That time of the year again. It's like Christmas morning; with all these shiny new toys to make us feel like the greatest team in the history of the world is even more complete.
So before they take any tests, or even begin offseason preparations to do so; let's jump to conclusions and grade em!
Round 1: No. 22 (from LV) – Quay Walker, ILB, Georgia
-With their first pick, everyone in the world was certain the Packers would be taking a WR, considering every able-bodied person who has caught a ball in the past decade left us in the offseason; coupled with the fact that this is a loaded receiver-class.
Of course, other teams knew that as well; and they all grabbed WRs early and often. When the Titans grabbed Burks at pick 18, I genuinely believe that altered the course of the Packers draft.
Credit to the Packers for not reaching for a need. They stuck to their board, and surprised everyone. ILB has been ignored by this franchise for a decade; and yet last year they lucked into a good one by accident. So the last thing anyone would expect, is another ILB, a devalued position where we already have a guy.
It happened. Apparently the new defensive system can improve with both ILBs being capable football players. Far from a glaring need, but definitely improves the team immediately.
Walker was not a star player. He was a guy surrounded by star players. This made him seem even less likely to be a pick. However, he was consistent on a great defense, and has athletic traits which stand out. A tall, fast runner, with prototypical size for the position. Needs to improve a bit in coverage, but certainly has the physical ability to do so. Wasn't a big playmaker in college, but didn't need to be. Projects to be a high-upside/higher-floor pick; at a largely devalued position.
With plenty of potential ILB targets later in the draft, Green Bay took their favorite; while foregoing glaring needs at EDGE, in a draft with few good options for the position remaining.
Grade: B+ They stuck to their board, and got their guy. A very exciting addition to the best ILB corps this team has had in memory. Might be 5yrs too late, but they FINALLY ADDRESSED THE ILB POSITION!!!! It cost them a chance at a pass-rusher though.
Round 1: No. 28 – Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
-This was a pick which made perfect sense at 22. The Packers were lucky he was available so late. Wyatt is a big guy, athletic enough to line up anywhere along the defensive front. He has shades of Kenny Clark in him, and should be used all across the line. A rare perfect fit for the system.
Not an EDGE nor a dynamic pass-rusher; but nevertheless, can create pressure on his own, and might need to, with our lack of depth at OLB.
Excellent value pick. Likely slid in the draft due to character concerns. However, his domestic violence incident, while an ugly headline, allegedly was nothing more than him kicking a door.
Grade: A Still no WR taken, but such a perfect fit to fill a glaring team need, with maximum value.
Round 2: No. 34 (from MIN via DET) – Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
-Every draft seems to hinge around one decision; whether that is fair or not, it's how they are remembered. For example, the Jordan Love draft; a day that will live in infamy.
The Packers' entire draft was always destined to come down to whether they can get their guy at WR, and obviously whether he pans out. I believe that guy was intended to be Burks; but apparently the Titans were not dissuaded by the .40 time. So, without any top WRs matching the value of the 1st round selections; EVERYBODY PANIC!!!
The Packers did exactly that. After sleeping well, with Georgia defenders dancing in their heads; they woke up well-rested for day-2; only to realize they forgot to do their one homework assignment from day-1! Almost immediately, they traded away BOTH 2nd rounders, to the Stupid Vikings, in a move of horrible value (should have gotten a late 3rd back), and rushed to grab a true 2nd round WR who probably wouldn't have been there later in the round, especially with how fast WRs were flying off the board.
Watson is the single best athlete in the entire draft, and will enter the NFL as one of the most freakish athletes among them. At 6'4/208, he's tall and lanky; but ran a 4.3, and plays as fast as he is. He's also agile for his size, and even runs the ball and returns kicks.
However, he spent his college career running circles around FPS-level scrubs; and is largely untested against NFL-level talent. Furthermore, he has a history of focus-drops; not unlike Jordy and Devonte before him.
Grade: C+ In the short term, the Packers lose points for making such a lopsided trade. Obviously none of that means anything if he lives up to his potential. But I project him more of a WR2, who would thrive across from a DA-type; using his size and speed to create mismatches, plus being an asset in the jet-sweep. He could be the single best player in the draft. Or he could be an overdrafted Jeff Janis (hallowed be thy name) 2.0.
To be clear, I love the pick, but hate the trade, as it costs us a chance at grabbing a top- TE.
Round 3: No. 92 – Sean Rhyan, G, UCLA
-With glaring needs remaining at TE and EDGE, the other 31 teams weren't cooperating with the Packers needs, snatching up our needs before our picks. So the Packers address their OL needs a bit early.
Rhyan is a powerful guy with good technique. He is not an amazing athlete though, more of a hard-nosed football player.
He should challenge for a rotational spot early in his career; but without any special traits, he may have been overdrafted a little; particularly with such a small remaining pool of pass-rushers to choose from.
Grade: B Solid but boring pick.
Round 4: No. 132 – Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
-With the Packers going all-in on the high risk/reward Christian Watson early; they still had a glaring need at the WR1 position (I really believe Watson projects as a WR2 early in his career). Well, that need is met; with the somewhat surprisingly available Romeo Doubs. A speedy, prototypically sized WR, Doubs has the tools to emerge as a number-1 option; and played the role well in college. Like Watson, he has some history of focus-drops; but the important thing is, finding himself in the right place consistently, and giving Rodgers a target.
Doubs lacks anything special to his game; but is another plus-athlete. My hope is that he can become a possession receiver sooner rather than later; allowing Watson to blossom as the big play, and gadget guy.
Grade: B+ Solid pick, with good value at this point in the draft. A little late to address WR1, with low-probability he materializes into that early on. But can't have everything. Hard to do better than Doubs in the late 4th; especially for a team needing a guy like him.
Round 4: No. 140 – Zach Tom, G, Wake Forest
-WHY IS HE STILL AVAILABLE?!!! A great athlete, who can play any position on the line. While OL are boring picks, particularly for a team in desperate need of skill players; Zach Tom could very easily be the best pick of the draft. He has shades of Elgton Jenkins, except drafted at the end of the 4th. What's not to love?
Grade: A+ This was an absolute slam dunk of a pick. He's not one of the pancake monsters who go in the 1st or anything. But a highly versatile and reliable addition to a line which thrives off of interchangability. Perfect fit, and even better value.
Round 5: No. 179 (from IND via DEN) – Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
-The Packers went 4 full rounds without selecting a pass-rusher. All the premier rushers have been long extinct at this point... That is the problem with having more team needs than high picks though. One could fault them for taking the ILB at 22 as a "luxury pick", but tbh, I love the idea of being great at one position, rather than just good. Regardless of how we got here; this is where we are; late in the 5th, and FINALLY, the Packers take an EDGE.
This one is a little bit of an enigma though. Enagbare was an adequate edge defender against top-notch talent. However, he played 20lbs lighter in college, profiling as a pure OLB. But he lacks speed, and tested poorly. He's bulked up in the offseason, to be more of a DE size; which makes sense for the Packers, as they tend to use DE/OLBs interchangeably. However, with Gute focusing on plus-athletes throughout the draft; this is a very deep minus in that department.
It is excellent value though at a position of need. But it's difficult to foresee just what the vision is for him. Will he be a slow power-rusher off the edge? Or will he keep adding weight until he can play 3-4 DE? Maybe just keep feeding him until he's a NT... Idk, this one projects to be an interesting project to keep an eye on. I see him as a less athletic Preston Smith.
Grade: B+ Great value pick at a position of now desperate need. But a very interesting project; as he never was able to rush around the edge anyways (more of a power-rusher from what I've read)..
Round 7: No. 228 (from CHI via HOU) – Tariq Carpenter, LB, Georgia Tech
-At 6'3/230, he has the size of a small LB. He runs a 4.4, so he has the speed of a Safety. In a lot of ways, he's the opposite of Kingsley Enagbare. Fast enough for one both, big enough for both..
He was a safety in college; and spent time covering slot receivers. This indicates he can be a plus coverage guy at LB, and the size is already there..
Obviously any such project takes time though. So this pick screams special teams for the early part of his career.
As for the longterm implications; this guy looks like a slightly larger Oren Burks. Burks was a 3rd rounder who I hated at the time. This is a late 7th rounder. I love the pick at this point in the draft. His floor is a good special teams body; with a very high ceiling as a coverage LB.
Round 7: No. 234 (from DEN via CLE via DET) – Jonathan Ford, DT, Miami
- Another terrible athlete, who makes up for it with one attribute: size.
Ford provides immediate depth at NT. He wasn't very productive in making plays at the college level; but he does do one thing very well. He takes up space and lots of it.
Grade: C- This is about an average level flier to take at this point in the draft. If he ever makes a gameday roster, the pick will have already paid off.
Round 7: No. 249 – Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
-A powerful, high-upside swing for the fences late in the draft. Walker is a big, physically gifted specimen, who easily started at Penn State for 3 yrs. He reportedly never really showed much improvement year after year, but was just very talented, so he continued getting starts.
He reportedly shows flashes of dominance, but struggles with consistency throughout his career.
There are no shortage of character concerns. On one of his impressive blocks when he wasn't sleepwalking through the game, he pancaked a defender, and proceeded to Sandusky him while he was on the ground. He also was caught stealing a bike, because he "didn't feel like walking". Better keep a close eye on whatever kid's bike he rides to practice.
Grade: D+I haven't met the guy; but it sounds like this is a pattern. Not only the lack of improvement and motivation; but also the petty stuff that gets him into trouble. He just reeks of a guy who doesn't appreciate the opportunity in front of him; and more often than not, they let it slip away. Excellent upside though, at a premium position, if he does somehow get his life together. Green Bay might be the perfect atmosphere for that development. However, I'm more comfortable with character-reclamation projects after the draft, not that a 7th rounder matters...
Round 7: No. 258 – Samori Touri, WR, Nebraska
-A fast WR without size concerns. Touri didn't blow anyone away at the combine, but tested better privately. He plays primarily slot, and if he exceeds expectations, could be a potential replacement for Armani Rodgers if/when the Packers decide to pull the plug on that one.
Grade: B+ Right at the end of the 7th, it's hard to screw this up. But most notably, Touri plays special teams, giving him a realistic track to make the roster; particularly if he shows potential in the slot. Someday, he may develop into a nice complement between Watson and Doubs.
Overall Draft Grade: B+
I am a very tough grader every year, because I don't believe every team deserves an automatic A for using the picks they have. (I gave them an F- for Jordan Love). To me, C is average or expected value.
I was overall very pleased with the value gotten in this draft. While nothing they did was expected at all; overall I feel they put together a very quality group. The team still has a few holes; but that is hard to fill in the draft, when most rookies don't play significant roles their 1st yr anyways. And yet, this team is substantially better today than it was last week.
How well this positive draft grade ages, hinges largely on whether Christian Watson lives up to his potential or not.
If you enjoy reading up on draft picks, and predicting the future of your team; please discuss, or provide your own grades below!