Packers 2014 Draft Picks: Best and Worst Case Projections

Elsa

We try to project how the Packers' draft picks might compare to past NFL studs and duds.

With the Packers' 2014 draft in the books, it's time to project how the nine players will turn out. Did the Packers find their own Ed Reed and Jason Witten in this draft, or will they instead end up with Robert Ferguson and Abdul Hodge's equivalents? Only time will tell, but here is a look at the best and worst possible comparisons for each of the Packers' nine draft picks.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Best Case: he makes us forget about Nick Collins and becomes an interception machine, recording turnovers at an alarming rate. His play as a deep safety also allows Morgan Burnett to play in the box more effectively, and Burnett lives up to the potential that got him a big contract extension in 2013. He becomes a perennial Pro Bowler and All-Pro candidate. Career comparison: Ed Reed

Worst Case: Clinton-Dix looks lost adjusting to the NFL as his instincts can't accelerate to the speed of the game, while his average athleticism isn't enough to compensate. During his rookie year, Micah Hyde starts at free safety instead, as Ha Ha only spends a few years as a starter, misses a lot of tackles, and leaves the Packers looking for another new safety in three years. Career comparison: Marlin Jackson

Davante Adams

Best Case: James Jones who? Adams' hands and leaping ability make him a critical piece of the Packers' offense in the red zone and on third downs as Aaron Rodgers' short and intermediate security blanket on the outside. Adams develops into a reliable starter and has multiple Pro Bowl appearances and takes over the reins from Jordy Nelson as the top receiver in Green Bay after a few years. Career comparison: Greg Jennings

Worst Case: Adams shows some flashes in his first year or two but quickly fizzles as his route-running isn't up to par and he has trouble with NFL defensive backs adjusting to his game. He tops out with one season around 600 yards with a few touchdowns, but goes downhill quickly and hangs around the league for a while but never as a premier receiving option. Career comparison: Robert Ferguson

Note: no, Vikings fans, I am not using those comparisons to say that someday he will end up on your team. They just seem to fit well here.

Khyri Thornton

Best Case: Ted Thompson looks like a genius for taking the athletic Thornton in round three, as he exceeds all expectations by bulking up and playing the nose tackle position, rotating with B.J. Raji his rookie year and taking over as the full-time starter in year two. Despite becoming an excellent two-gapping tackle, Thornton also is able to stay on the field on passing downs and collapse the pocket when the team goes into its nickel and dime formations. Career comparison: Kyle Williams

Worst Case: Concerns about Thornton's technique are well-founded and he fails to make any discernible impact on a crowded defensive line. He is released before his rookie contract expires, having never started a game for the Packers. Career comparison: Steve Warren

Richard Rodgers

Best Case: During a rookie year spent bulking up and learning blocking technique, Rodgers' background as a wide receiver and his size start to appear towards the end of his first season and make him an imposing physical presence in the red zone and up the seam in year two. His hands are sure and he is not prone to drops, while he becomes a matchup nightmare for defenses trying to account for him. Rodgers also becomes a willing blocker and learns to play on the line as well as split out wide. He turns into one of the top receiving tight ends in the league. Career comparison: Jason Witten

Worst Case: With no semblance of blocking ability and poor performances in training camp, Mike McCarthy doesn't allow Rodgers on the field much on offense and he becomes relegated to special teams duty. His Packers career is over after three years and few receptions. Career comparison: D.J. Williams

Carl Bradford

Best Case: Bradford is the player Packers fans hoped Nick Perry would be - a violent and productive pass-rusher, but one who is athletic enough to drop back into coverage effectively enough to stay on the field on all three downs. His rookie year is solid but unspectacular, but he breaks out in his second year when anointed the starter at left outside linebacker. He ends up having a few seasons with double-digit sacks and has a solid 10-year career. Career comparison: Joey Porter

Worst Case: Bradford gets stuck behind Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer on the depth chart after his first training camp and doesn't show the coverage ability to make a switch to inside linebacker, thus he makes no impact on defense in his rookie year and is banished to special teams. He doesn't last through his entire rookie contract in Green Bay, bouncing around for a few years before washing out of the league. Career comparison: Abdul Hodge

Corey Linsley

Best Case: Linsley utilizes his strength and experience at center to win the starting job over JC Tretter in his first training camp. He then goes on to be a steady presence in the middle of the line, combining with Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang to give the Packers one of the best interior offensive lines in football. Career comparison: Dan Koppen

Worst Case: Linsley is outmatched by bigger, faster defensive tackles at the NFL level and watches as JC Tretter wins the starting center job by default and Garth Gerhart gets the backup job. Linsley is one of the final cuts at the end of his first training camp.

Jared Abbrederis

Best Case: Abby spends his rookie year bulking up, returning punts and kicks, and learning the finer points of the slot position from Randall Cobb. In his second year, he explodes following the departure of either Cobb or Jordy Nelson in free agency, becoming Rodgers' go-to receiver on third downs and off play-action and posting over 1,000 yards. Career comparison: Antonio Brown

Worst Case: Concussion issues that were a bit of a concern coming out of college become a more serious issue, and he cannot stay on the field, never playing in more than 10 games in a season and eventually having to retire after a few unproductive years.

Demetri Goodson

Best Case: Goodson becomes another low-risk, high-reward cornerback, channeling his quickness and point guard instincts into becoming a solid cornerback. Much like Micah Hyde a year prior, the Packers' coaching staff can't keep him off the field when the team lines up in sub packages, allowing Hyde to play safety and ease Clinton-Dix's transition to the NFL. Goodson makes Tramon Williams and Davon House expendable after the 2014 season, and he becomes the team's long-term nickel back on the outside, with starter Casey Hayward shifting inside in sub packages. Career comparison: Tarell Brown

Worst Case: Goodson's injuries and lack of technique catch up with him immediately in his first training camp as he is released on the final cut-down and placed on the practice squad.

Jeff Janis

Best Case: Janis outplays both Jared Abbrederis and Jarrett Boykin in his first training camp and earns the fourth receiver spot behind Nelson, Cobb, and Adams. After a modestly productive rookie year, his route-running and strength develop as his 4.37 speed takes the NFL by storm in 2015 - he leapfrogs Adams for a starting job and becomes a deadly deep threat for Aaron Rodgers, then takes over as the #1 when Jordy Nelson moves on a few years down the road. Career comparison: Pierre Garcon

Worst Case: Janis is cut before the end of training camp because his physical tools don't separate him from NFL defensive backs like they did at the Division II level. He bounces around on practice squads but never makes a 53-man roster. Career comparison: Tori Gurley

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