This article is part of our Team Previews series.
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
The Packers rode their offense to a 15-1 record in 2011, but it ultimately couldn't overcome the team's defensive deficiencies, and the season ended in a disappointing loss to the Giants in the playoffs. An offense that averaged a league-leading 35 points per game and was led by All-Pro QB Aaron Rodgers got them off to a 13-0 start. A late season loss at Kansas City derailed the Packers' bid for a perfect season, though they got back on track with two wins heading into the playoffs.
It wasn't hard to figure out Green Bay's biggest weakness. The Packers allowed a league-worst 411.6 total yards per game and an astounding 299.8 passing yards per game. A league-high 31 interceptions allowed them to cover up some of these flaws, but it wasn't enough in the postseason. There was zero doubt heading into the offseason that the Packers needed to address their defense, first and foremost.
General Manager Ted Thompson is well known for staying out of the free agent market and that didn't change this offseason. Thompson has used the NFL draft almost exclusively to build his teams, and in 2012 the Packers used six of eight draft picks on defensive players. Early in the draft the focus was on improving Green Bay's feeble pass rush. First-round pick Nick Perry has the size and speed to free up Clay Matthews from continual double teams. He'll need to transition into an outside linebacker after playing in a 4-3