The Green Bay Packers had the opportunity to pick WR Michael Crabtree with the 9th pick in the first round, but instead they decided to take an immediate step towards rebuilding their defense and the new 3-4 defensive scheme by selecting Boston College nose tackle B.J. Raji.
It's a pick that the fans like. For the first time in awhile, GM Ted Thompson's first round selection was cheered by the fans attending the teams draft party inside the Lambeau Field atrium.
Thompson called the nose tackle position the anchor spot of the defense and you have to have it. The Packers will now have two good anchors in Raji and veteran Ryan Pickett.
Raji sat out the 2007 season for academic issues, which threw up a red flag for some. But Thompson said he was not concerned with Raji's character and did a lot of homework to be convinced that Raji was their guy.
At Boston College, Raji combined with fellow tackle Ron Brace for 11 of the team's 35 quarterback sacks (31.43%) and 27 of the Eagles' 108 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (25%). Raji led a unit that led the Atlantic Coast Conference in rush defense (91.21 ypg, seventh in the NCAA) and total defense (268.14 ypg, ranked fifth nationally).
Raji is expected to be in Green Bay next week for the teams rookie orientation.