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Team needs: Defensive end, linebacker, offensive tackle
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|Would the Packers select Outland Trophy winner Andre Smith despite his disappointing offseason?|
Dream scenario: Given their spot at No. 9 overall, the Packers should be able to draft a top player at one of their need positions. And it's a good thing, because even after a shift to the 3-4 defense, Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson laid off the free-agent market and saved most of his work for the draft. Texas linebacker/defensive end Brian Orakpo would be an ideal fit to serve as a multidown pass-rusher from the linebacker position. It appears Orakpo will be off the board at No. 9, but stranger things have happened. If Orakpo is gone, Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin could give the Packers an immediate starter. LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson is another possibility.
Plan B: This is where it gets interesting. Left tackle Andre Smith, once considered the top player in the draft, is likely to be available at No. 9. Smith's stock has dropped after a disastrous performance at the scouting combine, and he didn't help himself by appearing out of shape at his pro day workout. But anyone who looks at the film will tell you Smith was a dominant player in college and, from a football standpoint, projects the same way in the NFL. The Packers have a definite need at both tackle positions, where Chad Clifton is nearing the end of his career and Mark Tauscher is recovering from knee surgery. But the Packers will have to square Smith's offseason problems before deciding whether to draft him.
Scouts Inc.'s take: "I think they need to go defense, but I look at Tauscher and Clifton and sometimes it looks like they're just getting run around by defensive ends. Does an Andre Smith make sense there if he's on the board? Or with the 3-4 defense, is it maybe a guy like Maybin or Orakpo? To me, if you look at the history of drafting for the 3-4 defense, you usually can get those guys later in the draft. Look at Joey Porter.
Who has final say: Thompson enters his fifth draft as the Packers' general manager. Known for accumulating additional picks, Thompson has chosen a total of 43 players over that span. Twenty-eight remain on the roster.
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