There are positives and negatives about every player in the NFL Draft.
Packers third-round draft choice and Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward supposedly doesn’t have elite deep speed.
And say what you will about the motors that seem to run hot and cold on the Packers’ first two draft choices, USC linebacker Nick Perry and Michigan State defensive lineman Jerel Worthy, but note that none of these players has major character or durability concerns.
When talking about character, that means that there hasn’t been any history of players appearing in the police blotter.
Immature has been a word used to characterize Worthy, but that’s something the Packers can work with. Young players have a way of being humbled once they enter the NFL once they find out they’re no longer the Big Man on Campus.
There’s been no off-the-field issues with either Worthy or his cohorts taken in the first two rounds of the Draft, which is a good sign.
As far as injury history goes, it’s been minimal for all three players taken so far.
The biggest concern, and it’s not even necessarily related to playing, is the presence of migraine headaches suffered by Hayward as noted by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an interview with a scout.
The only injury history I could find with Perry is he missed one game in 2010 with a sprained ankle. And with Worthy, he wasn’t able to do the bench press at the NFL Combine because of a pectoral strain, but he hasn’t missed a single college game.
Both Perry and Worthy were junior entrants into the Draft, so their playing careers have been shorter than most, however.
It would appear general manager Ted Thompson and the rest of his staff are making a conscious decision to minimize risk as they’re adding heavily to the defense this year, twice by trading up in the Draft.
No player is a sure thing. Every player taken so far has some quality that makes them a potential bust. But that’s not limited to just the Packers. Every player in the Draft has some deficiency that comes with risk.
The Packers have taken character risks in the past under Thompson. See cornerback Brandon Underwood, for example. But look at when the Packers drafted Underwood: in the sixth round.
They’ve also taken players with injury red flags. Two high-round draft choices on the defensive line stand out in particular: Justin Harrell and Mike Neal. Perhaps the Packers have learned a lesson.
Teams are better off taking a chance on a questionable player in the later rounds when the salaries paid are much lower. If they don’t pan out, there’s little cost in releasing them.
While some fans clamored for linebacker Bruce Irvin of West Virginia or cornerback Trumaine Johnson of Montana, the evidence would suggest the Packers saw the risk associated with those players and would have had other safer options ranked ahead of them.