The dust has finally settled. Every fan base (except the Bears) has something to be excited about. When putting on the old pair of green and gold tinted bifocals, there is plenty to be excited about after this draft. However, this draft class holds promise, even if the glasses are taken off and the green Kool-Aid is put back in the fridge. There certainly was a lot of talent and speed added to the roster. Perhaps the biggest thing there is now is competition at key positions on the Packers. Let’s see how this is, and perhaps more importantly, why.
Since drafting three running backs, the Packers have cut Christine Michael and Don Jackson. On a personal note, we should all wish these guys success. Don Jackson in particular has overcome some serious things in his life, and I wish him the very best.
Moving forward, there is an exciting group at RB to see. Ty Montgomery is the elder statesman at 24 years old. We have seen what he is capable of, and have reason to be excited with a whole offseason focused at the RB position. The trio of rookies is almost certain to make this group competitive and hopefully a treat to watch.
With Jamaal Williams, we’re looking at a north/south back who will keep going until the whole gang brings him down. He hasn’t had a ton of passes come his way, but he will have his opportunity to prove that can be another facet to his game.
Aaron Jones comes in as a smaller dog who looks to punish those who doubt his size. Like Williams, he didn’t post the highest 40 time at the combine (4.56), but looked quicker in pads. His patience and vision with the blocking in front of him has earned praise, along with pass protection ability. For a guy who is 5’9, he has made his size an afterthought.
In the last round, the Packers picked up Devante Mays out of Utah State. One thing that can’t be argued about the scouting under Thompson is they put in their work on players outside of high profile colleges. When BYU is the most notable college from this group, that is saying something. As for Mays, he has the most athleticism of the group. Injuries and discipline are the bigger questions that made him a lower pick.
Kevin King had a Seattle draft pick written all over him. Big, physical, and fast are notable attributes of a familiar, outspoken defensive back for the Seahawks. From the day one in Green Bay, he will be viewed as a rich man’s Davon House. If he turns out to be a student of the professional game and stays healthy, then this pick can pay dividends.
The writing on the wall with Josh Jones is he will take over for Morgan Burnett. Jones may be a bit raw yet, so the hope is he learns from the vets and is ready to fly after his freshman year.
COMPETITION, COMPETITION, COMPETITION
Can you guess what the biggest gain is from the draft? The two weakest position groups for Green Bay have now been loaded with competition. Nothing improves performance more than competition. Without competition, you have complacency and terrible performance. For the perfect example, visit Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
Of course there is no guarantee that running back and defensive back will be areas of improvement for Green Bay. However, the seeds have been planted for those groups to blossom. That is the most important thing that could have been done coming into the draft.
Finally, how was competition at positions of need made available??? FREE AGENCY ACTIVITY! With free agency signings at TE, CB, and OG, there was depth added so younger talent could continue to grow at those positions. This is the biggest reason why the draft has delivered as much promise as it has so far. Free agency activity has allowed the boys in charge to pad the team even further in the draft. What a novel concept.
________________John Piotrowski is a UW-Eau Claire alum, spending most of his life in western WI. He makes the trek east to Lambeau whenever possible. Follow him on twitter at @piosGBP.