Every year it seems a foregone conclusion that the Packers will strike gold with one of their picks.
The Packers success on the field has long been attributed to their success in the draft. Ted Thompson has achieved legend status in the cheese state for his successes, especially in the first round of the draft. Ted Thompson took over for Mike Sherman as General Manager on January 14, 2005. Since then his track record has been nauseating to Bears fans everywhere. However there is an interesting trend developing.
TT’s first NFL draft should keep him employed for at least another decade.
With the first pick, TT selected a QB in contention to be the first overall pick who slid to 23rd overall and represented the heir apparent for an aging Brett Favre, who was 35 at the time.
Nick Collins became an all-pro Safety (3x Pro-Bowler) who was an essential piece in the 2010 superbowl run and represented a huge loss in 2011. Nick Collins was considered a reach, but was also highlighted as "a developmental prospect who is very athletic but very raw. (sounds familiar)"
The Pack also added depth with Brady Poppinga that year as well.
This is a very good draft class even if AJ Hawk has underwhelmed in the 3-4. Colledge was a starting guard for the Packers during their Superbowl run. Greg Jennings only went on to be one of the best Packers receivers ever. Johnny Jolly was a contributor until he was arrested with codeine in 2008. Tramon Williams ended up being a steal for this team.
This year was relatively underwhelming. Ted Thompson still managed to add a quality starter at WR, a decent LB, and Mason (big leg wide left) Crosby. Harrell never shook his injury concerns and became a bust.
TT has another great draft. Jordy is a borderline Pro Bowler. Finley, for all his drops, was instrumental to the Packers raising the Lombardi. Sitton has been pretty good when not tweeting like an upset tweenager. Matt Flynn was great value and made up for their earlier pick of Matt Brohm.
1(9) BJ Raji
1(26) Clay Matthews
4(109) TJ Lang
7(218) Brad Jones
TT arguably paved the way for Green Bay with this draft class. CM3 was lights out as a rookie. BJ has been a solid contributor. TJ Lang has evolved into a solid contributor.
Since this year, the magic that is Ted Thompson hasn’t shined as bright as it once did. Bryan Bulaga has been a worthy contributor at RT, but his value will be determined by how well he does at LT. It won’t be an easy transition and the NFC North has plenty of challengers at RE to see what he’s worth. Mike Neal looks to be a bust. Morgan Burnett, for all the groaning about the Bear’s interest, hasn’t outperformed Major Wright. Quarless hasn’t become a major contributor. Newhouse started at LT last year and performed horribly. Starks is already being replaced.
Randall Cobb has been the highlight of this draft class, for sure. He very well might be a probowl selection next year. Cobb stepped in due to numerous injuries and nearly eclipsed 1000 yards. Now that the spotlight will be on him, he has to prove he can be a featured receiver. Outside of Cobb the picture doesn’t look good. Sherrod unfortunately looks like he is on the fast track to busttown. Alex Green and Davon House leave something to be desired.
Nick Perry had a year to forget. The rookie looked promising in three starts with 2 sacks, but ended up on the IR. Not exactly what you want out of your first round draft pick. Jerel Worthy blew out his ACL. Casey Hayward showed promise with 6 INTs, but regularly got beat in coverage. He still has a lot to prove. No one else on that list stood out in their rookie campaign.
1(26) Datone Jones
2(61) Eddie Lacy
4(122) JC Tretter
4(125) Johnathan Franklin
5(159) Micah Hyde
5(167) Josh Boyd
6(193) Nate Palmer
7(216) Charles Johnson
7(224) Kevin Dorsey
7(232) Sam Barrington
It is too early to tell with this draft class, as we have yet to see anything. That won’t stop me from trying, though. Datone Jones. Most will laud this pick for value, but I think the pick looks better on paper (or draft boards) than he will on the field.
Must prove he can sit down in his stance and keep his butt down to get low or anchor against drive blockers. Forward lean can cause him to get off-balance at times, savvy veterans will rip him down to get him to the ground. Knocked off his pass rush route by a strong punch when lined up outside, also lacks great bend and agility to be an elite edge rusher or to redirect his path.
So you have a player that has issues re-anchoring after his initial push is stopped? Sounds like he will be a great 5 technique DE. He will be responsible for 2 gaps. He has the arms and the imposing body type to be an effective 5 tech, but has never played in a 3-4 and comes with plenty of flaws in the technical aspects of his game. He also has to learn underneath Dom Capers, who's brilliance is questionable.
Eddie Lacy: I like what he did as a runningback at Alabama. I also think that most of that success came behind the best offensive line that the NCAA has ever seen. Barrett Jones would've been a first rounder if not for his injury concerns. Fluker and Warmack were two of the brightest lights in this year's draft. Kouandjio will be in contention with Taylor Lewan (Michigan) for the top LT of the 2014 draft. Lacy's running style looks like an underwhelming version of Mark Ingram, his predecessor who has underwhelmed in his pro-debut.
David Bakhtiari is coming from a Colorado program that was completely underwhelming with one win. JC Tretter, the Ivy League grad, has already broken his ankle. Luckily for him, Goldman likes Ivy Leaguers. Franklin is another average RB from an average RB class. The only standout after that pick is Josh Boyd, who very well might have slipped for good reason.
Where it gets interesting
It is a little premature to come to conclusions just yet, but it looks as though TT’s drafting brilliance hasn’t been as obvious since the Superbowl victory. This is a team that has been able to avoid the Free Agency market because of their ability to get rookies that outperform early. After the brilliant 2009 draft, I only see three players that have been able to solidify themselves as starters. Those three starters haven’t actually settled into their permanent positions yet, either. Morgan Burnett will need to find a home at either FS or SS. Bulaga will be testing the LT role. Cobb will be highlighted as a primary receiver.
TT’s first round picks have been celebrated for their early contributions, something his last three classes haven’t been able to replicate. The worst assumption that I’ve heard is that TT is somehow successful because he only uses BPA. If you assert this you are just mistaken. He draft based on need and has been pretty fortunate doing so. The packers need more players to step up, otherwise risk having to pay dearly for new Free Agents and lose leverage in their own contract negotiations. Most of their money is deservingly tied up now with CM3 and Aaron Rodgers, so their younger guys have to stay healthy and develop into solid role players.
Not everything is completely rosy up north and that possibility gives me some schadenfreude.