Courtesy of Paul Bessire of PredictionMachine.com (who we had on Railbird Central for a pre-NFL Draft interview), we are able to take a look at what kind of production we might expect from the newest members of the Green Bay Packers' 2013 NFL Draft class.
Please note that these projections were not made specifically for the Packers' offensive and defensive schemes and taking their 2013 schedule into account.
"To come up with statistical inputs for rookies, we run a very complex set of algorithms that factor college stats, previous utilization and strength of competition, combine measurables, role and expected utilization of the player's NFL team (in this case an average NFL team) and previous performance of similar rookies at that position in general," writes Bessire.
It should also be noted that the following statistics show what can be expected from each player as a 16-game starter. Obviously not all of these players will start all 16 games.
Consider this an exercise in speculation, but understand the limitations this study provides.
Datone Jones (9th ranked DE by PredictionMachine.com)
48.3 tackles, 4.3 sacks, 9.8 tackles for a loss
Considering Jones will likely be asked to start 16 games for the Packers if healthy, these projections are probably not far off what we can expect to see. If Jones can provide four to five sacks as a rookie, that's about as good as can be expected for his first year in the NFL. Anything more would be a bonus. Presumably, Jones will start at end in the Packers' 3-4 defense and then slide inside in their nickel and dime packages. With such depth on the defensive line, however, the Packers might have a deeper rotation than they've had in previous seasons.
Eddie Lacy (2nd ranked RB by PredictionMachine.com)
232.0 rushes, 1,065.0 yards, 4.6 YPC, 24.6 receptions, 152.3 yards
Lacy is ranked behind only Giovani Bernard who was the first running back off the board to the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round. Bernard is expected to have a much bigger impact in the receiving game, but their rushing totals are comparable. Perhaps the best news is that Lacy is expected to have the highest average yards per carry of any rookie running back. The Packers would likely be thrilled if Lacy becomes the first 1,000-yard rusher in Green Bay since Ryan Grant in 2009, but considering they also drafted Johnathan Franklin and have DuJuan Harris on the roster, Lacy might have to share the football a fair amount.
Johnathan Franklin (6th ranked RB by PredictionMachine.com)
236.9 rushes, 976.4 yards, 4.1 YPC, 32.9 receptions, 257.0 yards
Obviously it will be impossible for both Lacy and Franklin to start 16 games each and put up the kind of numbers published in these projections. But from a comparative standpoint, Lacy is expected to be the more productive back. It might be presumed that Lacy will be more of a power back and get more goal-line and short-yardage carries while Franklin will be more of a third-down back who will be used more on screen passes. Franklin also has a good reputation as a pass blocker, which only adds to the perception that he'll be used more frequently on third downs.
Micah Hyde (6th ranked CB by PredictionMachine.com)
64.9 tackles, 2.0 interceptions, 11.2 passes broken up
For an outlet that had Casey Hayward ranked as the No. 1 overall cornerback last season coming into the NFL Draft, Packers fans will probably be happy to see Hyde ranked higher here than most other places. Hyde was the 23rd cornerback selected overall last weekend. His 64.9 projected tackles are among any player ranked in PredictionMachine.com's top 17 cornerbacks, perhaps lending some credence to the notion that the Packers need some more physicality in the secondary and Hyde won't shy away from contact. Sitting behind Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Davon House and Hayward, however, Hyde will have a hard time finding much playing time outside of special teams in his rookie season.
Josh Boyd (45th ranked DT by PredictionMachine.com)
24.2 tackles, 1.8 sacks, 2.9 tackles for a loss, 0.5 forced fumbles
If these are the type of numbers Boyd can be expected to make as a 16-game starter, it's probably safe to assume his impact as a part-time, rotational player isn't expected more than minimal. If Boyd simply makes the 53-man roster this season, it will be a major accomplishment. He'll be competing with the likes of veterans Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson and Mike Daniels for some of the backup spots on the defensive line. It won't be impossible to unseat one of them, but Boyd has a tough task ahead of him. The practice squad is a possibility.
Charles Johnson (33rd ranked WR by PredicitonMachine.com)
60.7 receptions, 681.2 yards, 11.2 YPR
Johnson is a player that's difficult to get a handle on because he played at the Division II level of college football. But the type of numbers he put up at his pro day, including a fast 40 time, make him an intriguing prospect. He'll begin the season as the team's No. 6 wide receiver behind Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross, but it's possible Johnson could climb the ladder a spot or two based upon how he performs during the offseason and in training camp.
Kevin Dorsey (79th ranked WR by Prediction Machine.com)
43.9 receptions, 540.0 yards, 12.3 YPR
Much like Johnson, Dorsey is another difficult player to project, because of the quarterback woes at Maryland this past season. With a player like Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football, however, he could be a much better player. It will be difficult for both Johnson and Dorsey to both make the 53-man roster this season, but not impossible if they show promise. The practice squad might be a more likely spot for Dorsey to develop.
Sam Barrington (25th ranked OLB by PredictionMachine.com)
64.6 tackles, 3.1 sacks, 5.3 tackles for a loss
Barrington may have played outside linebacker at South Florida, but measuring in at fractions over 6-1, he probably makes more sense as an inside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 scheme. With so much depth at inside linebacker currently on the Packers' roster, it will be difficult for Barrington to find any playing time, but if he makes his mark on special teams, that will be his way onto the team.
Jake Stoneburner (15th ranked TE by PredictionMachine.com)
19.8 receptions, 262.4 yards, 13.3 YPR
Stoneburner went undrafted but was reportedly signed by the Packers as a free agent. He is only one of three tight ends (out of 30) ranked by PredictionMachine.com projected to have a yards per catch average of over 13.0 yards. With Jermichael Finley's future in Green Bay uncertain beyond 2013, there's an opportunity to find playing time in the future.
Matt Brown (26th ranked QB by PredictionMachine.com)
513 attempts, 216 completions, 50.9% completion, 3,162 yards, 17.2 TDs, 20.0 INTs
Undrafted. Obviously Brown won't be starting in Green Bay anytime soon. His highest hopes might be as the Packers' No. 3 quarterback in 2013, but that isn't exactly a stretch of the imagination. If the Packers decide to part ways with Graham Harrell, Brown could be sitting pretty. Learning under the tutelage of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy is only going to help his development.
Gilbert Pena (33rd ranked DT by PredictionMachine.com)
24.6 tackles, 1.7 sacks, 4.6 tackles for a loss, 0.5 forced fumbles
Undrafted. The biggest thing Pena has going for him is his 330-lb. frame. He's a nose tackle type of player, and with both B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett having expiring contracts following 2013, there's an opportunity for Pena to stick around if he proves himself.
Ben Ericksen (48th ranked safety by PredictionMachine.com)
50.1 tackles, 4.4 interceptions, 5.0 passes broken up
Undrafted. With safety being one of the thinnest positions on the team, Ericksen faces shorter odds than a lot of other undrafted players in Green Bay. As someone who played at the FCS level of college football at Illinois State, he'll face a steep learning curve as to the speed and intensity of the NFL.
Andy Mulumba (50th ranked DE by PredictionMachine.com)
37.5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4.0 tackles for a loss
Mulumba played in a three-point stance at Eastern Michigan but he'll need to learn how to stand up and play in space as an outside linebacker in Green Bay. He would appear to be stout at the point of attack, but rushing the passer and dropping into coverage will be the biggest things he'll need to learn at the next level.