We’re back with another edition of APC’s Walkthroughs, this time a post-NFL Draft edition. The Green Bay Packers selected ten players in the 2017 Draft, making the first four selections on defense and the final six on offense.
This group featured multiple picks at three different areas of the roster: the secondary, receiving corps, and running back unit. Each of those groups will go under the microscope today as several of APC’s contributors make predictions about what the Packers’ picks will do in 2017 and beyond.
Be warned: hot takes are ahead!
Evan “Tex” Western: Josh Jones will be the most impactful rookie in 2017
Maybe it’s not a huge, bold prediction to say that a team’s second selection will have the biggest impact of any draft pick, but I see Jones’ skill set as one that lends itself to getting lots of early playing time on defense, provided he can pick up Dom Capers’ scheme. I think you’ll see him all over the place: safety, slot corner, and dime linebacker, used in much the same way Capers has used Micah Hyde and Morgan Burnett recently, and even Charles Woodson back in the day. He’ll have the most non-special teams snaps of any member of this year’s rookie class and will have a good number of impact plays.
Jason B. Hirschhorn: Kevin King will shadow Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Dez Bryant
In the past, the Packers generally haven't asked their top cornerbacks to shadow a bona fide No. 1 receiver. Even Sam Shields didn't always line up over Calvin Johnson during their respective peaks.
However, Kevin King's physical skill set -- 6-foot-3 frame, elite-level athleticism -- could alter the Packers' approach. With none of the team's returning cornerbacks demonstrating the ability the handle top wideouts and Davon House coming off a down season in Jacksonville, King could see those assignments fall his way. Even if he makes mistakes peaking into the backfield or guessing on double moves, King has the recovery speed to survive such mistakes. More importantly, no other corner on Green Bay's roster has a realistic chance of sticking with Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Dez Bryant, receivers the Packers face over the first five weeks of the season. Expect a baptism by fire for the team's top draft choice.
Mike Vieth: Malachi Dupre was a steal in the 7th round and will follow a similar career path as Donald Driver.
Malachi Dupre has very good size (6’3”, 190 pounds) but just lacked the consistency that comes with being an elite level college receiver. It also didn’t help that LSU basically had a quarterback carousel every year he was in school. Dupre has some serious raw potential with decent hands and needs to work on his route running and gaining separation from defenders the most.
Playing with Aaron Rodgers and learning from Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams will bring him to the next level. He may not get a lot of playing time this year but he will work on his craft and move up the depth chart quickly in the next year or two. Plus, he should have a nice chip on his shoulder being drafted so low. Some scouts had him ranked as high as a second round pick. I can see him taking over as one of the top receivers for Green Bay and the heir apparent when Nelson leaves. From there, I see him building on what he’s learned and will have a long successful career, just like fellow seventh round pick, Donald Driver.
Kris Burke: Jamaal Williams will supplant Ty Montgomery as the primary running back
Nothing against Ty Montgomery, but Williams is going to be the Packers’ true number one back sooner rather than later. Mike McCarthy will still utilize Montgomery in the backfield, but the prospect of moving him around in the offense will prove too strong a temptation to resist.
Of course, McCarthy did flat out say Montgomery is the starting running back in the immediate aftermath of the draft. Of course he’s the incumbent. The rookies have not taken the field yet, so such a statement is obviously warranted.
That said, as the season goes on, do not be surprised if Williams is the primary back with Montgomery the secondary even though he will also be lined up in some snaps out wide.
Paul Noonan: Aaron Jones will impress everyone and become the primary backup, maybe even pushing Montgomery for the starting role
If you liked Alvin Kamara, who now plays for the Saints, if you’re not into big backs, and you have half a brain, if you like shifty quick receivers, who excel at 3-cones, he’s the one that you’ve looked for, and his name’s Aaron Jones.
I was not a fan of Kamara and all of his red flags when he was frequently mocked to the Packers in the first, but getting his functional equivalent with the 3rd-to-last pick (a compensatory pick at that) in the 5th round is simply great. How similar is Jones to Kamara? Aaron Jones averaged 6.3 yards per rush and 9.1 yards per reception in college. Kamara averaged 6.2 yards per carry and 9.2 yards per reception. Kamara is Jones’ closest Mockdraftable comparable by far:
And their key measureables, where available, are very similar. They also appear right next to each other on the Speed Score chart.
Scouting on his pass blocking is split and it’s my one big question mark with him, but his tape as a receiver is great, and if Montgomery should go down at any point, I expect Aaron Jones to step into the starting role seamlessly.