With the NFL Draft finally over with (sad for some, relieving for others), it's time to take a look at how the Packers did when stacked up against the rest of the NFC North while also grading out the Lions, Bears, and Vikings draft classes as well.
1st: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
2nd: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
3rd: Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State
4th: Blake Martinez, ILB, Stanford
4th: Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern
5th: Trevor Davis, WR, California
6th: Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford
- When you look at this draft, you see that the team attacked their main needs at defensive tackle, offensive line depth, defensive end, and inside linebacker. Kenny Clark is a terrific pick at the end of the first round. He has terrific upper body strength while being able to play well against the pass and diagnose the run quickly. After losing B.J. Raji to retirement (at least in 2016), the Packers address his loss and also upgrade arguably as Clark is a solid three down player.
The Packers then traded up in the second round to acquire Jason Spriggs, an offensive tackle from Indiana. With Don Barclay, David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, and JC Tretter all on the last year of their contracts, the Packers needed to add some offensive line depth for the future. They not only picked Spriggs, who has a lot of athleticism and quickness and has pass protection skills, but also Kyle Murphy in the sixth round, who showed good pass protection skills and run game awareness. The team was smart to add some solid, young depth to their tackle position.
The team also selected a few linebackers with Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez. Martinez was more of an inside linebacker in college while Fackrell played outside. Fackrell has a lot of athleticism and is able to play on all three downs and will have the chance to potentially take over for Julius Peppers after next season with some seasoning and tutoring behind Clay Matthews and Peppers. Martinez fills a need as the Packers needed an inside linebacker to help push Matthews outside to his natural position. He has good instincts, has a high motor and is built well. Dean Lowry out of Northwestern is a solid pick in the fourth round as he has a lot of upside and is a solid tackler who can play well in the 3-4 defense Dom Capers runs as a situation pass rusher initially. Lastly, Trevor Davis out of Cal is an interesting prospect who has experience in the return game and also has solid straight line speed and hands.
Overall, the team addressed its main needs and drafted solid players as well. Green Bay has one of the more solid, underrated draft classes and did really well overall.
Overall Grade: B+
1st :Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
2nd: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
3rd: Graham Glasgow, C, Michigan
4th: Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah
5th: Joe Dahl, G, Washington State
5th: Antwione Williams, ILB, Georgia Southern
6th: Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan
6th: Anthony Zettel, DE, Penn State
6th: Jimmy Landes, LS, Baylor
7th: Dwayne Washington, RB, Washington
- The Lions came into this draft with a new general manager, Bob Quinn, who previously served in New England. Quinn had a decent showing in terms of addressing team needs, but did not necessarily picking the best players. Taylor Decker is viewed by some as a reach and I believe so as well. He may have been a nice pick at the end of the first, early second round, but not necessarily in the middle of the first round. He is a solid locker room guy who can play both right and left tackle and is solid in the run game. But he does have some questions in pass protection and that could be why this pick is a reach. The team also grabbed two more offensive lineman in Graham Glasgow and Joe Dahl, who are both known for their mean streaks.
A'Shawn Robinson out of Alabama is a solid prospect at defensive tackle, but does have some questions about his future. He has a terrific frame for his position and is a sure tackler, but only played on 57% of snaps during his Alabama career, leading to some questions about his play against the pass. He has great strength and brute force, but has not had much efficiency in the pass rush category. He hasn't developed any winning moves to help on those plays and could be regulated to run downs initially. He does fit in well as Haloti Ngata is on his last few years of his career, but with as much defensive line talent there, perhaps there could've been a better fit for the team.
The rest of the draft class does not stand out much as the team reached on a local quarterback prospect in the sixth round with Jake Rudock while other solid prospects with better long-term development were there. The Lions also grabbed a Miles Killebrew in the fourth round as a safety who will need time to acclimate from the FCS level in college to the NFL. Zettel and Washington are both long-term developmental prospects who probably will have a hard time cracking the 53 man roster along with Antwione Williams out of Georgia Southern. Jimmy Landes is a long snapper who will only make the team if the team decides he is worth having over Don Muhlbach.
Overall, the Lions grabbed some decent developmental prospect with nothing standing out besides their first two picks in Decker and Robinson. If they can reach their ceilings, they could prove to be good value picks. But with the other talent that was on the board, this draft class lacks a tad in day one ready prospects.
Overall Grade: C+
1st: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
2nd: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
4th: Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan
5th: Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri
6th: Moritz Boehringer, WR, Germany
6th: David Morgan, TE, UTSA
7th: Stephen Weatherly, OLB, Vanderbilt
7th: Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson
- While the Vikings did say that "wide receiver isn't their main need", they certainly drafted as if it was. Laquon Treadwell in the late first is definitely a value as one of the top (if not the top) wide receiver in this class. He may not have had the fastest 40 yard dash time, but he is known more for his physical style of play during plays and his ability to catch 50-50 balls in the air and use his body to win at point of contest. With Stefon Diggs as their de-facto #1 wide receiver, adding Treadwell to the mix will let Diggs slide in as the #2 wide receiver and take more pressure off of him. This is a great pick.
Mackensie Alexander is an interesting prospect who has the attitude on and off the field to compete with the best and is not afraid to get physical. At 5'10", he is on the shorter side for the typical outside NFL cornerback and has no production in college with interceptions. He is highly competitive and has a lot of quickness to his game while being able to rise up when needed in tough situations. He could end being a steal if he can keep himself near his target instead of drifting away and work on his ball deflection skills.
Beavers is a long-term developmental prospect who struggled at times at the college level. Kentrell Brothers is one of the better inside linebacker prospects in the draft who performed extremely well against the run but could use some refinement on passing downs to ensure he is always on the field. Boehringer is a very interesting prospect who only started playing football a few years ago and did not play football in the United States. He is a very solid size & speed prospect who could go either way. It's a good story nonetheless as Adrian Peterson was the one who got Boehringer interested in football in the first place. David Morgan could see the field immediately as an extra blocker as he was one of the best blocking tight ends in college football. Weatherly and Kearse are both long-term prospects who have the chance to develop into solid back-ups/players in situational defensive packages.
Overall, this draft is filled with a lot of upside players who could turn out to be steals at their respective draft classes if they develop properly. This is a very solid draft class for the Vikings overall.
Overall Grade: B
1st: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
2nd: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
3rd: Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
4th: Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, West Virginia
4th: Deon Bush, S, Miami
4th: Deiondre’ Hall, CB, Northern Iowa
5th: Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
6th: DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, William & Mary
7th: Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan
- If you have seen my Twitter feed for the past 24 hours or so, you'll know that I love this draft class by the Bears a lot. Even though they traded up to grab Leonard Floyd, he fits this defense better than people realize. This could be Vic Fangio's next Aldon Smith as an outside linebacker/edge player. He has very good length and athleticism with impressive pass rushing ability and can hang in man coverage. He does have a smaller frame but can bulk up and become deadly with his ball pursuit skills and against larger blockers. If Floyd can add the proper bulk to his frame, he could be an extremely effective edge rusher for years.
Cody Whitehair is an underrated offensive line prospect who has experience both inside and outside on the line. He projects better inside, but can play both guard positions and center while being an emergency tackle if needed. He is sort of like this year's Cameron Erving, but is in a much more stable environment and won't be asked to do as much on day one. Jonathan Bullard was a borderline round one talent who ended up going in the third to a team that did immense upgrading to its front seven. Playing with Ego Ferguson, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathian and Jerell Freeman, Bullard can help make this defense that much more lethal.
Kwiatkoski is an underrated inside linebacker who brings a lot of toughness and explosiveness while being a productive tackler in college. He is a sound tackler who does not let anybody escape his grasp. Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson are two underrated safety prospects who could prosper long-term in Vic Fangio's defense. Jordan Howard is one of the more complete running backs in this class with proficient running and receiving skills while Daniel Braverman is one of the top slot wide receiver prospects who could slot in as a reliable #3 wide receiver behind Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White.
Overall, this is a terrific draft class and offseason overall for Ryan Pace and the Bears and they are well-equipped to compete for the NFC North title in 2016.
Overall Grade: A