Packers NFL Draft Grades, Day 3, Round 4 through Round 7

For the Green Bay Packers, Day 3 was actually only rounds 5 through 7 because they traded away their 4th round pick to move up and select S Morgan Burnett in the 3rd round. But thanks to an additional 5th round compensatory pick for the loss of DT Colin Cole to free agency in 2009, they still had four picks on Saturday. 

There are some areas they didn't address. They allowed 51 points to Arizona in the NFC Wild Card playoff game but didn't draft a pass rusher to replace DE Aaron Kampman and they didn't add a cornerback. They didn't draft a punter or a kick returner to help their awful special teams. All true. But I'm not surprised they didn't draft a linebacker. While I hoped they would, unless GM Ted Thompson is willing to give up on either LB he drafted in the 1st round (Hawk and Matthews), any of the LBs he's signed to multi-year extensions (Barnett, Poppinga, and Chillar), or any of his other recent draft choices (Jones, Bishop, and Thompson), it seemed unlikely they'd add a 9th LB to that mix. With CB Pat Lee and CB Will Blackmon returning from injuries in 2010, it's not surprising they didn't feel like they needed to add a cornerback. And it's a weak year to draft a punter. I don't agree with all those reasons, but at least it makes some sense.

These rounds are the time to add depth. They've recently done a good job finding starters in the late rounds (DE Johnny Jolly, FB Korey Hall, LB Brad Jones) but usually these rounds provide depth. And sometimes the depth isn't even that promising. So keep that in mind when evaluating these picks: they aren't likely to provide much to the team.

5th round, No. 154 overall. Penn State TE Andrew Quarless. With three TEs currently on the roster, it didn't seem necessary to draft another one who "is not very aggressive when blocking" and went through an alcoholic rehab program just to stay on the team at Penn State. The only way I can justify it is by saying that they added a receiver. Starting TE Jermichael Finley is just as much a receiver as tight end, so Quarless may give them more flexibility with Finley. And Quarless is 6'4" 254 lbs. with 4.69 speed in the 40, so he could be mismatched against smaller DBs and slower LBs just like Finley. He's far from my favorite pick in recent years, but I'm willing to give him a chance. Grade: C.

5th round, No. 169 overall. TCU LT Marshall Newhouse. Another head scratcher. After drafting a future LT in the 1st round, they went and drafted a LT project in the 5th round. Here's my best spin on the selection. He's been a starter the past three years at TCU and the Packers might have serious depth problems on the line in a year or two if Clifton and Tauscher decline rapidly, and Colledge and/or Spitz leave as free agents. His biggest problems seem to be technique and awareness of schemes, which can be fixed by coaching. However you can't teach a guy how to be 6'4", 319 lbs. with an arm length of 34 inches (longer than Bulaga). He's an interesting tackle project. Grade: C.

6th round, No. 193 overall. Buffalo RB James Starks. He's my favorite Day 3 pick. One thing I realized when I considered the possible signing of RB Brian Westbrook was that the Packers might be in real trouble if anything happened to RB Ryan Grant. Westbrook sure couldn't take his place anymore. Now they've added a Ryan Grant clone (Grant is 6'1", 222 lbs. and Starks is 6'2", 218 lbs) with speed. He's strictly Ryan Grant insurance, but that's not a bad thing either. Grade: B.

7th round, No. 230 overall. East Carolina DE C.J. Wilson. While Starks might be a Grant clone, Wilson is a clone of 2nd round pick DE Mike Neal. At the NFL combine, Neal was listed at 6'3", 294 lbs. and was a top performer in the bench press with 31 reps. On the other hand, Wilson came in at 6'3", 290 lbs. and was a top performer in the bench press with 32 reps. It appears the Packers are content with their pass rushing linebackers and instead were looking for some pass rushing defensive lineman to provide an inside push. Grade: C.

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