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Packers Notebook - Sherman Mum On Carroll vs. Losman


Going into the 2004 NFL Draft, many so-called draft experts predicted that the Green Bay Packers would seek to land Brett Favre's eventual successor by selecting Tulane quarterback J.P. Losman with the 25th overall pick.

Whether the Packers would have actually done that or not, we'll never know. Saturday, they never got the chance.

The Buffalo Bills orchestrated a trade with the Dallas Cowboys to move ahead of the Packers and select Losman with the 22nd pick of the draft.

The Packers followed by taking Arkansas cornerback Ahmad Carroll at No. 25, adding depth to one of their primary areas of need.

The third cornerback selected in the 2004 draft, Carroll was the ranked by the Packers as one of the top two draft-eligible corners, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. What Sherman did not say is whether Carroll was higher on the Packers' draft board than Losman, or what he would have done had both players been available with the 25th pick.

"I didn't have that choice," Sherman said. "If I had that choice, it would have been a tough call because I like Losman. But I like Carroll, too. I think Carroll can impact our team immediately. But I did like Losman, there's no question about that."

While it would be easy to speculate that the Packers wouldn't have wanted to let a quarterback prospect pass them by had Losman been available, by selecting three defensive players on the first day of the draft, including two cornerbacks, there's no mistaking the team's focus on upgrading the defense.

"We needed a corner to be able to play the style of defense that we want to play," Sherman said. "It's a premier position on our football team ...

"This makes us a better team. (In the season-opener) we're going to play Monday Night Football against the Carolina Panthers, who were in the Super Bowl. We have to go get ready to play and (Carroll) helps us do that."

Questionable Corner

If it appeared the Packers were covering their bases Saturday, by selecting cornerbacks with their first two picks of the 2004 draft, they were.

Sherman said that heading into the offseason, cornerback was one of the areas he outlined as a position of need going into 2004.

But if it appeared that the Packers were reacting to their situation with veteran cornerback Mike McKenzie, who has requested a trade in recent weeks, Packers personnel insist that they weren't.

Packers vice president of football operations Mark Hatley said that Carroll and Montana State's Joey Thomas were the best available players when the Packers were picking in the first and third rounds, respectively.

Meanwhile, Sherman didn't entirely rule out the possibility that McKenzie could return in 2004.

"I don't know," Sherman said, when asked if McKenzie would be back in a Packers uniform. "I don't have that vision to say I'm confident (or) I'm not confident. I can't say either one.

"Until we come to camp and he's either there or not there, I don't know ... I hope he's there. He's a good player. I like Mike, I'd like to have him on the team."

Sherman has not ruled out the possibility of trading McKenzie, but said no attractive offers came to the team during the draft Saturday.

"In order to trade him, you have to get the value of the player," Sherman said.

Quiet Couch

McKenzie isn't the only subject of trade talks in Green Bay. Negotiations appear ongoing between the Packers and Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch.

The first overall pick of the 1999 NFL Draft, Couch was a starter for the better part of the past five seasons in Cleveland, but appears to be on his way out after the team acquired former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia.

The Packers have expressed interest in Couch and brought him to Green Bay for an official visit earlier this month.

Some speculated that the Packers might work a deal for Couch throughout the course of the 2004 draft, but there was nothing doing Saturday.

"We were not able to connect with him directly tonight, but we're talking," Sherman said after the third round closed Saturday. "Whether it works out or not, I don't know. We have to get it worked out with Cleveland and with him, so it's taking a while, longer than I would like it to."

To work a deal with Couch, the Packers would not only have to trade with the Browns, but negotiate a new contract for the sixth-year veteran as well.

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