Ted Thompson has always followed a core belief in value drafting and thus building a team with quality and depth. This can be handy since due to injuries and Free Agency you never know where a need will arise and then it is too late to fill it. His picking Rodgers when a QB was not a need was one of the top picks in Green Bay history, but looking at the gems in acquired in later rounds or as undrafted free agents such as Charlie Peprah, Pro Bowler Tramon Williams, and the man of speed Sam Shields show that Ted has an eye on what he thinks will work when a player gets to the field. One thing I noticed is that as you go through this year draft you see TT drafting a variety of “hybrid” players. Is this an attempt to increase the athleticism from the 3 FB ST roster GB has used in the past for ST duty? I will have to say yes as otherwise many of the late round picks were a waste of value otherwise.
So with another draft ended we have some new Packers to welcome into town… when there is football again.
1st rounder Derek Sherrod – O lineman from Mississippi State.
Positives: 6’5” and 321 is what you like to see size wise in an NFL Tackle. He has huge hands and a great wingspan. Played in the SEC and is graded as a NFL Tackle or Guard and has a great football IQ. He is a great pass blocker and is average to above average as a run blocker. He fits the ideal blocker type for a pass first Green Bay team. Sherrod was faster in the cone drills and shuttle then Bulaga by almost half a second. He was a team captain and hardly missed a game in 4 years and is a great young man with character. He has a 3.54 grade point in business and volunteered all 4 years at MSU.
Negatives: 23 Bench presses was a few less then most 1st and 2nd round Tackles in both the 2010 and 2011 draft. He will need some weight room work to up his strength. A possible lack of nasty streak could spell trouble as well as a tendency to be top heavy when dealing with bull rushers and run blocking.
Overall: As the #25 big board player he was not only a great value pick for Green Bay at #32 but also provides some high quality depth with the ability to challenge for a spot as a Tackle or Guard. He should be in the mix as a possible starter on the O line.
2nd rounder Randall Cobb – WR from Kentucky
Positives: A mid 4.4 speed excellent athlete with great hands, crisp route running, and an eagerness to do anything. He can run routes as a WR, wildcat RB, back up QB, KR, and PR. But that is not all folks, he also holds on field goals and extra points, and likes tackling/blocking when on special teams. If Sam Shields is the Man of Speed then Randall is MacGyver as he is the Swiss Army Knife do anything of football.
Negatives: Did we mention he is 5’10” and does not even weigh 200 lbs? A possible jack of all trades and master of none can be a trick bag for a player. It is hard enough to make a team and have an impact just learning and performing one position let alone 4, 6, or 8.
Overall: Another great value (in fact an outright steal) and Green Bay again brings in yet another crisp route running WR with great hands. Think a faster Donald Driver that also can play almost any Offensive and Special Teams position on the field except Lineman and K/P. He may be the returner threat lacking in Green Bay since the Desmond Howard days. He reinforces an excellent WR squad and maintains it as a strength in GB.
3rd rounder Alex Green – RB from Hawaii
Positives: 6’0” 225 RB that runs a mid 4.4 like a WR and averaged over 8 yards per carry and that was in one of the most pass happy systems in college football. He ran in between the tackles, caught passes, and ran for over 1000 yards for the first time at Hawaii in over 20 years. Originally it was thought he would run mid 4.6s instead blew the doors off at his combine with a 4.45.
Negatives: Numerous fumblitis concerns. He played in the WAC and was not running against top tier defenses. Originally was thought of as a FB ala Davenport but his 40 time is closer to Ahman Green.
Overall: This player had one of the highest increases in draft boards across the NFL in the last 45 days rising from a #225 player to #89 on my big board. Relatively unknown because of the WAC conference and the fact that a Noon game Hawaii is about 6pm Milwaukee time. Heck you can’t see a PAC 10 game unless Notre Dame is playing USC. Green Bay stole this player from the Raiders as they were trying to trade up into the early 4th to take him themselves. Alex is a very interesting player to see if he can translate to the NFL and if so the NFC north just got a lot tougher and Ryan Grant had better watch his back.
4th rounder Davon House – CB New Mexico State
Positive: If you are the GM of a team the plays press and bump and run coverage with your CB locked up man to man a lot and the 3rd best CB at that defense and the #60 big board player is available do you take him with pick #131? 6’1” and ran a 4.37 at his Pro Day, Davon was a KR as a freshman and set a school record returning 4 to the house for TDs. Excellent work ethic and strives to be the best shut down corner, period.
Negatives: Unless I missed the memo this guy plays in the WAC as well. Limited exposure to top collegiate talent – Boise State was the best they faced. Plagued by ankle issues all season saw a drop in his numbers.
Overall: I am in awe of the luck that allowed Green Bay to trade out of the 4th round and grab more picks later in this draft and still get a top target player that I thought would sneak into round two. This pick maybe TT’s best value of the 2011 draft and maybe of the entire draft. House’s draft projections almost match Pat Lee’s from a couple of years ago. Hopefully he stays healthier then Lee has.
5th rounder DJ Williams – TE Arkansas
Positives: Overcame adversity and is a great young man. Played TE/FB/Hybrid Back in college, can you say made for GB. If added Linebacker duty he would be a bigger, faster and better catching Havner/Kuhn love child. He will excel at ST and filling possible holes with Hall and Kuhn being Free Agents and we all know of the TT’s 3 FBs, 4TEs on the roster last year.
Negatives: He is shorter than the typical NFL TE. Decent speed and hands but shows weakness in getting off jams by Strong Safety and LBs. Questionable in line Block skills as a TE.
Overall: First I am proud that he has worked so hard to overcome and seems to not take life for granted. He will work hard for the coaches and team. Being in the NFL he will get the ability to speak out on his message about abuse. He may be a practice squad player depending on team decisions to resign Hall and Kuhn. I hope he makes the team.
6th rounder Caleb Schlauderaff – Offensive Guard Utah
Positives: Strong worker, good size and weight. Able to work inside on the line and has had some time at Left Tackle.
Negatives: Reoccurring Hamstring injury has slowed him most of the season as well as a shoulder injury. A reach as normally I would have rated him as an Undrafted Free Agent signing. Caleb should stay a Guard if he wants to make team as he was not as effective in space as a Left Tackle and was moved back inside.
Overall: A depth chart pick of questionable value I have him at #290 on the big board and we drafted him at #179. He is very coachable but is injured and has limited success beyond that of a Guard. I figured he would be on the short list for teams to sign as a UDFA. Perhaps TT wanted to draft the couple of players he would have focused on as UDFAs. With coaching and a year or two of work may become a solid Tackle/ Guard back up.
6th rounder DJ Smith – OLB from Appalachian State
Positives: One of the top FCS small school LBs. He was invited to the combine and showed average speed (4.7)and above average tackling skills. Weak in pass coverage but was flexible enough to play both OLB and ILB to exploit mismatches.
Negatives: At 5’10” and 239 he has the mass but not the size and speed to excel at OLB at the NFL. He has great numbers but he played against FCS opponents.
Overall: TT must have wrote down wrong player this is pick #186 and I have this guy in the 350s on my big board. He must have dirty pictures of TT somewhere. The only thing I can think of is the see something of a SS position change (think Palamaluish) for him because he is very iffy in coverage but hits and tackles well. Again maybe we decided to draft the guys we would normally invite to camp.
6th rounder Ricky Elmore – DE from Arizona
Positives: Non stop motor, high energy guy like CMIII. Played as DE for all of his career.
Negatives: Played in a 4-3 defense as DE and at 6’5” and 255 he is like a 3” taller version of AJ Hawk. Not elite strength or speed and has minimal pass rush skills.
Overall: A nice late round 4-3 DE that would have made sense for the Bears but I am unsure of how he can fit into plans for GB. Converting him to OLB seems a waste with depth on team. At best a practice squad player for GB.
7th rounder Ryan Taylor – TE/H back North Carolina
Positives: Soft hands and a solid receiver. Willing to play any position and allowed North Carolina to move quickly without substitution from one play to the next. Extremely versatile and effective in the variety of positions he played in.
Negative: A tweener, a little short to be a TE and a to big to be a FB and to slow to be a RB. 6’3” and 254 running a 4.76.
Overall: A hybrid player that has moxy to do anything and work hard to try and make the roster. I did not even have him getting drafted and at best a camp invite. He was #378 on the big board getting drafted at #218.
7th rounder Lawrence Guy – DT from Arizona State
Positives: 6’4” and 305 Defensive tackle that can play the 5 technique as a 3-4 DE and also a 3 as a 4-3 DT. Played his heart out on a bad team and was one of the few bright spots they had. Other teams basically focused on him the entire season to control the ASU defense.
Negatives: Not great numbers. Poor grades and immaturity issues followed him until he stepped up as a leader for the 2010 season.
Overall: The immaturity issues may have shoved his draft stock down but as the last pick for GB he is probably the 4th best player of GB’s draft. Rated #190 on the big board he was a very nice pick up at #233 and should make the team or practice squad. I like him a lot as a player and I think he will back up Neal and Pickett very well on the D line.