Category Archives: Don “Yoop” Christensen

20

July

2014 Packers ILB Position – Last Year’s Safety?

Brad Jones and AJ Hawk

Brad Jones and AJ Hawk

Won’t be long now! We can stop speculating on all things Packers in a few long days from now.  This offseason has been very good, talent has been added in Peppers and Guion for Defensive line.

There is a ton of talent heading into their second year. Baktiari, Boyd, Lacy, Jones, Hyde, Barrington, Palmer, Mulumba and White all earned playing time last year.  Every NFL coach and GM will tell you the biggest jump is going into that second year.

You add the players returning from injury in Bulaga, Sherrod, Matthews, Tretter, Worthy and getting players that were just banged up for most of the year like the Jones, both Datone and Brad were hampered with injuries, Perry played on a broken foot. These returning players account for five first round picks a second and a 4th. Not having those players on the field hurt the Packers in 2013 and will add a big boost for 2014.

You add another draft class to increase competition and this camp will be fun to watch.

I have heard more about the Packers not drafting an Inside Linebacker then about getting the best all around safety in the draft. From a lot of comments through out the Packer world, many think the defense is doomed because of not getting an ILB.  I am not one of those.

Safety was a bigger need, Changing the lineup of the Defensive line was a bigger need, Wide Receiver was a bigger need. When you are one injury away from Miles White being your #3 WR, it is a big need.

The situation at ILB is far from bad or will even be a hindrance to the 2014 defense. I have never understood the crap piled on Hawk for his eight years with the team. In 2013 Hawk became the Packers All Time Leading Tackler. When you look at the history of the Packers that is no small feat. That record stood for 24 years and that player took 11 years to do it.  He again lead the team in tackles last year, had 5 sacks and one Int with 5 passes defensed. He has missed 2 games in 8 years and yet so many just plain hate him.

---- Get AddToAny
16

May

Closer Examination of the Packers Picks on Offense (with video)

Davante Adams, WR Fresno State.

Davante Adams, WR Fresno State.

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.

13

May

Closer Examination of the Packers Picks on Defense (with video)

New Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

New Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Well kids it is over, the draft has finished. Ted Thompson has done something he has never done before in the draft, he didn’t make a trade. I am a bit shocked by that.   From all my research and reading in the post draft hullabaloo, I see the usual bitching, the fan GM’s crying that I would have taken this or that player, this one was rated higher, could have got that player later. And my favorite, the post draft “grade”, which has about as much NFL relevance as what I had for dinner last night.

But overall I like this draft, and the players taken. I don’t really care where a player was drafted or signed. I look at the tools the player has, how they fit the Packers and how they might project into the future for the Packers, that is really what the draft is all about.

I really have got to laugh at what I have read about the first pick from the fan GM’s and some of the Draftniks. Not exceptional at anything, not fast enough, not a big hitter well you know the drill.

HaHa Clinton-Dix was rated the #1 safety in the draft.  And no position got more play by fans leading up to the draft.  Clinton-Dix is the most complete and ready to play in the NFL safety in the draft. He does every thing well, coverage deep,  can play quarters, thirds, half of the field along with at the line, yes he can cover in the slot. What I like most is his size at 6’1 and change 208#, He had a 1.60 ten yard time, better then Pryor and just a tic slower then Jimmy Ward at 1.58 who is 5–10 and 198# and which the 49er’s are going to use as a slot corner.

Clinton-Dix had a 4.58 40 time, far from blazing but not slow by any means either.

Clinton-Dix also had a better short shuttle then Pryor and Ward, Pryor and Ward both had better 3 cone drill.

Clinton-dix also had a longer arms and a wider wing span then the other two.  As I stated IMO the best all around safety in the draft and the most NFL ready. The following video shows both good and bad.

 

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-combine/0ap2000000329017/Clinton-Dix-40-yard-dash

7

May

Intriguing Packers UDFAs: Present and Future

Lonnie Ballentine, S Memphis

Lonnie Ballentine, S Memphis

As those who have posted with me for years know, the underdog UDFAs are the players I pull for more then any other. Of course you want that high draft pick to make an impact but seeing these last round and UDFA’s types make the practice squad, or the 53 man roster, you got to pull for them. Y

ou will see them giving it all up to make the team. You see them get better and better as the pre season goes on. And a few of them end up on the team, and few of those turn into the Donald Drivers, Tremon William’s, Sam Shields and Don Barclays for the Packers.

For what ever reason these players are not drafted and there is a list of those UDFA’s that have ended up in the NFL Hall of Fame. And there have been more then a few with the Packers to do big things.

I will first bring up two current players most have not heard of that made the practice squad last year, but I really want to see what a full season on the practice squad and a off season program does for them.

James Nixon CB played in 3 games after being moved up from the Practice squad. Very fast and quick with a 4.31 40 time and a amazing 1.43 ten yard time. One of those physically gifted players that needs development after playing both offense and defense in college.

Now here is one of the more interesting practice squad players IMO. Jeremy Vujnovich OT 6-5 300#. Athlete 4.87 40 time, 1.72 ten yard, 35 reps at 225#.

Now for some 2014 UDFA prospects I’d love to see in the Packers’ camp:

With the great Safety debate going on here is a late round/UDFA type that needs some investigation. Lonnie Ballentine FS Memphsis. 6-3 219# 4.39 Speed, 1.51 ten yard time, good strength with 18 reps at 225#.

Here’s another safety Strong Safety this time. Daniel Sorenson BYU, 6-1 205# 4.54 40 1.65 ten yard time, Excellent agility with a 3.95 short shuttle and 6.47 3 cone drill. Good change of direction, fluid hips to turn and run.

Another ILB for you viewing pleasure, -Marquis Spruill, Sr., Syracuse 6-1 231# 4.53 40 time 1.64 ten yard. You can see his quickness in the video and good change of direction.

28

April

Best “Not First Round” Inside Linebacker Prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft

LSU Linebacker Lamin Barrow - NFL Draft

LSU Linebacker Lamin Barrow

We have watched for an number of years the Packer defense letting TE’s just do to much. To go with all the Safety talk or middle of the defense problems, inside linebacker has been sorry to say this, bitched about since Hawk was drafted. I am not Hawk hater and I think Jones having been banged up most of last season has sown doubt about him after being given a nice contract. But saying that, Jones made plays in 2012 and some in 2013 when he was healthy, that Bishop and Hawk could never make. Is he the answer? I can’t say he is or isn’t, but the position can and should be upgraded.

Barrington is a possibility, but I would still like to see some competition added.  If someone like Mosley happens to be there at #21 and I was turning in the card there would be smoke coming off my shoes to turn in the selection.  I like Shazier also as a ILB in the 3-4. And both are worthy of the #21 pick.

There are some good linebackers in this draft.  OLB’s that can play ILB and some ILB’s that can play some OLB. I like College OLB’s for the 3-4 ILB spot. They have to have range, quickness and as with the Safeties, got to be able to cover. As I mentioned about the safeties a LB being able to play both ILB and OLB in the 3-4 is big plus in the Capers defense.

So lets take a look at a few and see what you think.

Lamin Barrow 6-1 237#  ILB LSU  Another three down ILB. Good speed and quickness, good agility and instincts. One thing that stood out to me is his ability to shed blockers.  4th pick or later pick.

Howard Jones  6-3 235# OLB/ILB/DE  Shepard.  Developmental linebacker, I think he can be used as a ILB with development, but could rush the passer day one and play special teams.

Watch this one TT is mentioned. here’s his combine workout video. Another late 5th type.

Avery Williamson  6-1 246# ILB/OLB  Kentucky.   I like how he plays, reads quickly and moves, good quickness. Can read and move with a TE pretty well. Good player for one of the 5th round picks, But I think he will go earlier.

25

April

Best “Not First Round” Defensive Line Prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft

Josh Mauro Stanford

Josh Mauro, Stanford

My mantra for the Packers’ off season has been the Defensive Line needing to be up graded more then any position on the team. A better line makes everyone behind them better and there is no doubt that after being ranked 8th in total sacks, the defense needs to be much better against the run and apply a lot more pressure.

Mike McCarthy stated he wants to change the defense, adding players with more length on the defensive line. And when you look at the traditional 3-4 DE it makes sense to add more of that type of player.

Jones is a good start but with a pesky ankle injury the entire season he flashed but did little else. Worthy got back on the field late last year and his quickness off the ball was impressive, but he was not in football shape, he will be 100% and at over twenty months past his surgery.

Daniels should never be on the field as a base DE like last year, They really had no choice but to rotate him there last year, but he is not suited for it. He was washed out against the run and if he did not beat his man with his quickness he was not that effective. He is perfectly suited to the 3 technique DT spot with his great motor and quickness. With moving Raji back to NT and adding Guion, Daniels can be more effective in the role he should be in.

Boyd is one of the players I want to see most this coming season, He worked his way on the field learning the techniques for the defense, he was a NT in college and showed he can play DE, I think he can be effective at NT, 3 technique and DE.

I am just as excited to see Peppers at DE as standing up and playing OLB. He can play left or right side, and was very effective when playing 3 technique.

I don’t think Pickett will be back and his play dropped off last year.

Jolly should get a chance to compete.  I wonder if he will even be back, But I hope he is. He can add to the defense.

A lot of how the defense does this coming year is on Jones and Boyd taking that second year step up and Worthy basically doing the same in his third after missing most of his second.

22

April

Best “Not First Round” Safety Prospects in this Year’s NFL Draft

Florida State Safety Terrence BrooksOK kids it is that time of year again, draft talk is everywhere. Who will be taken number one and who are the top ten picks gets way more play then it should. In fact, I think it has got to the point of being sickening.  We as Packer fans don’t get included in all that TOP ten blather and that is a good thing.

Over the off season a lot of what I hear at my usual hang out TalkinPackers and just about every place else I partake in everything Packers is about the Packers having to fix the middle of the defense, specifically at Safety.  I can’t disagree that safety is a top need. I disagree on the type of safety needed. I have even gone so far as to say that two need to be drafted, both a Free Safety and Strong.

The two highest ranked Safeties are HaHa Clinton-Dix out of Alabama and Calvin Pryor from Louisville. I like Haha, not so much Pryor. I would take Clinton-Dix at #21 but not Pryor. Some of the recent mocks have the Packers taking Jimmy Ward at #21, that would be a reach to me, I just can’t believe that there would not be prospects rated a lot higher at that point in this draft.  I like Ward and you can’t discount ninety five tackles and seven int’s his senior year.

With changes in the passing game in the NFL today you need a FS/CB and SS/FS.   And in Capers defense the ability to play either spot is even more important. You can hide coverage’s, roll the FS to the slot and blitz the slot CB.  To go with that, disguise who is playing SS and who is FS, who drops, who stays in the box. With so many 3, 4 and 5 players running pass routes, coverage ability is a premium.

Clinton-Dix is the safety in this draft that I think can do everything and do it well.  He can play in the box, deep third, deep half and slide over to the slot to cover. Pryor to me is more an in the box guy then coverage. I would even take Ward over Pryor, but as I said neither at #21.