4 Main Themes Emerge From Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Draft

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  1. NFL Draft Logo Image
    2012 NFL Draft

    Ted Thompson hasn’t gone crazy:  While many people were surprised by the fact that Thompson traded up several times, a good indication that Thompson is still following his MO is that he’s trolling the media about his “change” in personality.  If you’ve followed Thompson enough, you’d know that he’ll never tell anyone anything, so if he’s saying he’s doing things differently, chances are he really isn’t.  I now think Thompson wasn’t as averse to trading up in the past as we all thought; it simply didn’t make much sense in previous years to do so.  For instance right now Thompson probably has one of the best teams in the NFL in terms of depth so he can afford to trade picks to move up the draft but when Thompson took over in 2005 the team was in a salary cap nightmare and salary cap nightmares usually also mean that there were no quality backups on the team (or else why pay more for an aging veteran?).  Secondly, the rookie salary cap has altered the draft to a point where the picks at the top of the 1st round are the most valuable (as they should be) and teams have adjusted accordingly by trading up in order to secure the best talent for them. In fact the majority of 1st round draft picks ended up being selected by teams who were not the team originally award the pick.  I am a little surprised that Thompson was so quick to recognize the change and act upon it, which is why I now think that Thompson isn’t averse to trading up, he just could justify paying the price in the past.

  2. Draft and Develop: Thompson again hasn’t changed his stance that the best method of improving a team is to draft and develop its own players.  If you take a look at the players selected in the 1st 3 rounds (which is usually where stars are found, although the Packers did not draft in the 3rd round), each has the physical/mental capacity to succeed in the draft, but isn’t really all that polished in their technique.  Nick Perry is going to have to learn to play out of a two point stance and drop back in coverage, Jerel Worthy is going to need to learn how to play 5 technique in a 3-4 defense and keep his motor up and Casey Hayward is going to need to learn how to play more in a zone scheme.  I would guess that the effect of these players in the first year is going to be a wash, remember even Clay Matthews didn’t really explode onto the scene until his 2nd year.
  3. Defensive Coincidence: Random variability probably can’t explain why the first 6 draft picks were all defensive players (there’s about a 1.5% that a coin will land heads 6 times in a row), so what else could it be?  Thompson was quick to point out that he wasn’t favoring the defense, but “it just happened that way”.  I would assume that the reason behind this is a combination of the offensive-heavy draft last year and the state of the defense this year; when drafting players GMs always have to think about the players they are going to replace; for instance it probably doesn’t make any sense to draft a replacement for Aaron Rodgers because he’s entering his prime and is an All Pro player but also it doesn’t make sense to draft a replacement for Derek Sherrod since he’s proven nothing (good or bad) and teams have to give their players time to develop before they know what they have.  So Thompson probably has wide receiver, tight end, running back and offensive tackle de-valued this year because players at those positions were picked last year and Thompson simply doesn’t know what he has.  Add that to the obvious deficiencies in the defense last year and you probably have Thompson’s “coincidence” in drafting so many defensive players.  What will be interesting to see is if offensive players dominate next year.
  4. Mock drafts are officially dead:  Not that people are going to stop making them; even the best draftniks usually only got 3-4 picks correct in the 1st round (and lets not talk about rounds 2-7), but if this yearsis in any way indicative of the future, there is now even less chance for anyone to get any picks right with the amount of trading going on.  From a front office perspective, it also means that GMs are going to have a harder time predicting which players go to which teams, so “sticking to your board” may become even more important than it is now.  I would probably also guess that drafting by need is going to become even less attractive since presumable teams would have to reach even more to get players they need.

 

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • Chad Lundberg

    I think even Thompson knows that when your offense scores 35 points a game, it’s hard to argue that it needs any help. The only thing that would need help on offense is the offensive line, simply because you can never allow your star quarterback to be exposed. And I think that’s why he spent one of his final picks on Andrew Datko.

    The Packers gave up the most passing yards in NFL history, so clearly Thompson didn’t have a choice.

    And can I say that I think this draft went about as good as we could have possibly hoped for? Yeah, there’s no ace in the hole pick, but maybe we don’t need one since we have Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews. We now have the necessary players to change that defense around, and I think they will.

    • Bubbaloo

      Chad, “We now have the necessary players to “change” that defense around, and I think they will”.
      —————————–
      CHANGE it around, or TURN it around? There has been rumors of going back to the 4 – 3, which is why I ask.

      • Chad Lundberg

        I meant turn it around, although if the Packers go back to being one of the top fives teams against the pass like they were in 2010 from the 2011 team that gave up the most passing yards in NFL history, you can see why I wouldn’t just call it turning it around. I would describe that as a “changed” defense.

        I seriously doubt there will be a 4-3 scheme change in Green bay. That will only happen when we get a different defensive coordinator. Plus, the 3-4 won us a Super Bowl, so why would it need changing?

      • Thomas Hobbes

        I would assume that Capers will not run a 4-3 defense, or at least not for more than a couple plays per game. He’s a 3-4 defensive mastermind and at this point I don’t think they really have the players to play a 4-3, where does Matthews go? outside linebacker? I don’t think he’s big enough to be a defensive end.

        • Ed Schoenfeld

          There is no way this set of personnel can run a 4-3. Even if Hargrove could become a reliable starter opposite Perry, the only other **4-3** defensive end on the roster is Jerious Wynn. THERE ARE NO 4-3 DE BACKUPS OR PROSPECTS BEYOND THAT.

          Everybody else is a pure defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. Don’t get confused by a depth chart that lists Ryan Pickett as a DE. A 3-4 DE has to be a completely different type of player than a 4-3 DE — all of the ‘pass rush’ types the Packers have (Raji, Worthy, Daniels, etc.) are *inside* (3-technique) rushers. They are defensive *tackles* in a 4-3 scheme.

          And why would you run a scheme that put 2 of your best linemen (Raji and Worthy) playing at the same *spot* as each other backups?

          • Thomas Hobbes

            Well if the Packers were running a 4-3, Raji and Pickett would probably be 3 techniques or Pickett would be the 0/1 technique (the “nose”) and Raji would be the 3 technique with worthy in rotation. Not that it’s likely for them to switch to a 4-3 but its possible. I also wouldn’t call Worthy one of the best linemen on the Packers, he hasn’t played a snap in the NFL, let’s see what he can do before we start calling him a star

    • toolkien

      It’s a lot easier for your offense to score 35 points a game when your defense is taking the ball from the other team 2.7 times per game. Statisticians say that a turnover counts for about a 4 to 4.5 swing in the point totals. The D gave up a lot of yards and the secondary had their “miscommunication” problems, but they also took the ball away a lot, hence why the Packers were mediocre in points allowed. The Packers had the 9th best QB rating surrendered in 2011.

      Overall mediocre that I’m sure we all wish was better. But it stands that if the offense feels the playoffs is the time to turn the ball over in bunches, I doubt our defense will be good enough to withstand a 4 or 5 turnover effort by the offense. We can hammer the D all we want, but there is a pattern of not coming up big in big games since 2009 that I hoped was licked in 2010. The two Favre Games in 2009, the playoffs in 2009 where the Pack turned the ball over twice in the first three offensive plays. And in 2011 the offense turned the ball over 4 times. The Packer formula just won’t tolerate turning the ball over. I don’t know of any team that structures their game plan around their offense handing the ball to the other team once a quarter on average.

  • tlvincent4

    Mike Daniels = poor mans John Randle

    I’ll get killed for that one but I see comparisons and a guy can dream can’t he?

    • Pat Mc

      I hope and dream with you. The D line needs to get disruptive. They need to crash and collapse the pocket. I like what I see from Daniels and think he will give it a good run. Fortunately he will meet a few DL wanting to keep their jobs and stepping it up.

      I can’t wait to see the pre-season.

      • Thomas Hobbes

        I would argue that the outside linebackers need to be more productive, because in a 3-4 its the linebackers and not the D-line that are supposed to pressure the QB. If you can get pressure from the DL on top of keeping outside linebackers clean and playing the run, great if not, no big deal. It’s like asking cornerbacks to sack the quarterback, it’s great if they can do it but it’s not really their job.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Ironically John Randle wasn’t draft so you could say that Randle is a poor man’s Mike Daniels. I do think it’s interesting that the Packers seem willing to pick players who aren’t a optimal height i.e. Rodgers, D.J. Smith and Mike Daniels.

      • PackersRS

        Yet they don’t pick one single CB under 5’11”, and the only Wr they’ve gotten shorter than 5’11” is Cobb…

        They definitely have height weight requirements, in some positions they’re more strict with it than in others.

        • Thomas Hobbes

          Well players have to fit “the scheme” in order to succeed and one factor is their height-weight-speed. For instance, before B.J. Colemen, every QB drafted by the Packers was 6’2″ and around 220lbs with little variability

          • PackersRS

            On the other hand, it may be a coincidence.

            That players with the required strenghts (accuracy, mobility, toughness) usually are of that mold (6’2, 220).

            Then they’re not necessarily looking for the measurables, but they have more chances finding a player with the requisites if they stick to the measurables.

            Chicken or the egg…

      • tlvincent4

        I swear they look like the same guy in pads, not sure what John Randle was listed at size wise but if you watch Daniels at Iowa in that #93 you will see it too! Maybe just me, they gotta teach Daniels that spin move though:)

        • Thomas Hobbes

          John Randle was 6’1″, 287 lbs. Mike Daniels is 6’0″ 291 lbs. I could be mistaken (I never had the chance to watch Randle play), but didn’t he play in a 4-3? That makes quite a difference.

          • tlvincent4

            yeah, you are right about the 4-3, does make a big difference, but the sizes are pretty darn close, Did Packers give him a number yet? I know he can’t get #93 cause of Walden.

            • Thomas Hobbes

              numbers are pretty tradable so just cause Walden wore #93 doesn’t mean he will keep wearing #93. I know Chris Klue gave his number to Donovan McNabb in exchange for publicity for his band, a donation to a charity and a ice cream cone

          • Oppy

            You never had a chance to watch John Randle play…

            aaaaannd now I suddenly feel very old.

  • Pat Mc

    Nick Perry is going to have to learn to play out of a two point stance and drop back in coverage, Jerel Worthy is going to need to learn how to play 5 technique in a 3-4 defense and keep his motor up and Casey Hayward is going to need to learn how to play more in a zone scheme.

    I would guess that the effect of these players in the first year is going to be a wash. – I agree except

    For the OTA’s and Camp the team is allowed 90 players but final roster is 53.

    If you break it down to 3 special teams (Kicker, punter and Long Snapper) tha gives you 25 on O and 25 on D.

    On O the center has been replaced prior to Draft and hence the O is pretty well set. Getting a potential 3 or 2nd round OL guy in the 7th is great. A qb in 7th is good. Neither will be expected to do anything this year. (IMHO)

    On the D the 6 main picks (D):
    Worthy replaces Green, Worthy will get snaps and good by Mr Green.

    OLB: We all hope our new guy (perry) is the starter or that one of the current guys steps up. However, the new guy will get snaps. One or two of last years guys will be gone. Simple as that.

    At CB both House and Brandigan have had a whole year to absorp and step up. Pat Lee is gone and I suspect one of these guys to take the next step. Charles woodson will play safety but the new safety will get playing time there as well.

    Oh, the CB (Casey Hayward) who can play safety might take woodsons spot from last year – on the line or in Nickel. That means one of last years starting CB’s needs to wake up because they might be gone.

    The D Line men from last year need to know that 1,2 or 3 of them will be gone (DE’s anyone)?

    TT did not change. The draft is random, he picks his board and his board gave more value going up and getting the better guys. All things being equal the coaches got the players they wanted, so no excuses next year.

    The final roster will be tough on the team coaches and last years D players. If TT had used the 4 extra picks (other than trading up) who would he have picked that would not be cut and hopefully placed on practice squad (maybe)? As it is TT got several OL, RB’s and other players in FA already. 53 will be very tough this year.

    • http://allgbp.com Charlie B

      Who is Brandigan?

      • tlvincent4

        maybe he means Brandian Ross??? Just guessing, he looked good early in camp/pre

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Actually Green played very little last year, if you are saying Worthy is going to take someone’s place it would probably be Jarius Wynn or C.J Wilson

      Also Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have both stated that Hayward is going to be a cornerback and not safety, so if anything Woodson is the one likely to be doing the switching.

    • FireMMNow

      hayward is not a safety, not even close. if he has a weakness, it is his tackling. he is also thin in the lower body. i love the pick, but he is a CB and only a CB.

      also thomas, from what i saw of hayward he played more zone in college than man and looked good doing it. after the top 4 CBs, hayward was by far my favorite CB. i actually think he has a higher probability of success than kirkpatrick. although kirkpatrick has a higher ceiling.

      • Thomas Hobbes

        Actually I’ve looked more into it, and I’m not sure why the NFL draft page states that he needs to work on his zone coverage (which is where I got that statement from). My suspicion is that the blurb was written sometime when the NFL assess each player’s draftibility and may not be the most accurate source of information. They did rank Derek Sherrod as a 3rd round draft pick and Shea McClellin as a 4th round draft pick, and I highly doubt teams reached that high.

    • tlvincent4

      If Aldon Smith can come in for SF last year and pile up sacks, Why can’t Nick Perry do similar things for the GB Packers?
      Smith 6’4 263 4.74/34″vert/20reps
      Perry 6’3 271 4.53/38.5″/35reps

      Basically same defense, same position, I think Capers drops his OLB’s way more but when I look at what Aldon Smith did for their defense, I feel better about what Nick Perry can bring to the Packers right away next year!!!

      • Tarynfor12

        Even if the numbers were exact,they become disportionate to the use of them by each player.

        • tlvincent4

          frame of reference only! similar size, similar athleticism, similar def system, same position, etc.

  • Ron LC

    The theme of the Packer draft was very simple. First and foremost to get the most talented guys by position by draft position. Did that!

    Second, is a very not so subtle meaasge from TT and MM to Capers and the D. “We are watching and last year is not to be repeated”.

    Throw 90 peas into a jar and filter out the bad ones. Run the remaining 65 or so through intense competition and pick the best of the remaining crop.

    This will be a fun pre-season.

    • PackersRS

      I kind of wonder if TT didn’t have a talk with Capers, Greene and Trgovac about those talented guys that didn’t give 100% all time.

      Something like “you want talent? You’ll get talent, but you better make it work!”

    • Thomas Hobbes

      lol, I don’t think Thompson was sleeping during last year, Capers knows he can’t have a defense like that again. Also keep in mind that it’s never that simple in terms of training camp. There is politics involved, and some people don’t get the same opportunities as other players, so you don’t always come out with the best 65/53 players, as Tramon Willams, John Kuhn, Jeff Saturday etc can attest to.

  • Ed Schoenfeld

    Regarding Mock Drafts being dead, what does that 3-4 pick average say to Bob McGinn’s 26 players in the first round and 10 at the right spot and team? And this isn’t the first year hes done that either.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I would be quite surprised if McGinn has gotten more than 10 at the right spot and team. For instance the only ones he got right this year were Luck, RGIII, Tannehill, Floyd, Kirkpatrick and Whitney. I would argue that it was announced Luck was the 1st overall pick weeks ago and RGIII was the only choice after Washington mortgaged the future so really that’s only 4 guesses correct out of 32.

  • Turophile

    More on mock drafts. The best way to keep mock draft a little bit relevant (they never meant that much) is simply to make a list of players, best to worst, and put them in a mock accordingly, paying no attention to the needs of the team drafting there, because its likely there will be another team there when its time to pick.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Who is the best player? The Colts had Luck as the best but I wouldn’t be surprised to see RGIII as the best on the Redskins’ list. Going down further, who’s better Riley Reiff or Melvin Ingram? Teams are going to have different opinions on the matter.

  • pkrNboro

    “the rookie salary cap has altered the draft to a point where the picks at the top of the 1st round are the most valuable (as they should be)”
    —–>The rookie salary cap has allowed each pick to be quantified monetarily, and the most costly pick is the first one, followed by the second, and so on. However, a more expensive pick doesn’t imply value, just that it’s more costly. The more talented players are always selected earlier, but that has always happened — and has nothing to do with the new CBA.

    “teams have adjusted accordingly by trading up in order to secure the best talent for them. In fact the majority of 1st round draft picks ended up being selected by teams who were not the team originally award the pick.”
    —–>For every trade up, there’s got to be a trade down. So securing the best talent, may involve shrewd trades — not just a certain player at a certain position.

    If there were more trades than customary, I believe the reason is that the pick is assured to sign a contract without a holdout, or without undue/unexpected impact on a team’s salary cap — which previously could not be guaranteed. With more defined parameters (ie: slotting) with regard to the contract, a team could more readily entertain a trade knowing that the only wildcard was the terms of the trade — not the back-end hassle of negotiating a contract.

    “I am a little surprised that Thompson was so quick to recognize the change and act upon it”
    —–>Thompson didn’t trade up in the first round, so he really didn’t “act upon it.” What he did was trade up for more talented players to address specific needs. He already has a deep roster and didn’t need to draft 12 players, let alone trade down and collect more players — players he’d only release on cut-down day.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      The rookie salary cap has allowed each pick to be quantified monetarily, and the most costly pick is the first one, followed by the second, and so on. However, a more expensive pick doesn’t imply value, just that it’s more costly. The more talented players are always selected earlier, but that has always happened — and has nothing to do with the new CBA. Rookie salary caps have always been quantified monetarily even with the old CBA, the top pick always made the most money with the second overall pick making less that that and so forth. Furthermore, the 1st overall pick almost always made more money than the 1st overall pick of the previous year (though there was some variability in terms of position) I would argue that in the old CBA a more expensive pick didn’t always imply more value but in the new CBA where the rookie salary cap makes drafting near the top much more indicative of value

      —–>For every trade up, there’s got to be a trade down. So securing the best talent, may involve shrewd trades — not just a certain player at a certain position. If there were more trades than customary, I believe the reason is that the pick is assured to sign a contract without a holdout, or without undue/unexpected impact on a team’s salary cap — which previously could not be guaranteed. With more defined parameters (ie: slotting) with regard to the contract, a team could more readily entertain a trade knowing that the only wildcard was the terms of the trade — not the back-end hassle of negotiating a contract. there has to be some explanation of why almost every 1st round pick was traded this year, and most of them during the day of the draft, while in previous years there wasn’t nearly as much action. Also, previous years it seemed like trades were more “big moves” like going from the bottom of a round to the top of the round etc, but this year was more positional moving, like the Browns moving up only one spot. I would argue that teams might have played it safe last year with the holdout and not exactly knowing how the new CBA works, but this year was totally different. Also keep in mind that every trade that works probably means there were 5 trades that didn’t so teams were very active this year.

      “I am a little surprised that Thompson was so quick to recognize the change and act upon it”
      —–>Thompson didn’t trade up in the first round, so he really didn’t “act upon it.” What he did was trade up for more talented players to address specific needs. He already has a deep roster and didn’t need to draft 12 players, let alone trade down and collect more players — players he’d only release on cut-down day.
      I agree that trying to fit 12 new players on an already deep roster would have been a nightmare but actually from the sounds of it Thompson was trying to act on it on day one as well, just nothing came out of it. But really looking at just 1 pick isn’t very significant. If you look at all of Thompsons draft day trades going up, he’s only done 3 from 2005-2010 (Thompson,Matthews,Burnett). This year he did 3 so there’s got to be something different.