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Looking Back at the 2012 Green Bay Packers Draft

Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Draft

With the draft only three days away, let’s take a look at the last draft class we can make meaningful judgments on: 2012. With their fourth season approaching and fifth year options on the line, some players have a lot to live up to still, and that is true in Green Bay.

In 2011, the Packers had their greatest regular season in recent memory, dismantling opponent after opponent on the way to a 15-1 season, making them easy favorites for the Super Bowl. But a tough Giants team dispatched them in the Divisional Playoffs to make them question the defense. So, naturally, they went defense heavy in this draft, with mixed results. Let’s take a look.

Round 1 (28) – Nick Perry, LB. USC

BAP: Harrison Smith, S. Notre Dame

In need of an impact pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews, Ted Thompson took a flyer on a raw USC linebacker who had never played with his hand up before. Perry had some great talent as a pass rusher, especially in the bull rush, but he needed to refine his finesse moves. His biggest problem in his first three years has been health. He missed time in his first two years and struggled to contribute outside of short spurts. He was healthy last season but was shuffled along in the rotation due to the signing of Julius Peppers. Facing a make-or-break season in Green Bay, what can he do to make him a part of the future? Maybe it is a move to inside, he has the size. Smith on the other hand has emerged as a playmaker at safety.


2015 NFL Draft: Packers Position Preview: CB

PJ Williams of the Florida State Seminoles

Last season the Green Bay Packers had the deepest CB corps in the NFL.  Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Davon House were all capable of starting outside.  Casey Hayward was the best slot corner in the league and Micah Hyde effectively bounced between safety and slot corner.  Jarrett Bush was a special teamer with experience in the dime and Demetri Goodson was the up and coming prospect who couldn’t get time on defense. My, how things have changed.

Tramon Williams and Davon House both left for deals on bad teams (Cleveland and Jacksonville) for much more money than it appeared they would get from the Packers.  Jarrett Bush remains unsigned.  The Packers now sit with Sam Shields as their only proven option outside.  Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward are both capable and versatile playmakers, but their ability to cover on the outside is in question.

The Packers are not without current prospects.  Goodson has basically told Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he’s going to shut down the league. At 6’0″ Goodson has the length to be an outside corner.  His 4.5 40 and 37″ vertical adds to the promise.  Tay Glover-Wright is another size-speed project that spent last season on the Packers’ practice squad.  He’s even faster than Goodson but probably just as raw.

Class Strength: 6/10


2015 NFL Draft: Packers Position Preview: OLB


The Packers are in an interesting spot at OLB.  Their best defensive player is an outside linebacker by trade, and one of the best in the business.  The defense is markedly different when he’s not on the field.  You needn’t look any further than the NFC Championship game for evidence of that.  While Clay Matthews was going through the concussion protocol, a defense that had shut down the Seahawks attack all day long fell completely to pieces.  The big problem is that he’s so far and away the best linebacker on the team that the Packers have to use him inside on running downs.

Like I wrote last week, the Packers have to make big changes at inside linebacker.  Whether or not Matthews is a part of it is an interesting proposition.  Having Matthews play inside in the base defense is a positive on two levels.  Matthews aggressiveness and speed are best utilized attacking a running back.  That same attitude actually makes him an average edge run defender.  It’s easy to get CM3 to chase RB on read-option.

The reason that the CM3 to part-time ILB thing worked is because of the presence of Julius Peppers and the emergence of Nick Perry.  The outside linebacker position looks like it’s in great shape on the surface, but look a little deeper and you’ll realize that if Peppers comes back for 2015 it will likely be his final year in Green Bay.  You’ll then realize that Nick Perry, Mike Neal and Andy Mulumba are all playing on expiring contracts in 2015.


PACKERS FOOTBALL FRIDAY: Don’t Expect Ted Thompson to be “Needy”

ted thompson 2014 rookie camp

It’s mock draft season! I remember being a young football fan (before the internet era) and always being excited for mocks.  Sports Illustrated always had one, USA Today would publish one and you could find one in ESPN the Magazine.  NFL Draft magazines were (and continue to be) very popular and you could find mocks in each one of those.

Draft coverage is much different now.  Mock drafts from leading analysts often get 7, 8 or more versions.  Player valuations (as far as the media and the public are concerned) change on a week to week basis.  The combine, pro days, workouts, injuries, and character concerns continue to shape public perception of how teams view prospects.

Mock drafts aren’t quite as exciting anymore, because everyone’s got one, everyone has access to them and most guys come out with more than one.  A quick Google search of the terms “NFL Mock Draft” is an easy way to kill two hours on the internet.

You get a lot of mocks that do a pretty good job of marrying team needs to the available players.  Guys that are really connected or have a good head on their shoulders will also take into account the way that each team’s general managers run their operations.


Looking Back at the 2009 Green Bay Packers Draft

Green Bay Packers 2009 Draft

Apologies for the delay between articles, Drake has kept me extremely busy with broadcasting and writing there as well. But without further ado, we have arrived in 2009, which was coincidentally my senior year of high school and a great year for Ted Thompson and the Packers in April. The season before however, not so much. With Aaron Rodgers entrenched as the starter, the Pack struggled to a 6-10 record despite putting up some pretty solid statistics. Nothing came together though and it as back to the drawing board to work on the defensive side of the ball and Mr. Thompson hit it in a big way. Let’s take a look.

ROUND 1 (9) – B.J. Raji, DT. Boston College

BAP: Raji

The most mocked pick to the Packers arrived in a bundle as Raji, the dominant tackle from Boston College was taken 9th overall despite players like Michael Crabtree, Brian Orakpo, and Brian Cushing still there. Three years after the pick, it was a home run as Raji was the anchor of a Super Bowl defense and a Pro Bowler. In the last few years though there has been some second guessing of him due to his struggles after he moved to defensive end and had to take on a role less suited to his skill set. A natural disruptive force when positioned correctly, he was great in training camp last season before he tore his bicep in the third preseason game and missed the season. A free agent as of right now, we’ll have to see where he ends up, whether it is in Green Bay or somewhere else.


PACKERS FOOTBALL FRIDAY: Can Casey Hayward Play Outside?

Casey Hayward intercepts Andrew Luck while playing corner on the outside.

It’s no secret that the Packers lost two cornerbacks that have the ability to play outside.  Tramon Williams was the team’s #1 corner a season ago.  He has the ability to play nickel, which he might be asked to do in Cleveland.  The Browns spent a 1st round pick on Justin Gilbert a season ago and have superstar Joe Haden as their top guy.  Davon House didn’t really have the ability to slide inside but was a passable outside CB.  That leaves Green Bay with what appear to be one outside corner who didn’t play that well on a big contract in Sam Shields and two slot CBs in Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward.

That might not be completely on point.  Micah Hyde is an inside CB.  Hyde is a playmaker and a great tackler, but he’s more suited to his hybrid safety/linebacker/slot corner role.  It’s not likely that he can play as a man corner outside.  Hayward is a different story.  Hayward played outside in college, and has played outside in the pros.  Wherever he’s played, he’s been effective.

Hayward was the runner up for defensive rookie of the year in 2012.  He came in second to Luke Kuechly of the Panthers, but put together a phenomenal season.  Pro Football Focus ranked him 4th out of all cornerbacks in the NFL.  His coverage ranking was 3rd.  He only allowed a passer rating of 31.3 at passes thrown in his direction, best in the league.  His 6 interceptions caught the eyes of the national media.  He was fantastic.


2015 NFL Draft: Packers Positional Preview: DL

Iowa vs Purdue

I’ve been pretty lucky so far with my position preview schedule.  All of the offensive positions were more or less resolved when I wrote about them.  Randall Cobb re-signed before I wrote about wide receivers.  Bulaga was back on board before the offensive line evaluation was due.  It appears, though, that that run of luck is over.

The defensive line group is still completely in flux.  The Packers have 2015 starters Mike Daniels and Datone Jones returning.  They also have rotational pieces Josh Boyd and Mike Pennel are coming back as well.  The Packers also have long-term investments in Khryi Thornton, Bruce Gaston and Luther Robinson that they hope to develop in 2015.

That’s all well and good but the big question still remains.  What do the Packers do at nose tackle?  Is BJ Raji coming back after his injury? Is Letroy Guion coming back after his arrest?  Are both players coming back to form the deep rotation at nose tackle with Pennel that they should have had a year ago?

The smart money says that with most of the big defensive tackles off the market (at very low rates) the Packers will be able to afford bringing Raji and Guion back.  The team has been reportedly working on re-signing both players.  After a marijuana-related arrest it’s possible that Guion doesn’t have any other suitors.

Class Strength: 7/10