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Hey Wilde! On 2009 Draft, Wilson, Grant

Apr 12, 2012 -- 1:52pm
 
Photo/Associated Press
 
Hey Wilde! Generally it takes 3 years to grade a draft, so this year would be the 2009 draft:
 
1  B.J. Raji                        
1  Clay Matthews              
4  T.J. Lang                       
5  Quinn Johnson            
5  Jamon Meredith          
6  Jarius Wynn                
6  Brandon Underwood    
7  Brad Jones                  
 
Thoughts on 2009 draft?
-- John, via email

Hey John! Those are three vital names at the top of that list. Although Raji backslid from his terrific 2010 season and Matthews certainly could’ve used some help in the pass-rush department, those two remain the young stars on defense. Lang, meanwhile, proved he was more than up to the task of taking over for five-year starter Daryn Colledge at left guard. Moving up to take Matthews did come at a price, as the Packers gave the New England Patriots their second-round pick (No. 41) and both of their third-round picks – their own (No. 73) and the pick they received from the New York Jets for Brett Favre (No. 83) – while getting a fifth-round pick (No. 162) back from the Patriots. But it proved well worth the cost. Lang was a find in the fourth round, and while Johnson, Wynn, Underwood and Jones have all been on the 53-man roster, none has proven to be a significant late-round find. Jones is the best of the bunch, having started nine games as a rookie, and he figures to get the first crack at the right outside linebacker job this year again.

Hey Jason! Do you see Ted Thompson drafting a QB, and if so, what round?  Russell Wilson a possibility?
-- Chuck, Pacific Palisades, Calif., via email

Hey Chuck! I do see the Packers taking a flier on a later-round quarterback. A value pick like Matt Flynn would obviously be the dream scenario, but let’s be honest – as good as Aaron Rodgers is, the reigning NFL MVP still needs a capable backup. Is Graham Harrell capable? I don’t think even the Packers know that for certain. As for Wilson, despite his lack of height, I think scouts agree that he’s got a lot of very appealing qualities. My guess is that he’s gone by the time the Packers want to start thinking about taking a quarterback.

Hey Wilde! There's been speculation about the Packers maybe moving up in the draft to get the person they want. Any possibility of them using their depth at receiver (James Jones) in that move? That would then open up a berth for Tori Gurley, Diondre Borel and Shaky Smithson to fight for.
-- Jeff, Sheboygan, via email

Hey Jeff! Sure, that’s possible. Do I think it’s likely? No, I don’t. Everyone’s always looking to move James Jones. Will all due respect to Donald Driver – and he is due a ton of respect – I’d rather have James Jones on my team than Driver at this point in their respective careers. I realize how beloved Donald is among the fan base, and I know how terrific he’s been in the community. Plus, the dude can do the paso doble. But I thought with limited opportunities last year, Jones showed his value. I also think that while it is noteworthy that the Packers paid Gurley and Borel 53-man roster money to stay on their practice squad, and kept Smithson around all year on injured reserve, it’s a long way from those roles to being significant contributors. Jones (and Driver, for that matter) are proven commodities at this point. The one receiver I do think merits more playing time and more touches, though, is Randall Cobb. He really impressed me last year as a rookie.

Hey Wilde! I'm a Packer fan, and I always take at least one trip to an away Packer game every year.  If you had to pick among the five non-division cities (Houston, Indianapolis, St. Louis, New York, Seattle) to visit next year based purely on the city to visit where would you go and why?
-- Andrew, via email

Hey Andrew! Regular listeners to Green & Gold Today know that Bill Johnson and I are honorary members of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Bureau. Some folks might even know that Paula and I went on our honeymoon to New York City. But truth be told, I love the Pacific Northwest, and am most looking forward to the trip to Seattle. As a fan, I have to think the storyline – Aaron Rodgers vs. matt Flynn – will appeal to you, but as a city, I love Seattle.

Hey Wilde! Do you think Ryan Grant returns in 2012?
-- Adam, via Twitter (@AdamWisc)

Hey Adam! I do. It took a while for the running back market to set, and it turned out to be pretty soft. I know Grant wants to come back; he talked about it on the show recently. I don’t think he’ll find a lot of money and opportunity on the open market at this point, and I know he likes playing in the Packers’ offense, with the guys he’s with, on a Super Bowl contender. From the Packers’ perspective, while they may like their young guys like James Starks (multiple nagging injuries last season), Alex Green (coming off a torn ACL) and Brandon Saine (minor contributions after practice-squad call-up), I still think they need a reliable player like Grant, who showed his old durability last season (he missed one game with a bruised kidney) after missing virtually all of 2010 with that broken ankle suffered in the season-opener at Philadelphia.

Got a question? Submit yours either via email (jwilde@espnwisconsin.com) or via Twitter using the hashtag #HeyWilde.

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