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MintBaconDrivel  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, February 11, 2014 9:21:13 AM(UTC)
Jason Wilde said:
GREEN BAY — If the Green Bay Packers want to bring in a veteran safety this offseason, former University of Wisconsin standout Jim Leonhard has the perfect guy for them.

Him.

The Ladysmith, Wis. native, who turns 32 in October, has played 126 career games for five NFL teams — Buffalo (2005 through 2007), Baltimore (2008), the New York Jets (2009 through 2011), Denver (2012) and Buffalo again last season. But he's played in just seven postseason games during those eight seasons, reaching the AFC Championship Game in 2008 with the Ravens (a loss to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Pittsburgh Steelers) and 2009 with the Jets (a loss to the Indianapolis Colts) before losing in the AFC Divisional Playoffs on with the Broncos in 2012. The Bills finished 6-10 last season.

"I'm chasing a ring. I've been extremely close a number of times," Leonhard said in an interview with Zach Heilprin and Greg Scalzo on ESPN Madison Monday. "That's all I'm playing for. I want to get a Super Bowl. I want to at least have that experience."

For his career, Leonhard has 385 tackles, 12 interceptions and two forced fumbles. According to Pro Football Focus, Leonhard played 634 snaps for the Bills last season and was targeted 27 times in pass coverage, allowing 16 completions, including four touchdowns.

The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Leonhard might not fit the Packers' size requirements for the safety position, but the position is an obvious need for them. M.D. Jennings started all 17 games (including playoffs), but the Packers played Jennings, 2012 fourth-round pick Jerron McMillian, who was released late in the season, Chris Banjo and Sean Richardson alongside Morgan Burnett during the course of the season.

The Packers' safeties failed to intercept a pass all season, while Leonhard had a career-high four interceptions last season.

"I don't want to play that much longer. I'm going to be a little picky here this offseason and see what happens. I'm excited to see where it goes," Leonhard said. "I'd obviously love to come back to Green Bay and play for the hometown fans. That would make a lot of people happy, a lot of my family happy. They wouldn't be quite as conflicted, having to cheer for some teams that they maybe rather wouldn't.

"But you never know. Obviously there's got to be mutual interest on both ends. I'm excited for the process but also nervous to see how it plays out."
play2win  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, February 11, 2014 9:28:53 AM(UTC)
A couple of years ago I would have thought yes, it would be a good idea. Not so much now. We need speed, size and ability to range and break up passes or pick them off. At 32, I don't know if he has the wheels, and he certainly doesn't have the size.
Mucky Tundra  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, February 11, 2014 9:38:56 AM(UTC)
play2win said: Go to Quoted Post
A couple of years ago I would have thought yes, it would be a good idea. Not so much now. We need speed, size and ability to range and break up passes or pick them off. At 32, I don't know if he has the wheels, and he certainly doesn't have the size.


So I take it you're not on the Jimmie Ward bandwagon? :-k
play2win  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, February 11, 2014 10:03:14 AM(UTC)
Mucky Tundra said: Go to Quoted Post
So I take it you're not on the Jimmie Ward bandwagon? :-k


Yeah, I don't know. I think size at S might make a difference, but, there are plenty 6-0 guys out there who do just fine in coverage and securing the run.

Jimmie Ward from Northern Illinois is 5-11, 192. Adept in coverage with 14 PDs, 6 INTs, also good tackler with 77 and 50 solo, 1 sack.

I question how well he would project at the NFL level.

I'd be far more excited about Craig Loston from LSU at 6-2 205, Ahmad Dixon out of Baylor at 6-0 205 - not looking strictly at measureables, but the ability of these two seems far better for taking that next step to the NFL at SS. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor and Ed Reynolds all have decent size (6-1 to 6-2) and like ability or better at FS. These are pretty much the only Safeties I am excited about Ted possibly drafting, with the little info we can get as fans. If I were to pick one, it might be Dixon out of Baylor.
Mucky Tundra  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, February 11, 2014 11:00:13 AM(UTC)
play2win said: Go to Quoted Post
Yeah, I don't know. I think size at S might make a difference, but, there are plenty 6-0 guys out there who do just fine in coverage and securing the run.

Jimmie Ward from Northern Illinois is 5-11, 192. Adept in coverage with 14 PDs, 6 INTs, also good tackler with 77 and 50 solo, 1 sack.

I question how well he would project at the NFL level.

I'd be far more excited about Craig Loston from LSU at 6-2 205, Ahmad Dixon out of Baylor at 6-0 205 - not looking strictly at measureables, but the ability of these two seems far better for taking that next step to the NFL at SS. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor and Ed Reynolds all have decent size (6-1 to 6-2) and like ability or better at FS. These are pretty much the only Safeties I am excited about Ted possibly drafting, with the little info we can get as fans. If I were to pick one, it might be Dixon out of Baylor.


For what it's worth, Donte Whitner (the same guy on the 49ers who kept bouncing off Lacy in the wild card game) was the same size in college as Ward.

From what I've seen so far, I'd have to go with either Clinton-Dix or Ward. I'm not sure what's the fascination with Pryor, dude's gonna be racking up concussions fast with the way he tackles. Haven't watched enough of the others.
mi_keys  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, February 11, 2014 11:58:19 AM(UTC)
Loved Leonhard at Wisconsin. Walk on guy in college. I believe he was undrafted as well. Everyone always bet against him but here he is with a pretty decent career. He's been a part of some very good defenses.

I don't know how much he has left in the tank. I wouldn't mind bringing him in for training camp as I assume he would be on a veteran minimum (or close to) deal. That said, I wouldn't be expecting Leonhard to be the answer. I'd just hope to be pleasantly surprised.
PackFanWithTwins  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, February 11, 2014 1:32:18 PM(UTC)
For what we need at safety, he doesn't now or never has had the speed. We are trying to replace Nick Collins, we need a FS with wheels, not an undersized SS.
Mucky Tundra  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, February 12, 2014 10:47:52 AM(UTC)
TBH, would it hurt just to take a look at the guy? A vet with experience and good work ethic who wants to play here. Should we be so quick to turn him down?
play2win  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, February 12, 2014 10:52:02 AM(UTC)
Mucky Tundra said: Go to Quoted Post
TBH, would it hurt just to take a look at the guy? A vet with experience and good work ethic who wants to play here. Should we be so quick to turn him down?


I can buy some of that, for team depth at the position. Yeah, why not?
Yerko  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:38:35 AM(UTC)
At this point, I just don't think he is anywhere near the answer for the Packers. He would add the veteran presence and that is about all.

And since it is being talked about, I like Jimmie Ward. His size along with playing in the MAC will be what most use against him to not consider him higher in the draft but I think the kid can play football.

Similar sized safety I was interested in last year, Matt Elam. Clearly, a different caliber player but just for measurables sake.
Mucky Tundra  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:45:22 AM(UTC)
Yerko said: Go to Quoted Post
At this point, I just don't think he is anywhere near the answer for the Packers. He would add the veteran presence and that is about all.

And since it is being talked about, I like Jimmie Ward. His size along with playing in the MAC will be what most use against him to not consider him higher in the draft but I think the kid can play football.

Similar sized safety I was interested in last year, Matt Elam. Clearly, a different caliber player but just for measurables sake.


Yerko, I watched a video with all of Ward's snaps vs Florida State from the 2012 Orange Bowl(?) and was VERY impressed. I'd be very happy if they landed him.
mi_keys  
#12 Posted : Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:04:58 PM(UTC)
play2win said: Go to Quoted Post
I can buy some of that, for team depth at the position. Yeah, why not?


Hell, he had 4 interceptions more than our entire safety group did combined last year. We can't do any worse.
DoddPower  
#13 Posted : Wednesday, February 12, 2014 2:36:44 PM(UTC)
mi_keys said: Go to Quoted Post
Hell, he had 4 interceptions more than our entire safety group did combined last year. We can't do any worse.


True, he might be a slight improvement, but I think the Packers can do MUCH better than a slow, aging, undersized safety. If the Packers sign him for some reason, I hope it doesn't alter their plans of finding another really good safety in the slightest.

I'd rather develop Hyde at the position than Leonhard, too. The Packers don't need more players of Leonhard's caliber. They need more big, strong, fast, and talented players to ever rise above average, imo.
play2win  
#14 Posted : Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:56:13 PM(UTC)
DoddPower said: Go to Quoted Post
True, he might be a slight improvement, but I think the Packers can do MUCH better than a slow, aging, undersized safety. If the Packers sign him for some reason, I hope it doesn't alter their plans of finding another really good safety in the slightest.

I'd rather develop Hyde at the position than Leonhard, too. The Packers don't need more players of Leonhard's caliber. They need more big, strong, fast, and talented players to ever rise above average, imo.


You know DoddPower, I've thought a lot about Hyde switching to S, and with his insanely good instincts, it could be a really good move.

I agree with what you are saying in our Safeties added needing to be bigger and faster. At least, that is what I prefer. We need blue chip talents back there, and I'm questioning Morgan Burnett, sadly.

LeRoy Butler was talking up the Dixon kid from Baylor recently, saying that would be his pick. I tend to agree.
mi_keys  
#15 Posted : Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:34:21 PM(UTC)
DoddPower said: Go to Quoted Post
True, he might be a slight improvement, but I think the Packers can do MUCH better than a slow, aging, undersized safety. If the Packers sign him for some reason, I hope it doesn't alter their plans of finding another really good safety in the slightest.

I'd rather develop Hyde at the position than Leonhard, too. The Packers don't need more players of Leonhard's caliber. They need more big, strong, fast, and talented players to ever rise above average, imo.


I don't think anyone here is suggesting that we forego adding further depth to safety if we pick up Leonhard. At least I hope not.

According to spotrac, Leonhard was on a salary of $840K with a cap hit of $555K; there doesn't seem to have been any guaranteed money. Assuming any deal he signs for this coming year will be similar, we could essentially sign him risk free to bring him into camp for more competition.

If he can come in and win a backup spot, great. He can come in and help bring along a rookie, Hyde or anyone else we bring in; and he would be an adequate backup if he can still play at or close to the level he has been playing at for most of his career, in spite of his small stature and non-existent pace (he's played through those two limitations his entire career).

From 2008 to 2010 he started on and contributed to defenses that finished 3rd, 1st and 6th in scoring. He was never the centerpiece, only a cog in the machine, but he knows what it takes to operate a defense at an elite level. When many of us are clamoring for veteran leadership, I don't see how bringing in a guy like this can hurt.

Besides, he's a Badger and Wisconsinite; and I'm a sucker for a good homecoming.

Source:
http://www.spotrac.com/n...falo-bills/jim-leonhard/
DoddPower  
#16 Posted : Thursday, February 13, 2014 1:36:39 PM(UTC)
mi_keys said: Go to Quoted Post
I don't think anyone here is suggesting that we forego adding further depth to safety if we pick up Leonhard. At least I hope not.

According to spotrac, Leonhard was on a salary of $840K with a cap hit of $555K; there doesn't seem to have been any guaranteed money. Assuming any deal he signs for this coming year will be similar, we could essentially sign him risk free to bring him into camp for more competition.

If he can come in and win a backup spot, great. He can come in and help bring along a rookie, Hyde or anyone else we bring in; and he would be an adequate backup if he can still play at or close to the level he has been playing at for most of his career, in spite of his small stature and non-existent pace (he's played through those two limitations his entire career).

From 2008 to 2010 he started on and contributed to defenses that finished 3rd, 1st and 6th in scoring. He was never the centerpiece, only a cog in the machine, but he knows what it takes to operate a defense at an elite level. When many of us are clamoring for veteran leadership, I don't see how bringing in a guy like this can hurt.

Besides, he's a Badger and Wisconsinite; and I'm a sucker for a good homecoming.

Source:
http://www.spotrac.com/n...falo-bills/jim-leonhard/


I can understand some of the logic, but I'd rather pass. I suppose it's not a bad fall-back plan if the Packers can't sign a starting free safety in free agency. But I'm hoping they can. At that point, I'd rather focus on drafting and developing guys behind Burnett and the free agent safety. Having a 32 year old small and slow back up safety doesn't excite me much. Now if the Packers don't add a starting safety in free agency and decide to look to the draft, then he could be a possibility. But still, I'd much rather see more talent added to the safety group, rather than a cheap, old, and marginally talented player. I wouldn't even mind signing a top free agency safety AND drafting one of the top safeties. The Packers need much more talent at the position.

To be fair, though, he does seem like a Ted Thompson type of signing. It's just not one that I would care for.
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