Thoughts and Reactions to the Packers 2012 Draft Class

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Green Bay Packer Draft Pick Nick Perry USC
USC DE/OLB Nick Perry

Saying that Ted Thompson and the Packers focused on defense in the 2012 NFL Draft wouldn’t be strong enough. Thompson used the Packers’ first six draft picks exclusively on defense before drafting Andrew Datko in the seventh round.

The heavy emphasis on defense wasn’t the only difference in this years’ draft for the Packers. After trading up just three times since taking over draft day responsibilities for the Packers, Thompson traded up not once, not twice, but thrice to get players.

Round 1: Nick Perry, OLB, University of Southern California

Perry fulfills a specific need while providing great value to the Packers at the 28th pick. Perry should be able to make the transition to OLB and fit nicely opposite Clay Matthews. It would appear that Perry will be the starter making the jump over Erik Walden, Brad Jones and Frank Zombo. With some coaching, Perry should be able to make an immediate impact on the Packers defense.

Round 2: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

With a pick I would have been pleased with in the first round, the Packers traded up and grabbed Worthy. The combo of Perry and Worthy will come into Green Bay with big expectations, similar to Matthews and B.J. Raji. Worthy will immediately improve the Packers defensive line lined up alongside Raji and Ryan Pickett. Worthy not only adds to the pass rush, but allows the Packers flexibility on the line because of his size.

Round 2a: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt

As if one trade up wasn’t enough, Thompson did the previously unthinkable and got back into the second round to grab Casey Hayward. The pick should provide the Packers with better depth at cornerback and flexibility to adjust their defensive backfield accordingly. There were whispers of the possibility of Hayward switching to safety and the possibility of Woodson to safety seems more likely now than ever.

Round 4: Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa

Apparently the Packers are taking their issues up front seriously. Before taking Daniels in the fourth round, the Packers had already added Anthony Hargrove in free agency and drafted Jerel Worthy in the second round. In addition to the newcomers, Lawrence Guy should be back in camp fighting for a chance. Daniels will have every opportunity in camp to crack the rotation and get some playing time. This could be a deathblow to Jarius Wynn and C.J. Wilson.

Round 4: Jerron McMillian, SS, Maine

Defense once again as the Packers take small school guy McMillian out of Maine. The former Black Bear adds an incredibly fast safety to the roster. It may take a few years of coaching for McMillian to make an impact, but with the Packers concerns at safety, anything is possible and the more options, the better in the search to find a replacement for Nick Collins.

Round 5: Terrell Manning, OLB, North Carolina State

It couldn’t possibly be another trade-up, could it? After saying he’s gone crazy yesterday, Thompson went even further off the deep end by trading up again to get back into the fifth round to select Terrell Manning. The Packers may be planning to use Manning inside, rather than out. It was also noted by a variety of different people, that the Packers are collecting a good number of players that could fit a 4-3 defense.

Round 7: Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State University

The Packers finally turned to the offensive side of the ball and selected Andrew Datko. With Chad Clifton’s release this offseason, the Packers could use another fresh body during camp. Datko is a tall lineman standing 6’6″ and will have a chance to compete in camp.

Round 7: B.J. Coleman, QB, Chattanooga

Offense twice in a row to complete the Packers 2012 draft class. The Packers get a potential future backup quarterback in B.J. Coleman. Graham Harrell is likely to take up the backup role behind Aaron Rodgers. Coleman is pretty raw and will benefit from the Packers extremely talented coaching staff.

Overall thoughts on Draft class:

I am extremely pleased with the Packers draft class. Not only did the Packers address many of the specific needs of the team, they got good value in their picks. I don’t think the first two days of the draft could have been much better for Green Bay as they nabbed Perry, Worthy and Hayward. All three players can immediately help the defense in their specific roles.

The focus on defense was much needed for a team that struggled so much in that department last season. I have to applaud Ted Thompson for going out of his comfort zone by trading up three times. The Packers have not only set themselves up for immediate success with this draft class, but have ensured the future as well by drafting responsibly.

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Michael is a sports writer currently attending Seattle University. You can follow Michael on Twitter .

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  • Savage57

    All in a very good draft, with perhaps a blend of sure fire studs and a coupla sleepers. One thing for certain, the level of competition in camp should be over the top, with more than a few of those chippy fights among the guys trying to show their stuff and make the final 53.

    The one thing that became even more apparent over the last three days – no matter what the situation or what the circumstances are, TT has an absolute stellar command of all of the attributes necessary to manage an NFL team. The Packers are fortunate to have this man at the helm.

    • Bubbaloo

      Savage, good point! I was impressed with TT’s willingness to do what he had to do! He went out to Fix what was Broken, and it looks like he took a big step in that direction.

  • Bubbaloo

    Overall I’m happy, but I still feel they could have done better than Perry. Some of the 1st round trades were as cheap as some of TT’s later trades. I love all of them except Perry, who I just “like”! Damn, I hope I’m wrong about him. Now, if you’re right, and they’re stockpiling 4-3 guys, I could feel differently, but I’ll believe that when I see it. For now I’ll shut up, and wait and see.

  • Jeremiah

    How many picks did they start with? 11? That many guys wouldn’t have even made the team. Ted was brilliant in going quality over quantity. And he abused New England in that trade up for Hayward.

    • Bubbaloo

      Let me see, he “Abused” New England by trading them TWO picks to REGAIN the ONE pick he had traded to New England earlier! Is that the “Abuse” you’re talking about Jeremiah? I guess I see that a little differently than you do.

      • Jeremiah

        He abused them by moving up 39 spots into the 2nd round in exchange for a 4th rounder. The value the Pats got from Green Bay on the official chart was abysmal.

        • FireMMNow

          Thompson definitely destroyed new england on those trades. we will see how the players turn out, but TT should have had to give up a third round pick.

          i love the mike daniels pick. i overlooked him in draft prep because of his size, but watched the Iowa vs. oklahoma bowl game and daniels destroyed them up front. best get off of any DL i watched this year by far. crazy explosive off of the snap.

    • http://twitter.com/jrdulka Michael Dulka

      Started out with 12.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      They started with 12. I’ve been saying all along that Ted wouldn’t draft 12 players. Nobody seemed to want to listen – many even insisted Ted should trade down and get more picks. Ridiculous…

  • Jeremiah

    Let’s hope Ted Thompson never meets a girl.

  • Ron LC

    A huge impact of the draft was the message that TT sent to Capers and his D. He has given him the tools and depth that was needed. Now it’s all up to DC and the boys to come into camp this year with a chip on their shoulder.

    Perry was a guy I would have traded up to get. The fact that he fell to the 28th was a testament that TT knows his competition. Perry has all the physical skills required to be a star player. The only way he fails is, he is an uncoachable, arrogant, self-centered ass. Until now he has been just the opposite. I am confident he will have the dedication and selflessness to succeed.

    Worthy was a great move. He adds depth and flexibility to the Dline. Along with Hargrove and Muir added in FA, they have solidified that unit and added competition that will deal with Wynn and Wilson one way or the other.

    The rest are guys who will provide competition for roster spots. Let the meanest and nastiest survive.

    The wakeup call has been delivered to the D. I expect that they will all be in the gym tomorrow working out with abandon.

    Revenge in 2012 – Go Pack

  • waynerd

    While watching the picks fly off the boards I was hoping Ronnell Lewis would make it to our 4th round comp picks but the Lions took him just before. Sort of feel they took him so we couldn’t. Would have been good insurance if Perry doesnt work out. Also noticed that Antonio Allen (safety) was available instead of Datko in the 7th. Would he have been a better pick?

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      I wasn’t a big fan of Allen, myself. There were UDFAs just as good… Packers signed one in Sean Richardson.

  • Pete Kliman

    I was surprised we didn’t take a center or RB. However,centers Saulsberry( a jack of all trades) and Brewster plus RB Polk are surprisingly UDFA’s . If TT signs two of these players I would be elated.Perry and Worthy I believe are better than what we have there right now,how much better might determine how successful we’ll be this season.Training camp will be very interesting this year.

    • Bubbaloo

      Pete, Polk was an UDFA for about an hour, he signed with Philly about 15 or 16 hours before you posted this, so I guess it’s too late for that!

  • Pack-a-Mac

    I have run all the information available on the picks through a statistical model, and the highest probability outcomes for the 2012 season are:
    BJ Coleman: Traded to the Browns after a solid pre-season game for all of their 2013 draft choices.
    Andrew Datko: Signed off the practice squad by the Vikings, currently house-hunting in California.
    Terrell Manning: In the “Jolly Rehab Center” after being found sniffing CM3’s hair products.
    Jerron McMillian: Also known as “Not Nick Collins”, has a tough first year.
    Mike Daniels: On Injured Reserve after Mike Neal introduced him to the tackling dummy…
    Casey Hayward: Back up to Charles Woodson. Struggling as no-one will tell him what position that is.
    Jerel Worthy: Solid contributor, but unable to start due to lack of space in the changing room between Raji and Pickett.
    Nick Perry: Shows his versatility as QB for the second half of the superbowl, after Rodger’s latest concussion caused by tripping over BJ Raji’s super-sized hot dog.
    OK, so the odds of these aren’t that high, but a trade, a couple of losses, an IR, a couple of back-ups, and a couple of starters might not be far off for the first year. And let’s hope the superbowl bit is right!

  • PackersRS

    I don’t know if this means much, so early in the year, but coach Perry didn’t mention Woodson nor Heyward amongst his corps. And for that matter, Capers didn’t say that moving Woodson to safety was in the plans.

    He said that Woodson already plays safety depending on the opponent and the formation, and that is true.

    It could be that Woodson will be moved to safety permanently in base, but I don’t expect it to happen this year, if what they said is any indication.

    I could see the Packers using only 1 safety in base, though, which would somewhat make Woodson a safety, but I don’t expect him to play center field, not pre-snap.

    If they know what they’re doing, and I think so, they’ll keep Woodson as close to the LOS as possible.

    • Jeremiah

      I think Woodson moving to safety might happen in the same way that the Patriots have moved to a 4-3. Bill Belichick never announced it, but it just sort of happened.

  • tlvincent

    I was pretty blown away, and I haven’t always been so friendly to TT. I would have been lighting him up if he hadn’t made a jump up into the mid 2nd to land an impact defender but he did that. I’m just so excited that this draft will be the deathblow to a number of hangers-on on the defensive personnel group!!! They certainly have gotten faster and more athletic, I loved the Tarell Manning pick, he will be a starter some day soon!

    • Jeremiah

      Who’s job do you think he’ll take?

      • Normthe1

        Hawk…

  • tlvincent

    I give TT a solid A. He turned 12 picks into 8 players and has created a perform or step it up atmosphere or your gone to basically the entire defensive group. The 6 new guys will weed out the weak links and make the entire team stronger. Like I said, its not like GB needs to be a top 3 defensive team, they can win a title with a top 15 defense, it just can’t be the worst unit in the league.

  • Oppy

    Everyone can’t wait to get rid of CJ Wilson.

    I think all Packers fans ought to go back and pay attention to his snaps last year.

    He’s pretty good, and he’s pretty much doing exactly what you want a typical 3-4 DE to do.. He holds his ground, plays off blocks when a ball carrier comes his way.

    Not a wow factor guy, but he has moments.

    Too bad everyone still judges our 3-4 DL based on the merit of pass rush.

    • BTF

      I think there is still room for Wilson on the roster, I think possibly Raji aside we’ll use players on the DL situationally Pickett Muir Wilson to run stuff Worthy Hargrove Daniels Wynn Neal to penetrate and get after the passer. Obviously not all of those will make the roster but I wouldn’t say anyone is written off yet and I’d be suprised if more than 3 rosters spots on the DL are locked down.

      • BTF

        Reading that back I’ve mangled my point a bit I realise there is always some situational use of players but I think we might take it a step further. Much wiser folk than myself have noted we are loading up on interior rushers more suited to nickel than a base 3-4 but logically we will also keep (perhaps semi-separately) a base grouping. Wilson has as Oppy says flashed the skill set to be worth keeping as part of that group. He’ll need to have a good camp but I wouldn’t be writing him off yet…

    • Ron LC

      He has a good chance to stay, but he needs to get a lot better.

  • marpag

    As far as the pass rush is concerned, I think the biggest improvement will NOT be that any one drafted player is so great. I don’t think we drafted “Clay Matthews IV” this year. The improvement will come in that each new addition is a little better than the guy he replaced. The sum is greater than the parts.

    In a standard pass rush, you have four guys going for the QB. Each one will be matched up against certain blockers. To get a pressure or a sack, you only need one of those four guys to win his matchup.

    Last season at DE we had Winn/Wilson/Neal. The only sack those guys ever had was used for carrying potatoes. There’s no question in my mind that Worthy can get better than any of those three. So maybe he doesn’t dominate the line of scrimmage every single play or demand continual double teams. But he is at least capable of winning his matchup once in a while.

    Last season at OLB we had Walden/Zombo (Waldo? Zolden?) Did anybody feel confident that they would win their personal matchups with anything close to acceptable frequency? Even if Perry ISN’T a the second coming of Bruce Smith, I feel confident that he can win once in a while, and a lot more often than Waldo or Zolden.

    Obviously CM3 can rush the passer. For a tackle playing inside, Raji has pretty good wiggle. Add two more rushers who at least need to be taken seriously – even if they’re not world-beaters – and your pass rush is dramatically improved. Now you’re stretching the protection. Now you have FOUR guys who are at least respectable, not TWO, and only one of those four needs to win his matchup.

    That’s a heck of a lot better.

  • Tyler

    I absolutely love every single one of these picks except Mcmillian, they got great value all over the board and smartly traded up to get the guys they wanted. The Packers don’t need quantity like most other teams, they need quality and they definitely got that. I would’ve been happy with taking Worthy as our first rounder, assuming Perry was off the board.
    I think Perry has the potential to be a beast at the linebacker position if he can get it together. He is huge and ridiculously powerful for how fast this guy is (35 reps and a 4.5 40, what?!) and could do some ridiculous damage, even though he’s supposed “too big” to play outside in a 3-4.
    Getting Worthy is awesome, he’s a great talent who shouldn’t have made it out of the first round, but the thing I love is that he is going to make Raji that much better if he doesn’t have to play 90+% of the snaps every game, that will make all the difference and I think we may see him become that impact NT that we need if he can get a little more rested.
    Manning and Datko being around when they were was just icing on the cake. I seriously can’t believe the guys we got at the spots we did. TT knows how to work a draft, and it feels like every time he gets better and gets more out of each of his picks.
    All I wanted from this draft was NOT a first round center, and I was at work freaking out since Konz was still on the board. Couldn’t be happier.

    • PackersRS

      We now have plenty of capable guys in the DL to keep all of them fresh. The more I think about it the more I like this offseason. Now it’s time to show it on the field.

      We went 15-1 with all the problems we had on the defensive side, and it took a bizarre set of circumstances for us to lose in the playoffs. I’m very optimistic about this 2012 team.

  • Dan

    Although I agree with TTs overall strategy, I’ve been critical a few times in the past for his over conservative ways. I didn’t like his lack of attention to the pass rush in the off-season last year in particular. I give TT an A+ for how he’s handled this off season so far. He absolutely killed it in this draft. I loved his aggressive approach . I can’t wait to watch this team play this year.

  • Chad Toporski

    I’m just glad TT stuck to his tradition in picking a player with the initials “B.J.”

    • marpag

      Hmm. I seem to remember that Mike Sherman picked those intials once too….

      Maybe it’s not such a great tradition.

    • ed

      The Packers now have a total of 6 *Js:
      1 AJ
      2 BJs
      1 CJ
      2 DJs

  • AndrewInAtlanta

    Nice article. Agree that Jarius Wynn and CJ Wilson have prob seen the end of their time in GB

  • Mojo

    Perhaps the best indication of whether GB plays a lot more 4-3 next year will be how many D-lineman they keep on the 53. If it’s eight or more expect a lot of hybrid schemes. If not, baring injury, I figure Raji, Pickett and Worthy are locks. Daniels and Hargrove as probable and everyone else fighting for one spot. I don’t see them cutting all the others so expect at least 7 or 8 d-lineman.

  • Wagszilla

    Well written Michael. Good job.

  • http://allgbp.com Charlie B

    Time to start talking about BPA versus need drafting again?