In a continuation of Monday's piece suggested by Mr Lester A. Wiltfong Jr., Esq., G.PH.D., today we'll take a look at the final 5 picks of the Green Bay Packers 2011 draft class.
Let me start out by addressing the grading scale. Many people will look at a pick given a "C" grade and assume that I am saying the pick was not so hot. And this would be true, to a point. I don't consider a pick I gave a "C" grade to a great pick. But I also don't consider that pick a bad one. I consider it average. Nothing horrible, but nothing above and beyond, either. In other words, a pick graded with a "C" is a decent pick.
Now that we have that out of the way, follow me to the clearing at the end of the jump to take a look at the final five selections made by the Pack.
Let's waste no time before looking at these new enemy soldiers!
The Packers selected five players over the final two rounds of the draft, and they wasted no time in finding their "Jerry" pick in grabbing Caleb Schlauderaff. I don't say that in a negative way, mind you. I mean that they grabbed up the 6'4" 305 lb guard out of Utah well below his original 4th round projection due to shoulder, hamstring and calf injuries. Caleb might be an injury risk, but he's a pretty good talent at the guard position and with some time to develop could very well end up starting for a long time in Green Bay. Schlauderaff is a strong, smart and nasty player who does well both at the line and in the second level. He picks up blitzes and stunts well, and usually does a pretty good job of getting his hands on defenders. He's also a good pulling guard and will help the Packers running game. He does have issues with his footwork and with his punch ion both the running and passing game, and he needs to work on his leverage in the passing game. Caleb's deficiencies are correctable through coaching, and the Packers got a steal. Schlauderaff missed just 3 games in 4 seasons as a starter at Utah so the rash of injuries in his final season should be tempered with the knowledge that he didn't miss a game in his first three seasons. He recorded his best games against top competition. He was also an Academic All-MWC.Overall I really think this was a very good pick, and I give it an A-.
DJ Smith was the 2nd pick of the 6th round for the Pack, and the 5'11" 235 All-American OLB from Appalachian State was a decent developmental choice. Not the biggest or fastest dog in the fight, Smith possesses great instincts, a high football IQ and good leadership qualities. He's a high character kid who has earned the respect of his coaches and peers. He has good balance and body control, moves well laterally and is a secure tackler. He needs some time in the weight room, though and he sits at 20% body fat. He also has questionable athletic ability, recording the worst broad jump at the combine among LBs and only posting a 31" vertical leap and a 4.75 40-yard-dash. Additionally, many thought that DJ would be available as a undrafted free agent. I wouldn't call this a great pick, but with some work, Smith could end up being a surprise. Grade? C-.
With their final pick in the 6th round, The packers nabbed DE Ricky Elmore, who was the Pac-10 sack leader for the past two seasons. Projected as either a DE or an OLB in the NFL, Elmore plays faster than his timed speed, but only posted a 4.88 40 at the combine. He is a high motor pass guy who will likely be used as a situational pass rusher by the Packers. He has very good acceleration and is a good tackler. But he has very short arms and struggles to disengage from blocks if he can't use that initial burst to get past the line. He also has consistency issues with his focus and effort and also tends to freelance a lot outside of the scheme. AS well, his instincts leaves something to be desired. Elmore is raw, and the Pack will have to work with him just to see him make the roster, IMO. But he could blossom into a nice third down weapon. But are his deficiencies too much to overcome? I give this pick a C-, as well.
The first selection the Packers made in the seventh round was North Carolina TE Ryan Taylor. Taylor spent three years as a ST linebacker with the Tarheels before making the switch to TE in his senior year. How did that work out? He set a UNC record for receptions by a TE and the coaches player-of-the-week honors twice in wins against Duke and Tennessee. Not bad for a guy playing at a new position. Obviously, Taylor is a developmental pick. He has great hands, decent feet, good route running skills and an aggressive nature. He's a pretty good blocker both at the line and hitting the hole, and could serve as a H-Back for the Packers.He needs to work on his cut blocks. He's not very elusive and he has pretty average size (6'3" 240). I really like the Taylor selection, and if he had another year of experience at the position, I think he would have been rated higher than DJ Williams was. I give this pick a B+.
Green Bay's final pick was a Lawrence Guy, a 6'5" 305 LB DT from Arizona St. Guy is pretty quick for a 300+ lb man, running a 5.01 at the ASU pro day. He's a raw talent that is an interesting combination of size, speed and athleticism. His technique is really lacking and he dominated at ASU by relying on his size and speed, something he won't be able to do at the professional level. I follow ASU, as I used to live in Pheonix. Honestly, I think that Guy has a shot at becoming a rotational DT in Green Bay with some work on his technique. This next part is purely my speculation, but I also wondered if the Packers weren't considering a "Big Cat" Williams transition for Guy. He has the athletic ability. I obviously have no insight to the Packers thought process, but the potential is there. Either way, Guy is an interesting prospect with a ton of raw talent. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him make the team. Considering his draft position and the huge upside, I see similar results to thoe the Bears had with J'Marcus Webb. I give this pick a B-.
I was honestly in envy opf the packers late round drafting this year, and after a above average class in the first five rounds, I think it's safe to call the Packers draft a success at this point. Of course, you need a few years to adequately evaluate the picks, but from where we stand right now, I'd give the Packers overall draft a B+.
Don't be shy, ladies and gentlemen. Have at it! Feel free to throw your thoughts into the arena of ideas below.
And Bear Down!