This draft was hailed as one of the best wide receiving crops ever.
And the Packers proved why on Saturday by getting Jared Abbrederis with the 176th overall pick.
Abbrederis was a first team All-Big Ten selection the last two years — and the most amazing thing is that he did it despite catching passes from an inefficient and inaccurate quarterback. He also didn’t have a legit No. 2 complementary receiver the last two years, but he continued to get better even though defenses were clearly zeroing in on stopping him, and him only, in the passing game.
So how does a wiry kid with Wisconsin roots end up getting better each year in college? The easy answer is that he runs routes very well, which he does run with surgeon-like precision. But the reason he is amazing in the passing game is because he understands the process having won a state title as an option quarterback in high school. He also was a quarterback on the scout team at Wisconsin.
He may be a receiver but he scans the field like a quarterback. He looks to see what the defense is going to allow and then he just attacks it with his crisp route running.
Abbrederis went to Wisconsin with the intention of running track. After asking a football coach if he could walk-on, he was able to get his foot in the door and he hasn’t looked back since.
It’s an excellent pick and not just because he grew up about 85 miles from the Lambeau Field steps. It’s because he has a high football IQ and isn’t afraid to prove people wrong.
Jared Abbrederis: A+
The Packers already have one heat-seeking ball hawk at outside linebacker.
They just got another one with the 121st overall pick in Carl Bradford. Now, I’m not even saying that Bradford is in Clay Matthews’ stratosphere for talent but he is in the same zip code for intensity. And that’s saying something, because we all know how hard Mathews plays.
Bradford led Arizona State with 8½ sacks last year, but what really impresses me about him is that he did it vs. the big boys. He had a sack at No. 11 Stanford at No. 16 UCLA and also vs. No. 11 Stanford. Oh, and he also led the team with 19 tackles for loss.
This is your prototypical linebacker that runs on Red Bull and Mountain Dew. He is a constant pain in the neck to opposing offenses.
There have been those that have said that Bradford’s arm length and speed may hurt him when trying to disrupt the running game, but he more than made up for any physical weaknesses this year with an immeasurable intensity.
Carl Bradford: B+
You can never add enough offensive linemen, especially when you’ve got the best quarterback in the game.
The Packers drafted Corey Linsley with the 161st pick to add depth to an offensive line that has been put together with duct tape the last few seasons.
Linsley has great strength but his toughness is overshadowed by his lack of talent and the fact that he may get swallowed at the line of scrimmage by guys with a longer reach.
The best part about Linsley is that he started all 14 games for Ohio State and was a team captain this past season. He’s a mature guy that could hold a leadership role on the scout team that could eventually morph into a roster spot.
But I really don’t see much more here.
Corey Linsley: C-
My mother always told me, “Better late than never.”
Well, Demetri Goodson started out playing college hoops at Gonzaga. The starting point guard originally had aspirations of playing in the NBA.
After having a change of heart, he gave football a try, which sent him to Baylor as a transfer.
The athletic cornerback is literally still figuring this game and himself out but he has showed flashes of potential greatness — including an interception off of No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles in last year’s Fiesta Bowl.
Goodson is going to get better. His ability to cut on a dime is amazing, which makes sense since he was a point guard.
This is clearly a project, with an incredible upside.
Demetri Goodson: C+
I honestly don’t know how Jeff Janis fell to the seventh round but Ted Thompson just committed grand larceny. This kid has great wheels with a 4.42 second 40-time and an incredible 37½-inch vertical.
I’ve never heard of Saginaw Valley State . The Division II school from University Center, Michigan rarely comes into anyone’s mind or is next to never on anyone’s lips.
Janis, taken 236th overall, was the fourth player taken from SVS. After a quick look back, I was surprised to see that defensive end Lamar King was taken in the first round in 1999 out of where else, but Saginaw Valley State.
Teams may have been turned off by Janis’ inconsistent competition but it’s obvious he can play. He isn’t afraid to go over the middle, absorb a hit and turn it upfield. And he also has the ability to shed a defender while making a spectacular catch.
He averaged 17.5 yards a catch and grabbed 46 touchdowns in his collegiate career. That is unreal.
People have compared Janis to Jordy Nelson, but I think he’s more of a James Lofton because Janis catches it with his body unlike Nelson who hauls it in with his hands.
Jeff Janis: A
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn