Let’s face it: With the exception of quarterback, where Aaron Rodgers has clearly established himself as the best in the business, the Green Bay Packers could use help at nearly every position.

But which position of need will Packers general manager Ted Thompson address with the team’s first-round selection, the 26th choice overall, in the April 25-27 NFL draft? Even the most well-respected draftniks around the country are all over the map in predicting whom the Packers will draft. Consider:

* Charley Casserly, former Washington and Houston general manager who works for NFL.com: free safety Matt Elam of Florida.

* Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com: running back Eddie Lacy of Alabama.

* Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network: tight end Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame.

* Todd McShay of ESPN: offensive tackle Menelik Watson of Florida State.

* Former Dallas Cowboys executive and current NFL.com analyst Gil Brant: running back Montee Ball of Wisconsin.

As for my pick, I’ll say Thompson gives head coach Mike McCarthy a new toy to replace the ones he lost in Greg Jennings and Donald Driver and selects wide receiver Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech.

Showcasing their skills

While the crème de la crème of high school basketball players have signed national letters of intent and are set for college, there are still a bunch of prep players who dream of playing at the next level.

Some of them will be presented an opportunity to display their talents during the Mark Your Moment Basketball Showcase, which will be held Sunday, April 14 at Indian Trail High School and Academy in Kenosha. The event will feature around 70 unsigned players from 11 different states. An estimated 40 NCAA, NAIA and junior college coaches are expected to be on hand. The showcase will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additionally, an all-star game between the top seniors from Racine and Kenosha counties will be held at 7 p.m. The Racine County team will consist of St. Catherine’s Grant Zimmerman, Shey Smith and Jacob Letsch of St. Catherine’s, Brad Ostrowski of Union Grove, Davion Bell of Case, Keenan Tolefree and Chris Rogers of Park, Gabe McKinstry of Horlick, Nick Lemley of The Prairie School, Clay Stevens of Racine Lutheran and Carson Biedrzycki and Ty Dennis of Burlington.

The admission price is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Children will be admitted free. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Racine and Kenosha chapters of the Epilepsy Foundation.

Show me the money

If Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco and Tony Romo are going to be paid about $20 million a year, what is Aaron Rodgers going to command? Rodgers is superior to the other three QBs and more important to his team. The scuttlebutt is Rodgers will sign for around $22M; If I was his agent, it would be closer to $25M ... or more.

Quite a team

Congrats to the more than 1,200 local donors who helped Racine win the BloodCenter of Wisconsin’s state-wide contest. Racine competed against 11 other BloodCenters in the state.

For their efforts, they will be treated to a meet-and-greet with Packers fullback John Kuhn Thursday night at the Fountain Hall Banquet in Sturtevant. The event is not open to the public.

Talk is cheap

I can’t wait for the NBA draft in late June. That’s because Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has gone on record as saying the Mavericks would seriously consider drafting Baylor sensation Brittney Griner. The 6-foot-8 Griner is the most dominant women’s basketball player in years, but to believe she could make an NBA roster is just ludicrous. Said Cuban: “If she is the best on the (draft) board, I will take her.”

Don’t look for that to be the case. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit, though, if Griner is invited to some NBA team’s training camp as a publicity stunt. In fact, www.bovada.lv places the odds of Griner being drafted or getting a tryout at 2/1.

Around the season

The Racine Raiders dance and stunt team will perform Monday night, April 15 at the Milwaukee Bucks-Denver Nuggets game in the BMO Bradley Center in Milwaukee. You can purchase lower-level tickets in the end zones for the discounted price of $20 or tickets in the corners for a discounted price of $25. For more information, call Jermell Stills at (414) 227-2875. ... Coach Buzz Williams might want to attend Michigan coach John Beilein’s coaching clinic on how to attack at 2-3 zone. ... The Packers are about $18M under the salary cap, the sixth-most in the NFL. The Chicago Bears, on the other hand, have only a paltry $4M at their disposal, the third-least available in the league.

Gery Woelfel is a sports reporter for The Journal Times. Gery can be reached by calling (262) 631-1713 or by email at gery.woelfel@lee.net

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(1) comment


You think the Packers will take a wide receiver with the first pick? Thank goodness you arent actually in charge of making the call on draft day. Absolutely clueless.

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