Teeing off with Trent

Previewing the Packers offseason

Story by Trent Tetzlaff, Staff Writer

After a rather disappointing finish against Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers to end the 2013 season, the Packers staff has begun to prep for free agency and the 2014 NFL draft.

Although the Packers won’t be making any big name selections at pick 21 this offseason, they can find a player with great value who can contribute right away. The immediate thought is that the Packers will look for a tight end, safety, or defensive lineman in the first round of the draft to fill the void of lost players at those positions.

The top two tight ends available in this year’s draft are Eric Ebron out of North Carolina and Jace Amero out of Texas Tech. Both of these guys are great athletes and would most likely be great targets for any NFL quarterback, especially Aaron Rodgers. But the Packers real need is defense.

Over the past few seasons Morgan Burnett looked like a solid secondary player with pro bowler Nick Collins next to him, creating takeaways and not allowing receivers to get behind him. However, after the unfortunate injury to Collins, Burnett’s productivity has gone down alongside M.D. Jennings. Jennings contract is up this offseason; however Burnett just received a new contract locking him up for the foreseeable future. If the Packers would like to slowly begin to improve their defense this offseason, then they need to start in the secondary.

Many seem to forget the Packers best defensive back,Casey Hayward, was injured most of the season and that his presence in the secondary is huge. With someone like Hayward on the field, the Packers then don’t have to rely on special teams players like Jarrett Bush or Davon House to make plays against talented receivers. With the return of Hayward to the secondary, and the addition of another talented safety, the Packers could turn a scrutinized defense into a powerhouse.

The top safety entering the 2014 NFL draft is projected first rounder from Alabama Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix. If a player like Clinton-Dix falls to the Packers in the first round he is a must take, but if he is off of the board they would most likely go another way with the pick and look toward  free agency. Donte Whitner who has expressed interest in the Packers organization would be a perfect fit for the secondary.

The Packers have never been known to make many moves in free agency, however with $28 million in projected cap space they could become big spenders. When the Packers have signed players through free agency these players have thrived for the most part. Players like Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, and even Howard Green were players that become important pieces on the road to the Super Bowl victory in 2010. It would be nice to see the Packers make a move or two in free agency this offseason, in the area of linebacker, defensive line, or safety to bolster their rotations and to bring in some veteran leadership.

This offseason may be one of the most important in years for the Packers because of what is at stake. You can bet that new defensive personnel will be brought in to give the offense the boost it needs, but who they bring in is real question. The Packers offense is aging, Aaron Rodgers is now 30 and his favorite targets Jordy Nelson and James Jones are no longer spring chickens. The offseason is upon us folks and now we must sit and wait until spring to see what GM Ted Thompson, and Mike McCarthy decides to do with an aging offense and an ailing defense.