Grading the Packers Rookies: Preseason Week 2

While it’s a pretty pointless endeavor to grade picks right after the draft, it does start to make some sense to start grading players when they’ve actually stepped on an NFL football field against NFL level talent across from them.  For the next four weeks, I will be grading each player selected in the 2014 NFL draft and seeing how they progress.  In terms of grading, obviously I will be excluding Jared Abberderis, who is out on IR.  Also, grades will be curved based on where players were drafted, a lot more is expected from Ha Ha Clinton-Dix than is expected from Demetri Goodson thus grading will be harder on the 1st round draft pick.  Finally, an overall grade will be assigned that factors in the grades from previous games.

Round 1, Pick 21: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (B grade, B grade overall) - Overall a pretty solid albeit quiet outing for Clinton-Dix.  Obviously he showed a better command of the defense and some more versatility after sacking the quarterback, but still seems a little hesitant in his pass defense, in particular on the long gain against Sam Shields in the 1st half, Clinton-Dix could have saved the Packers 10 yards had he just tackled the receiver right away; instead Shield missed the interception and the receiver spun away from Clinton-Dix, who was in position but didn’t pull the trigger.

Round 2, Pick 53: Davante Adams (B+  grade, A- grade overall) - Adams wasn’t as good as he was in his first professional outing but still showed that he can be a valuable piece on the Packers offense if he gets an opportunity.  Adams displayed a good balance of solid route running and physicality, especially on a stick throw where he met the defender right as he caught the ball.  Overall, I think Adams is the most complete wide receiver the Packers drafted in 2014 albeit the most physically talented might go to Janis.  My feeling is that Adams likely wins the 4th WR spot behind the big 3 and Janis and Kevin Dorsey are looking to take the last spot if the Packers only decide to keep 5 WRs.

Round 3, Pick 85: Khyri Thornton (B grade, D grade overall) - Thornton played considerably better against the Rams than the Titans.  Thornton was able to get great push, sometimes even on double teams; Thornton managed a spectacular bull rush against a double team that allowed Sam Barrington to get free for a sack on the quarterback.  However, Thornton is still pretty much a one trick pony; Thornton doesn’t offer much in terms of pass rush and still has issues once the initial bull rush doesn’t work.  If Thornton can learn to use his hands better and get a counter move under his belt he will see a lot more time on the field.

Round 3, Pick 98: Richard Rodgers (B grade, B grade overall) - I think I’m beginning to understand the appeal of Richard Rodgers; while he isn’t the most technically refined blocker or receiver; he does everything pretty well and that gives the Packers a tremendous amount of versatility.  During the first series of the game, the Packers ran the no huddle to perfection and Richard Rodgers was actually one of the key pieces that allows the Packers to remain unpredictable while fielding the same personnel package over and over again.  Rodgers lined up as a tight end covering both tackles, the fullback, a receiving tight end in the slot and as a check down option.  Again while he is an relatively effective blocker (who needs to stop lunging with his head down) and a decent receiver (who is more apt at shielding defenders away from the ball as opposed to creating separation), he’s still very raw in terms of technique and awareness but he does have the potential to be one of the more complete tight ends in the league.

Round 4, Pick 121: Carl Bradford (D grade, D grade overall) - I honestly don’t know what’s going on with Bradford.  On one hand, he played 12 snaps, which is more in line with the other 3rd string linebackers, but on the other hand he’s still on the bottom of the barrel, with Mulumba, Palmer, Elliot and Hubbard all in front of him.  When Bradford was on the field, he did manage one good pass rush where he looped around and knifed through the interior offensive line.  Bradford also showed some ability to drop back in coverage.  One interesting thing is that Bradford did spend time with his hand in the dirt, which is something he did a lot of at Arizona St. (he has experience in both a 2 point and 3 point stance so I don’t think its an issue with familiarity)  Overall, there must be something more at play considering he’s hasn’t been abysmal and his draft stock demands he get more playing time.  Initially I thought it was possible that Bradford was having issues at practice and perhaps the Packers were sending a message but at some point it becomes cutting off your nose to spite your face; Bradford can’t develop if he doesn’t get playing time.  My only guess at this point is that Bradford must be dealing with some injury and he’s on some sort of snap count.

Round 4, Pick 161: Corey Linsley (A- grade, B+ grade overall) - Outside a ticky-tack illegal use of the hands penalty (hands to the face) and the subsequent mistime of the snap on the very next play (considering the rest of the offensive line moved all at the same time I’m assuming it’s Linsley fault) Linsley had a very good game.  Linsley’s forte is his run blocking and he was able to get great push and open up several lanes for his running backs.  He’s decent on pass protection, and seems to have good awareness of what’s going on and does what he can with combo blocks and peeling off and readjusting to late pass rushers.  Overall, I think the Packers are pretty happy with their center situation, I would say both players have shown that they could play pivot for Aaron Rodgers and at this point I think both players should be looking to increase their value by spending time at guard, especially Linsley since it seems likely that in order to secure a roster spot he will need to be a swing interior linemen.

Round 6, Pick 197: Demitri Goodson (C grade, C grade overall) - Goodson pretty much had an identical outing from his game against the Titans, he clearly showed his speed and athleticism but also showed that he’s still maybe too raw to contribute this season.  On one particular play, Goodson bit hard on a play action pass and let his tight end streak down the field on a go route; luckily another defender had let another receiver free on the flat, but the tight end probably had a touchdown had he gotten the ball.  Goodson might be one of the fastest cornerbacks but at the end of the day, a season on the practice squad will likely do wonders for Goodson.

Round 7, Pick 236: Jeff Janis (C Grade, C Grade overall) - I get the hype of Janis, but Janis had a pretty average game outside of the spectacular catch and run that netted him a touchdown.  On most plays Janis did get separation but his routes are a little soft and it understandably it does seem like he knows exactly what’s going on.  On positive is he is an active blocker, which is something that you don’t typically see from rookie wide receivers.  Overall, it was a good start for the rookie, and if he can build off of this game he will likely make the team.

 

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

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  • Archie

    Packer fans may want to wish it so but the tape proves Rodgers is not that good of a blocker. I think TT keeps all his draft picks with the possible exception of Bradford. Short stature w even shorter arms does not an OLB make. Makes sense to put him on PS and convert to ILB. Goodson/Janis show too much potential to risk cutting. Tretter/Linsley does seem to satisfy the need at C. Adams will be a red zone target for AROD this year. Dix will be just fine whether he starts now, mid-year or next year. Thornton another thompson one trick pony (read bull rusher). At least he fits the 3-4 defense. Need to wait a year or two there. All in all, not a bad draft. Except for Dix/Adams, most will take to 2016 to blossom. Bostick is clearly better than Rodgers.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I didn’t say he we a great blocker, but he’s good enough to get movement and with more technique he could become very good at it. Also keep in mind Rodgers is doing pretty well when you factor in how many positions he’s being ask to play at one time.

      As for Bradford, I still don’t know what’s going on with him, there has to be something more at play than simply being no good, his draft status almost demands he gets more playing time than he has. I also think Davante Adams has a pretty meh season, only because he’s the 3rd/4th WR and he isn’t going to see much playing time unless injuries happen; both Nelson and Cobb had very meh rookie seasons likely for the same reasons. I’m not sold on Goodson either, to me he strikes me as a rookie with potential but he’s probably not ready to play yet; would another team want to poach a player like this when there are tons of rookie cornerbacks who fit that description?

      • Americans1st

        Due to the laws of physics, technically he can only play one position at any one time. Can you show me a play where he lined up at two spots simultaneously. Jerk

        • Thomas Hobbes

          You know what I mean, your argument must be awfully shallow if you are resorting to semantics. Jerk

          • Americans1st

            I just did not understand why you would seem upset that I like someone on the team. I think he could be very good. You wanted to argue with me so I gave you back my imitation of you. Looks like you did not like that. Peace please. We are both Packer fans. Each year my Father and I travel to two games from Alabama. He has been a gold package ticket holder since the fifties. I follow them daily. Training cam reports were glowing, college stats incredible. I hope he’s as good as I think he can be.

      • Archie

        From what I have observed, mostly he just gets in the way, if you’re lucky. We may have to agree to disagree but I have watched several DEs cut in front of his block and run away from him to make the play on the side of the line. Bostick is the guy here. Rodgers looks like a guy with hands (excellent eye-hand coordination and ability to block defender with his body when he is catching the ball) but not much speed and certainly not a good blocker. Could teh latter develop? Anything is possible but he was bad at it in college too. Watch Troy Niklas as he develops, he’s the TE that TT let get away in this year’s draft.

  • Taryn Miller

    So you think Janis has merely played to his draft grade..C.

    His potential seen,his blocking seen,his speed seen,comfortable in return duty..’on the field’,though getting the routes down to Rodgers liking may take the reps that Nelson said isn’t simply following the lines drawn on the paper,and I would think the coaches have a higher grade than a C on him…Personally,for the time missed in camp,he gets a B for getting this far this quick.When guys that have been around for two years are thinking of the newbie stepping over them… that says a lot more than….grade C.

    • Americans1st

      Agree, this is a guy I like. His measurables were

      very impressive from the start. Then you hear about the great catches in camp and see the TD in a game. I have high hopes for this one and don’t believe he would make it through waivers to the practice squad. Too bad because some time there could help him.

      • Thomas Hobbes

        “Then you hear about the great catches in camp and see the TD in a game.”

        First off, I’m not grading practices so that has no bearing on the grades, secondly one TD catch does not Jerry Rice make; again, outside the TD catch, do you remember any other play Janis was in?

        • Americans1st

          Can’t make a play if the ball isn’t thrown to him. Can you name a drop? Are you looking for an argument. I stand by my statement. Every one of his measurables was slightly better than Jordys’ at the combine, and he’s pretty awesome. I didn’t claim he was Rice, in fact I said practice squad would do him some good. I just think he would get claimed, he’s shown that much.

          • Thomas Hobbes

            He can make plays if the ball isn’t thrown to him: he can win his match-up, run a great route and help the other players on the field. In that regard he was rather pedestrian. At this point, I would say the chances of him getting scooped should he be released are about 50-50, keep in mind other teams also have other players they are high on.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Here’s some food for thought: outside of his TD catch, do you remember any other play Janis was in?

      “His potential seen”: Again outside his one TD catch, he was rather pedestrian as a route runner he’s pretty raw.

      “His blocking seen”: I agree, he is quite an effective blocker, I think it helps he has the Jordy Nelson body type which makes him considerably bigger than most CBs

      “Comfortable in return duty”: I’d like to see him have one return where he actually ran with it before making that statement. Sure, he’s no Davante Adams when it comes to returns, but that’s not saying much at this point.

      Overall, I think the hype has gotten ahead of Janis, while he does have the potential to be everything that’s been written to him, he certainly didn’t show it against the Rams.

      • Taryn Miller

        “Here’s some food for thought: outside of his TD catch, do you remember any other play Janis was in?”

        In regards to being thrown to..no…but that doesn’t discredit the other things he was being asked to do..clear out a defender via a route run,block, etc.His getting more passes his way will come with more sync with the unscripted nuances needed between him and the QB…reps with Rodgers.

        • montana83

          Janis:

          The item that gets my attention is his fellow players and his coaches at GB who are awed by his speed. They think he will fool a lot DB’s. Here’s a video of Janis doing 4.30 at the combine.

          http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-combine/0ap2000000328322/Jeff-Janis-impresses-in-40-yard-dash

          Also ,black players discount fast white guys and get fooled a lot. In this article Greg Jennings nails it when he says black DB’s get fooled by Jordy Nelson.

          http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2011/11/white-men-can-run.html

          • Thomas Hobbes

            Janis ran a 4.42 official, the 4.30 you see is a hand time from someone at the NFL network, and they are consistently fast (probably to generate hype).

            You can see the official measurements on the NFL combine page:

            http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/jeff-janis?id=2543750

        • Thomas Hobbes

          I agree, and in those aspects of route running, clearing out defenders he was pedestrian, it’s not like the defender walled him off but its not like he was wide open either; hence the average grade. I will say that one thing that definitely stood out is his run blocking ability, he definitely has the Jordy Nelson body type.

    • http://www.HawgNSonsTV.Com/ Trent Schneider

      100% agree JJ is a Hawg in the game!