With Donald Driver retiring and Greg Jennings putting his house up for sale, the Packers will be kicking the tires on Wide Receivers. The 2013 NFL draft has a talented group of prospects, so if you need one, it’s a good year to go shopping.
The Packers still have one the best WR groups in the NFL, with or without Jennings and Driver. Jennings leaving will make a hole in the group, but not as large are some think. Jennings has missed half of the regular season games with injuries the last two years. Driver was used very little this last year, where his smile and leadership will be missed, his production will not be.
Jones had his best year, lead the NFL in TD’s and reduced his dropped passes significantly. Nelson is still on the rise as a WR. Cobb when he was drafted, I called a steal, and he has shown that to be very true. His play and continued development is a huge plus for the Packers.
After those three, it’s unproven developmental players. Boykin could become a very nice procession type receiver or even more, he has good size at 6-2 and 217#. His testing numbers are almost identical to James Jones coming into the draft, not fast 4.57 40 time, Jones 4.58. Both have good quickness showed in there ten yard times and good agility. Boykin does have great hands and a excellent coach so I give him a 4th round type grade going into this next season.
Jeremy Ross is the other interesting WR to develop. He showed his ability with the ball in his hands returning punts and kick offs. Good size at 6-0 215#, 4.44 speed and a very nice 1.50 ten yard time.
I give extra credit to development players already on the team. The NFL training, coaching with the added experience of being a Pro gives these players a step up over most rookies. Regardless of those players the Packers are going to have to look at drafting a WR, and making it a priority to sign some UDFA’s for development on the practice squad. Wide Receiver might have the deepest talent in the 2013 draft, intriguing prospects can be found through the 4th round and even beyond.
The number one spot is being fought over by Keenan Allen 6-3 210# out of California and Cordarrelle Patterson 6-3 205# Tennessee. What I found interesting about Allen, one of his scouting reports had him compared to Jordy Nelson. Allen will be a top 15 pick IMO.
The 2013 draft has a group of 15 or 16 Wide Receives that fall into the top of the second to the top of the 5th round. That group comes in all shapes and sizes ranging from 5-9 175# Tavon Austin out of West Virginia at the top of the second to Rodney Smith 6-5 219# Florida State who is ranked in the 5th right now. I will say that many of these prospects will be moving up and down the draft rankings after the combine and Pro Days, but we have to start some place.
Do you look for another Jennings type receiver, 5-11 197#, 4.42 40 time, good, but not great 1.57 ten yard time, excellent agility with a 4.18 short shuttle and a 6.69 3 cone drill, Or a different type of receiver? Do you draft someone high in the draft or look for talent you can develop? I would not want to see the Ted Thompson draft a RB, TE or a WR in the first round. And Ted Thomson has not drafted a WR, RB or TE in the first round yet. I’ll take the best defensive player they can get at any position with that first pick.
But we are here to talk WR’s so lets look at what is what and who is who. I will give you some names I think fit the Packers, DeAndre Hopkins 6-1 200# Clemson , Aaron Dobson 6-3 # Marshall, Quinton Patton 6-0 202# Louisiana Tech, Da’Rick Rodgers 6-2 206# Tennessee Tech, Chris Harper 6-1 228# Kansas State. Other then Patton, all of the ones I have here are over 6’ and over 200#.
This goes back to a requirement set by Bill Walsh on WCO wide receiver prospects you can read here.
Where the offense the Packers run is based in the WCO, it is of course an evolved variation. But when you look at the type of WR’s that have done well in the system, they usually fit those size and physical parameters. The Packers ask their WR’s to block both in the run game and WR screen patterns and down field. The Packer also utilize back shoulder passes and timing routes, where body control is important. These bigger WR’s also have a easier time getting off the line of scrimmage.
Lets start with DeAndre Hopkins, Aaron Dobson and Quinton Patton, they all fit the Packers well. These three prospects are all ranked in the top to middle part of the second round right now.
Da’Rick Rodgers is one of the most talented WR’s in the draft, but he has shown a ten cent head at times, being suspended at Tennessee and moving to Tennessee Tech.
Not much for highlights for Chris Harper, but you can see a couple nice plays here.
So what should the Packers do? Move up get one of the top two WR’s? Make another 2nd round WR pick? Ted has picked if I remember correctly 4 WR’s in the second round. Or go with what the team all ready has and address other needs? If I have to pick one out of the group outlined, Aaron Dobson interests me the most, but each are a good fit for the Packers offense.