Longtime Green Bay Packers beat writer Bob McGinn announced his departure from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Wednesday, which marks the end of an era of Packers coverage. Whether you like his opinions or not, McGinn was tireless and as detail-oriented as a journalist can be, and his level of personal connections within NFL front offices was second to none.
Today, we look back on one of McGinn’s final contributions, his breakdowns of the 2017 NFL Draft’s top prospects. That series of articles compiles comments and quotes from numerous scouts around the NFL (anonymously, of course) on the top players in the draft class.
Today, we look back at what those scouts had to say about the players whom the Green Bay Packers drafted this year. Of the ten picks, only four — the first four, in fact — got a full breakdown from McGinn. Here are the quotes, McGinn’s ranking of the player at his position, and some discussion of each player.
2.33: Kevin King, CB, Washington (8th-ranked CB)
“Was not highly rated until the combine. When people saw how he ran and moved around his stock went up. He’s a little leggy. I think change of direction and quicker receivers will be a challenge for him.”
“A lot of times he played in the slot, which is (strange) for his body type. He’s an instinctive, aware player. He could be a starter. He ran faster than I thought he would.”
“Big guy, ran fast. He just doesn’t move well enough. Not productive at all. He just gets beat all the time. Very limited toughness in the run game.”
King’s stock definitely rose significantly at the Combine, where he put on one of the all-time best workouts among defensive backs. It will be interesting to see how he fits in on the defense as a rookie, however, and whether he projects as a starter on day one or will need to grow into that role.
It is worth noting that the player he is essentially replacing, Sam Shields, was a virtual non-factor against the run as well. As a result, don’t expect to see King lined up in the slot too much. That will be the role better-suited to the Packers’ second pick.
2.61: Josh Jones, S, NC State (9th-ranked S)
“Just on the player, I’d take him over (Jamal) Adams. He’s a deluxe strong safety. He’s got instincts, coverage. Really good.”
“Even played some corner. Big guy, can run. It’s crazy, the 4.40. He played corner and moved OK. I think he’s a safety but if you’re playing press. …"
“Not a fan. Looks the part. Ran well. I just think instincts might hold him back.”
It’s always fun to see two scouts say opposite things on the same player. In this case, it’s around Jones’ instincts. It’s also fascinating to see that at least one scout had him rated higher than LSU’s Jamal Adams, who went 6th overall to the Jets. As we expect, versatility should be one of Jones’ strengths, as I infer that the second scout thinks Jones might be decent in the slot or even at corner in press coverage.
3.93: Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn (5th-ranked DT)
“Played with a lot more passion this year. He was a dog a couple years ago. Can be disruptive if you just say, ‘Go.’ Never going to be a dependable, consistent player because of lack of instincts and the stiffness.”
“(Jerel) Worthy’s a better player. Montravious can run in a straight line but he’s stiff in the lower (body).”
“Not a great run defender. He’s got strength. He just has not learned how to take on doubles and know when they’re coming.”
These comments confirm what we thought about Adams. He’s a good athlete and can pressure the pocket from the interior, but he needs to continue learning the nuances of the defensive line, particularly understanding how the opposition will handle him. It’s not an encouraging sign to see someone compared unfavorably to a second-round bust in Worthy, but there appear to be some skills that the Packers could harness on a limited basis.
4.108: Vince Biegel, OLB, Wisconsin (8th-ranked OLB)
“Just a solid, overall player. I could see him getting in the second round.”
“Overachiever in my opinion. Good backup. Like him on my team. His pass-rush production was due more to effort and technique than skill. On the ground a lot. He’s high-effort, tough (expletive), really smart (Wonderlic of 23).”
“He’ll make a 3-4 team on (special) teams. Great kid. Stiff.”
Special teams will certainly be one of Biegel’s strengths; after all, he was a stalwart on those units in Madison throughout his career. As a rookie, a backup is all he needs to be, but the fact that his technique is viewed as refined already should help get him on the field.
These scouts echoed the comments made by Packers exec Alonzo Highsmith, however, when it comes to Biegel’s effort and motor. Look for him to be relentless on every snap, a quality which continues to bring to mind comparisons to Clay Matthews.