by actual running backs. This has led to speculation that Green Bay will break convention and draft a running back in the first round, most likely Eddie Lacy. It would be quite a surprise if day three of the draft started and the Packers were yet to draft a running back, because they definitely need to do something to improve their backfield.