Green Bay Packers Draft picks
Round 1...#9... B.J. Raji DT Boston College
6' 1" 330 lbs.
Strengths + Strong Hands, Versatility, Strength(bull rush), agile and quick, good in pursuit of the ball.
Weaknesses- Experience, lacks ideal height, tendency to get too high
Boston College DT B.J. Raji, whose first name, Busari is Nigerian for bliss, is one of the prospects who's stock is rising by the minute. Raji was dominant for the majority of his senior season and led one of the best defenses in the nation. Fortunately he was able to play this year because last year he had to sit out (redshirt) due to an error in counting his credits, which shouldn't hurt his draft status. Raji learned a lot about himself and what he was capable of during that time, he could still practice with the scout team and he soon was wrecking havoc on the first-team offensive line. Raji's weight prior to his junior season shot to over 350 pounds at one point. Head Coach Jeff Jagodzinski was adamant about B.J. getting down to the 320-330 range by the season's start and B.J. did just that. By the time his senior year began Raji was ready to prove to his family, coaches, teammates, and the rest of the college football world that he wasn't another lost prospect.
Raji is the type of defensive tackle who can play in the 3-4 or 4-3 which will only enhance his draft status. Earned 1st team All-ACC honors his senior year while being the main cog in the #5 ranked defense in the nation. Boston College also ranked #1 in the ACC in total defense as well as 1st against the run to include one of Raji's most dominant performances against Maryland which they gave up a net gain of -6 yards rushing. B.J. projects very well to the next level. Raji faced some adversity already in his young career and overcame that with flying colors. He is mentally tough. Coming from a family that migrated here from Nigeria has contributed to his work ethic which he gets from his father, who is about to receive his doctorate in theology and divinity. I don't know about you, but to me that is just an added bonus for this young man. He knows what hard work is, so he will continue to get better at the next level.
At the point of attack Raji has tossed lineman around at times this past season. Gets up field in a hurry and will pursue the ball until the whistle. Blessed with fluid hips for a man his size, has a pretty good spin move to go with his signature bull rush. Raji can control the line of scrimmage and read/react very well. Although his stamina was in question during his freshman and sophomore years, he has shown no signs of early fatigue during his senior campaign.
Raji is equally good against the run as he is the pass. he lacks an arsenal of pass-rush moves, but that can be fixed with proper coaching. He also misses the easy tackle on occasion which also can be fixed through the right coaching. If Raji gets under the tutelage of a top defensive line coach and/or coordinator he can become scary for offenses to deal with. Due to Raji's lack of experience he would benefit greatly by this as well as being apart of a rotation instead of being 'the guy' right away. Raji was able to produce at a very high rate this year without missing a game. Raji is the total package and should be a very good player on the next level.
325 pound (plus) defensive tackles with his quickness, strength and athletic ability don't come around every year and Raji will probably get drafted much higher than what most people think, he could even be off the board at the 10-15 range in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Round 1...#26 (acquired from Patriots)... Clay Matthews LB USC
Ht: 6 ’3” 240 lbs.
Strengths: Versatility, Size, Potential, Physique, Pass Rush, Bloodlines, Work Ethic, Intelligence
Weaknesses: Experience, School/Teammates, Position
Clay Matthews has NFL football in his blood. The son of Clay Matthews, who played LB in the NFL for 19 seasons and went to four Pro Bowls, and the nephew of Bruce Matthews, one of the greatest offensive linemen of all time playing for the Titans/Oilers franchise and a Hall of Famer, and the grandson of another Clay, who played for the 49ers in the 1950s. Football greatness should almost be expected.
This bloodline of gridiron is apparent in not only his physique and build, but in his attitude. He works incredibly hard, is an excellent student both of the game and in the classroom (Academic All-American) and has done anything possible to get on the field. He’s played DE, LB and lined up on special teams (2 time special team co-player of the year in 2006 and 2007) and it’s that versatility that has gotten him most noticed by scouts.
Matthews is perfectly suited to rushing the passer from a stand up LB position and has taken a sharp rise up draft boards because of he has also shown the ability to drop back in coverage. Matthews is a natural pass rusher with a good assortment of moves and counter-moves and can redirect and close with a burst. He is naturally strong and has an excellent punch, creating space and allowing him to combo it with other moves. He displayed very good instincts in coverage for someone who had mostly played with their hand on the ground and can handle a short zone without allowing big plays.
With so much standout talent around him at USC, including 2007 first round pick Keith Rivers and two potential 2009 first round picks in Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, Matthews has only 10 starts to his name as a Trojan. As with any Trojan prospect, offense or defence, you have to take into account how much better than talent around him made him look. He is too small to play DE and will still be learning the intricacies of playing LB. He does not always attack blockers with gusto and will run around them.
Matthews is a football player. He was born to play football and he knows it. He’s dedicated to being the best he can be and he has the potential to be very, very good. He’s well built and athletic and should make for a very good SLB and pass rush specialist but at the very least will be a good special teamer.
It’s likely he has earned a first round selection along with Maualuga and Cushing and it can be argued that he could possibly be the best prospect of the three. He could go anywhere from 12th to Denver down the last picks of the first round where he would fit very well on reigning Super Bowl participants, Arizona and Pittsburgh.
Round 4...#109... T.J. Lang OT Eastern Michigan
Round 5...#145... Quinn Johnson FB LSU
Round 5...#162 (From Ravens through Patriots)... Jamon Meredith OT South Carolina
Round 6...#182... Jarius Wynn DE Georgia
Round 6...#187 (from Saints)... Brandon Underwood DB Cincinnati
Round 7...#218... Brad Jones OLB Colorado