clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Packers' 2015 Draft Picks: Best-Case and Worst-Case Scenarios

New, comments

We take a look at the ceilings (and floors) of the players Ted Thompson drafted this year.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The initial round of draft grades has finally ceased. That means we can start analyzing the Packers' picks based on what they might contribute to the team moving forward. While Jason has already assessed the first-year value of each player in this excellent article, I thought I'd take a long-term look at the value of the Packers' draft class.

Damarious Randall, defensive back

Best-case: Randall's playmaking ability makes him the next coming of Charles Woodson, a player who makes his impact in the slot, as an extra safety and, of course, on the outside. He gets five or six interceptions per year, to go along with three or four forced fumbles and a sack. In his rookie year, he starts off on special teams and in dime packages while he learns the nuances of cornerback technique, but by the end of the season, Joe Whitt and the coaching staff remove Randall's training wheels. His versatility allows Dom Capers to invent whimsically-named defensive alignments and his range proves nightmarish for opposing quarterbacks. He's an elite mirror cornerback for years to come; his experience in zero-man coverage means that the team rarely needs to put help behind him.

Worst-case: Randall can't transition back to cornerback - not well enough to be a starter, anyway. He's a good option to have on the field in the dime package and when the team needs another safety on the field, and he finds a role as a special teams gunner and perhaps even as a quality returner. Although he bites on too many double moves, he provides the same dependability as someone such as Jarrett Bush - an emergency fill-in at both corner and safety who makes the occasional play, but whose primary role is limited to special teams.

Quinten Rollins, defensive back

Best-case: Rollins starts off fast and never looks back. The Packers' coaching staff refine his technique and his ball skills speak for themselves; although he doesn't have the speed to carry some deep threats down the field, he's an interception machine. He's particularly dangerous in small areas, where his catlike agility allows him to beat receivers to the ball. By the end of his rookie year, Rollins is the Packers' go-to option against physical receivers, and soon enough, he looks an awful lot like Tramon Williams did in his prime. Just as Williams, Sam Shields and Charles Woodson were all starters for the Packers in 2010, so are Shields, Randall and Rollins.

Worst-case: After just one year of college football, Rollins struggles with the continued transition to the sport, he doesn't seem particularly interested in improving his technique, and he quickly slips into irrelevance. He doesn't have the explosiveness requisite to return kicks and punts, so his special-teams role is limited to coverage teams. Rollins offers run support and physical play in certain situations, nothing more.

Ty Montgomery, wide receiver/returner

Best-case: Montgomery surprises everyone by making the Pro Bowl as a returner in his rookie year. Meanwhile, the Packers' running backs and wide receivers coaches work to mold him into a multidimensional weapon on offense. Linebackers can't cover a player with his quickness, and he's a nightmare in the slot. He lacks the natural receiving ability to make spectacular grabs, but with his incredible versatility, he doesn't need to. Think Randall Cobb against the Patriots.

Worst-case: Montgomery's issues in his final year as a college athlete continue to plague him. He just can't catch passes consistently enough to earn Aaron Rodgers' trust, and unfortunately, his case of the drops carries over to special teams as well; when the new coordinator looks at Montgomery, all he sees is the next Brandon Bostick waiting to happen. Thompson isn't comfortable with cutting a third-round pick, but after a few years, he quietly releases the former Stanford star.

Jake Ryan, linebacker

Best-case: Folks who were concerned about Green Bay waiting until the fourth round to address their void at inside linebacker quiet down really quickly. In his first year, Ryan breaks into the starting lineup after a few games and never looks back. His obsessive work ethic and highly underrated athleticism make him a veritable force next to thumper Sam Barrington, and unlike any true inside 'backer the Packers have had over the last three or four years, he can drop back into coverage with proficiency, as well. He's a serious contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year and allows Clay Matthews to rush the passer off the edge full-time. A Pro Bowl career awaits.

Worst-case: Few players in the locker room can match Ryan's love for the game, but he simply cannot keep up athletically at the pro level. His ACL injury from 2013 bothers him, his quality instincts can't get him to plays fast enough and he's blocked consistently by offensive linemen. He finds a niche as a special teams coverage player, but that's really it.

Brett Hundley, quarterback

Best-case: Hundley is as physically gifted as perhaps any quarterback in this year's draft. Mike McCarthy's vaunted "quarterback school" helps him to make the most of that talent. Within a few years, Hundley looks to be in another plane altogether in preseason games and mop-up appearances, and midway through his third year on the team, he's traded away for a second-round and fourth-round pick. A fantastic return on investment for the team.

Worst-case: Hundley is a great addition to the Packers' scout team, allowing the team to simulate playing against the likes of Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick. Unfortunately, Green Bay's coaches soon see why Hundley never progressed at UCLA: he's uncoachable. He shows flashes during practices and preseason games, but he never really puts it together. Within a few years, he's cut and replaced by a less athletic quarterback who's far more willing to learn.

Aaron Ripkowski, fullback

Best-case: With the help of the world's greatest fullback surname on his side, Ripkowski beats out John Kuhn for the fullback spot out of his first training camp. He can block, catch a few passes, and carry the ball when the team needs him to, not to mention he's smart (a reported score of 31 on the Wonderlic). Packers fans console themselves by screaming "RIIIIIIP" every time the Oklahoma product steps on the field, although it sounds somewhat homicidal rather than endearing.

Worst-case: Ripkowski is a high-character guy who competes fiercely during training camp. Unfortunately, he cannot survive final cuts, but he does find a spot on the practice squad, where he is groomed as the successor to #30.

Christian Ringo, defensive lineman

Best-case: Does squatty, hyper-productive 3-4 end sounds familiar to you? Ringo takes a very similar trajectory to that of current Packers stalwart Mike Daniels. Unfortunately, both starting spots are taken, so Ringo's primary contribution is as a highly effective interior pass rusher. In the mix with Datone Jones and Daniels, Ringo gives defensive coordinator Dom Capers an explosive chess piece to work with.

Worst-case: Ringo is poorly cast in the Packers' defensive scheme; he just cannot find a niche. Although his fiery motor makes him a favorite of coaches, he just cannot handle the strength of NFL offensive lines. He can't make the roster out of camp and within a few years, he's out of the league.

Kennard Backman, tight end

Best-case: Although he's not an elite blocker, Backman is the athletic tight end that Packers fans have dreamt of; he offers mismatches with his excellent speed and solid hands. Although he primarily makes his living on special teams in his rookie year, he factors in as a significant offensive contributor, although not necessarily a starter, in 2016 and beyond.

Worst-case: Backman has a Colt Lyerla-type camp, dropping passes and just generally looking out of place. Despite the team's best efforts to bring him along, he cannot escape final cuts.

Let us now in the comments if you see any differences.