Packers Draft Special: My Jon Snow Guys


Every evaluator worth something has his or her "guys".  Prospects that they are higher on than the consensus.  If you don't have one or more of those guys you're probably not doing your own work.  Who are you willing to defend against the haters?

Next week is the premiere of the final season of HBO's Game of Thrones.  One of the most pivotal scenes of the show is in Season 6's Battle of the Bastards.  The battle truly begins when the shows main (?) protagonist, Jon Snow faces down an entire cavalry with nothing but his sword.  It's an incredible visual (and the featured image for this post).  It's how I felt at times last year defending Michael Gallup and Harold Landry.  

I don't always get it right, either.  I've been waiting for Corey Coleman since the day he was drafted.  Some might say I'm still waiting for Corey Coleman.  There are guys in every draft that I'll defend until their rookie contracts are up because I believe that much in the process that I use to evaluate them.  

Who are my Jon Snow guys in 2019? Let's find out:

Dalton Risner

Risner has the highest floor of any prospect in this class and you cannot convince me otherwise.  He was a top-end starter at center for the Wildcats as a freshman and followed that up by being one of the best three or four right tackles in college football for the next three seasons.  If you take Risner and plug him in at any spot on the line (with the possible exception of left tackle) you're going to get an above average starter at that spot (at minimum) for the next decade.

Burns is not some behind-the-scenes prospect, and I certainly understand that.  Frankly, he's one of those prospects that a lot of really insightful Twitter users and internet commenters swear up and down won't be available at 12.  Even with all that said, I've found that I'm higher on Burns than most (but not all).  I believe Burns is EDGE2 and a top five player in this entire class.  

Samuel might be viewed as a "slot" receiver, I simply do not care.  He's a smooth and as polished a route runner as you'll find in this class, and beyond that he's an elite athlete, coming in with an RAS just a shade under 9, well above the "threshold" of 8.4 I established for the Packers here.  He's a hands catcher, which is so important to me as an evaluator.

In the last two seasons, with Green Bay having a perceived need at wide receiver, I've spent a lot of time scouting receivers.  What I've found is that most college quarterbacks are #bad.  Just being not #bad is a big friggin' deal.  Bad quarterbacks get drafted all the time.  One got drafted in the top 10 last year.  It's likely that one backs up Aaron Rodgers right now.  

Fortunately for Easton Stick, he is actually #good.  One of the most overrated traits to scout for quarterbacks is arm strength.  You either have enough of it to make NFL throws or you don't, and he does.  That extra throw-it-through-a-piece-of-plywood hose stuff is largely unimportant, especially if you're inaccurate.  **cough** Josh Allen **cough** Joe Flacco **cough** Drew Lock.  OK, I'll find a lozenge.  The reality is that Stick can make all the throws.

Hell, let's stay in the exact same FCS conference.  Khalen Saunders has been a problem in the Missouri Valley Football Conference since the day he arrived.  He's an absolute athletic freak.  A bowling ball of a man, Saunders is such a fantastic athlete that the 'Necks played him standing up on the edge despite measuring in at 6000 and 324 pounds.  

Who else is a top 90 player that maybe not everyone is paying attention to? Blake Cashman.  Blake's stellar combine performance sent me back to the tape and boy did I like what I found.  

Devin Bush?  Well, Devin Bush is LB1.

"Amani O" as I call him because I can't spell that last name the same way more than two times in a row, is a good cornerback in a class full of #bad cornerbacks.  As my friend Jon Ledyard would tell you, the good corners in this class can't run and the fast ones can't play.  Oruwariye is a rare exception.  He was borderline dominant at the Senior Bowl.

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Ross Uglem is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @RossUglem 

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Comments (29)

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ebongreen's picture

April 05, 2019 at 02:04 pm

I think Amani Hooker of Iowa is more than a box safety and can play Cover 1 if necessary.

I think Miles Boykin (Notre Dame) is exactly the kind of receiver the Packers love to draft and develop in round two or three, and I would be perfectly fine waiting until late(r) while EDGE, (maybe) TE and OL are picked ahead of him.

Alex Barnes of Kansas State is another stellar athlete at the position who lacks only long speed, but has the build and power the Packers have (in the past) sought out in runners like Eddie Lacy, both for durability and pass protection mass.

There are a lot of good athletes at TE available late(r), and while I'd love to see one of the Hawkeyes in green and gold, guys like Knox and Warring may not cost the premium picks.

BTW, I'm also completely on board with Khalen Saunders as a DL depth pick. If he were to develop the way Kenny Clark has, GB would have a DT tackle that would be the envy of the league, and would rival the old Williams Wall from the Vikings heyday.

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PeteK's picture

April 05, 2019 at 04:45 pm

I watched many K St games and Barnes is an interesting back. He waits for the blocks to form and has a quick burst to daylight . He looked good running behind Risner, who I hope we draft.

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Monsmoy's picture

April 05, 2019 at 02:04 pm

Like. I think rounds 2 and 3 are where the real value picks are this year. I hope that we can get a couple of extra for our 30. Think Bush at 12 (ideally 15 is Skins trade up) then McGarry, Savage, Knox, Oriowooooo (sp).

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stockholder's picture

April 05, 2019 at 03:15 pm

Risner is falling. He'll be lucky to be picked ahead of Lindstrom. The Wrs just don't do anything for me. All will take years. We like them big in GB. TT said the biggest mistakes are made with Wrs. (When He still had his nut) I like Grier more. No QB for me this draft! I believe Bush will be picked before Burns. Still I see Gute trading down again. And Burns would be my choice. In fact; Burns will be the reason Gute trades down! A. Cooper is not for me. Bust! The safety pick should be Thornhill and Adderley. Zedrick Woods later. No to Cashman. Ty Summers is my preference. David Long mid rd. and I'd also take David Long CB over Amani. Wren would be my gamble before Saunders.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 05, 2019 at 06:59 pm

No more than a mid two for Risner. If Grier is there in the third ,take him. The Kizer-Boyle Fan club can get their ya-yas out during the family Night Game. Renell Wren is more versatile.

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mrtundra's picture

April 06, 2019 at 09:44 am

I think Risner will be off the boards before the Packers pick at #44 in the 2nd Round. I think he is the best OT/OG/C option in the draft. I'd grab Risner at #30, if he's there. How long are we going to neglect our O Line issues? Risner would be a long term solution there.

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PatrickGB's picture

April 05, 2019 at 03:20 pm

As it say every year about this time. There are good players that The Packers can draft. And there are good players that other teams will draft. It’s not a static league. So, getting more picks improves us and keeps other teams from grabbing a quality player. I often look at what other teams get from the draft as much as I look at our acquisitions.

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Handsback's picture

April 05, 2019 at 03:34 pm

Ross, most of your favorite players have second or third round grades on them, so that's not too shabby. One scout has 60 players with a second round grade, and 66 with a 3rd round grade. So as Monsmoy said above, there are some real value picks in those middle rounds.

I will say Burns is not my favorite guy nor do I think Pettine will like him either for the reason you stated....can't defend the run. I think he's just too small to be considered in the first round, but suspect he will go between the Packers 12 and 30 picks. Samuel is my favorite receiver in the draft. Saunders and Bush have the look of short guys with a chip on their shoulder. They both play lights-out. Don't know much about Stick and Cashman, but Risner is one tough cookie that Green Bay needs in the trenches.

I initially thought that Green Bay should trade up with their 30th pick since the first round grades only go to 22-25 players. Looking at the spread on players in that 2-3rd round grades makes me want the Packers to save both of their 4th round picks and maybe even throw a 6th and a 5th to get another 4th pick. This could be a draft that Gutsy makes his mark on with quality starters in every round. Not as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, but close.

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JakeDickerson's picture

April 05, 2019 at 04:01 pm

I’m convinced. Let’s get them all.

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Since'61's picture

April 05, 2019 at 04:24 pm

Ross - as long as you're not waiting for Godot you'll be fine. Thanks, Since '61

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ShooterMcGee's picture

April 05, 2019 at 05:00 pm

Both Gallup and Landry were steals so I will keep an eye on the players you covet this year. Ross has mentioned Stick several times so I watched his highlights. He might be a mid/late round pick at qb that provides depth and does other things. He is an absolutely exciting runner who had 1 of the lowest 3 cones at combine. Maybe he could make an Edelman switch?

Safety is the only position of need without a Jon Snow. Juan Thornhill or Hooker might fit the bill for most of us. TE is a luxury pick this year with 3 on the team. A draft that went like this would be great for me.
#12- Bush ILB
#30- Risner OT
#44- Samuel WR
#75- Hooker S
#114- Saunders DL
#115- Amani O CB
#150- Stick Qb

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mrtundra's picture

April 06, 2019 at 09:55 am

I'd go for Thornhill over Hooker. Thornhill has a perfect RAS ranking on the RAS charts I've seen. We also need a TE. Both Hockenson and Fant will be off the boards in the 1st Round. Irv Smith, Jr will go by the 3rd Round and that leaves guys like Jace Sternberger somewhere between rounds 4 and 5 and Isaac Nauta, who some have said is the best blocking TE in the draft, and who should be available somewhere in rounds 5-6, and maybe early 7th.

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MarkinMadison's picture

April 05, 2019 at 06:11 pm

I really like Noah Fant. Higher ceiling than any other TE in this draft. His floor isn't bad either. I'd love to see the Packers pick him up between #20-#30.

If you want a big WR I don't think anyone is better than Hakeem Butler. I like him more than DK Metcalf. I've watched him torture my Hawkeyes too often.

Darnell Savage is a very talented player. I think he'd fit the Packers very well in the third round, and I wouldn't be upset if they picked him up at #44.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 05, 2019 at 07:04 pm

Most of the top safetie s are gone by the end of the second round. Savage is set for the lower second. Depends what Belichick will do at #32; go TE or a top safety to cover for Chung.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 05, 2019 at 07:09 pm

Most of the top safetie s are gone by the end of the second round. Savage is set for the lower second. Depends what Belichick will do at #32; go TE or a top safety to cover for Chung.

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MarkinMadison's picture

April 05, 2019 at 07:47 pm

Steelers and Rams have both had Savage in for a visit. I don't think we really know where he is going to go right now.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 05, 2019 at 10:31 pm

Fant would have the biggest impact on the Packers offense than any other player in the draft IMHO. I believe the Packers are really considering him.

Doug's video link on Isabella below is pretty impressive as well.

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4thand1's picture

April 05, 2019 at 07:37 pm

19 DAYS, 23 HOURS, 23 MINUTES.

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Swisch's picture

April 05, 2019 at 08:33 pm

Thus the scary question no one wants to answer: Then what do we do until August?

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Dzehren's picture

April 05, 2019 at 07:50 pm

12 Oliver DL
30 Lindstrom OL
44 Irv Smith TE
76 Juan Thornhill Safety

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

April 05, 2019 at 08:16 pm

Andy Isabella next Christian McCaffery.

Packers ABSOLUTELY have to draft Isabella

Look at these moves!!

https://youtu.be/KAVmu1oMMH8

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 05, 2019 at 10:27 pm

Doug,
Agreed! Isabella would be an awesome slot WR for the Pack playing alongside Fant at TE. :)

Seriously Isabella would look great in green and gold.

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Swisch's picture

April 05, 2019 at 08:49 pm

I've picked up this idea that top offensive linemen are generally available in the middle of the draft.
From what Ross is saying, though, it would be hard for me to pass up on Dalton Risner at #12.
It's not the most fun pick, but I really want to build a formidable force to both protect Rodgers and propel our run game.
Especially after our acquisitions in free agency, offensive linemen seem to be first priority for the Packers. It's just a question of when in the draft to get them.
P.S. Ross, as an ignorant dabbler in the draft who still wants to participate somewhat in the fun of the pre-draft process, I very much appreciate you going bold in putting forth the guys you like, and explaining why.

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Dzehren's picture

April 05, 2019 at 08:54 pm

Jonah Williams LT Alabama would be a better pick @ 12 than Risner

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Ross Uglem's picture

April 06, 2019 at 09:15 am

this isn't a take. Everyone, including me has Jonah ranked ahead of Risner.

This is like saying Bosa is probably a better prospect than Montez Sweat.

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JonnieB12's picture

April 07, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I think he was just saying dont take a worse lineman higher just to make it a "take". I would agree Jonah Williams would be a better pick at 12. But I would rather have Risner at 30 or 44 than Williams at 12.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 05, 2019 at 10:29 pm

I seriously do not see an OL at 12. Possibly at 30 but I am more inclined to think in '3rd or 4th' round with possibility at 44.

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efox2011's picture

April 06, 2019 at 11:29 am

David Long is my guy. Dude was a rolling blackout, on his side of the field. It seemed like opposing QBs couldn't see anything over there.

Last season, 9 completions against him, for 42 yards, and 8 pbus. And the starter on the other side is a future nfler as well, so it's not a reflection on his counterpart's play.

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Minniman's picture

April 06, 2019 at 08:19 pm

"You know nothing Jon Snow!"

-- Sorry, I had to throw that one in there.

Ross, stating the obvious, this draft is so darn wide open for the Packers that I've given up hypothesizing who they should/could/would take. It would almost be easier to focus on who they SHOULDN'T take.

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