Category Archives: 2013 NFL Combine

6

May

Cory’s Corner: Ted Thompson averages a draft whiff a year

Packers general manager Ted Thompson selected future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers with his first pick as the Green Bay GM.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson selected future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers with his first pick as the Green Bay GM.

This will be Ted Thompson’s 10th NFL Draft as the Packers general manager. He has been arguably the biggest lightning rod for criticism over the years.

There is inherent value in every round of the draft, but the most consistent value lies in rounds 1-3, which is where I also focus my attention.

Thompson did a masterful job early on. When you land a guy like Aaron Rodgers as your first pick to begin your new job, things are looking pretty good. He added safety Nick Collins and wide receiver Terrence Murphy, who were both forced to leave pro football early after suffering neck injuries.

The next year, Thompson did another excellent job by adding fifth overall pick in linebacker A.J. Hawk, second rounders in guard Daryn Colledge and wide receiver Greg Jennings and third round guard Jason Spitz. The only guy that was a question mark was third round linebacker Abdul Hodge because injuries forced him to only start one game in four NFL seasons.

But after hitting so many home runs in his first two seasons, Thompson was due for some whiffs. And that’s exactly what happened in 2007. Justin Harrell, arguably the worst pick of Thompson’s career, started just two of 14 games in his three-year career. It was a little head scratching that the Packers even used a first round pick on Harrell, who entered the league hurt after tearing his biceps at Tennessee.

Brandon Jackson is another strikeout. The former Nebraska track star/football player was able to play bit roles but is now looking for a job. James Jones gave the Packers a good return on its third-round investment. He proved he could start but was never capable of winning the top receiver job. The final whiff of 2007 is Aaron Rouse. The safety played just three seasons before signing with the now-defunct United Football League.

The following year, there were two more whiffs sandwiched in between a couple of home runs. Obviously, second rounder Jordy Nelson has carved out a pretty nice career as one of Rodgers’ go-to targets. However, second rounder Brian Brohm, after not being able to get comfortable with the speed of the NFL game, is now playing quarterback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. The other miss was second round cornerback Patrick Lee, who only started one game in his Green Bay career. The other great get that Thompson secured was third rounder Jermichael Finley. Although his mouth got in the way early on, Finley was one of the most athletic tight ends in the game when healthy.

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5

September

Why No Trades For Ted Thompson?

Remember this guy?

DJ Williams, Brandon Bostick, James Starks, Alex Green.  All these names were brought up by the media and fans as possible trade bait that the Packers could dangle for future draft picks.  Ultimately, none of that came to fruition as Bostick and Starks made the team while DJ Williams and Alex Green were cut and subsequently found homes in Jacksonville and New York.  Some of you might be thinking, if the DJ Williams found a home in Jacksonville so quickly, why didn’t Thompson get a draft pick out of them?  It does seem like every year fans and media alike gush about the depth that the Packers’ offseason roster contains and start day dreaming about how great a draft Ted Thompson could have if he had more draft picks.  Overall Ted Thompson rarely trades players at all (save for the whole Brett Favre thing and the “tag and trade” of Corey Williams, and truth be told the odds are against Thompson in making trades right before the 53 man roster cut.

 

  1. The Packers are a stable organization: The Packers don’t have much turnover in their coaching staff or front office; sure coaches have left to for other teams and famously now 3 Ted Thompson disciples are GMs of their own teams, but the gradual loss of talent that the Packers have experienced is nothing like the building clearing clean sweep that some owners start after a couple dismal seasons.  The offshoot of this is that the players on the Packers roster were picked and paid by the current GM.  Everyone of the players on the team now are Thompson’s “guys” and he has a incentive to go protect them as much as he can.  This isn’t a situation where the previous regime drafted a dominant 3-4 outside linebacker but the new coaching staff plays a 4-3 defense.  From a transaction perspective, there aren’t attractive trading candidates that don’t fit the Packers scheme or philosophy.  One famous example of this was when Denver hired Josh McDaniels was hired and proceeded to tear apart the team that Mike Shanahan had assembled including Jay Culter and Brandon Marshall, two players that typically would never see the trading block.
16

July

Packers 1st Year Free Agent Scouting Report: Garth Gerhart, OC Arizona State/Cleveland Browns

Player Information:

  • Garth Gerhart, OC Arizona State
  • 6’1”/305 lbs
  • Hometown – Norco, California

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 5.38
  • 20 yard: 3.09
  • 10 yard: 1.90
  • Bench: 25
  • Vertical: 30.5
  • Broad: 96
  • Shuttle: 4.27
  • 3-cone: 7.63

Introduction:  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.  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.   Gerhart was signed onto the Packers practice squad 4 days before their loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.

Outside Analysis:

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.

 

Video:

Analysis:

  • #52, playing center
  • The shotgun snap error was mostly on him
  • It’s very interesting how many times ASU runs the bubble screen, I’m not sure if it’s assignment or coincidence, but Garth doesn’t block anyone on any of occasions shown. Then again, if it’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.  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.  He’s not going to throw many pancake blocks or just wall off a defender, but will get the job done.
15

July

Packers Undrafted Rookie Scouting Report: Jake Stoneburner, TE Ohio State

Player Information:

  • Jake Stoneburner, TE Ohio State
  • 6’4”/252 lbs
  • Hometown – Dublin, Ohio

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 4.62
  • 20 yard: 2.65
  • 10 yard: 1.63
  • Bench: 18
  • Vertical: 34.5
  • Broad: 116”
  • Shuttle: 4.27
  • 3-cone: 7.12

Introduction:

Outside of Jermichael Finley, the Packers like their tight ends to be versatile.  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.  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.  Jake Stoneburner is another, a former wide receiver turned tight end from Ohio State, he can do a little bit of everything, but doesn’t shine in any particular spot.  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 “boys will be boys” mistake) and Stoneburner surprising fell out of the draft after being predicted a late round pick.  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?

Outside Analysis:

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.

11

July

Packers Undrafted Rookie Scouting Report: Myles White, WR Louisiana Tech

Packers UDFA WR Myles White

Packers WR Myles White

Player Information:

  • Myles White, WR Louisiana Tech
  • 6’1”/182 lbs
  • Hometown – Livonia, Michigan

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 4.42
  • 20 yard: 2.55
  • 10 yard: 1.53
  • Bench: 11
  • Vertical: 37.5″
  • Broad: 121”
  • Shuttle: 4.15
  • 3-cone: 6.90

Introduction:

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.   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 to 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…)

Analysis:

  • 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:  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.

3

July

High Praise for Packers 7th Round Pick Sam Barrington from NFL Analyst Greg Cosell

Is Packers LB Sam Barrington the latest draft steal for GM Ted Thompson?

NFL analyst and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell had high praise for Packers seventh-round draft pick Sam Barrington on Tuesday.

Speaking with with Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports on the Shutdown Corner podcast, Cosell called the 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker from South Florida an “athletic kid,” whose “athletic ability was a second- or third-round pick.”

“I think this kid has a chance, and certainly to stick on special teams because of his athleticism,” the highly respected Cosell said. “But I thought he was far more athletic than a lot of linebackers I watched and I was surprised he was not talked about.”

Cosell also said he did some additional research on Barrington and found out that he may have dropped in the draft because of issues diagnosing plays and learning on defense, but that’s impossible to know for sure.

Barrington was also arrested four times at South Florida — all for driving with a revoked or suspended license. Getting arrested four times generally doesn’t help one’s draft stock, either.

Barrington’s numbers improved every season at South Florida, culminating with 80 tackles, two forced fumbles and 3.5 sacks in 11 games as a senior.

His 40-yard-dash time at the NFL combine was a ho-hum 4.89 seconds, but improved to 4.69 seconds on South Florida’s pro day.

After Packers GM Ted Thompson picked Barrington, he called him a “good value.” That’s about as boastful as you’ll hear the tight-lipped Thompson get about a pick he’s made.

The Packers have had success with seventh-round draft picks in the past. Is Barrington the latest steal for Thompson?

“I was really surprised that he was not drafted until the seventh round,” Cosell said. “The more I watched him the more I liked his game. I wouldn’t call him explosive, but he was athletic with really good movement. I always defer to film as opposed to 40 times, and I thought he played as an athlete.”

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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30

April

The Reasons Behind The 2013 Packers Draft: First Impressions

I actually got my first shot writing for AllGreenBayPackers.com when Al allowed me to post my draft rationale on his site and 3 years later I’m continuing the tradition.  As before I’m not going to be assigning draft grades or projections, I agree with the idea that grading picks now is something akin to being graded on a test you haven’t taken.  In this article I want to point out some more broad observations I noticed during the draft

 

Aaron Rodgers dictated the Packers 2013 draft: And Clay Matthews III to some extent as well.  Simply put the Packers are now in a mini-rebuilding year, not due to a lack of talent but due to a lack of money.  While Rodgers’ $110 million and Matthews’ $66 million contracts were both necessary and in my opinion great deals for the Packers, let’s not kid ourselves and think that the Packers are going to be awash with saved money over the next couple years, Rodgers and Matthews are still two of the highest paid players in the NFL and that will have financial ramifications down the road; maybe not as bad as Joe Flacco and DeMarcus Ware bad, but Ted Thompson probably isn’t going to be able to keep everyone he wants.  This is why I think this is the start of a mini-rebuild; teams typically trade down and stockpile draft picks in order to stock the team with young, cheap players who can be the foundation long term and perhaps become stars.

Thompson used this approach when he was hired in 2005 to fix the salary cap mess left by Mike Sherman and he’s doing it again to proactively protect the Packers from the next couple years.  The notable players who are set to become free agents in the next two years are Morgan Burnett, Ryan Pickett, BJ Raji, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, CJ Wilson, Mike Neal, Marshall Newhouse, Derek Sherrod, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Tramon Williams and Bryan Bulaga.  The next two years are perhaps the toughest because they also are when Rodgers’ and Matthews’ cap hits are the highest. Furthermore veterans who occupy a niche, like John Kuhn and Jarrett Bush are probably on the bubble now.  Needless to say, Thompson is going to have to be very judicial when it comes to keeping his own players, therefore this draft (and probably the next one) are looking to build the foundation of the team for the next 5 years, not just “put the cherry on the top” for the team now.  Thompson can now do this is that Rodger’s contract gives him a window where he can expect the team to be competitive; Rodgers probably has at least another 5 good years left in his career and now it’s important to have talent around him throughout all 5 years and not just right now.