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Post-Draft Point of Veau: What We Learned About Each Position on Packers Roster

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Post-Draft Point of Veau: What We Learned About Each Position on Packers Roster

With the 2013 NFL Draft in the books, here's one thing to take away from each position on the Packers roster now that 11 draft choices and a handful of college free agents are headed to Green Bay...

Quarterback

Mike McCarthy must feel comfortable with B.J. Coleman as a developmental quarterback––At the start of the fourth round, the Packers had their choice of Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson and Landry Jones if they wanted them. They then let the last three rounds of the draft pass by without taking a quarterback either. Confidence in Graham Harrell is at an all-time low. Coleman will compete with Harrell for the No. 2 gig this offseason. Matt Brown of Illinois State appears to be an intriguing option as an undrafted free agent, but coming out of the FCS level of college football, his highest hopes are as the third-string quarterback in his rookie year.

Running Back

The Packers aren't paying lip service to the running game anymore––By taking both Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, the Packers showed they are serious about bringing some balance to their offense. Even if either Lacy or Franklin happen to get injured (knock on wood), they'll still have a Mercedez-Benz while the Lexus is in the shop. And if they're both healthy, look out. They'll provide a thunder-and-lightning or smash-and-dash aspect to the ground game. I'm still in awe the Packers got Franklin. They haven't had a back with his breakaway speed for a long, long time. And how good does DuJuan Harris look as the No. 3 option right now?

Wide Receiver

Despite losing Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, the Packers are still in good shape at receiver––Getting another top-flight wide receiver would have been nice, but it wasn't a necessity. They still have Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones to rely upon. The seventh-round additions of Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey are picks with upside. Neither had a good quarterback throwing them the ball in college, and they'll look leaps and bounds better with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. All the Packers have to do is hope one of them develops into a fourth or fifth  receiver in their rookie year and hope for more in future seasons. I'm not sure why, after grabbing Johnson with their first seventh-round pick, they wouldn't take a chance on Da'Rick Rogers instead of Dorsey. At that point in the draft, he's worth the risk. And they probably still could have signed Dorsey as an undrafted free agent.

Tight End

Tight end will be a top need in 2014––It's difficult to envision Jermichael Finley in Green Bay beyond 2013 no matter what happens this season, and while that opens the door for a guy like Andrew Quarless and D.J. Williams, the Packers will likely go back to the drawing board at tight end in the 2014 NFL Draft. Among the undrafted free agents the Packers signed, Jake Stoneburner of Ohio State is among those with the most potential. He's not an in-line tight end and might be able to stretch the field if he can get his head on straight.

Offensive Line

The cream will rise to the top––By adding two fourth-round offensive linemen, the Packers just added a lot of competition to a much-maligned unit. It appears as if David Bakhtiari will get first crack at staying at tackle in the NFL, and at only 21 years old, there's a lot of growth potential in the Colorado product. Meanwhile, J.C. Tretter looks destined as an interior offensive lineman, and whether it's at center or guard, only time will tell. With Patrick Lewis and Lane Johnson added as undrafted free agents, there's plenty of competition. Those who want one of probably eight spots the Packers will have on their 53-man roster will have to earn it.

Defensive Line

Finally, Raji will get a break––Even though the future of the defensive line could look drastically different in 2014 with five players entering a contract season, it's going to be a crowded position for the time being. For a team that uses two defensive linemen sets as much as the Packers, there should quite a heavy rotation to keep guys fresh this upcoming season. Raji no longer has to be a three-down player, even though he has the ability to do so and occasionally will. Ryan Pickett and C.J. Wilson are the dedicated run-stuffers while Mike Daniels and Mike Neal are the designated pass-rushers. And Datone Jones will do everything asked of him.

Outside Linebacker

One injury away from being a disaster––By taking Nate Palmer in the sixth round, this appeared to be one position where Ted Thompson may have "outsmarted" himself. Palmer only took one NFL visit and didn't look to be on the radar of other NFL teams. Even if the Packers were really, really enamored, couldn't they have waited until the seventh round to take Palmer? Taking a chance on a Joe Kruger or Michael Buchanan seemed to make more sense and worth the risk, given it was the sixth round.  The Packers are banking on Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, two players who missed time with injuries last season. That leaves Palmer and Dezman Moses as the top backups. They might show promise, but whether they can be productive three-down starters in the NFL is another matter.

Inside Linebacker

Don't believe everything you hear––Despite reports that the Packers were considering trading Desmond Bishop this past weekend, there was probably more smoke than fire. When healthy, Bishop is the best inside linebacker on the roster. Sure, there's plenty of teams who would sign Bishop off the street like D.J. Smith, but not many who would give something up via trade for a guy who spent an entire year on injured reserve. And don't discount Terrell Manning. The Packers traded up to take him in the fifth round last year. He's one of those candidates who will make the biggest leaps from Year 1 to Year 2.

Cornerback

Micah Hyde will give Jarrett Bush a run for his money, quite literally––Bush is set to make $1.7 million in 2013 and over $2 million in 2014, quite a large amount for a guy who plays primarily on special teams. It looks as if the Packers will give Hyde every opportunity to be a cornerback, but like Bush, he could be one of those players who provides depth at both positions. And while Hyde sits behind Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward and Davon House in 2013, there will be an opportunity for him to become a special teams regular.

Safety

Morgan Burnett just became the next signing priority––By not taking a true safety during the draft, the Packers are placing a lot of faith in the likes of Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings and Sean Richardson. While they may be justified in doing so, they also left themselves vulnerable at the position. With Burnett set to become a free agent after the 2013 season, the Packers can't afford to let him slip through the cracks. If I were the Packers, I would have offered Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson the largest signing bonus possible after the draft ended. I have no evidence to prove they didn't, but you would have thought they would have made a bigger effort to add depth at the position at the very least.

Special Teams

Giorgio Tavecchio is the closest thing to competition to Mason Crosby as the Packers will get––Oklahoma State's Quinn Sharp was available in the seventh round if the Packers wanted him. He's a little scattershot from a personality standpoint, but he's got an absolute cannon for a leg. As it stands, Tavecchio is the only other option if Crosby continues to be erratic. It seems unlikely Tavecchio would unseat Crosby for a job, but the offseason and training camp will paint a better picture.

Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

QOTSA1's picture

I share your concern about OLB. Seeing how important it is to a 3-4 defense, I don't understand why TT is so adverse to using picks on that position.

This is the Packers 5th draft since implementing the 3-4, and Perry and Matthews are the only picks for the position that came before the 6th round.

Brad Jones in 2009, no OLB picked in 2010, Ricky Elmore in 2011 and Palmer in 2013.

Lebowski's picture

Lot of head-scratchers after round two. Not impressed.

ted, of bill and ted's picture

agreed. i do think jarrett boykin will prevent the need for any of our wr draftees to play fourth string, however...

packsmack25's picture

I don't understand how anyone can say anything after round 2 is a head-scratcher. That's when your scouting department kicks it into high gear. There's no way anyone knows the board that our scouting department put up there.

ted, of bill and ted's picture

exactly...so we're scratching our heads, because we don't know their board. we only know what the majority of 'experts' have told us, so we expect certain players to go in certain parts of the draft, and when the pack picks a bunch of randos that we havn't heard of, we scratch our heads lol

packsmack25's picture

Exactly, the "experts" that are comically wrong, year after year.

ted, of bill and ted's picture

well...can't argue that, lmao

QOTSA1's picture

True, but so are a lot of GMs.

lebowski's picture

Most would agree we need an upgrade at center. There were some real good ones available in round 4 but we took two more utility linemen. What's wrong with taking someone who is a CENTER and playing him at CENTER?? Yes, I understand the need for flexibility. I'm just tired of hearing "we're not sure where he fits on our line, but he'll add competition" after every stinking O line pick. Our O line has been a mess for too long. There were also some real solid safeties left in 4 and 5, and we ignored them too. And we grab another short, 300 lb. D lineman? Are you kidding me? That's what I mean by head scratchers.

jmac3444's picture

I don't think any of the safeties available after round 2 were any better than the safeties the Packers currently have although I do agree with you about the C's

lebowski's picture

I know we traded down from round 3, but JJ Wilcox was there for the taking. Shamarko Thomas and Philip Thomas were both taken in round 4 after we picked. Philip Thomas I really liked. Then I had my hopes up for Earl Wolff, and he went in round 5 I think. There were options, to be sure.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

Ughhhhh! Not another year with Mason Crosby. Mr. Unreliable has to go!

cow42's picture

"Post-Draft Point of Veau: What We Learned About Each Position on Packers Roster"...

we learned that the position for every starter from last year's soft team is safe - save for those of Wilson (base DE) and Harris (RB).

wonderful.

MarkinMadison's picture

As of this moment the Packers now have more DLs than LBs. Their last two first round players (Jones and Perry) look like classic 4-3 ends (Perry as a rusher against the LT, Jones opposite the RT). Palmer, who only interviewed with the Packers, makes an odd comment about needing to knock the rust off to play in a 4-3. All of it may mean absolutely nothing, but this defense looks oddly constructed for a 3-4 right now.

Chip Soup's picture

Interesting perspective on the construction of the D. Jones apparently feels comfortable in it based on his comments. Perry should improve in time. Seems like those two will have to be accounted for in pass pro freeing Claymaker or another rusher. I'm looking forward to seeing it in action. Also excited about the run game and the pick of the receiver Charles Johnson. His highlight reel is impressive, but the lack of talent on opposing defenses was obviously a factor. Looks like he's big, fast, and catches with his hands. Looking for big things from this kid in 2014 and beyond when he adjusts to the pro game.

MarkinMadison's picture

Johnson's numbers sure make it look like his game will translate against any level of competition. I'm interested to see how soft his hands are, how he looks running his routes, and how quickly he can learn to read NFL defenses so that he can be on the same page as #12. But just based on sheer numbers, he looks like the steal of the draft to me.

VApackerfan's picture

I couldn't agree more with MarkinMadison. D. Jones and N. Perry are definite physical specimens but just from their build and initial movement, along with previous playing style, they seem better suited for a 4-3 system. The potential is there, but it's a big gamble to rely upon. I hope they pan out in a 3-4 system or I hope Capers creates more hybrid packages that utilizes their talents. I trust they will succeed.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

D Jones was a 34 DE in college, and has almost prototypical 34 DE size. Perry is a little beefier than most 34 OLBs, so what though, he appeared to be coming around... Then he of course got hurt.

jim's picture

perry being beefier makes him ideal for the strong side outside linebacker... get tough on those runs...if he and matthews are both healthy, as well as jones, the pass rush could be in high gear early this season. d line could be real tough..... am afraid that it probably isnt so, but i would love to see jolly back at his peak. loved his action.

WisconsInExile's picture

The Packers have been playing a ton of nickel, to the point that it might as well be called their base defense. Keeping that in mind, the Packers appear to be building around a base nickel that occasionally plays a 3-4. I think Capers/McCarthy/Thompson's moves are consistent with (a) a pass first league, and (b) the need for a more stout line for the nickel, (c) the need for more speed *and* strength in the middle, (d) the need for better ability to read and react in the secondary, and finally (f) the need to actually tackle.

Nickel is the new black.

MarkinMadison's picture

If your nickel (2-4-5) is your base, why do you need or want so many DL?

dawg's picture

7th round ILB Sam Barrington, USF.
Mature, good feet,smart,a team player!
Keep an eye on him.

cow42's picture

camp.
fodder.

PackersRS's picture

Great insight regarding Hyde/Bush.

To me he's a slow corner/frail FS, but ST might be his place.

cow42's picture

sounds like a rock-solid pick.
whatever.

Turophile's picture

There is no reason why the packers cannot play some 4-3. It doesn't make them a 4-3 defense. They can play 1,2,3,4 man fronts in their sub-packages.

Drealyn Williams's picture

I totally agree. Not that is matters,but I actually incorporate that formation into my games of Madden. I've also seen the Saints run 2-4-5 and 3-3-5 schemes before.

redlights's picture

Head-scrather? No. Ego bruised? Yes.

I studied the draft more this year than ever; but my (small) big board was half UDFA. Yep, ITWT.

With CIN taking Margus Hunt, they've taken my top DLinemen two years in a row. Last year was Devon Still. Those would be two "long" bodies that they were looking for. Still didn't tear up with stats last year (was on par with Worthy when I last checked), but our guys are defineately shorter.

FourEyesBrewing's picture

What do you think this says about Sherrod's health? Does not taking a tackle early suggest they think he's going to be a big contributor? Or does taking multiple o-linemen suggest they think he's a bust?

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

I think they're still unsure if he will be a contributor or not. Seems to me like they were just hedging their bets by throwing more bodies at the line.

jim's picture

two rookies ought to provide some insurance there..... dont forget, flanigan broke his leg early in his career and took a considerable time to return...but, did great when he did.

Nononsense's picture

You know what scares me the most about this draft? Ted Thompson doesn't exactly have the greatest track record of drafting RBs or offensive and defensive lineman. That might have had something to do with why TT doubled down with almost every guy he selected. 2 DL guys, 2 RBs, 2 OL guys, 2 LBs and 2 WRs.

Hopefully this year he can hit a home run with at least one of these draftees. We don't need anymore JAGs (just a guy)s we need some impact players or at least one real good one from this group.

Lucky953's picture

Lack of depth at OLB is a major concern with both starters missing significant time past two years. Are they thinking jones or lattimore can move outside? Seem to be putting a lot of faith in finding a diamond in the rough there

hump's picture

i agree but then again anything is better than walden. also, manning played some outside at nc st,with his speed why not try him on the edge. something thats not getting lots of attention but is interesting,notice how fast and athletic our pass rush has gotten, datone jones, mike neal on the ends and clay and nick on the outside,and desmond, thats 5 bad mothers when thier are pinned back, on the downside though,if they dont get home before qb gets rid of it, pretty much certain big play or first down if md jennings has to cover or tackle!!!!

Drealyn Williams's picture

Walden was just crazy inconsistent. Maybe he's just best as a rotational OLB?

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