It’s pretty well assumed that the Packers had a very strong 2017 Draft. From getting a first round talent in Kevin King to the next edition of the hybrid safety in Josh Jones, to even 7th rounder Malachi Dupre, the team more or less got great value up and down the Draft. But there are a couple of guys who haven’t gotten the fanfare who could make a big impact this year, one on each side of the ball.
Montravius Adams, DT. (93rd Overall)
At first glance, the big man from Auburn isn’t the typical rookie contributor. Big, athletic, but raw with a questionable motor going back to his early years in the SEC. But for Adams, things seemed to click his last year for the Tigers and the Senior Bowl, where he was a dominant force at times. Throw in the fact that he has an opening to jump into a prominent spot in the defensive line rotation almost immediately and the ingredients are there for a big impact.
Adams reminds me of Cullen Jenkins a lot in watching him play. He was assignment sure his last year at Auburn and yet he was one of the best one-gap penetration artist in college. He could be that in Green Bay, shooting the gap and making plays in the backfield.
Plus, he has extra motivation from his family after being part of the coolest story of the draft. Drafted just hours after his son was born, he answered the call from the team with his little guy in his arms. And he is determined to be the best man he can be, both on and off the field.
Aaron Jones, RB. (182nd Overall)
The biggest story on offense is still the full-time transition of Ty Montgomery to the starting running back, but the depth behind him is also as intriguing as you’ll find in a training camp. Five rookies currently stand behind #88, including three draft picks. And while Jamaal Williams has the pedigree of being BYU’s all-time leading rusher and an incredible story of redemption, and seventh-rounder Devante Mays is a bruiser who some are calling the sleeper of the Draft. But there is still one other guy who isn’t getting as much attention, which makes him, to me, the true sleeper. And that is UTEP dynamo Aaron Jones.
Not a huge specimen at only 5’9″ and 208 lbs, he could be labeled as a scatback, and he has the feet to do that, but he does so much more. He is willing to dive into the line, while also showing the patience to wait for the hold and hit the second level. He is the Miners’ all-time leading rusher, running for 1773 yards last season alone while also catching 28 passes. And with a 37.5 inch vertical, 127 inch broad jump, and 6.8 second three cone drill, he shows the explosiveness to be a big play waiting to happen. All things that Mike McCarthy can find useful early and often in this offense.
This is one of the best draft classes on paper since that 2009 class that brought BJ Raji, Clay Matthews, and TJ Lang. And while guys like King, Jones, Biegel, and Dupre have gotten the most headlines, don’t sleep on guys like Montravius Adams or Aaron Jones. This could be a great year for the youngsters in the Green and Gold.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.