Sailing the Seas of Cheese: Why Nick Collins isn’t a Factor in the 2012 Draft
Dont get me wrong. I love Nick Collins. There is no question in anyone’s mind that his absence contributed to the Packer’s rather anemic performance on the defensive side of the ball all season long. As we near the 2012 NFL draft later in the week, the Packers and Collins have yet to have that face-to-face to discuss if he can, in any capacity, return to playing field this season. Of course the pessimist in me worries that the conversation keeps getting pushed to the backburner because he’s either looking for some neurologist on the planet to give him the green light after being told no time and time again or the he and the Packers already know this conversation is over and the Packers have already moved on with a plan without him.
Like I said, I tend to be a pessimist. But since I truly have no clue what is going on inside of the International House of Packer, I guess I’ll have to wait like the rest of us and see what happens on Thursday.
Then again this is Ted Thompson we are talking about. Unless your name is Aaron Rodgers, chances are Uncle Ted isn’t going to draft a plan around you. Welcome to being one of the plebes, 2012 draftees. Thompson has already determined you are just one cog in a bigger machine of Packers, Inc. So, no, I don’t think the 2012 draft rises or falls on Nick Collin’s health status. In fact the draft needs will not change if Nick is healthy enough to start against San Francisco or if he’s looking at hanging it all up.
Giant question mark in the Offensive Line notwithstanding, we all pretty much know that the Packers’ biggest need is shoring up its defense. Looking at most of the mock drafts, the experts–of which I am not–are agreeing that the Packers will likely take an outside linebacker to bookend with Clay Matthews in the first round. Can’t say a disagree with any of them. Because let’s face it, the guy opposite of Matthews was a revolving door of mediocrity at best the past season. Sure, there were occasional flashes of good (not greatness) but for the post part that role could’ve been filled by any one of a forgetable cast of characters that added up to jack and squat on a good day.
So, yeah, OLB is a priority that trumps anything that remotely has to do with Nick Collins. And if the football gods fall in line with the pundits, it looks like Charlie Peprah will not be the only person yelling Roll Tide at Lambeau Next season (okay, I’m also yelling Roll Tide since, well, I am an unabashed Crimson Tide fan. But since I’m yelling it from section 431, no one can hear me.) Last week lot of the mocks have the Packers taking either Dont’a Hightower or Courtey Upshaw. This week, it seems to be Shea McLellin from Boise State who is everyones’s crosshairs for the 28th pick. (Sorry, Colleen, I find him a little meh.) And then there are still others that like Nick Perry from USC (Oh look, matching USC bookend, how quaint.)
In the end, it really doesn’t matter which one of these guys suits up in Green and Gold. The take home message is the Packers is looking for some industrial strength beef and speed to bolster its pass rush. And as a reminder, that would still be the first priority even if Collins hadn’t hurt his neck last year.
Then there is the Packers Secondary (and yes, I am lumping the cornerbacks and safeties together because we really need to look at their problems as a whole.) It needs help whether or not Collins returns. For the sake of argument, let’s just say Collins returns, there is still the giant gaping hole that is not being filled adequately by either Morgan Burnett or Charlie Peprah. Neither is in the same league as Collins. Oh, but the Packers could move Charles Woodson to the Safety Position…I can hear it already.
But that’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul. And it’s only a temporizing measure as there are only a finite amount of games left in the reliable old Woodson machine. Besides, you need to have a plan in place if you move your most reliable cornerback out of his position and into another.
Six of one, half-dozen of another. I would not be surprised if a safety or corner back is a the Packer’s second round choice (or first round choice if Ted decides he wants to prove the pundits wrong if the best available player at pick 28 is a safety or CB.) I won’t even entertain the idea that Morris Claiborne will still be around by the time the Pack is on the clock. But if Ted is in a secondary mood in the first round, safety Mark Barron (hey, look ROLL TIDE) or cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, Yes, he’s a little on the scrawny side, but there may be potential there, especially if Dom wants to do a zone package with a little help from a Nickel named Woodson.
While I joke about my love for Alabama and, sure, it is no doubt clouding my opinions regarding the draft. But all joking aside, the Crimson Tide did have one of, if not THE toughest defense in all of college ball last year. It would be a shame not to pick the low-hanging fruit if it is at all available.
And then there is Adam Czech’s gem over at All Green Bay Packers: Michigan State’s Trenton Robinson. I won’t rehash what the fabulous Mr. Czech had to say about Robinson. No, he’s not a Claiborne quality rock star, but he could fit well into Packer’s secondary.
Needless to say, the Packers will need to beef up their secondary with our without Nick Collins. It all depends if Ted wants to do it in the First Round or the Second Round.
Or Ted Thompson could have the last laugh and draft somene like Kevin Zeitler instead and stick it to all of the draft prognosticators.
*disclaimer: I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a draft expert. I am a fickle, biased girl that tends to wishlist players if I like their team. Caveat Emptor.