Packers Use Late-Round Fliers on Potential Talent

On the final day of the 2018 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers used 11 selections to beef up their positional depth chart. These selections are more based on potential, as the Packers have hit home runs on in the past in the later rounds of the draft.

While the team came into the draft with needs mostly in cornerbacks, wide receiver, offensive line and linebacker, Green Bay also made selections of a punter, edge rusher and a long snapper to address less-pressing needs.

In the past, former general manager Ted Thompson has made absolute steals in the final three rounds of the draft. Corey Linsley and Micah Hyde (5th), Mason Crosby and James Starks (6th) and Matt Flynn and the Packers savant Jeff Janis (7th) have all carved out niches in their respective times in Green Bay, and current GM Brian Gutekunst is trying to make his mark just like Thompson did in the later rounds.

In the fifth round, the Packers opened up their final draft day by taking offensive lineman Cole Madison from Washington State, a mauler at six-foot-five, 314 lbs. Seen as a guy who can add a mean side to the lineman grouping, Madison worked in the Cougar spread attack, where he got a ton of work in pass protection but will need to work on run blocking to be successful.

Madison has the tools to eventually become entrenched as a starting tackle and has a chance to fight for Bryan Bulaga’s starting tackle spot until he returns mid-season.

The final two picks for GB in the fifth round were seen as depth picks that will help create competition come OTAs, as punter JK Scott and receiver Marquez Valdez-Scantling both joined the mix in Packerland.

Scott was seen by some as the second-best punter in the draft, behind Michael Dickson from Texas. Scott impressed many while at Alabama, and an added aspect that jumps out is that he has experience handling kickoffs as well.

While seen as an interesting pick with Justin Vogel having been a Pro Bowl alternate last season, Scott brings competition into camp that can help bring the best out of each player.

Valdez-Scantling is a physical specimen at six-foot-five with a 4.37 40-yard dash but needs work in the route running department. Likely will turn into a Michael Clark-esque player, having a strong camp parlay into being placed on the practice squad.

In the sixth and seventh rounds, Green Bay again went back to the well, as they selected a wide receiver on top of a defensive end, long snapper and linebacker. Equanimeous St. Brown was the top name that was selected in the final two rounds, somehow falling into the sixth after being projected to go as early as the fourth round.

Brown is tall and lanky, has above-average speed but needs to put on more weight so he isn’t bullied by defensive backs. He is another chair in the receivers room and will have to work for a roster spot, but having previously played with DeShone Kizer can potentially work in his favor.

End James Looney from Cal went next, and he projects to be a rusher but has little experience putting his hand in the dirt. He will need to show he can find a place in the trenches to make this team.

Long snapper Hunter Bradley was the team’s second-to-last pick, played in 41 career games and endured a bowl berth in all years of college. The team is hoping that he can bring stability to the long snapper position ever since Brett Goode went down with an injury.

The team’s final selection was Kendall Donnerson, an outside ‘backer from Southeast Missouri State. He is seen as a tweener between a linebacker and an edge rusher, who ranked in the top three on his team in sacks and tackles for loss.

In general, the team made good depth selections to help create competition in training camp. While the picks did not all address areas of need, the idea of potential and future contributions intrigued the Packers on day three.

Overall the team made interesting selections on the final day of the draft in hopes of finding the next late-round steal. Have thoughts about how the draft turned out for the Packers? Leave your comments below!    

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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