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Packers First Quarter Report Cards: Grading the 2014 Rookies

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The rookies' first report card is in, and we take a look at who's at the top of the class (and who's stuck in remedial.)

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We saw them in the preseason, stepping on the professional stage for the first time. They were playing in games with no real meaning, racking up statistics that wouldn't count towards anything, often lining up against career backups. We cheered when they made impactful plays, but quickly reminded ourselves that the real test would come when the games counted.

Four weeks into the 'real' schedule, we finally have a real idea of what our draft class can provide this season. Without further ado, let's take a player-by-player look at the group. (Note: I've given players 'incomplete' grades when they haven't played significant snaps thus far. This applies to guys dealing with injuries and those who just need time to develop alike.)

Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (Round 1)

I don't need to tell you about how bad Green Bay's woes at safety were last year. MD Jennings and Jerron McMillian got significant playing time.

Think about that.

At any rate, Ted Thompson ensured that he would not be maintaining the status quo at the position, drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the team's first pick in the 2014 draft. So far, Clinton-Dix has shown a lot of promise. Pro Football Focus grades him at a -0.9 overall, with a -1.6 score in run D but a +0.7 in coverage, good for fifth-best on the team (and better than Tramon Williams, Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward.) Our own Kris Burke wrote a great article earlier this week highlighting what Clinton-Dix could become, and so far, so good. No, his run D isn't great right now, but he's already ended the safeties' INT drought and has looked increasingly confident each game. The Packers' last three first-round picks have been 'wait-and-see' type players. HHCD looks like he'll end that streak (knock on wood).

Grade: A-

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State (Round 2)

Pro Football Focus hasn't graded Adams well at all thus far, with a -0.6 overall (including -0.9 receiving). And no, Adams hasn't had a "league-on-notice" game yet, receiving about three targets per game. It's clear, though, that the Fresno State product not only has higher upside and athleticism than third-banana incumbent Jarrett Boykin (who has been out with a groin injury lately anyway), but Adams may have a better skillset right now. His catch-and-run versus the Jets displayed that, as did his touchdown versus Chicago that got nullified by a penalty. Giving an "incomplete" grade would be a cop-out here, seeing that everyone's performance is incomplete four games in, so I'll give it my best shot.

Grade: B-

Khyri Thornton, DT, Southern Miss (Round 3)

Out for the season. Thornton has the physical tools, but it never seemed to click for him through training camp and preseason action. He's probably better off redshirting anyway.

Grade: Incomplete

Richard Rodgers, TE, Cal (Round 3 Compensatory)

If I told you that no tight end in NFL history has gotten off to a worse start than Richard Rodgers in his first four games, would you be surprised? Yes, mainly because it's not true. In all seriousness, though, Rodgers II hasn't gotten much going. He's a miserable -4.9 on the season (including -5.2 in run-blocking and -0.9 in receiving), but perhaps a light went on early in the Chicago game. He finished the contest with two catches, including a 43-yarder early in the game that put him at 2 catches for 52 yards on the game. Brandon Bostick still hasn't gotten significant reps in the pass game (1 snap thus far this season), so perhaps it's a sign of the team counting on the rookie from Cal to build a report with Aaron Rodgers.

Grade: C+

Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State (Round 4)

Bradford was considered a steal by some during the draft, but has looked like the next Ricky Elmore since. He was unimpressive in camp and didn't do much in his limited preseason time. It's honestly a bit surprising that Ted Thompson didn't cut Bradford. Perhaps a switch to inside linebacker is what he needs in the long run, but he has been inactive for each game so far.

Grade: Incomplete

Corey Linsley, C, Ohio State (Round 5)

Linsley was pressed into action a week before the season opener after an injury to JC Tretter. He hasn't been a revolving door, but he hasn't yet convinced many that he's a long-term starter either. He sits at -1.4 for the season, with negative marks in both run- and pass-blocking. Not bad for a fifth-round pick in his first pro action, but I'm still looking forward to seeing what Tretter can do.

Grade: B-

Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin (Round 5 Compensatory)

This is a true 'incomplete'. Abbrederis didn't even get to participate in much of camp because of a torn ACL. He probably wouldn't have made a huge impact in the receiving game from Day One, but he could have helped to ameliorate a struggling return unit. Best of luck to him as he recovers.

Grade: Incomplete

Demetri Goodson, CB, Baylor (Round 6)

Goodson was up and down during the preseason, and now gets a chance to hone his skills on the practice squad. It's not as if this is a shock - Goodson is a basketball player-turned-cornerback, and naturally needs some time to work on his technique.

Grade: Incomplete

Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State (Round 7)

Janis is one of those players who excites me for our future. Concerns that he was nothing more than a workout warrior who had feasted upon inferior competition at the D-III level dropped him to the fringes of Day Three, but both of his catches in the preseason went for athletic touchdowns (that, too, after missing a significant chunk of training camp due to shingles.) With Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers (not to mention slow-starting Jarrett Boykin, and also the running backs) to feed, Aaron Rodgers probably won't target Janis much this year (one snap thus far), but he's physically a more explosive receiver than anyone currently on the roster (and the vast majority of the league.)

Grade: Incomplete

This could turn out to be a fascinating draft class. Five of the nine guys haven't found their way onto the field yet, And most of them probably won't get much time over the course of the season. The rookies who have, however, have given Packers fans plenty to be optimistic about.

What's your take on my take? Sound off in the comments section below!