by Matt Bowen
March 11, 02010
The Packers desperately need special teams help in the form of a dynamic returner on Sundays at Lambeau Field, but it is hard to ignore an even more glaring need up front on the Packers offensive line.
Is there a way for Green Bay to get both in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft this April?
In his latest Mock Draft, the NFP’s Wes Bunting has the Packers taking Clemson RB C.J. Spiller at No. 23 — the type of player that can test the edge of a defense with his speed and add a dimension as a returner. It would be hard to pass up on an offensive talent like Spiller, who projects as a game breaker at the next level, if he is still hanging around at pick No. 23.
That is a lot of eye candy for a GM in the later half of the first round.
However, the O-Line in Green Bay still remains an issue if you take an offensive skill player in the first round. Considering that the draft is loaded with O-Line talent, it is going to be tough for Packers GM Ted Thompson to take a pass on up-front talent — which will still be available at No. 23.
Could Green Bay go O-Line in the first and target a player like Ole Miss’ Dexter McCluster in the second round?
McCluster isn’t as polished when stacked up against Spiller as a pure RB, but then again, the Packers need a dynamic player who can contribute in a variety of ways. With the former Ole Miss star, you get that. He is a “sub package” player on offense, in that he can be used in the slot, out of the backfield and aligned as the “X” receiver backside when the Packers use their empty sets.
Basically, there are a lot of possibilities for a player like McCluster on offense, but the main attraction is what he can provide to the Packers in the return game and as a cover man on special teams units.
In Indianapolis, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy made it a point to address the special teams aspect of his ball club when he was at the podium, and finding a guy like McCluster — who could be one of the biggest steals of the first two rounds — is part of the solution.
On draft weekend we tend to overlook the impact rookies will have on special teams, just as we tend to overlook special teams in the actual season. But, finding players that can contribute to the kicking game in the draft is part of building a championship team.
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