With the NFL Draft finally in the books, it's time to start evaluating the Packers' 2014 draft class. Obviously, no one really knows how the careers of these players will unravel, but that doesn't mean we can't break down the class in terms of perceived value, risk, and other criteria.
Best Value: Jared Abbrederis
Entering the draft, plenty of people believed Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis might slip into the end of the second day of the draft. What hurt Abbrederis was two fold; he entered the NFL in the same year that college football produced the most talented and deep wide receiver class in well over a decade, and he endured multiple concussions while in school. The combined effect of those factors outweighed Abbrederis' positive traits: his route running, his production, and his work ethic.
However, to land Abbrederis near the end of the fifth round constitutes considerable value for Packers GM Ted Thompson. He can step right into the slot role should Randall Cobb incur another injury, and he strengthens what is now top to bottom perhaps the best receiving corps in the NFL. Abbrederis' production may not wow onlookers in 2014, but down the line he can develop into a key contributor on offense.
Biggest Ceiling/Floor Differential: Jeff Janis
Jeff Janis may have been a seventh-round pick of the weekend, but he's part of the defining narrative of the Packers' latest draft class. Since returning to Green Bay in 2005, Thompson has never taken more than two receivers in a draft. Janis became the third in the 2014 class after earlier selections of Davante Adams and the aforementioned Abbrederis.
Don't mistake his draft spot for a lack of athleticism, though. The 6-3 219 lbs. Janis ran a 4.42 40 at the combine to go along with his 20 reps on the bench, 37.5 inch vertical and blazing 6.64 3-cone time. If he marshals his athleticism and refine his pass catching, nothing can prevent him from becoming a starting receiver in this league. However, his lack of refinement could also land him a pink slip before the preseason ends.
Biggest Gamble: Khyri Thornton
Prior to the draft you were just as likely to find someone who rated Khyri Thornton as a mid-round pick as you were to stumble upon a scouting report with a late round to undrafted grade. Thornton enjoyed a productive career at Southern Miss, but his motor remains a question mark to NFL scouts. The Packers obviously thought enough of him to pull the trigger with a premium draft pick, but that doesn't mean Thornton represents little risk. If he plays like he did during the NFLPA Bowl practices and game, Green Bay will have landed another quality rotational defensive end and potential starter. It'll be up to defensive line coach Mike Trgovac to keep him motivated.
Lowest Risk: Davante Adams
For this superlative, a strong argument can be made for Jared Abbrederis. However, the edge here goes to Fresno State's Davante Adams.
Adams compares favorably to the 49ers' Michael Crabtree in size (6-1, 212 lbs.), ability to high point and attack the football (39.5 inch vertical), and production (233 receptions, 3031 receiving yards, and 38 touchdowns over just two seasons). What's more, he can step into James Jones' old role immediately and work the quick hitches and fades to perfection. The rest of his route tree is a little raw, but at only 21 Adams has plenty of time to iron out the kinks and become the latest Packers second-round receiver success story.