Saturday, May 10, 2014

Building The 53 - 2014 Green Bay Packer Draft Picks

Welcome to my fifth annual review of Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson's performance in the NFL Draft (2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013).  The 2014 NFL Draft marked Thompson's tenth draft of his tenure in Green Bay.  There is no question that the best pick Thompson made during his tenure so far in Green Bay was his first in 2005 when he drafted quarterback Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick.  Last year I said that either of Thompson's first two pick, UCLA defensive end Datone Jones or Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, had a chance to be two of the best players ever drafted by Thompson.  I was spot on with Lacy but Jones will have to improve next season to back-up my assertion on his ceiling. 

The Packers entered the 2014 NFL Draft with nine picks.  The two biggest surprises of the draft  were that Thompson did NOT make one trade across the three days of the draft, which means he used the same nine (seven standard and two compensatory) picks he owned before the start of the draft.  The other shocker was that 1/3rd of the players selected by Thompson, three total, were wide receivers.  These posts always run long so without further adu, here is my review of the nine players that Thompson drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft:

1st Round (21st overall): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety
Twitter Handle: @haha_cd6
School: Alabama (SEC)
Height: 6'1-3/8"
Weight: 208 lbs
Arm Length: 32-1/4"
Hand Size: 9"
40-yard Dash: 4.58 sec
3-cone Drill: 7.16 sec
20-yard Shuttle: 4.16 sec
225-pound Bench Press:11 reps
Vertical Leap:33"
Broad Jump:119"
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks: Dee Ford (DE, Auburn), Deone Bucannon (S, Washington), or Jimmie Ward (S, Northern Illinois)

Analysis: After an impressive 2012 campaign, safety Morgan Burnett struggled in 2013.  The Packers will most likely move Micah Hyde from cornerback to safety this season, which on paper gives them a formidable pair at safety in Burnett and Hyde.  At this point we have no clue whether Hyde's rookie season will translate to success this season, especially since he will be changing position.  That makes the Ha Ha pick a borderline no brainer when he was available with the 21st pick.  I am not trying to jinx Thompson's first pick this year like I did last year with Jones but I think Ha Ha has a chance to be very special despite the fact that he posted one of the lowers amount of reps on the bench press and registered one of the shortest verticals at his position at the combine.  Basically I value Ha Ha's play at Alabama much more than his measurables given that Alabama plays borderline NFL competition week in and week out in the SEC.

2nd Round (53rd overall): Davante Adams, Wide Receiver
Twitter Handle:
School: Fresno State University (Mountain West Conference)
Height: 6'0-7/8"
Weight: 212 lbs
Arm Length: 32-1/2"
Hand Size: 9"
40-yard Dash: 4.56 sec
3-cone Drill: 6.82 sec
20-yard Shuttle:4.30 sec
225-pound Bench Press: 14 reps
Vertical Leap: 39-1/2"
Broad Jump:123"
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks: C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE, Iowa), Morgan Moses (OT, Virginia), Marcus Martin (OC, USC)

Analysis: Thompson filled the loss of wide receiver James Jones with Fresno State wide receiver Davante Adams with the 53rd pick in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.  Going into the 2014 NFL Draft the Packers were already deep at wide receiver with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Chris Harper, and a smattering of young guys.  Given all those names it does NOT seem like wide receiver was a need but their top three wide receivers are due new deals before 2015 so Adams could be a nice hedge against losing Nelson, Cobb, and/or Boykin.  Adams has some pretty big shoes to fill though because so far in his tenure Thompson has gone three for four drafting wide receivers in the second round: Terrence Murphy (2005), Greg Jennings (2006), Jordy Nelson (2008), and Randall Cobb (2012).  It is almost unfair to ding Thompson on Murphy because Murphy suffered a freak, career ending injury early in his career.  Last season Adams lead the nation in receptions with 131 catches for 1,718 yards, and 24 touchdowns in 2014.  The height and weight measurables are less than spectacular given that he is only 6'0" and 208 lbs but Adams posted one of the highest vertical jumps at his position at the combine so he is clearly very athletic.

3rd Round (85th overall): Khyri Thornton, Defensive Tackle
Twitter Handle: N/A
School: Southern Mississippi University (Conference USA)
Height: 6'2-5/8"
Weight: 304 lbs
Arm Length: 32-3/8"
Hand Size: 9-3/8"
40-yard Dash: 5.03 sec
3-cone Drill: 7.83 sec
20-yard Shuttle: N/A
225-pound Bench Press: 28 reps
Vertical Leap: 29"
Broad Jump: 112"
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks: Chris Watt (OG, Notre Dame), Trai Turner (OG, LSU), or Dri Archer (RB/KR, Kent State)
Analysis: On the positive side of the equation, Thornton posted one of the longest broad jumps at his position at the combine.  Besides that, Thornton is somewhat of an unknown commodity to me at this point so I am a little skeptical given that Thompson used a premium pick on him.  I understand that one school of thought is that the Packers need to continue to get younger on the defensive line but if Thompson decides not to resign defensive lineman Johnny Jolly and/or Ryan Pickett to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum then all the Packers have is youth along the defensive line.  It seems much more prudent to me to sign Jolly and/or Pickett on the cheap than to use such a high pick on Thornton, only time will tell if Thompson is right or I am right.

3rd Round (98th overall): Richard Rodgers, Tight End
Twitter Handle: N/A
School: California (Pac-12)
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 257 lbs
Arm Length: 32-1/2"
Hand Size: 10-1/8"
40-yard Dash: 4.87 sec
3-cone Drill: 7.23 sec
20-yard Shuttle: 4.47 sec
225-pound Bench Press: 16 reps
Vertical Leap: 31-1/2"
Broad Jump: 116"
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks: Crockett Gillmore (TE, Colorado State), Bryan Stork (OC, Florida State), or Maurice Alexander (S, Utah State)
Analysis: Unfortunately it looks like the Packers are searching for the next Jermichael Finley instead of just resigning Finley.  I understand that the Packers want to be cautious given the fact that Finley suffered a potential career ending injury against the Cleveland Browns last season but I am not sure that Rodgers is the answer.  Rodgers posted one of the lower number of reps on the bench press at his position at the combine.  Reps on the bench does not always directly correlate to blocking prowess but I am worried that Rodgers will not be able to block in the NFL, which is problematic because the Packers are in need of a versatile tight end that can not only split out wide as a receiver but also line-up next to the tackle and block on running plays.

4th Round (121st overall): Carl Bradford, Linebacker
Twitter Handle: N/A
School: Arizona State (Pac-12)
Height: 6'0-3/4"
Weight: 250 lbs
Arm Length: 30-1/4"
Hand Size: 9-3/8"
40-yard Dash: 4.76 sec
3-cone Drill: 7.25 sec
20-yard Shuttle: 4.3 sec
225-pound Bench Press: 23 reps
Vertical Leap: 37-1/2"
Broad Jump: 122"
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks: Khairi Fortt (OLB, California), Tre Boston (S, UNC), or Brock Vereen (S, Minnesota)

Analysis: I actually think Bradford has a better chance to make The 53 as a middle linebacker than an outside linebacker but much like waiting a year to move Hyde from cornerback to safety, I am sure the Packers will toy with Bradford outside unsuccessfully for one year and then move him inside, if he is still around.  I say "if he is still around" because Bradford posted one of the slowest 3-cone drill times at his position at the combine.  That worries me because whether Bradford ends up inside or outside, his ability to change direction with speed is lacking so he will not be able to make up for mental errors with his speed.

5th Round (161st overall): Corey Linsley, Center
Twitter Handle@Linsley71
School: Ohio State (Big "Ten")
Height: 6'2-3/4"
Weight: 301 lbs
Arm Length: 32"
Hand Size: 9-3/4"
40-yard Dash: 5.25 sec
3-cone Drill: N/A
20-yard Shuttle: N/A
225-pound Bench Press: 36 reps
Vertical Leap: 27"
Broad Jump: N/A
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks: Ed Reynolds (S, Stanford), Vinnie Sunnseri (S, Alabama), or Jimmy Staten (DT, Middle Tennessee State)
Analysis: Despite participating in very few drills at the combine, Linsley performed well in the drills that he completed.  In fact, Linsley posted one of the highest amount of reps on the bench press at his position, which is huge (no pun intended) for the Packers because lately they've had finesse centers (Saturday and EDS) as opposed to maulers.  Although it looks like the center position is JC Tretter's to lose, don't count out Linsley.

5th Round (176th overall): Jared Abbrederis, Wide Receiver
Twitter Handle: @abbrecadabra
School: University of Wisconsin (Big "Ten")
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195 lbs
Arm Length: 31-1/4
Hand Size: 9-1/2"
40-yard Dash: 4.5 sec
3-cone Drill: 6.8 sec
20-yard Shuttle:4.08 sec
225-pound Bench Press: 4 reps
Vertical Leap: 30-1/2"
Broad Jump: 117"
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks: Jeoffrey Pagan (DE, Alabama), Jon Halapio (OG, Florida), or Jordan Zumwalt (OLB, UCLA)
Analysis: Selfishly, it is nice to see Thompson add a Badger despite the fact that Abbrederis posted the least amount of reps on the bench press at his position at the combine.  Thankfully wide receiver is one of the only positions where a low number of reps on the bench press is not too detrimental.  Look for Abbrederis to fight for the 5th receiver spot on offense and the starting punt returner spot on special teams.

6th Round (197th overall): Demetri Goodson,
Twitter Handle: N/A
School: Baylor (Big "12")
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 194 lbs
Arm Length: 31-5/8"
Hand Size: 9-1/4"
40-yard Dash: 4.52 sec
3-cone Drill: 6.80 sec
20-yard Shuttle: 4.34 sec
225-pound Bench Press: 11 reps
Vertical Leap: 37"
Broad Jump: 123"
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks: Andrew Jackson (ILB, Western Kentucky), Luke Bowanko (OC, Virginia), or Jemea Thomas (S, Georgia Tech)
Analysis: The Packers have a ton of young, talented cornerbacks fighting for six cornerback spots.  Thus given that Goodson is merely a 6th round pick, his spot on The 53 is far from guaranteed. Thankfully Goodson posted one of the best 3-cone drill times, which bodes well for his agility given how much cornerbacks have to change direction and sprint to catch-up with receivers.

7th Round (236th overall): Jeff Janis, Wide Reciever
Twitter Handle: @jrjanis
School: Division II - Saginaw Valley State University (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
Height: 6'2-7/8"
Weight: 219 lbs
Arm Length: 32-3/8"
Hand Size: 9"
40-yard Dash: 4.42 sec
3-cone Drill: 6.64 sec
20-yard Shuttle: 3.98 sec
225-pound Bench Press: 20 reps
Vertical Leap:37-1/2"
Broad Jump: 123"
Wonderlic: N/A
Other Possible Picks:Will Smith (ILB, Texas Tech), C.B. Bryant (S, Ohio State), or Michael Sam (DE, Missouri)
Analysis: A combine freak that posted great numbers in virtually every drill for his position helped catapulted Janis into a virtual lock to get drafted.  In fact I am sort of shocked he lasted this long given his physical abilities.  The only real knock on him is that he did it against lesser competition in Division II but given how well he tested at the combine, the Packers better find a spot for Janis on The 53 because I am not sure he will make it through waivers to sign him to the practice squad.

I am less excited about the 2014 NFL Draft than I was about the 2012 or 2013 NFL Drafts for the Packers.  There are more question marks than answers from the 2012 NFL Draft for the Packers while it looks like the 2013 NFL Draft will be one of the best of the last decade.  That is a long way of saying that the predictions in this post should be taken with a grain of salt but given that the Packers follow the draft-and-develop model, hopefully this draft is more like 2013 than like 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment