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Revisiting the Packers’ 2016 Draft

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Revisiting the Packers’ 2016 Draft

Draft season is in full swing, and while most people are looking forward to what the Packers will do with their selections this year (and now’s as good a time as any to remind you all to pre-order the CheeseheadTV Draft Guide!), I wanted to take a look back and revisit the Packers’ draft from 2016.

The prevailing wisdom among analysts and front office types is that it takes a good three years before you really know what you have in a draft class.

This was the second-last draft by Ted Thompson, whose final three drafts were roundly criticized (and for good reason). Here’s what he managed to bring in to the team:

Round One, Pick 27 (27 overall): Kenny Clark, defensive tackle, UCLA

This arguably was the final home run hit by Thompson in his drafts as GM of the Packers, and certainly one of his best first-round picks. Clark wasn’t exactly a household name or a sexy pick coming out of UCLA, but there’s no doubt he has been a stud for the Packers on the defensive line.

Clark really started to come on in the final few weeks of his rookie year, and began making a larger impact in 2017, when he notched 4.5 sacks in addition to 55 total tackles. He was a force in 2018, constantly disrupting plays and managing to notch 6 sacks from an interior line position.

Still just 23 years old, Clark has already managed to become one of the best players at his position in the NFL. If he stays healthy, the sky is the limit to what he can accomplish in the league.

Pick grade: A

Round 2, pick 17 (#48): Jason Spriggs, offensive tackle, Indiana

Thompson traded a second round pick (#57), a fourth round pick (#125) and a seventh round pick (#248) to move up in the second round and acquire Spriggs. On his own, Spriggs has been a bad selection, but the fact that Thompson gave away a couple more picks to move up and get him makes this pick even worse.

When you draft a tackle in the second round, you do so with the expectation he will be a long-term starter at the position. But at this point, the only reason Spriggs is still on the team is that the position currently needs as much depth as it can get, and no one else appears to be the heir apparent to aging and oft-injured (yet still highly effective) right tackle Bryan Bulaga yet.

In his occasional stints, Spriggs has been generally bad to awful, with a few hints of promise dotted here and there. He is not a certainty to make the team this year despite still being under contract.

Pick grade: D-

Round 3, pick 25 (#88): Kyler Fackrell, outside linebacker, Utah State

The case of Kyler Fackrell is a really strange one. Entering the 2018 season, he looked like one of the worst players on the Packers’ roster, and put some absolutely abysmal football on tape even during preseason. But Mike Pettine found a way to use Fackrell as a relief edge rusher, and Fackrell came out of absolutely nowhere to notch double-digit sacks in 2018, including a pair of three-sack performances.

It’s still probably foolish to expect Fackrell to be an every-down player, but if he can repeat what he did in 2018 coming into relieve the Packers’ new additions Za’Darius and Preston Smith to rush the passer, he could well earn himself a second contract with the team, something that would have been unthinkable coming into last year.

With all that being said, it’s really difficult to grade the pick. He’s got two years of awful football on his resume, but also a year in which he was an effective rotational player. At the very least, he’s put himself into a position where he still may have a future with this team.

Pick grade: C

Round 4, pick 36 (#131): Blake Martinez, inside linebacker, Stanford

While Martinez isn’t the kind of player who’s going to light up the field, he’s been an effective, reliable starter at the interior linebacker position, the kind of football player all 32 teams would like to have on their team. His weaknesses (including his difficulties shedding blocks) have been frequently discussed on this site, and for some reason there is a good portion of Packers Twitter that seems to think this guy is a bum (which is laughable at best). But there’s no doubt Martinez was a solid pick in the 4th round and a player who has been able to contribute well to this team.

It remains to be seen if Martinez will get another contract with the Packers, but he’s currently the best option they’ve got on the roster at the position. We’ll see what happens with the draft this year—he could certainly benefit from another solid presence playing next to him in the base defense.

Pick grade: B-

Round 4, pick 21 (#137): Dean Lowry, defensive end, Northwestern

Lowry’s short reach can make it difficult for him to get leverage while rushing the passer, and he’ll never be anything more than a rotational player, but he’s still made a few plays for the team here and there in his first few years and if nothing else has been a good depth player. Once his contract is up, there won’t really be any rush to sign him back.

Pick grade: C-

Round 5, pick 26 (#163): Trevor Davis, wide receiver, California

Trevor Davis has been one of the more infuriating players on the team over the last several seasons. Anyone who watches the guy can see just how much talent he has and how much potential he has to be a special teams gamebreaker. But he’s also made more than his fair share of absolutely boneheaded mistakes, and has been having an extremely hard time staying healthy.

Davis has managed to hang on to a roster spot this long in large part due to that untapped potential he exudes, but this year will likely be his last chance to stick. He’s going to have to prove he can be a reliable, potentially game changing presence in special teams to be able to stick, because at this point it sure seems that the Packers don’t view him as someone to use in their offensive arsenal (but who knows what will happen with new coaching and a new scheme).

Pick grade: C-

Round 6, pick 25 (#200): Kyle Murphy, offensive tackle, Stanford

Surprisingly, Murphy is the only player from this draft no longer with the team. His time was memorable for all the wrong reasons. He was a turnstile on the offensive line, then spent nearly all of the 2017 season and all of the 2018 season on injured reserve. He’s now on the Rams’ practice squad.

Pick grade: F


Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (104) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Skip greenBayless's picture


jeremyjjbrown's picture

At least this draft has more than 1 player still on the team. 1 guy seams to be TTs hit rate this decade.

Old School's picture

That's just plain nonsense, but I understand that all the cool kids have to bash the guy who got us to the Championship game 4 times in 10 years and won a Super Bowl.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Yep Old School. Coming to this place reminds me of being in 7th and 8th grade all over again. All the boys herd together for fear of being kicked out of the herd. They all agree now that Ted Thompson is a total loser. One of their "leaders" said it a while back and they all shake their heads in agreement and it's now the gospel truth.

Meanwhile, back in Realville, this article is a fitting tribute to the our living legend and future hall of famer Ted Thompson even though he probably didn't intend it to be. This was a killer draft by the legend and the harvest in this draft will continue to produce for years to come. TT started with Aaron Rodgers and despite being sick finished with Kenny Clark and many other big time players. Class dismissed!!


sam1's picture

Oh God, can anybody really be this ignorant?

Skip greenBayless's picture

Sam1, you seem unsettled the past couple days. Any reason?


sam1's picture

Yup and if you can't figure it out I know you have some real mental problems going on!

Montana's picture

Thompson had some outstanding picks in his tenure......and to be fair some flops. Here are just a few: Rodgers, Ryan Grant, Clay Matthews, Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Josh Sitton, B.J. Raji, T. J. Lang, Brian Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, Micah Hyde, Davante Adams, and Corey Linsley.

Granted not all these players were stars but the bulk proved valuable. There were others too that proved useful or fit a need in Ted's reign. Some we lost to injury and defensively, it's arguable that a few never realized their potential due to coaching. Could he have done better, perhaps but overall his record of players afforded the Packers a long reign of winning seasons and playoff births only second to the Patriots. Pretty decent tenure given all the tangibles beyond Ted's control.......

Archie's picture

Or was it mostly Aaron Rodgers doing?

Tell me who you think is the worst GM in football and given 13 years of drafting, I'm sure I can come up with a list of picks more impressive than "sick" Teddy.

I have been bashing one Mr. Thompson since he picked AJ Hawk with the 5th pick in the draft.

For years I pointed out how Seattle couldn't make the final jump to championship level play with Ted as GM but shortly aftyer he left, they changed their FA and drafting philosophy 180 degrees and became a Super Bowl team overnight.

Ted worked his magic in GB and made us a bridesmaid much like he did SEA.

Ted drafted 10 DBs in his last few years, most at the top of the draft, and when Gutey came in, the Pack's greatest need was for not one, but two CBs!!!

Enough with Ted.

Gutey is our future now and so far so good.

How's this for a great move: HaHa for Amos and a 4th rd pick!!!

If Gutey aces this draft, the sky is the limit. Ed Oliver lit things up today at his pro day. May mean he's not there at 12. That would be a shame because he is what Pettine is dreaming about. Maybe he will make it to 12, who knows. If he doesn't, maybe Hock will. If not, then we may be looking at Dillard or a trade down.

I'm liking me some Jerry Tillery at 30. Unless Fant is sitting there. Maybe.

Pick 44 (or 30) has to be our free safety of the future.

APR 25, here comes Gutey!

Packers2019's picture

Ummm...AR got us too the Championship game 4 times and won us a SB.

MM's horrible game management and stale offense did nothing for us. AR made the offense go. And TT did three things: Raji, Matthews and Woodson. Although, you could say Woodson fell into our laps since he was so cheap and no one signed him. (aka Aaron Rodgers in the 2008 draft)

If AR would not have fell to us at 24, TT nor MM would have been here longer than 3 years.

So again, AR got us to 4 Championship games and won us a SB, not TT or MM.

Old School's picture

Actually, I'm not sure how much credit you should give Arod for the 2007 season.

Thompson drafted him and put the players and coaches around him. If you do don't understand that I can't help you.

jannes bjornson's picture

He brought the pack back against Dallas when Farve went out after chucking up a couple INTs or was it three. He rallied the team and you could see his star quality. If Mccarthy played Rodgers in the NFC they would have beaten the Giants because of his mobilty to escape pressure from a four man front.

Old School's picture

I agree with all that. But he didn't get us into the 2007 championship game.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"and won a Super Bowl."

Not with any drafts in this decade.

2011 - Randall Cobb
2012 - Nick Perry, Mike Daniels (Not counting Casey Hayward who he didn't resign.)
2013 - David Bakhtiari (Not counting Micah Hyde who he didn't resign.)
2014 - Davante Adams, Corey Linsley (Not counting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who got traded instead of resigning)
2015 - NOTHING

That's 6 hits divided by 5 drafts. Can you do math? Or, is math nonsense too?

6/5 = 1.2 (didn't even need a calculator)

Not counting 2016-17 because it's too soon, no 2nd contracts yet (But Kenny Clark is awesome)

Old School's picture

41 players drafted by TT between 2011 and 2017 were still in the league last year. That's about 6 players per draft.

splitpea1's picture

There goes that broken record again: "4 times in 10 years, blah, blah..." Anybody remember the old Tom and Jerry cartoon "Mouse Trouble" from 1944? "Come up and see me sometime"..."come up and see me sometime"..."come up and see me sometime...."

Just don't blow yourself up.

Old School's picture

I can see you're a guy who doesn't like to be reminded of facts you don't like.

splitpea1's picture

Nothing wrong with your facts--you just use that particular fact as a boilerplate response to any criticism of the previous regime, which in most peoples' minds, could have done a whole lot better managing the roster.

Old School's picture


Old School's picture

Better than 4 Championship games in 10 years? Only New England can claim that. Lots of guys have done worse. In fact, pretty much every body did worse.

So you're right that Thompson could have done better. He could have done a lot worse, too.

He got Charles Woodson. He got Ryan Pickett. He drafted Aaron Rodgers despite the fact we already had a starting QB. He traded down and got Jordy Nelson. He traded up and got Clay Matthews. He signed Julius Peppers.

He didn't sign Albert Haynesworth. He didn't fumble the whole Favre Fiasco. He did keep our salary cap very healthy. He didn't make any costly mistakes in FA.

No offense intended, but you strike me as a guy who has never been responsible for running anything more complicated than a lemonade stand. I think you believe the GM should be reactive rather than proactive, and that he should eschew a long range plan in favor of a short-term possibility.

Thompson, from Day One, said : You have to be careful in FA. It's easy to make mistakes. Often, you end up paying more for a guy who is only a marginal improvement over what you have. You also have to consider the locker room and the team's salary structure.

This is called a plan, and he was true to it, and it worked very, very well. I'm sorry you can't see that. Maybe you should root for the Lions for a while, or the Vikings.

Guam's picture

TT had some great drafts and he had some bad ones which seems to be pretty normal for GM's across the league. My beef with TT was his refusal to use free agency in any responsible way. If you miss on some draft choices as any GM will do, you need to wisely use free agency to fill the holes. The Hoodie has probably been a poorer drafter than TT, but he is masterful at using free agency. TT almost entirely ignored free agency as an opportunity to help his roster. And I believe the difference in that philosophy has NE at 5 or 6 championships and Green Bay at 1.

Old School's picture

So guys like Lowry and Fackrell who suit up for every game are a C. A guy like Martinez, who led the league in tackles, he's average. And a guy like Spriggs is a failure.

Got it.

I would grade it like this: Clark is an A. Martinez, Fackrell, and Lowry are clear Bs. Spriggs is a C-. Davis is a C-

Tim Backes's picture

Suiting up for every game seems to be a baseline expectation, which means a C would be reasonable, no?

Martinez is a B to B minus player in my eyes. Solid, reliable, definitely not elite.

If you have a justification for grading Spriggs higher, given his performance, his draft position and what was given up to get him, I'm all ears.

KeepErMovin's picture

Martinez is a B lvl player. Hes not flashy, but hes a good player. A lot of teams would love to have a Blake Martinez.
Spriggs, as a second round pick that was traded up for, is a fail. What has he done to earn a better grade?
Describing guys by saying "they suit up for every game" screams average. lol

Old School's picture

If suiting up for every game means average, then what about people who don't suit up for every game? Is Aaron Jones less than average? Mike Daniels?

Some of you guys should run a business that has employees that only show up for work about 75% of the time and then tell me what great employees they are.

Tim Backes's picture

I think the point is that if the best thing you can say about someone is that they "suit up every game," then they're nothing more than average.

Jones and Daniels have had injuries, but anyone with eyes can watch games and see that they're players with game-changing abilities.

I can promise you that not a single GM in the league is going to be assessing guys as success stories because "they suit up."

Old School's picture

What games did Jones change last year?

He appeared in 12 games. We were 4-8 in those games.
We were 2-1-1 in games where he did not suit up.

He started 8 games. We were 2-6 in those games

He had ONE hundred yard game where we won by 19 points.

The only game he changed was NE, where we were never in it again after his fumble.

KeepErMovin's picture

You cant compare NFL player to a 9-5 employee. In the real world people who come to work every day and are just there are fine.

In the NFL one play can turn a game. Jones is electric. Daniels is disruptive. They have been every season they have been in the league.

CAG123's picture

You’re comparing apples to onions. A guy like Jones goes down there’s s clear difference than if Dean Lowry missed a few games.

Coldworld's picture

True, starter versus depth, but I thought Lowry did well at the end of the season when called on to start. There are depth (opportunity’) and development factors to be considered in evaluating later picks. One factor that I think was missed I believe is how quickly Martinez was able to contribute positively. Lowry and Martinez are I think perhaps under appreciated here.

Spriggs was understrength and then bulked up. He has had a year to acclimatize to his new build. He either steps up or out this season. If he does step up his grade changes significantly for the better, but as of this point, can’t argue.

Davis is over valued. No receiving upside, not able to get on the field consistently to be our returner and questionable judgment over his time. Despite his ability when he does return, that is a pick I would take back if I could without even the doubt if a late developing upside. With Gute’s comments on slot receiver size and durability I would be shocked if we don’t draft return candidates as well as UDFAs (not necessarily receivers) and if Davis survives to opening day.

CAG123's picture

I’m starting to think you’re Ted Thompson lol let me get this straight you can suit up for every game and not make that much of an impact but be a good player? Jason Spriggs has been 90% terrible but because he’s always available that should be good enough? Lowry doesn’t really stick out on the field he’s made what 2-3 plays during his time in the league? Fackrell just broke out this year and when you put his sacks under a microscope it’s less impressive. Blake is the only I’d give a second contact to he’s a high effort guy that any team would want.

Old School's picture

Cag....the worst player on the field has more impact than anybody who isn't on it.

CAG123's picture

I mean a negative impact is still and impact I guess

Old School's picture

Better than playing with 10 guys on the field, I assure you.

Once, I started a season with 44 guys the first day. Injuries and ineligibility due to grades left me with 13 guys for the last game of the season. I would have gladly welcomed my worst player back if I could have.

Clay Matthews had several negative impact plays last year. Remember?

CAG123's picture

You said bad player though how is that the same as a good player making a bad play? A bad player on the field is a constant liability like a corner being victimized or an o linemen getting beat every play.

Old School's picture

He's only on the field because you don't have anybody better.

You start the season with 53 and a practice squad. Somebody gets hurt and a practice squad guy moves up. I get the impression that you think a practice squad guy should be as good as a starter. They aren't.

People like Brice, for example, was on the field because we didn't have anybody better. When King and Alexander were hurt we played Brown. When Wilkerson got hurt, we activated Lancaster from the PS.

There are no bad players in the NFL. Every one was the best player on their high school team and probably in the district. There are over 200 Div I football programs and about 220 players get drafted. These guys are ALL good football players, even the weakest guy on the team.

You hope and pray that you're not going to have to rely on your backups, but ultimately you end up with Ladarius Gunter guarding Julio Jones in the Championship game. It happens. It doesn't mean your scouting staff, or your personnel department, or your coaches suck.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Old School, I know you are a football coach but do you also teach high school classes and if you do what subject do you teach? If you don't teach some classes you should because the fact you had to explain that says the education system needs a makeover.


Old School's picture

Yeah, I was a classroom teacher. I have an M.Ed. in Special Education and that meant I had a steady supply of students who couldn't be put in "regular" classrooms because of intellectual or behavioral deficits.

I taught various academic subjects, but mostly I taught "think for yourself" and "human nature". If you think for yourself, and you understand why people do and say the things they do, the world makes a lot more sense.

Two of my former students can be Googled. Brian Flores is being tried for a double murder. Francisco Huizar….well, I'll let you look that one up. Brian was huge and violent and I played him at defensive tackle. Huizar was my backup QB one year until the starter became academically ineligible.

Skip greenBayless's picture

I figured you taught. It also explains why you have more patience than I do when dealing with some of these confrontational people. I can clearly see the difference in levels here when you and say a Kirk or Taryn speak.. I enjoy reading your posts and your knowledge. Yes, most are not thinking for themselves. They are allowing Twitter and Facebook to do the thinking for them. That's why I like reading what you have to say. I shake my head at some of the most common sense things you say and I see 10 dislikes and no likes. It's maddening how some of these people here are being educated. I am blown away to be honest. Good luck to you Old School. Probably won't be here much longer. The days are coming to an end. The herd won't stop until they get their way. Come September when Boyle moves up to no. 2 they'll be saying that damn Dash was right. So long.


Ferrari Driver's picture

Dash, I'm not positive, but I would venture a guess that I give you more "thumbs up" than anyone here. I enjoy your posts and read most all of them. Keep it up and don't leave.

KeepErMovin's picture

The worst part is that they gave up that $125 for Jason Spriggs. LOL

Skip greenBayless's picture

Spriggs is a late bloomer like Fackrell. I think the herd here is going to be shocked at the improvement in Spriggs this season. It will be Kyler Fackrell like believe me. This will turn out to be yet another home run by the guy everyone loves to hate because he's a living legend and one of the greatest GM's in Packers history and they can't handle it.... Ted "Teddy" Thompson.


Demon's picture

All these bold predictions you have, are those a result of you being so much smarter then the rest of us?

Id like nothing more then to see Spriggs live up to expectations. Id also like to see myself winning the powerball jackpot tomorrow. The odds are about the same.

Skip greenBayless's picture

"All these bold predictions you have, are those a result of you being so much smarter then the rest of us?"

Based on all the dislikes? Absolutely!! People clearly hate when others are constantly right and they are not. As I said many times, the cream of the crop here is Old School, Taryn and of course the late and great John T. Kirk, who is resting in peace in Cleveland.


sam1's picture

But nobody on here is constantly right, but some sound constantly really ignorant and lose a lot.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Sam1, I don't know you or heard of you until a couple days ago but it seems all you do here is raise your voice and name call with personal attacks. I've been here longer than you have. I have a impeccable track record of being right and want normal nice respectable people here who don't shout like you do to know what's in store for the future. That's why people follow me and listen to what I say. I have street cred and can back it up. I would appreciate a little more respect from you going forward ok Sam1? I think I've earned that. Asking you nicely.


sam1's picture

If you are so smart why are you begging me to respect you when I wasn't referring to just you but people in general, just like I did about writers this AM! You must have some kind of complex as to who you really are. Just reading some of the stuff you say your intelligence or lack of is no concern of mine. Telling you nicely! And I guess you don't read much I have been on here for a couple years, just don't post that often.

Packers2019's picture

No one is disputing that TT made some good draft picks. The issue with TT and why is not one of the best GM's ever is because he only did it for the first 4 years. After that his track record was horrible. Go and look at his draft record vs other average GM's. You will see he was not any better than average. He failed to field a better than average defense 80% of the time he was GM. The reason why we did not win more than one SB. AR won us the SB by playing out of his mind in the 2010 playoffs.

AR is the reason he survived as GM. No other reason. If AR does not slide to 24, we are not having this discussion.

Skip greenBayless's picture

"AR is the reason he survived as GM. No other reason. If AR does not slide to 24, we are not having this discussion."

I read two of your comments so far and it's like reading someone who watches CNN 24/7 seriously. Where are you getting your info from?
Do the Patriots win all those super bowls if Brady doesn't slide to them in the 6 round? lol

If AR is the reason TT survived as a GM than I would say TT had great long term vision, bravery and intelligence taking the guy who would help keep him in his job for all those years when at the time there was no immediate need to take a qb.

What will Gutey's excuse be when it's the same AR that is the reason he won't survive 10 years for not selecting another young qb in his first year or two like Ted did? Who's the idiot for not finding a quarterback when it's the most important position in the NFL? You will be the guy here complaining why Gutey chose some tight end with the first pick when he passed up on some hall of fame qb because "he had Arod", a TT pick and one of the greatest selections in NFL history.


CAG123's picture

But Dash how do you know that these weren’t Gutes picks? You said he was pulling all the strings while TT was on his death bed? In fact I specifically remember you saying that Gute would barge into TT office before draft time then give him purple nurples and noogies until he promised to draft the guys Gute wanted and if TT told anyone he would give him a knuckle sandwich.

sam1's picture

If they get anyone with the least bit potential in FA or draft Spriggs is gone! Old ladies in with walkers can take his place without a let up in play.

Demon's picture

Kenny Clark is a beast! Im a bigger fan of Martinez than many here. I think he is terribly unappreciated. He plays hard, he's active and available every week. You can win games with guys like Martinez.

Mike Wendlandt's picture

Martinez also has to be graded for what he does before the snap as well as what he does during the plays. He's a great captain in the middle of the defense.

EddieLeeIvory's picture


Martinez pick deserves a much higher grade for a 4th rd pick. I'm not a Blake lover but for a 4th rd pick, that's at least a B+.

Spriggs is a flat F.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

It's clear that Green Bay has to get Aaron Rodgers more help -- signing Billy Turner and Marcedes Lewis, while nice, isn't going to be enough. They need to add another offensive playmaker to the mix, and tight end like T. J. Hockenson would be the first place to look, with Jimmy Graham seemingly in decline. The Packers addressed their need for edge rushers in free agency, but there's room for upgrades at inside 'backer and depth at safety.

dobber's picture

When was the last time you posted something that didn't have the word "Hockenson" in it?

Boom...boom...boom...this drum ain't gonna beat itself!

Ferrari Driver's picture

If Oliver is available at 12, draft him! If he isn't I would be happy with Hock; I would expect him to via for the pro bowl and be a blue chip TE for close to a decade.

Swisch's picture

Let's get T.J. out of hock with pick #12!
We'll get good players at other positions in the rest of the draft.
At least that's one scenario that seems like a winner.
Aaron Rodgers will find it irresistible to throw shorter passes to the middle of the field for first down yardage.
Plus, Doug gets a finder's fee; a free Hock jersey; and is able to ride his bike with Hock during training camp. :-)

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Mr. Dobber, it's time to buy STOCK in the HOCK!!

stockholder's picture

I wouldn't. Is He going to be the first pick in the NFL draft.? Why isn't he Doug?. I've never seen a TE hyped more. If he's there @12. Bet Gute trades the pick. If Gute takes Hoek he should be fired. If Gute takes a WR I rd. 1 he should be fired. You don't use three draft picks on Wrs and draft a Te/or Wr when you just spent 10 mil too. If your a packer fan you would hope Gute trades the pick first.

the real russ letlow's picture

Lowry should get a little better grade (B) and Trevor Davis a little lower (D/F).

CJ Bauckham's picture

I second the better grade for Lowry. If suiting up every game is a baseline for a C, as a 4th rder (unsure if draft position weights these grades any) who makes a handful of sacks a year I think C+ (at least) is reasonable.

Old School's picture

I give up. Apparently, the bell curve is too complicated for some people to understand.

53 guys. 2/3 are average. Some are high average, some are low average. Of the remaining players, 9 are better than average and 9 are below average.

It is what it is. I won't argue it anymore.

Skip greenBayless's picture



Coldworld's picture

True Old School. That surely factors into grades though. A seventh rounder who turns into an average starter is a steal whereas were the same player a first rounder he would be a D in terms of draft value surely?

Old School's picture

I don't know. If the class valedictorian gets an 82 on a test, and the class clown gets an 82, don't they get the same grade?

jannes bjornson's picture

False equivalency.

Old School's picture

Can you explain why? I don't think you can.

If Tom Brady had been taken in the 2nd round instead of the 6th, would that have been a lower graded pick? IF Aaron Rodgers had been drafted in the 4th round instead of the 1st, would that have made him a better pick?

You get 7 picks. Thousands of Div I and Div II football players leave college every year. You sift and sort and test and study and boil them down to a pool of about 220. You get 7 of them. If you get a good player in the first, or second, it's just as good as getting one in the 6th or 7th. The only difference is that you stand a better chance of getting guys early in the draft.

Coldworld's picture

It depends on what one is evaluating, the current roster or the performance of the GM in a given draft.

If the question is rating these drafted payers based on current ability, draft or other acquisition method is irrelevant as you suggest Old School.

That said, a GM has a set of picks of differing value. Most of these are mid late round. Evaluating a draft for me is to judge hoe a GM used those picks. So in terms of draft evaluation I would say the position of the pick is critical to determining how a GM performed.

Guam's picture

Excellent point Coldworld. Evaluation of the player should be independent of his draft status, but evaluating the GM must include the draft status as well as the GM's use of other roster building tools.

Johnblood27's picture

ever hear of a poisson distribution?

how about a weibull distribution?

or a skewed normal distribution?

you assume too much...

take a statistics course schoolmarm!

Old School's picture

Took it. Aced it. About 40years ago. How do any of those apply in this case?

People can't wrap their heads around a standard distribution, and I'm supposed to talk about a Weibull distribution?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The bell curve generally is just that, a curve. As you note in this particular comment, some are high average (within one standard deviation) and some are low average (one standard deviation). Here, you've noted the low and high average but have dropped that caveat in other posts to make it sound like the average section would have a horizontal line shape covering two-thirds of the roster.

First, the difference between low average and high average is more significant than you imply (or at least than I infer from your comments).

Second, I think the Packers' 2018 roster would have an asymmetrical distribution that is negatively skewed. The degree to which the distribution is skewed might depend on how much credit should be given to special teams for some of these players. Crawford, Gilbert, Looney, Donnerson, Pankey, Jmon Moore, Vitale, Trevor Davis, Burks, Kizer, Boyle, House, Pleasant, Brice and Toomer should never have seen the field except on special teams or to get their feet wet. [Note that this evaluation = actual current ability to produce versus talent/upside.]

A few of these players provide enough value on STs so as to arguably raise them from the below average or terrible range into the 2/3rds area. There were a number of players who merited below average versus low average grades: Perry, Kendricks, Morrison, Light, Redmond, Bibbs, Bell, Patrick, McCray, and Carson. Eh, Josh Jones probably sneaks into low average territory. Due to some churn and injuries, I would guess we're talking about 20 to 25 below average to terrible players out of 60+ players. Probably at least 33% to about 40%. At the top end, 2 standard deviations above average, roughly 1.7%, only AR in terms of value conceivably fits that slot. In terms of best at his position, only Bakh fits in that spot.

I know we've butted heads, Old School, but I will say that your posts are worth reading and replying to. As I re-read this comment, there are several players I am itching to re-classify (Kendricks probably sneaks into low average), but it's early so perhaps I'll do a more systematic and thoughtful breakdown another time.

Old School's picture

You gave this a lot more thought than I did. If I had to pick about 9 above average players, it's Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Adams, ...maybe Linsley on offense. On defense, Clark and Daniels.

So yeah, it's probably negatively skewed this past season. But you're always going to have fluctuations because of injuries and age and development. Matthews has been above average over the course of his career, but not last year. Same with Graham. Same with Bulaga.

Alexander might be above average next year, but this year he was probably only high average. It's fluid, from season to season and even game to game.

MY POINT is that it's not like the old days when teams drafted players they hadn't even seen play. Every team has huge scouting staffs. There's film. We have a joint combine with everybody in attendance. You're simply not going to gain advantage on 31 other teams by dint of being smarter.

I get the impression here often that people think we should only have above average players, and that average players should be replaced as soon as possible. It's never going to work that way.


btw, thanks for the kind words, TGR. I don't see us as butting heads, but exchanging different views. We're all on a bell curve here, too. Some are above average, some are below, and most tend to gather around the median.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

LOL. Eventually, often reach general agreement. I don't think teams can gain an advantage by dint of working harder because nearly every team has loads of personnel people (though there is one team whose owner is reputed to be too cheap to pay for enough scouts - can't think of that one). I do think it can be done with smarts. I also agree that average players and even low average ones are not to be despised.

Old School's picture

You are talking about the Bengals. And look at the product they put on the field.

Even in the 50s, players were drafted based on a recommendation of their college coach, often unseen by the organization. In the 1960s, the Cowboys gained an advantage in scouting and in talent, but eventually everybody caught up.

Nowadays, with all the scouting....and the salary cap, AND free agency, it's just next to impossible to gain any kind of significant advantage talent-wise on your roster. The talent difference between the best teams in the league and the worst is not that great and often it's just the coaching...and the play at QB....that makes a difference between 5-11 and 11-5. Look at the Browns. They sucked for years but not because they didn't have talent. A new coach, a new QB, and they're respectable. Take Belichick and Brady off the Pats and they're an average team.

It is a long-ass season, and you need contributions from everybody, 1-53 and the practice squad. Big wheels and little wheels, working together. And that's why my hide gets chapped when people who are allegedly fans bash our players and our former GM.

Montana's picture

Old School great point on the YTY gauge of players, even us mortals have substandard years. Some of the players we had in the Thompson era were below average regardless of when they were picked but yet they were useful and/or filled a need albeit short lived and average. Some were duds outright and left after one year. I wonder how tracking other team's successes and failures in the draft would stack up compared with the Thompson era?

Old School's picture

It's not just year-to-year. It's game to game sometimes. You take a guy who is maybe a little better than the median. You put him on the field against a reserve and he looks better....maybe high average. Then he twists an ankle, and he looks low average. Then the ankle improves and he looks average. Then he gets his leg stepped on and he's low average again.

Most players are JAGs over the course of the season. And it has to be that way. Robert Irsay once was being interviewed and he said that you can only afford to pay 10-12 guys and everybody else has to be rookie contract or vet minimum. If your paid guys stay healthy and play well, you're probably in the playoffs; if they don't, you aren't.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The NFL has made the QB far too important. Outside of the 10-12 guys on 2nd contracts (some of whom probably are underperforming), if you've got a handful of plus players on rookie deals and 15+ guys who are somewhere between that low average to the average area, your team is probably very good.

gary g's picture

The argument about TT being a good GM or not based on his draft picks, is not the story for me. I think TT was a lousy GM for not using all the tools available to him. Without Rodgers TT and MM would have been gone a long time ago. The fans in Seattle also hated TT when he was there for the same reason. When he came to Green Bay Seattle turned things around. How many other GM's had two hall of fame qbs like TT did.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Latest Mock Draft

#12 Green Bay Packers

T.J. Hockenson - TE
School: Iowa | Year: Sophomore (RS)
Previous: No. 16 to Panthers

You'd be hard-pressed to find a scout who doesn't love Hockenson's game. A ferocious blocker with good hands and superb route-running skills, he's viewed as a complete tight end. Reliable, sturdy, proven -- he'd make new Packers coach Matt LaFleur (and, more importantly, Aaron Rodgers) very happy.

The TKstinator's picture

Hey Doug, kinda wondering if you have an opinion on this tight end kid from Iowa, this “TJ Hockenburg” or something??

Johnblood27's picture


egbertsouse's picture

Man, there are some Hindenberg-sized egos in this room. Dash and stockholder, for example, have egos bigger than Larry King's prostate. I, on the other hand, will freely admit to being your run-of-the-mill football fan blowing his amateur opinions out of his butt.

AgrippaLII's picture

I'm still "cracking" up over your comment...I needed a good laugh today. Thank's for that! I too am just a run-of-the-mill Packer fan,,,S.B.D. !

Ferrari Driver's picture

No wonder your opinions stink.

Just kidding; bad joke.

BradHTX's picture

Best comment I’ve seen on CHTV in a really long time.

Bryan Chisholm's picture

Once again, another draft from Ted completely void of game changers. I never understood why he was so obsessed with saving cap space, just to never use it.. especially with the drafts just not doing it for him. I'm thourougly convinced that if he didn't draft Arod, we wouldn't have that 2010 ring and he would've been gone way sooner.. I think he negated his skill at picking later in the draft, by mostly missing early in the draft, as well as being frugal in FA and holding on to talent that wouldn't be #3 or #4 on another team. But Arod did due with the scraps he was given and saved him. Happy with the change, but also can recognize the good he's brought to us. Appreciate all he's done, but that affair ran it's course.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

These grades suffer from recency bias. My grades are based on the cumulative 3-year value of the player to the team, and then I will add a grade based on a curve for draft position.

Clark: A. Very decent rookie year, above average second year with a sustained period (last third of the season) playing at a very high level, and a fine third season. Curve grade A. He met or exceeded expectations for the 27th pick.

Spriggs: D+ Got moved around a bit, but was a liability for all three seasons. Seemed to come around a bit in his third season. Never even a low-end starter, and first two years not a high-end backup. Might have reached decent backup in 2018. Need more from players taken #48 (we have #44 this year, and expectations for that player are much higher than what the team got from Spriggs). D- on a curve.

Fackrell: C-. He gets something for his STs. Nothing as a rookie, very little in his second season except STs. 3rd year his run D and coverage was okay, and while I worry it might be a fluke, he did show pass rushing ability. Need more out of a 3rd rounder (okay, late 3rd). D+ on a curve, but his 4th year could bump it up.

Lowry: C+. Meh primary starter, nice rotational player or part-time starter. Like many DL, he needed a year. His 2nd year was okay and he was a nice player to have in his 3rd year. Met draft expectations. B- on a curve.

Martinez: B-. Started right away, was good at run D in his 2nd year, if ghastly in coverage. Greatly improved his coverage in 2018, but his run D slipped a bit. Met and exceeded expectations. Solid B on a curve.

Davis: D+. Can't play WR. Pretty good gunner and PR. Too many injuries. The average 5th rounder doesn't play out his rookie deal. Davis probably will play in the NFL somewhere in 2019. C- on a curve.

Murphy: D-. Played some, even wasn't terrible for the most part. Still, only got 2 years out of him. D- on a curve. Have to leave room for the Amichia types: took up a roster spot even though he wasn't strong enough to play, and then it turned out he couldn't play in his 2nd year either. Now that's an F. Getting cut and not making it to the PS is an F-.

MarkinMadison's picture

I'm not sure why we're grading these guys on the production from each single year. Isn't the point to take a look at where they are in year 3, after they've had a chance to develop? Don't we expect guys in the lower rounds to take more time to develop?

Clark: A+: Pro Bowler, best at his position, what else do you want?
Spriggs: D: as in not dead yet, but dying.
Fackrell: B-: rotational, yes, but so was Z. Smith and he just got inked for $66M. 10 sacks says that he is an asset that can be utilized by smart coach.
Martinez: B: solid starter, some limitations, but exceptional production, especially when the preferred D tackles are healthy. He's AJ Hawk without the burden of having been selected at #5.
Lowry: C+: There when you need him. Not a preferred starter, but he could start for some teams.
Davis: D+: the plus is for potential, the D is for reliability.
Murphy: F: Gone.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I can't even begin to fathom why anyone would grade a draft class solely on each player's third season. Didn't we pay them in years one and two? Didn't they take up a roster spot? Don't most of us think Martinez has added more value to the team than Fackrell, in part because Martinez made real positive contributions in his first and second seasons while Fackrell did little to nothing outside of STs?

The whole point of the draft is to acquire talent that is cheap for four or five years. Isn't it is better if said talent actually produces on the field for all four seasons than just in the last season or so?

MarkinMadison's picture

Do you expect anyone past the first two rounds to step in and start in year one? How many receivers produce in year 1? Do you believe that NFL OL and DL players get stronger in the first two years and add (hopefully) quality weight as they mature? Do you believe in the "develop" part of "draft and develop?" Do you believe Rodgers was an F after year 3 because he didn't do anything the first three years he was with the team?

RCPackerFan's picture

How I would grade this class -

Clark: A+
Lets not forget that the popular player when the Packers drafted was Clarks teammate, Myles Jack. Packers took Clark which many people hated. My proud moment though was with this pick Clark was my pick when I did my annual mock draft. I felt he was a guy flying under the radar.
Forward to now, and Clark has been a beast. He absolutely has been a great pick. IMO, he was Thompsons best pick since taking Bakhtiari.

Spriggs: D+
I'm being generous. He has not been very good. But I do think he played better in his 3rd year when he played. But a bad pick.

Fackrell: C-
The only reason why he gets a C- is because he shined a bit last year. Was able to actually get sacks. I thought he was improving late in his rookie year and was going to take a jump in his 2nd year. He was terrible. Last year he was better. But he still isn't a great player. We will see if he can do much this year or not.

Martinez: A
Martinez in the 4th round was a great pick up. He has been a tackling machine. While he hasn't had the 'highlight' plays, he is a rock solid player. Martinez is one of those guys that a lot of people don't appreciate until he is gone.

Lowry: C
Lowry has been a solid player. I am looking forward to seeing what he does in year 2 with Pettine. He is a good rotational player. He isn't a wow player but does the dirty work.
When they drafted Lowry I was hoping for some other players. The list of players I remember hoping for was Paul Perkins, Jordan Howard, Jatavis Brown and Jerrell Adams.

Davis: C+
I don't know what to make of Davis. He has been a really good special teams player, but hasn't offered much on offense.
Does having a new offense change what Davis does on offense? Could he be a hidden gem? It will be interesting to see what happens here.

Murphy: D
Players drafted after the 5th round are basically a crap shoot. Murphy basically has been injured more then he played. Which would have affected his play. Would he have been a better player had he not been injured?

This draft is summed up with 2 starters. 1 star (Clark) and 1 rock solid starter (Martinez). It has 2 rotational types of players in Fackrell and Lowry. A backup in Spriggs. A core special teams player in Davis.

I would give this draft a B+ grade. Any time you get a Pro Bowl caliber player and another good starter the grade starts at an A. The problem is that the other players haven't done enough. This grade will change based on this year.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I suspect if you used a surplus value methodology, your grades might change. There is plenty of subjectivity still, but it forces me to think. Here's how I should have done it above. Think back to each individual season and just assess how the player was in that particular year. What would you have paid for a similar player on the open market? DL 65% of snaps is a starter in GB.

Clark: $3.5M, $8.5M, $12.0M.
Decent part time (32% snaps) starter run stuffer, no juice.
Good starter NT, some juice. 65% snaps.
Elite starting NT. Excellent run D, Plus juice. 68% snaps.
$24M minus $6.3M in payments = $17.7M surplus. Grade A.

Martinez $2.50M $4.5M, $7.5M
42% of snaps. PT starter. Plus Run D. No juice. Bad Cov.
93%. Decent starting ILB. Good Run, no juice or cov.
99%. Good starter. Plus Run some juice. Good Cov.
$14.5M minus $1.9M in payments = $12.6M in surplus. B+

Fackrell: $1M $2.0M Hmmm $6M? Barrett got $4M.
15%/64% ST. Nice STs. Can't play run or rush. Cov meh
42/83%. Real good STs. < run and rush. Cov ok.
59/52%. Good STs. Ave. run and cov. Plus rush.
$9M - 2.3M = $6.7M surplus. Grade B-

Lowry $800K, $2M, $4.5M
15/2%. 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 3 TFL Ok when played.
47/0%. Decent Run D, meh juice. 30/2.5/5/6 TFL
65% Good run D, more consistent juice, Decent starter.
$7.3M minus $1.8M = $5.5M surplus. Grade B-

Spriggs: $800K, $1M, $1.2M.
22%, then 27% and 27%.
$3.0M minus $3.3M. Negative $300K. D-

Trevor Davis: $550K, $1.5M, $363K (lowest split contract)
8%/18% 3 recs, 8 yd ave. 9 PR 12.8. 3 KRs 21 ave.
10/41% 5 recs, 83 Yscrimmage, 24 PR 12 ave. 31 KR 23
0/7% 0 recs, 0 Yscrim, 4 PR 11 ave. 1 KR 20 ave.
$2.8M - $1.8M = $1M surplus. D

I am giving Davis more credit for PR and KR since I think poor ST discipline robbed him of some nice returns.

Clark can't be an A+. Need some room for players like WR Mike Thomas, Tyreek Hill, a QB or two, and DE Ngakoue., who are all in the $30M+ surplus value range so far.

As a note, I'd put Jalen Ramsay at about $9M, $14M, and 11M, but he's earned $15.8M, so his surplus value is $18M, about the same as Clark's.

jannes bjornson's picture

That puts the Great in REYNALDO. value-driven assessment quantified
in real terms (dollars).

PeteK's picture

Some commenters must be Packer fans for only the last two years. Compare us to the rest of the NFL in the last decade and you'll see that we have been very fortunate to have a great GM and coach who had the foresight to make that happen. Thompson had the nerve to draft Rogers when everyone passed him up and then let maybe the greatest Packer leave . MM coached him up with the help of sitting and learning from a Packer great. If some of you can recall Rogers did not look like an NFL QB those first two pre seasons. We were all puzzled when he moved up for Matthews and scratched our heads when he drafted an unknown receiver from Kansas St when we had more urgent needs. The three afore mentioned players are Packer greats. It became obvious that Thompson's and MM's time was up ,but to bash them is disrespectful and foolish.

Samson's picture

Please, quit apologizing.
TT/MM were carried by great QB play (AR) for nearly their entire careers in GB. --- The last two losing seasons & a decimated roster. -- All on TT/MM.

Old School's picture

Total nonsense. These guys that TT brought onto the team....Woodson, Collins, Matthews, Raji, Nelson, etc. had every bit as much to do with our success as Aaron Rodgers.

If the roster is decimated, what the hell was our Director of Player Personnel doing? Every single player who leaves the Packers is picked up almost immediately by another team.

Samson's picture

OSchool - at it again. -- Rewording posts & rewriting history.

Try this scenario in your spare time. -- Take away AR from the Pack since 2008 & try to imagine the last ten years. -- It ain't pretty.

Old School's picture

People said the same thing about the guy before him. "Oh...when Favre is gone we'll suck forever". I said that we'd win more games, more playoff games, and more titles in the first five years without him than we did in the last 5 with him. And I was right.

Let's assume Rodgers didn't fall to us in 2005. Let's assume we didn't use trade, or free agency, to fill the QB position. Let's assume in 2005 we drafted Kyle Orton in the 3rd round as a backup.

And let's assume that beginning in 2008, we were bad enough to be drafting early since Favre was gone.

Joe Flacco. Matt Ryan. Colin Kaepernick. Andy Dalton. Nick Foles. Russell Wilson. Any of those names ring a bell? Except for Dalton, they were all good enough to take a team to the Super Bowl.

Personally, after the 2004 season, I was urging that we trade Favre and trade for Drew Brees, who was languishing on the bench in San Diego.

See, I'm a guy that thinks football is a team game, and although the QB is the most important position, every single week a bunch of teams win games without Aaron Rodgers and I think we could too.

Old School's picture

That's an accusation. Care to back it up with an example?

PeteK's picture

You must of cut your hair before making your comments.

Bill Atkinson's picture

Why do so many people think that there only two types of players, Stars and Bums. If a players not a Star than he's no good and we should get rid of him. Every body on a team can not be a Star (there's a salary cap), takes a lot of players to make up a team.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

I agree with the ratings, although I would give Spriggs an F-. Second round pick disgrace.

I'm a little confused about Trevor Davis he seemed to have made all the NFL type catches in college. Confused about him.

Kyle Murphy I thought was pretty good when healthy.

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"The Bears still suck!"