I am going to start this with saying the WR position was a bigger need then most seemed to think, with all the focus on defense and that was warranted, the offense also needed work. The Packers were one injury away from Miles White or Kevin Dorsey being the #3 WR.
With the number of three and four wide receiver sets and adding the loss of Finley, WR had to have a influx of talent and competition.
Now I like Boykin and how he has developed, but the Packers have the #1 QB in the NFL and he has to have weapons and the position needed depth.
Center was another position that needed added competition. I think Tretter will be the starting Center and be a very good one, but he should not just be handed the job. Behind Tretter there was only one real Center, Garth Garhart a UDFA from Arizona State last year. To go with that, I would love to see Barclay added to the mix at both Center and OG, I think he could be a Pro Bowl Level OG. He is not a NFL OT.
TE would be the last stop. A lot of post draft Blather has been spewed about not taking Niklas or C.J. Fiedorowicz.
I happen to like Richard Rodgers and will start with him for a review of the offensive picks.
A lot has been made about his weight by the Fan GM’s and pundits and most of based on bad information. I see a prospect that was asked to play multiple roles, in two different systems and he did whatever was asked of him. That tells me a lot about his love of the game and how much he is willing to work to help his team. He is a fluid athlete with great hands and body control. He being asked to fill different roles in college as a in-line TE, spread out in the slot as a WR has given him experience that fits the Packers use of TE’s well.
He is 6-4 257#, he played at 270# in one offensive system at Cal and under 250# in another. I think the Packers will keep him in that 255# to 260# range. He had a 4.82 40 time and a 1.69 ten yard time with a 32” vertical, none of those are great by any means but when you watch him play he looks faster and quicker. He comes off the line very well. He runs really well after the catch.
But one of the things that sticks out to me is his blocking, using the cut block, a very big part of the zone blocking scheme on the outside and his blocking when moving to the next level in the run game. He needs to get stronger and bit more nasty with it, but knows what to do and where to go.
His combine workout.
Next we have the first of three wide receivers taken in the draft. I have to say it now, I love this pick. Davante Adams in my view is a better, more polished James Jones coming out. Now the system in which he was very productive, 131 catches for 1,718 yard and 24 TD’s, in yes just 2013 is different, he is going to have to learn a more complete route tree, the other thing he is going to have to do is get stronger for down field blocking that the Packer demand there WR’s do in the running game.
But what you cannot teach him is his ability to do things as a WR on the field, IMO one of the best WR’s in the draft for high pointing catches, 39.3” vertical at 6-1 and 212#. Excellent body control and the ability to make all the catches and those that most can’t make. If I have to have a knock on him, he is not speed burner or a exceptionally quick. He ran a 4.51 at his workout and had a 1.60 sec. ten yard time. One of the things that scouting reports said is that some of his inflated production was because of his QB in Derek Carr, Well I don’t think that is going to be a problem in Green Bay.
Next we have the first Wisconsin Badger ever drafted by Ted Thompson, Jared Abbrederis. I have mixed feelings about this pick, he is not a great athlete by any means, 6-1 195# decent speed at 4.5 sec. 40, 1.60 ten yard, 30” vertical, what I have questions about is his body type and strength. He had 4 reps at 225#. FOUR! He looks like a popsicle stick standing straight up.
NFL secondary coaches are going to see that and play him press man and drive him in the dirt in the first five yards. He is going to take a bit of time to develop the ability to get off the line in the NFL, once he does, he can be a very nice WR. He has the knack of getting separation, reading zones, just getting the ball in his hands, and when he does, he has that after the catch ability to make a lot of yards. Anyone that saw him play Ohio State and what he did to a first round CB knows he has the something you can’t measure, he stole Roby’s lunch, ate it front of him and made him go get some more milk.
The 3rd WR to me is the most intriguing, 6-3 219# 4.37 40 time, 1.51 ten yard, 37” vertical, AMAZING 3.98 short shuttle and 6.64 3 cone drill. That is impressive at any position. Now the down part, he comes from the GLIAC a Div. II conference. He did dominate there with 83 catches for 1,532 yard and 14 TD’s in 2013. Did a bit more then that in 2012 also. But he is going to have to learn fast to make it in the NFL.
What he can do right away is take the top off a defense, unlike Abbrederis, Janis did 20 reps at 225# so he can work on eliminating press coverage, something he did not get much of at that level. I am hoping they work him as a return man. I do know this, he has the raw tools you cannot teach and his coach with the Packers will get the most out of him.
What we do have left is another pick that I have read quite a bit of nasty Fan GM remarks about. The remark ranged from, WHY did TT draft him, to, we could have got him much later.
Corey Linsley was one of the Center’s I liked for the Packers. He has some nasty to him. 6-3 and 301# he has good speed with a 5.03 40 time, 1.78 ten yard. STRONG 36 reps at 225#. Average vertical at 27” and a good 8’11” long jump. Decent agility with a 4.53 short shuttle and 7.46 3 cone drill.
What I liked was watching him play. There is not a lot of Pass protection video on him. Ohio State was a bit short on WR’s this year. But I got to see a quite a bit of was him in run blocking, besides seeing him play in Big ten games, the highlight video for Carlos Hyde was good place to see him run block. Linsley shows he has worked with zone scheme’s, combo blocking and moving to the second level. He has good feet and quick hands, sinks his hips and anchors. If I have a complaint on him he can get over aggressive and end on the ground.
Following video is really for OSU RB Carlos Hyde, but gives you a great look at Linsley:
Did I miss anyone, no I don’t think so. Ahh but I did, my favs the UDFA’s I will save those for another piece. Ted Thompson did his job and created competition with some very good picks. Every pick in the draft has some worts, but you have to look at how they match the teams systems and how they use the players at the different positions. I like what the team has going into the 2014 season on both sides of the ball.