Brett Favre, this one's for you.
Forget about parting gifts for the lame-duck quarterback. The Green Bay Packers just delivered what Favre needs most in a season expected to be his last.
|Packers GM Ted Thompson began a successful weekend by picking A.J. Hawk. (AP)|
Green Bay was one of the weekend's big winners in a draft that can't help but benefit Favre this year and the club for the long haul. There were guards. There was a tackle. Wide receivers. Return specialists. A pass rusher.
And there was A.J. Hawk.
In short, it was one of the best drafts in years for Green Bay, and I haven't even mentioned the team's acquisition of free-agent cornerback Charles Woodson. Anyway, it's about time the Pack knocked one out of the park.
Now the question: Is it in time to send Favre out a winner?
We'll have to wait on that one. But if you're Favre, who now is on the clock, you're grateful the club sent in the cavalry. Favre said he didn't want to end his career with last year's disappointing results, and this draft virtually assures that won't happen.
That doesn't mean I anticipate Green Bay challenging for the top of the NFC North. I don't. But I also don't anticipate Favre having to carry this team again.
And here's why:
- Hawk becomes an immediate starter. Not only was he the best linebacker in the draft, he might've been the best defender in it, too -- and, yes, I'm counting No. 1 pick Mario Williams.
- Guard Daryn Colledge is a prospective starter. He was the starting left tackle at Boise State, where he was named the team's Outstanding Offensive Lineman last season. What you like about Colledge is that he's mean, tough and strong -- setting several school weightlifting records. He's also durable, starting 51 games at Boise.
- Greg Jennings was the fourth-best wide receiver in this draft. So he played at Western Michigan. He produced, with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and a school-record 238 receptions. Oh, yeah, he also caught 39 scoring passes -- breaking the previous Western Michigan record by 12 TDs. Essentially, he replaces Javon Walker, traded for a second-round pick.
- Linebacker Abdul Hodge was a steal at the 67th position. The guy was so good last year that he shared team MVP honors with Chad Greenway, taken with the 17th pick. Not only did Hodge lead the Hawkeyes in tackles in each of the last three years, he averaged a conference-best 13.2 tackles a game last season.
- Wide receiver Cory Rodgers moonlights as a return specialist, leading the WAC last year with a 30.3-yard average on kickoff returns. If you think you're going to return a lot of kicks, you might as well find someone who's competent. The Pack just did.
- It did again when it found Boston College cornerback Will Blackmon in the fourth round. Blackmon adds depth to the secondary, but he's more likely to have an impact on punt and kickoff returns. In 2004 he became the first player in school history to return both for TDs in the same season, and his 2,803 career yards in kickoff returns were only 120 yards short of the NCAA record. Blackmon and Woodson will lobby coach Mike McCarthy for time in the huddle with Favre. Each has experience at wide receiver, with Blackmon switching from corner to wide receiver his senior year.
And that was just the beginning. Green Bay also added offensive lineman Tony Moll. A productive quarterback to sit behind Favre and Aaron Rodgers. A couple of defensive linemen. And a safety.
Brett Favre may be winding down, but the Packers? Maybe, just maybe, they're getting started again.