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One Last Look at Packers' 2012 Draft

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One Last Look at Packers' 2012 Draft

The 2012 NFL draft is already a week in the books, and the wide-reaching consensus is that the Green Bay Packers made off like bandits during Ted Thompson's favorite three days on the NFL calendar. While I'm sure you've already digested your share of opinions on the Packers' haul, I was under the weather during the actual draft and never got the opportunity to share my thoughts on the entire class.

Without further ado:

OLB Nick Perry, USC (No. 28 overall)
6-3, 255 lbs.  

I personally preferred Courtney Upshaw here, but it's hard to knock Ted Thompson for taking the more explosive pass-rusher. Consider that the Packers registered just 29 sacks in 2012 despite facing more pass attempts than any other defense in the NFL. Perry should immediately help as a slippery edge rusher, and there's a higher upside in him than Upshaw. I'm certain that Clay Matthews will gladly take the former USC Trojan under his wing, too. The Packers can't afford for him to bust.

DE Jerel Worthy, Michigan State (No. 51, via trade with Philadelphia)
6-2, 308 lbs. 

I was higher on Devon Still, who the Bengals picked one spot later at No. 52 overall. But Worthy was still a fantastic value in the middle of the second round, and I'm guessing the move up to get him at No. 51 wasn't a difficult decision in the Packers' draft room. If defensive line coach Mike Trgovac can keep Worthy's motor running hot at all times, Green Bay might have one of the steal of the draft. There were times in the Big Ten over the last two seasons when Worthy was simply unblockable, and he's athletic enough to replace what the Packers couldn't last season in Cullen Jenkins. Keeping the motivation level high will be the deciding factor whether Worthy becomes a real player or not.

CB Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt (No. 62, via trade with New England)
5-11, 192 lbs. 

My favorite pick in the entire Packers' draft class, and it's not close. In five years, I think we're talking about Hayward as the best player Thompson picked in 2012. While not a burner by any means, Hayward possesses the instincts and ball skills to be an immediate contributor. He's willing to make a tackle, too. That complete package should give Sam Shields all he can handle for the team's starting nickel cornerback spot, and it might allow Dom Capers to slide Charles Woodson to safety more in 2012 than he has in the past. The sky is the limit for No. 29.

DL Mike Daniels, Iowa (No. 132)
6-0, 291 lbs.

I'll be the first to admit that I had Daniels ranked as the No. 25 overall defensive line prospect in the Cheesehead TV Draft Guide. His size worried me for the transition to a 3-4 defense. However, the more you watch Daniels on film, the more you like the pick. He's explosive off the snap, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Capers sprung him loose as an inside penetrator in the Packers' sub-packages.

S Jerron McMillian, Maine (No. 133)
5-11, 203 lbs.  

An unknown name, but Thompson has done well in the past with small school safeties. McMillian isn't afraid to lay a lick and he's a far superior athlete than veteran Charlie Peprah. There's going to be an adjustment period for McMillian—just like there was with Collins—but there's starting potential down the road. If he can pick up Capers' defensive concepts in a hurry, there's no reason to think he'll spend the entire year on the bench.

LB Terrell Manning, NC State (No. 163, via trade with New England)
6-2, 237 lbs. 

An injury plagued 2011 season cost Manning a chance to be drafted in the first three rounds. While he played primarily as a 4-3 outside linebacker, he's getting slotted as an inside backer for the Packers' 3-4. That might be his best fit. While most of Green Bay's inside linebackers are run-thumpers, Manning will hold his own at the next level in pass coverage. Early on, he could carve out a niche as a situational player on obvious passing downs.

T Andrew Datko, Florida State (No. 241)
6-6, 315 lbs.  

Many publications had Datko as a potential first rounder, but a recurring shoulder injury ravaged his draft status. Essentially, the Packers are replacing Chad Clifton—an old, expensive and injury-prone tackle—with a younger and cheaper version. If Datko can overcome his shoulder issues, there's starting-caliber talent here down the road.

QB B.J. Coleman, UT-Chattanooga (No. 243)
6-3, 231 lbs.

The Packers finally get their replacement for Matt Flynn in Coleman, who joins Flynn as seventh-round developmental quarterbacks. While Flynn was further along as a player when the Packers took him fresh off a National Championship in 2008, Coleman has a much higher upside. He has prototypical size and a much better arm than both Flynn and current No. 2 Graham Harrell. Coleman will need a couple of years in the quarterback school, but he has the same golden opportunity in front of him that Flynn seized over the last three years.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (27) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

ebongreen's picture

I see Manning as competition for the #3 & #4 ILB linebacker spot. Desmond Bishop, barring injury, is pretty much locked in at #1, and one would presume that AJ Hawk (despite his track record) has the inside track to #2. DJ Smith, Manning and Robert Francois fill out the remainder of the card. If anyone unseats Hawk, H might remain on the roster as a backup for a year due to cap constraints; if he's cut outright or (unlikely) traded, that opens up both #3 and #4 for Manning, Francois and whoever else comes to play.

Francois already seems by trade to be a cover 'backer, given his interceptions last year. It would be an interesting set of sub-packages to have specialist ILBs in nickel, supposing both Francois and Manning make the cut and Hawk doesn't.

Woodson4president's picture

I like Hayward too and hes my favorite pick of the draft as well, but im partial to dbs. From what i have seen hes a playmaker with great ball skills. I just cant get over the freakish athlete Perry is though! I mean a 38.5 vertical? Last time i checked that kind if reminds me of a guy who got a ring this year.
..JPP.

Cole's picture

Prediction: Perry will have more sacks this year than CM3.

Mike's picture

Not an outrageous prediction - Perry will probably face one-on-one blocking on every play until he hits about 5 or 6 sacks on the season...

PackersRS's picture

I'm getting more aprehensive about Worthy, after re-reading some of his comments right after being selected. I hope I'm reading too much into it, but to me it's a red flag:

"There's no guy in the NFL today or in college and all the way down to pee wee who plays every play full speed, full go without getting tired," Worthy said. "It's impossible. So all I can say is I'm going to come in and I'm going to try to continue to work to be a lot more consistent. I'm going to be a lot more consistent."

To me that's making excuses for poor play. Doesn't matter if he is right or wrong, he shouldn't be making excuses.

"That's going to be my goal. The plays that showed up in the highlight tape, that's the same plays that I'm going to transfer up to the NFL and do it on a consistent basis."

Talking about highlight tape? When a player is too focused on the highlights and not on the every down, that worries me.

I'm probably being a hater/paranoid, but I'm concerned. Hope I'm wrong.

On the other hand Mike Daniels, in the highlights/lowlights against Oklahoma, seems like a terrific pick. People worry about his size, but Darnell Docektt plays at 290 and he's a terrific 3-4 Dlineman. The tenacity, good play recognition and acceleration Daniels showed really impressed me.

tony's picture

As a Spartan fan, I have to stick up for this guy wherever possible. I think part of his attitude sucks... he has that "I'm finally a millionaire"-type attitude right now, which I'm not a fan of.

But you can't discount how absolutely DOMINANT he was. No DT is going to dominate every play. But the highlight plays he mentions doesn't mean he's hooked on his highlight tape -- it means those are the plays he wants to make on a consistent basis. I mean have you SEEN his highlights?

But there are lowlights, too, which is what I think he's trying to address. He just comes off as very unseasoned in the PR department.

I think he's going to be a fantastic player, but I'm biased. But watching the guy for three years, he was a beast. Frustrating, yes, but a beast nonetheless. I'll be curious to see how his attitude changes as he gets working as a small fish in the big pond.

PackersRS's picture

I've seen him play, against "my" Notre Dame, and against Wisconsin, before ever looking at his highlights. Actually, I've seen him play ND two times.

You are absolutely right, he can flat out dominate a game. Rarely I've seen a player so good at shooting through gaps and timing his getoff. He has great feet.

But it's exactly in his attitude where lies the problem. He's not gonna dominate in the NFL like he did in college without serious, and I mean serious, hard work. They're going to make a fool out of him, much like they did Suh this past season, and Suh is a much better player. Opposing OCs will just abuse his get off with pulls, traps, draws, etc.

He'll be playing against players as good as him, if not better, contrary to the college level, where he was always the best player on the field, or one of. If he doesn't approach the NFL with the attitude that he knows nothing and needs to work on his craft constantly to improve, he's gonna bust...

He said he had a chip on his shoulder after not being drafted in the 1st round. I hope this chip doesn't disappear after a couple of nice plays.

Afrenchpackerfan's picture

It is always easier to correct the lack of motivation rather than the lack of talent!
I think GB is the right place where Worthy had to land in order to excel at the next level!

PackersRS's picture

Don't get me wrong I trust management will do a good job bringing this guy along, perfect locker room for it, I'm just wary...

tony's picture

I think you're spot on. I'm much happier with the pick in the second as opposed to the first. I think it sends a message to Worthy that he's clearly got some work to do in order to be successful. But as far as talent and big-play ability, he's up there with the best.

I agree, I hope this chip becomes a boulder.

Cole's picture

I took his comments more as simply being honest. He's still young and immature, so he's going to speak his mind like young people do, for better or worse. At least he wants to be more consistent, that's a good attitude I think. Let's hope he just doesn't turn into Raji and have one good year and then mail it in the entire next season.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Strongly disagree about Raji. I don't at all believe he bagged it last season, I think he was run into the ground. I think BJ is a good football player and wants to be a great football player, but it's not gonna happen playing damn near every snap.

Oppy's picture

Sounds like that Raji kid must be hanging out with Jerel Worthy

Mike's picture

When you're 330+ lbs and you play 85+% of the defensive snaps...your production will fall since there is NOBODY else who produces in the pass rush on the line. Raji didn't get lazy - he had NO help

Oppy's picture

I was being sarcastic, for the record :)

Cole's picture

I truly hope you're right.

Oppy's picture

Although I will mention that Raji played basically the same amount in 2010, and he played much better. So while I agree he shouldn't be on the field that much, he has done it before and performed at a much higher level than he did in 2011.

OttoR's picture

The difference between '10 and `11's campaigns was Cullen Jenkins. I think Raji benefited from the attention Jenkins garnered. If Worthy can play up to the hype, Raji will be back in the Pro-Bowl.

Lucky953's picture

That's what I love about pro football. It's so doggone unpredictable. Each of the first three picks has the talent to be a star in this league, yet each could flame out. All have talent; but who has the desire and willingness to make the sacrifices required to be a dominant player? (And who's gonna get a little luck?-- Nick Collins RIP)

packsmack25's picture

McMillian is my favorite pick. I think he's going to be absolutely incredible.

Oppy's picture

I hope so, Packsmack- it seems McMillian is the guy scouts feel the Packers might have stretched on the most this draft.

He certainly has interesting attributes. The real question for me is, does Burnett fit at FS or SS in the long run?

Burnett played rover so well in college and was a terrific in the box safety vs. the run as well, is he more a SS with rare athleticism, or a FS with the ability to move up and play run support?

McMillian certainly seems like he'd be a SS, so I would think his playing and making an impact would hinge on Burnett being the long term answer at FS.

What do you think?

packsmack25's picture

I think in the Capers system, it's tough to really say that there's a clear demarcation between "SS" and "FS." They will be used as both, depending on their strengths and weaknesses and the given down and distance.

The clearest evidence of this tactic was last season's use of Peprah to replace Collins, when he had replaced Burnett the previous season (Both times terribly, I might add. People give Peprah too much credit for the Super Bowl season in which he was one of few glaring weaknesses).

McMillian's combine and pro day numbers point to him possibly being the most athletic safety in this year's draft, which is pretty much what you're trying to replace in Collins. I just hope TT and Mel Kiper are right, and Todd McShay and seemingly all the other "experts" are not.

Oppy's picture

as far as the superbowl season, it should be noted that Charlie Peprah was rated as a top 3 safety in the league in some metrics compiled by- It was either PFF or FO,

They weren't just raw numbers, they were weighted situationally and by desired outcome, down and distance and circumstance, etc.

It was concluded that Peprah made impact plays when they were most needed, consistently.

Last year? Yeah, without Collins putting Pep in the right place, he was horrible.

packsmack25's picture

Eh, I don't trust the defensive back metrics from those guys, especially not for the safeties. They are limited severely by the fact that they are using the broadcast feeds and not the All-22s. There's just no way for them to know the pre-snap playcalls for the defensive backfield, as in who is supposed to be doubled, etc.

I don't know if Collins JUST put him in the right place a lot. He actually erased a lot of his mistakes as well simply with his pure athleticism.

Ademi's picture

McMillian is my favorite too I think he will have a breakout rookie season due to the run heavy schedule we have this year

Cole's picture

Sean Richardson looks like an interesting prospect. The guy can flat out tackle. Does he not have adequate cover skills? Is that why they want to move him to LB?

Mark's picture

Richardson is staying at Safety

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