So far throughout training camp and the first two preseason games, certain members of the rookie class (Oren Burks, Josh Jackson, J.K. Scott) have impressed, while others either haven’t had enough time to show their roles or haven’t lived up to their potential (yet). With that being the case, let’s look into the first six selections and see what each rookie’s potential contributions could be in 2018.
2018: 32 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 5 PBUs, 1 sack
Provided Alexander’s nagging knee injury (which was an issue at Louisville) doesn’t resurface while in Green Bay, he can easily make big contributions in his freshman campaign. While two interceptions may not seem like a lot across 16 games, Alexander’s role will be to lock down receivers, with those stats not necessarily showing up in the book.
Competing for playing time with Tramon Williams, fellow rookie Josh Jackson and Kevin King, among others, will help drive each of these players to be the best player they can be. But, with Williams at 35 years of age and King having faced shoulder injuries last season, Alexander can hopefully show that he is ready to take on a big role right away.
Josh Jackson- CB
2018: 43 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 PBUs, ½ sack
If Jackson’s pick-six against Pittsburgh wasn’t enough to show you what kind of a rookie Jackson is (hint- he is not a regular rookie), just wait. His performance so far in both the warm-up contests and camps have demonstrated why he was highly regarded in the draft but doesn’t explain why he fell into the second round.
As previously mentioned, Jackson will need to fight for playing time with the established Packers, but he should easily carve out a role in Mike Pettine’s defense. Jackson seems to have better ball skills than Alexander (hence why more INTs), but both will need to learn fast and catch onto NFL game speed early on.
Oren Burks- OLB
2018: 65 total tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 interception, 2 PBUs, 3 sacks, 2 FF, 1 recovery
Having played safety at Vanderbilt, Green Bay selected him with the intentions of moving him to safety. His ability to read the defense puts him in good contention to be earning solid playing time in his first season, especially with Jake Ryan being lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Burks will be counted on to help lead the defense, as he has been wearing the headset on the second-unit defense so far in the preseason, a big role for a rookie learning the ins and outs of playing linebacker in the NFL.
Specifically, in the Steelers contest, Burks showed a good burst through the line to make a tackle behind the line, once the gaps opened up. He was able to read the formation and understand where the back would be going, as he cut off the double-team that a GB lineman took on to help open the gap for Burks to make the tackle.
While he doesn’t face strict competition for playing time with Ryan being injured, Burks will need to prove to Pettine that the moment is not too big for the former Commodore.
J’Mon Moore- WR
2018: 22 catches, 284 yards, 12.9 avg., 2 TDs
Moore, who was the highest of the three drafted receivers in the fourth round, hasn’t created a good amount of production so far in the preseason, Through two games, Moore has only caught three balls for 27 yards and no scores, numbers that will not set him high on the depth chart going into week one.
Having to compete with Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling from the draft class, as well as Jake Kumerow, will make Moore’s chances of seeing meaningful playing time hard to get, unless he impresses the coaches. While Moore will play, he should only get 7-10 snaps per regular season game at his current production levels.
Cole Madison- G
As it stands, the Packers have reported that Madison is dealing with a personal matter and currently has not reported to the team yet. While he has been in constant contact with the team, according to GM Brian Gutekunst, Madison’s timeframe to return is still TBD.
Until he gets reps in camp, Madison’s role during the regular season is hard to determine.
JK Scott- P
2018: 59 punts, 45.1 avg, Lng of 63, 4 TB, Net Avg 41.9, 24 inside 20
Coming out of Alabama, Scott was highly regarded, even on a team that was known for its offensive firepower and not its punting abilities. Scott has done nothing but impress in camp, so much so he forced the hand of the team to work with incumbent Justin Vogel to grant his release.
As a rookie, Scott will be looked to shift the field position and work with the team’s new gunners (insert crying emoji about Jeff Janis leaving) to work on placement and location. While Vogel impressed in his lone season, Scott must justify the team moving on from the Pro Bowl alternate to a rookie.
Check back in next week for the final five picks that Green Bay made and their potential contributions in 2018!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