Interactive » Blogs
Your Story

Mon, February 3, 2014

Stop focusing on free agency! Seattle beat everyone in the draft!

With the Seattle Seahawks hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after a dominant 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48, Packers fans have already taken it upon themselves to point out what Seattle did that Green Bay didn’t. 

It happens every year in the NFL; the Super Bowl Champ goes on the pedestal and that is the “new plan” to a Championship.  It happened last year with the Ravens, the year before with the Giants, and (yes Packer fans) Green Bay after they won it in Dallas.  Remember the Falcons trading their entire draft to get Julio Jones???

The main theme this year being tossed out by Packer fans will be Seattle’s willingness to go after free agents.  Their GM is John Schneider, who worked under Ted Thompson in Green Bay, but appears to have a different approach.  In his 4th year, Schneider took the Seahawks to one of the bottom teams in the league to the pinnacle. It feels like Packer fans think this is all because of his willingness to sign free agents and now Green Bay must do the same!

It is true; Schneider did bust out the pocketbook on a strong group players.  In fact, on the Super Bowl Roster, here is the list in no particular order with trades:

- QB Tarvaris Jackson (2013 FA)
- RB Marshawn Lynch (2010 trade)
- FB Michael Robinson (2010 FA)
- WR Percy Harvin (2013 trade)
- TE Zach Miller (2011 FA)
- OL Paul McQuistan (2011 FA)
- OL Breno Giacomini (2011 FA)
- DL Chris Clemans (2010 FA)
- DL Michael Bennett (2013 FA)
- DL Cliff Avrill (2013 FA)
- DL Clinton McDonald (2013 FA)
- DL Tony McDaniel (2013 FA)
- LB O’Brien Schofield (2013 FA)
- LB Heath Farwell (2012 FA)
- S Chris Maragos (2011 FA)

Impressive list, I can’t lie about that.  By no means am I saying the list of players on the 2010 Packers who were free agents/trades is comparable, but, somehow, it is forgotten that Thompson actually did go out and do that: Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Howard Green, Charlie Peprah, Dimitri Nance, Tom Crabtree, Erik Walden, Diyral Briggs, and Matt Wilhelm.  Brandon Chillar, Derrick Martin, and Anthony Smith were also brought in but ended up on IR. 

The Packers situation has definitely changed in the last few years.  When the Packers won the Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers was in the bottom half of the league in QB cap figures, Clay Matthews was yet to be paid, and a majority of their key players were on rookie deals. This allowed the Packers to be a little more flexible.  I see that being similar to where Seattle is.  When Schneider came in, it was a roster overhaul so out of necessity he brought in free agents.  Thompson did that, too.

This brings me to my big point.  Drafting and developing.  This is where Seattle has BLOWN Green Bay (at their own game) out of the water since Schneider left.  Take a look at his 2010-2012 drafts. I am leaving 2013 out because impact is too early to see: 

- 2010: OT Russell Okung (1), S Earl Thomas (1), WR Golden Tate (2), CB Walter Thurmond (4), S Kam Chancellor (5)
- 2011: OT James Carpenter (1), LB K.J Wright (4), CB Richard Sherman (5), DB Byron Maxwell (6), OLB Malcom Smith (7)
- 2012: DE Bruce Irvin (1), LB Bobby Wagner (2), QB Russell Wilson (3), RB Robert Turbin (4), Jeremy Lane (6)

Let’s take a look at the Packers drafts over those years and who is on the roster:

- 2010: OT Bryan Bulaga (1), DL Mike Neal (2), S Morgan Burnett (3), TE Andrew Quarless (5), OT Marshall Newhouse (5), RB James Starks (6), DE C.J Wilson (7)
- 2011: OT Derek Sherrod (1), WR Randall Cobb (2), CB Davon House (4)
- 2012: LB Nick Perry (1), DL Jerel Worthy (2), CB Casey Hayward (2), DL Mike Daniels

Startling, isn’t it?  Suddenly the free agent list looks pedestrian..

Since the Super Bowl Championship in Green Bay, key players like James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Tramon Williams, Josh Sitton, Morgan Burnett, Brad Jones, Jermichael Finley and others received extensions from their rookie deals.  Not that all of those moves were great, but they were made and thu tied up a lot of money.  Seattle will be going through that soon (especially with Wilson and Sherman).  In that time, the Packers have (by financial necessity more than willingness in my opinion) relied on the “draft and develop” mentality that Thompson is known for.  It hasn’t worked and that is the difference.

So in this offseason of trying to figure how the Packers can become the Seahawks, don’t lose site of the bigger issue.  It’s not the Packers willingness (or lack thereof) to spend in Free Agency, it’s the draft.  The Packers did better in 2013 (Lacy, Bakhtiari, & Hyde were all great gets) but they need to continue that trend in order to get back to the top of the NFC.  While a majority of people will be looking to March to see what the team does, I will be more interested in May.  If they continue to miss in the draft and guys don’t defelop, that will keep this team from getting back on top more than a token free agent or two.

When last we spoke on this blog, the Packers were reeling. Nothing was working offensively, nor had it for the…
posted by Marques Pfaff 8 month(s) ago
To suggest the Packers should panic after falling at home to Detroit would be silly. There's nothing good that can…
posted by Marques Pfaff 8 month(s) ago
The Packers are hosting the Detroit Lions this week and I'm still trying to determine what I hope to learn…
posted by Marques Pfaff 8 month(s) ago