On the final day of the draft, Ted Thompson addressed the all-important linebacker position by adding Jake Ryan and then followed that up with a…quarterback?
It’s pretty well-known that I’m not a fan of the fullback position. I was surprised the Packers brought back John Kuhn, but I really like the addition of Oklahoma’s Aaron Ripkowski. He comes from a strong program and he’s the earth-moving, quarterback protecter that the Packers need.
The last day of the draft is when general managers separate themselves. Thompson mined Jeff Janis last year in the seventh round and he got Mason Crosby in the sixth round in 2007.
But the biggest surprise was easily UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley. After watching Scott Tolzien blossom in the preseason last year, Thompson felt more competition was needed at backup quarterback. So he traded a fifth and a seventh round pick for the dual-threat quarterback that gets plenty of praise for his high character. If Hundley can pick up the offense quickly, this move could mean the beginning of the end for Tolzien as a backup in Green Bay.
The rest of the pieces are purely building blocks. Defensive tackle Christian Ringo has a little more upside than tight end Kennard Backman mainly because Backman isn’t a very good blocker. And the only way you can see the field as a Packers tight end by not blocking is by having the athleticism of Jermichael Finley — which Backman does not possess.
What they’re saying:
“He goes about his business in a workmanlike manner. Smart. Intelligent. Fundamentally sound. This might be one of the best picks in Round 4.” — Mel Kiper Jr. via ESPN on Jake Ryan.
“You’ve got to stack talent at positions. Just because you’ve got a Hall of Fame starting quarterback, if he goes down Week 2 what happens? What if he goes down Week 7 next year and you’ve been able to develop Brett Hundley?” — Mike Mayock via NFL Network on Brett Hundley.
“For all the Aaron Rodgers talk, you know Eddie Lacy was a big part of that offense and you like having a guy opening holes. That shoulder is a lethal weapon.” — Lance Zierlein via NFL Network on Aaron Ripkowski.
“He’s more of a quick-twitch, penetrate type of thing. He’ll be part of the way we do things with packages and things like that. … We like him. We thought he was a pretty good player.” — Ted Thompson via Milwaukee Journal Sentinal on Christian Ringo.
Who was on the board:
Grady Jarrett, the 6-foot-1, 304-pound defensive tackle from Clemson, and Marcus Hardison, the 6-foot-3, 307-pound defensive tackle from Arizona State, were on the board when the Packers took Jake Ryan.
Kyle Emanuel, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound outside linebacker from North Dakota State, Shaquille Riddick, the 6-foot-6, 244-pound defensive end from West Virginia, and Jesse James, the 6-foot-7, 261-pound tight end, were on the board when the Packers took Brett Hundley.
Day 3 Grade: C
While I do like Thompson’s mantra of taking smart, high-character guys, there has to be a point where talent wins in the end. And even if smarts were that much of a barometer, North Dakota State’s Emanuel should’ve been picked instead of Hundley. He’s a small-town kid that would’ve worked his tail off on a unit that needs a few lunchpail guys.
Secondly, the tight end position was a need because it took Richard Rodgers until December to figure it out. But bringing in a guy that cannot block doesn’t spark competition and could make Rodgers regress in his sophomore season.
Finally, Thompson must really trust B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion because he didn’t pick a defensive lineman until the sixth round. And there’s still a chance that Guion could be suspended for getting arrested in the offseason. The Packers were 23rd in rushing defense last year and if the defensive line gets stung with the injury bug, that number will get worse.
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