Wide receivers are known as the “shiny hood ornament” of the NFL because largely their production is tied to their quarterbacks; even a wide receiver like Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson have had abysmal seasons with ineffectual quarterbacks behind center. Furthermore, great/good wide receivers have left for greener pastures in free agency only to be met with an icy reception; Greg Jennings became the latest ex-Packer to move to Minneapolis and needless to say his production suffered when it was Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman throwing him the ball as opposed to Aaron Rodgers.
On the flip side, it almost seems like you can throw just about anybody into a jersey and make them a productive wide receiver if they are being fed the ball by Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tom Brady; wide receivers without enormous physical talent Wes Welker, Pierre Garcon and again Jennings have all had great careers even if they don’t look like Calvin Johnson. Of course, it’s not like a wide receiver is nothing without his quarterback, the question is how much.
The receiver I was most interested in was Jarrett Boykin; an unheralded, undrafted wide receiver out of Virigina Tech who initially signed on with the Jacksonville Jaguars only to be cut after a couple weeks. After being picked up by the Packers, he was one of the surprise rookies to make the squad in 2012 with the likes of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings all on the roster.
I’ll be the first to say I didn’t notice his name on the transaction wire nor did I predict him to make the roster in 2012 (this was the year of the Torey Gurley vs. Diondre Borel debate) nor did I think he would he do much on the field, and needless to say I, along with just about everyone else was in for a pleasant surprise. Now with two years under his belt, people are legitimately thinking of him as a viable #2/#3 receiver; he’s definitely not a #1 who can take the top off of a defense nor is he the shifty guy catches everything, but he’s a great role player who does everything good enough to contribute on a consistent basis. Considering his rise from unknown prospect to perhaps one of the up and coming wide receivers, is this a product of good talent or a good quarterback? Read more...(1281 words + 1 image, estimated 5:07 mins reading time)
Introduction: Â Ryan McMahon is a pretty interesting story.Â Initially enrolled at USC, McMahon played three years with the Trojans mostly featured on special teams.Â After which the story becomes a little vague (if anyone knows, please comment), but McMahon transfers to Sacramento State University, where he starts his last two years of eligibility at safety.Â Presumably since his name isnâ€™t associated with any legal issues, his transfer was most likely due to lack of playing time behind a loaded USC secondary.Â While McMahon wasnâ€™t drafted, he was invited to a tryout with the Packers but unfortunately wasnâ€™t offered a contract.Â However as several defensive backs were held out for the start of training camp (Sean Richardson, Chaz Powell, Casey Hayward and Davon House), the Packers made the call at the beginning the week to bring back one of their own tryout players.Â Is McMahon the diamond in the rough that got a second chance or just another warm camp body?
None.Â Talk about under the radar
#6, playing safety, seems to rotate at free and strong
Run defense is not his forte, often gets pushed out of the play or stonewalled, doesnâ€™t show much ability to disengage from blockers
You can watch fellow Packer David Bakhtiari (Colorado LT #59) block him out of a couple plays
If he can get to the play, he is a consistent tackler
Doesnâ€™t look to be the most fluid in coverage, but good enough to get the job done
Good speed; may not be able to go sideline to sideline but pretty close to it.
Shows good ability to flip hips and change direction
Backpedal seems a little awkward
Didnâ€™t see any playing time on special teams at Sacramento State, but led the team in special teams tackles at USC
For a guy who transferred from USC, he doesnâ€™t dominate lower competition like he should.Â
Read more...(518 words + 1 image, estimated 2:04 mins reading time)
Introduction: Â While not an undrafted rookie, Garth Gerhart falls into the same category as a player who not many people know about on the Packers squad who has a good chance of making the team.Â Garth, brother of current Vikings running back Toby Gerhart, went undrafted out of Arizona State in 2012 and was signed to the Browns practice squad, where he spend the entire season.Â Â Gerhart was signed onto the Packers practice squad 4 days before their loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.
Pro Football Weekly: Good arm length and weight-room strength. Has a strong lower body and good base. Flashes a substantial punch. Works to position and get in the way. Smart and aware. Tough and competitive. Good character. Dependable, blue-collar worker. Experienced, three-year starter. Has NFL bloodlines.
Draft Insider: Zone-blocking lineman with marginal athletic skills. Incredibly quick in all aspects, uses effective body positioning and seals defenders from the action. Intelligent and effectively quarterbacks the offensive line. Works to get a pad on defenders and knocks them from their angle of attack.
Analysis:Read more...(545 words + 1 image, estimated 2:11 mins reading time)
#52, playing center
The shotgun snap error was mostly on him
Itâ€™s very interesting how many times ASU runs the bubble screen, Iâ€™m not sure if itâ€™s assignment or coincidence, but Garth doesnâ€™t block anyone on any of occasions shown. Then again, if itâ€™s a bubble screen going to the sideline, what chance does any center have in making a block anyways?
Gets good movement up to the second level, but often ends up looking for someone to block.Â Again is this coincidence?
Does a good job switching assignments and helping out his guards
At 3:22, Gerhart actually slides out and blocks the pass rushing defensive end, quite impressive (Ironically, the defensive end turns out to be none other than Nick Perry!)
Better technician than athlete, keeps his feet under him and usually stalemates his defender.Â Heâ€™s not going to throw many pancake blocks or just wall off a defender, but will get the job done.
Outside of Jermichael Finley, the Packers like their tight ends to be versatile.Â Whether it be playing special teams, in the slot, inline, in motion, or even behind the line of scrimmage as a fullback, if the Packers want a jack-of-all-trades, they are going to go with a tight end.Â However jack-of-all-trades usually means master of none, and with the Packers, they have a ton of tight ends that all sort of fit the same mold.Â Jake Stoneburner is another, a former wide receiver turned tight end from Ohio State, he can do a little bit of everything, but doesnâ€™t shine in any particular spot.Â Add to that his arrest for urinating on a building and then hiding from the police (which in light of the recent news Aaron Hernandez has made can be considered a â€œboys will be boysâ€ mistake) and Stoneburner surprising fell out of the draft after being predicted a late round pick.Â Will Stoneburner be another diamond in the rough that Thompson digs up or another tight end who is never good enough at one thing to warrant seeing the field?
CBS: Stoneburner is a tall athlete with good length and catching radius. He plays with excellent body control to adjust and come down with the catch, showing very good field awareness. Stoneburner has usually strong hands and focus to snatch the ball out of the air and make some tough catches look easy. He makes plays after the catch, showing good effort and power to pick up tough yards. Stoneburner has smooth footwork in his routes and straight-line speed to make plays downfield. He displays some tenacity as a blocker and does a nice job on the perimeter. Stoneburner did a nice job finding the end zone with 13 career touchdowns, scoring once every 4.1 times he touched the ball. Read more...(858 words + 1 image, estimated 3:26 mins reading time)
Walker is the latest player to come out of the Packers farm team, also known as Illinois State but whose road was harder than even his teammates.Â He saw defensive end Nate Palmer selected in the 6th round by the Packers and then heard that his quarterback, Matt Brown signed as a priority rookie free agent (i.e. a player that signs immediately after the draft finishes).Â Walker however, was only asked to come in as one of 27 try out players looking to snag on of the last spots on the 90-man roster.Â Walker apparently showed enough during the tryouts and was signed to a contract and perhaps even more surprising was he recently caught the attention of one of the guys throwing the football.
Draft Insider: Dependable small-school receiver with poor size/speed numbers. Comes back to the ball out of breaks, easily adjusts to errant throws, and makes the reception in stride. Fights with his hands to separate from defenders, displays outstanding hand/eye coordination, and competes to make receptions. Stays in bounds running after the catch and gives effort trying to pick up positive yardage.
Aaron Rodgers: Tyrone reminds me of Antonio Chatman, who not many people know I actually played with. But Deuce had very similar size and agility but he was a good route runner, very good in and out of his breaks. And I see that with Walker. I think he has very good hands, heâ€™s a good route runner and I think he has a chance to be a good player in this league.
Analysis:Read more...(648 words + 1 image, estimated 2:36 mins reading time)
Keep in mind this video only shows catches, not drops.
Also keep in mind this is from 2011, but Walker increased his production in 2012.
Not a burner by any means but definitely quick enough
Good awareness, knows whatâ€™s going on in coverage and down and distance
Often motioned to the slot, probably will make his career at slot initially, runs good intermediate routes and can find the soft spots in coverage.
White was voted Second Team All-Western Athletic Conference (Coaches selection) in 2012. He was the pass receiving sidekick to Quinton Patton in Tech’s high-powered, conference-leading offense. Â Â White caught 56 passes for 718 yards and six touchdowns as a senior. White started his college career at Michigan State, but was involved in several off-field incidents. White decided he needed a change of scenery, so he transferred toÂ Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he was sixth in the nation in receptions at the JUCO level. After spending a year there, White accepted Louisiana State’s offer and had a solid two seasons for the Bulldogs.
Video: (adult language warning…)
A legitimate deep threat that can accelerate past defensive backs.
Seems adept at finding the open spaces in the field.
Has very effective moves to pick up extra yards after the catch. Will shake and bake to create some space, then accelerate downfield.
Appears to have a fairly slight build. Will need to get stronger to combat NFL press coverage.
Initial small area burst is impressive, and backs up his fine 20yd shuttle time.
Sometimes catches the ball into his body when he doesn’t need to.
Shows very good ball awareness and uses his vertical leaping ability to his advantage.
Packers rationale: Â Ted Thompson definitely had speed on his mind when he signed White and drafted Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey. The Packers are obviously looking to fill one of their open receiver spots with a legitimate deep threat who can extend the field and create open spaces underneath for the dynamic trio of Cobb, Nelson and Jones. White would seem to fit the bill, but I have concerns about his size (Randall Cobb at only 5’10″ weighs 10lbs more than White). If healthy, I expect Charles Johnson to be the guy who wins the speed wide receiver spot (I like his other attributes better), but White is the kind of guy the Packers will gladly keep on the practice squad and put him to work in the weight room. Read more...(433 words + 3 images, estimated 1:44 mins reading time)