Going into the third part of this series, I will be looking at the first-round selections made by Green Bay in years 2011-2015. Last week, I looked at the selections made from 2006-2010, and the week prior I went through selections from 2000 to 2005.
2011- Derek Sherrod, T
In one of the better first rounds in terms of career production in a while, the Packers forgot to join that theme, selecting Sherrod, a flop from Mississippi State. He amassed 20 career appearances over three seasons, but only one start in 2014.
Sherrod broke his leg in 2011 and missed the rest of that season as well as 2012 in an attempt to recover and come back in 2013. He was ultimately cut in 2014 when his production levels were not matching up with his draft position.
While seeing that Sherrod was a flop, there is no easy replacement for his selection. After the first round, there weren’t many prospects who stood out enough to justify being selected 32nd.
DeMarco Murray is the biggest name out there that the team should have selected instead, as Murray went 72nd overall (3rd round) to Dallas and went on to have a solid career with the Cowgirls before moving on to Philadelphia for a year and now Tennessee.
Murray would have helped shore up Green Bay’s rushing attack and would have brought a receiving threat from the backfield into the game plan as well.
GB selection: Derek Sherrod My selection: DeMarco Murray (72nd)
2012- Nick Perry, LB
A selection that a few seasons ago would have warranted a lot more criticism, Green Bay decided to go back to the well that produced Clay Matthews with linebacker Nick Perry.
Up until two seasons ago, Perry’s production was leaking into Sherrod territory, but his 2016 performance warranted a new contract with the team, as his 11 sacks (when he had a combined 12.5 in the prior four seasons combined) kept him in Green Bay for at least four more seasons.
Matthews and Perry have teamed up to make a formidable combo within the linebacking core, but an improvement at safety would have been a better use of the pick. Harrison Smith (who went to the north, I know I know they ACTUALLY made a good draft pick for once) would have really helped the team in the defensive backfield and could be currently teaming with HHCD to form one of the better safety combos in the league.
GB selection: Nick Perry My selection: Harrison Smith (29th)
2013- Datone Jones, DE
As a completely different first round than 2011, the 2013 first round is full of flops all across the board. While the selection of Jones isn’t considered a flop in my book, he definitely should not have been picked 26th.
His best years were with Green Bay, where he earned nine of his ten career sacks. His rookie season was his best, with 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles in 16 games. From there it was downhill, as although his tackle totals went up, his sack totals decreased and his injuries started piling up.
In 2017, he was on the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, playing in seven games and earning one sack and 15 tackles.
Instead of selecting Jones, the team should have gone a different direction and added an offensive weapon tearing up the AFC South, DeAndre Hopkins.
One of my favorite non-GB players, Hopkins has been tearing defenses apart for years, as his verticality mixed with his physical nature and speed is an absolute nightmare for defensive coordinators.
Imagine Rodgers throwing fade routes to Hopkins, on top of all the other weapons we have now? One word: record-setting.
GB selection: Datone Jones My selection: DeAndre Hopkins (27th)
2014- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S
One of my favorite selections in the past decade, HHCD is a complete player and was the second of four safeties taken in the first round.
Ha Ha was the best safety in this draft, hands down. The other safeties drafted in the first round (Calvin Pryor, Deone Bucannon and Jimmie Ward) all have either flamed out or changed positions in their career, except for Bucannon, who seems to have found his role as the hybrid box-safety revolutionizing the NFL.
At the time, HHCD may have been seen as a questionable selection and maybe one that was out of the fact that the safety draft group may start falling soon. But the front office actually got its first pick right in this article.
GB selection: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix My selection: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
2015- Damarious Randall, DB
Ah yes, a pick that didn’t fully turn out and is now mired with some controversy. What did Green Bay not deal with in the early to mid-2000s?
Anyways, Randall was drafted from Arizona State to help bring some stability to the corner ranks, but he never fully developed into the player that he was thought he could be and was dealt this offseason to Cleveland for DeShone Kizer.
While he has 10 career INTs and 32 pass deflections, Randall was always thought to be playing out of position, hence why he is listed in this article being drafted as a ‘DB’ instead of a ‘CB.’ In college, Randall played safety more than corner, but Ted Thompson and Co. thought that Randall’s ball skills would translate well into playing corner.
They did. But not enough, and he was shipped out. The controversy lies in how his position designation was handled, according to Randall. He believes that, in a nutshell, he was forced to play out of position and his lack of production was not on him while in Green Bay.
Nonetheless, there could have been a better usage of the pick on a player that was actually selected after GB’s second-round selection, Tevin Coleman.
Taken 73rd by Atlanta out of Indiana, Coleman has gone on to be a great addition to Devonta Freeman, acting as the 2 in the 1-2 punch and being a great receiving threat. Adding Coleman to the backfield would have opened up many different avenues for the team, especially if he teamed with DeMarco Murray (my selection in 2011).
GB selection: Damarious Randall My selection: Tevin Coleman (73rd)
Next week is the final piece in this series, as I will dive into years 2016-2018 for first round picks. Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for who should have been selected instead, or for new story topics!뿓뿓뿓
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