Will 30 be the Packers Lucky Number?

Odds favor Pack getting quality player with 30th pick

Now that it appears the 2020 NFL draft will take place on April 23 as scheduled, the great guessing game is in high gear. The Green Bay Packers sit in the number 30 position in the first round. While many Packer fans speculate as to whether the team will trade up or down, let's assume for the moment they stay put and make the pick. Just what caliber of player can they expect to be there? For some perspective let's take a look at the 30th pick in the last ten drafts. I subjectively created four categories in which to place them: Home Runs, Solids, Busts, and Incompletes. For the past decade the scorecard for the 30th pick reads Home Runs 2, Solids 4, Busts 2, Incompletes 2. Here is the rundown:

2010: The Detroit Lions select running back Jahvid Best. Highly touted out of California, Best was a bust. He played just 22 games in his first two years, rushing for 945 yards and 6 touchdowns, missed his entire third season, and was cut in 2013, never to play in the league again.

2011: The New York Jets take defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson. This was a home run. Wilkerson was a second team all pro four times. From 2013 to 2015 he had 28.5 sacks. Injuries took their toll after that and the Jets let Wilkerson walk after seven seasons. Packer fans will remember Green Bay signed him in 2018 to a one year, $5 million contract. Wilkerson played just three games before another injury ended his season. He has since been arrested for DWI and marijuana possssion and remains a free agent.

2012: The San Francisco 49ers take A. J. Jenkins. The wide receiver out of Illinois was a bust. He played just three games with zero catches in his rookie year and was promptly shipped to Kansas City. As a Chief he caught just 17 passes in two years before going on injured reserve in 2014. KC cut him later that year. Jenkins got a look from Dallas but the Cowboys cut him in 2015. He has been out of the league ever since.

2013: The St. Louis Rams choose inside linebacker Alec Ogletree. I would classify him as a Solid. He was named second team all pro in 2016, but overall his play has been steady if unspectacular. He played five years for the Rams and two for the Giants. He is currently on the free agent market.

2014: The 49ers select safety Jimmie Ward. Another solid pick. Ward has given the Niners six years of reliable play. In March of this year San Francisco resigned him to a 3 year $28.5 million contract.

2015: The Green Bay Packers take defensive back Damarious Randall. Packer fans know this story. In three years playing corner for the Pack Randall intercepted 10 passes and was probably playing better than any other DB on the roster. But he was deemed a locker room problem and in 2018 the Packers traded him to Cleveland for quarterback Deshone Kizer. Randall played fairly well for the Browns that year with 4 picks. But after zero interceptions in 2019 the Browns let him walk. Just days ago he signed a one year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders reported to be worth up to $3.25 million.

2016: Carolina chooses Vernon Butler. The defensive tackle out of Louisiana Tech gave the Panthers three nondescript seasons before showing promise with six sacks in 2019. He hit the free agent market and this past March was signed by the Buffalo Bills. I rated him as a Solid.

2017: The Pittsburgh Steelers select outside linebacker T. J. Watt. It's a pick that will live in infamy for Packer fans after Green Bay passed on the popular Wisconsin alum to trade out of the first round and pick defensive back Kevin King in round two. Watt was a clear home run with 34.5 sacks in three seasons. He was named first team all pro in 2019.

2018: Minnesota takes Mike Hughes. The defensive back out of North Carolina has been a part time player in two seasons for the Vikings, but is in line to start this year with the exit of Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes. I classified him as Incomplete.

2019: The New York Giants choose defensive back Deandre Baker out of Georgia. Baker started 15 games in his rookie year with no interceptions and his grade is Incomplete.

This list should be an encouragement to Packer fans. Six of the last ten picks at number 30 have been either home runs or solid, quality players. So if recent history can be trusted, the Packers have at least a 60 percent chance of getting a player who will make them better, and that percentage could go up if the above players rated Incomplete pan out. Green Bay has a 20 percent chance of hitting a home run with the pick. That's just one out of five. Here's hoping they beat the odds.

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (21)

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

April 05, 2020 at 06:41 pm

Only 2 Offensive players were drafted and both were busts. Maybe we should draft on the Defensive side of the ball?

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HankScorpio's picture

April 06, 2020 at 05:33 am

That SF drafted a bust WR in 2012 is as irrelevant to 2020 as that Pitts drafted a great OLB in 2017.

All that matters is the 2020 board and who sits there for the taking @ #30. The 2019 Packers were definitely in need of more help on offense, IMO. All things being equal, I'd lean to offense at #30. But they shouldn't ignore a superior defensive prospect if that is what their draft board is giving them.

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Qoojo's picture

April 05, 2020 at 06:47 pm

Just highlights what a total crap shoot the draft is, and why you always want more picks, aka dice rolls.

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Bure9620's picture

April 05, 2020 at 06:57 pm

If it is Jordan Love? Then yes, I will be ecstatic
That is assuming he is available.....

For those that want to "fill a hole now in Rodgers window" name a player available at pick 30 whom will be a field flipper in year 1 putting the Packers over the hump .....?

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AgrippaLII's picture

April 05, 2020 at 09:48 pm

There isn't one player in the whole draft who would put the Packers over the "hump". It's going to take several picks who can get on the field and contribute year one. A high pick QB who will most likely sit for the next two or three years makes no sense to me for this years draft.

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Bure9620's picture

April 05, 2020 at 10:43 pm

Several picks whom contribute year one?? And how is that?? Most do not get on the field. Year 2 players would be getting more snaps are Gary, Sternberger and Keke. Rookies typically do not make a difference and you are suggesting multiple rookies? Which ones? Elgton Jenkins was terrific last year, maybe the best rookie OL in the league just for perspective. He is the exception........most don't make a difference, hell, more than half do not even get a second contract......

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dobber's picture

April 06, 2020 at 06:38 am

...and remember that Jenkins wasn't a day 1 starter. He got into the lineup when Taylor got hurt.

That's the most likely path for rookie picks to be difference makers in 2020. Maybe someone comes in and blows the doors off training camp and wins a starting job, but I don't see a lot of positions--maybe it could happen for an ILB or DL--where a draftee is written in as your immediate starter.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 07, 2020 at 02:48 am

Round one and two picks often play a lot or at least contribute. Here are the snap counts (special teams excluded);

'19: Savage (865 snaps), Jenkins (964), Gary (244)
'18: Jaire (760), MVS (691), ESB (358 - 33%)
'17: King (380), A Jones (236), Jamaal Williams (441)
'16: Clark (333 - 32%), Martinez (438)
'15: Randall (752), Rollins (322), Monty (242), Jake Ryan (260)
'14: HHCD (942), Davante (738), RR (480), Linsley (1050)
'13: Datone (256), Lacy (679), Bakh (1119), Hyde (417)
'12: Worthy (452), Hayward (684), Daniels (225), McMillian (586)
'11: Cobb (635), Alex Green (344), House (311), DJ Williams (239)
'10: No data, but Bulaga (12 GS) and Burnett (4 GS - inj.) were starters.

So, 2 starters in 19, 1.5 in 2018, .5 in '16, 1 in '15, 2.5 in 2014, 1.5 to 2 in '13, couple of close to starters in '12, .5 in 2011, and bulaga and Burnett until he went on IR were starters.

Bulaga, Burnett, Newhouse got 2nd contracts
Cobb and House got 2nd contracts, House not in GB.
Hayward and Daniels got 2nd contracts.
Bakh and Hyde got 2nd contracts, Hyde not in GB cause TT.
Davante, Linsley, and HHCD got 2nd contracts.
Randall got a one year deal, so only kinda.
Clark and Martinez got or will get 2nd contracts.

I think Bure is unduly pessimistic and that history and the stats don't bear him out.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 06, 2020 at 05:18 am

"For those that want to "fill a hole now in Rodgers window" name a player available at pick 30 whom will be a field flipper in year 1 putting the Packers over the hump .....?"

For that matter, what constitutes "the hump" for the 2020 Packers? For all we know, it could be nothing more than getting Rodgers into year 2 in the offense, where he plays more confident and comfortable.

Or maybe "the hump" is much more steep because they won't have the same good fortune with injury as they had in 2019, Rodgers is already on the downside, they don't have the same good fortune with close game wins or some combo of all of the above. Or whatever else.

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stockholder's picture

April 05, 2020 at 07:35 pm

All-American Honors use to mean a lot. Until Jerry Tagge was selected. I use to think the Trench first. That was until Micheals, Sherod, and Harrel were picked. That if a Green Bay pick made Sports Illustated, he was bound for the Hall of fame. But Tony Mandrich in 1989 ended that. I use to believe in StatKey `Formulas. Until Ahmad Carrol. Schools for certain positions, until Alphonso Carrecker, Jamal Reynolds. Even Kiper , Zimmerman, Theisman and Co. I watched the draft all day. Looking for that Special player to come to Green Bay. That special player!!! . Yes Brett Favre came to Green Bay. Lets trade it again.

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packbrat's picture

April 05, 2020 at 07:50 pm

After spending big to get the Smiths and bringing our cap down to nothing plugging holes, we should not draft a QB on days 1 or 2... Defense with top pick then get right on offense.

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splitpea1's picture

April 05, 2020 at 08:11 pm

For those of you looking to take a WR with the pick, the Colts drafted Reggie Wayne, a probable HOFer, at #30 in 2001. Not that it has any relevance in this year's draft....

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 06, 2020 at 02:55 am

The Packers need more than Hughes, Ogletree, and Butler (and the two busts at WR) produced. Ogletree stunk except for 2 years when he was low average. He is a FA for a reason - stinking in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Butler couldn't get on the field due to the talent ahead of him (a bit of a waster, perhaps). He played in 2019 because Kawaan Short got hurt after two games. Butler got a one year, $7.8M prove it deal (actually is 2 years, but Buffalo can easily jettison Butler after one year). Butler like many DL in contract years suddenly had 6 sacks (1.5 in his first three years) while forgetting to play run defense. Carolina, long a feared defense with a 12th ranked rush defense in 2018, inserted Butler and dropped to 29th in rushing yards allowed with a whopping 143 yds/game. I don't think Butler is as good as Lowry, maybe not better than Lancaster: I wouldn't want him on GB.

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NickPerry's picture

April 06, 2020 at 03:45 am

IF the Packers don't take a their RT of the future then it's possible they can land a WR who could be considered a HR in his rookie year I'd imagine. For THAT to happen and assuming the Packers stand pat at #30 the number of players at the positions listed would HAVE to be drafted before the Packers selection…

5 O-Linemen
4 QB's
5 ILB
1 RB
4 CB
5 D-Linemen
2 Safeties
3 WR

Now I don't think I got TO crazy with my numbers here. For example my O-Linemen numbers don't include Josh Jones and my WR numbers include only Ruggs, Juedy, and Lamb. Perhaps this is absolutely off the mark due to my extreme hope somehow Justin Jefferson falls to GB at 30 and not scooped up by that team wearing lilac purple or the Saints.

IMO Jefferson is MADE for this offense and would be able to step in and be a excellent compliment to Davante Adams right away. If you don't like Jefferson then Shenault, Mims, Claypool, Ayiuk, Higgins, Reagor, and Pittman are all still there as is Josh Jones for you O-Linemen guys. I understand it's pretty doubtful this happens BUT I think the Packers can walk away with a player who's able to contribute, especially if Love goes to the Saints or even Vikings which IMO is totally possible. I mean would you want to pay Kurt Cousins $45 million in 2022? QB is a definite possibility for the Queens.

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Bure9620's picture

April 06, 2020 at 05:55 am

It is very possible the Queens take Jordan Love. No they do not want to continue to pay Kirk Cousins franchise money. That would be the nighhtmare scenario. I really think Jordan Love is going to be a great QB.

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dobber's picture

April 06, 2020 at 06:37 am

This might be the time for them to pick that next QB. They're hitched to Cousins based on his contract for 2020 and 2021, but his dead money drops to $10M in 2022 and gives them significant savings to let him go. That's two years for a young QB to learn the ropes, and step into the starter's role in 2022.

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stockholder's picture

April 06, 2020 at 01:24 pm

McShay and Kiper are banging heads over Love and Herbert. 5000 bet!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 07, 2020 at 03:31 am

No, not 2021 because that's the decision year. Cousins' $35M base salary for 2022 fully guarantees in March of 2021. So, by March 18, 2021, if MN wants to not have Cousins cap number of $45M in 2022, MN has to release him by March 18, 2021. That would mean taking a $41M dead money charge which results in a negative $10M cap savings. They could afford it but it would be damaging. Only a couple of free agents in 2021, Dalvin Cook and Elflein.

IOWs, MN is locked into Cousins for 2020. If he plays for MN in 2021, he is locked in for 2022. IDK, I suppose his 2022 dead money would be $45M and his cap # would also be $45M, so he could be dumped for zero cap savings.

MN lost some talent trading Diggs and releasing Everson Griffen (8 sacks, 24 QB hits, 35 pressures, 11 TFL) and Joseph, and losing all their CBs (Waynes, MacKensie and Rhodes). They signed Pierce, who replaces Linval. MN probably is looking for a WR and a couple of starting CBs. MN does have 12 picks including 5 in the top 105.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 06, 2020 at 07:00 am

In addition to the Vikings, the Pats and Saints are also teams picking just ahead of the Packers that may be interested in a sliding QB like Love. I've seen Love mocked to the Titans @ 29, too. They might view Tanneyhill as a stop-gap, not a long-term solution.

None of us know who will be available @ 30 for the Packers or a team looking to move up. But I think the possibility that Love is there is fairly remote.

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mnbadger's picture

April 06, 2020 at 07:56 am

BPA - hopefully it's a WR, OT, DT or ILB

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flackcatcher's picture

April 06, 2020 at 05:54 pm

If I were fantasy Packer GM, I take Taylor out of Wisconsin. Perfect back for MLF system... But he's probably not going to be there at 30, and as we all know that's a boom or bust position with short career arc in the league. (Of course that means that the Packers are in the win NOW mode. And that's not how Gute operates. Besides, I would have signed Bulaga for 11 million which is why I"M not GM.... :-)

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