Green Bay Packers: Draft Grades

1st round (#21 overall): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

The Packers’ front office must have been pleasantly surprised when a top-10 talent fell into their lap at 21.  Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was widely regarded as the best safety in this draft because he possesses unique ball skills and is a great open-field tackler. Clinton-Dix should be an immediate starter in a secondary that lacks good safety play and will help a defense that only had 22 takeaways last year (22nd in the NFL).

Grade: A

2nd round (#53 overall): Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State

Well, as I said in my Green Bay Packers: Day 1 Reactions, Ted Thompson is a “best player available” kind of guy, and he showed it in the second round when he chose wide receiver Davante Adams from Fresno State.

Don’t get me wrong, this guy is good, but I thought there were more pressing needs that should have been addressed. Inside linebackers Chris Borland and Preston Brown were still on the board at the time and could have competed for the starting job on day one. Unfortunately for the Packers, tight end Troy Niklas was taken by the Arizona Cardinals just one spot before at pick 52. Niklas, the cousin of current outside linebacker Clay Matthews, would have been a great fit for a team in desperate need of a starting tight end.

Despite the missed opportunities, there are plenty of positives with this pick. The Packers get a viable third wide receiver for Aaron Rodgers, something that was lost when James Jones signed with the Oakland Raiders this offseason. As Derek Carr’s favorite target at Fresno State, Adams amassed video-game like numbers with 131 receptions, for 1,718 yards (13.1 average) and 24 touchdowns in 12 starts.

Grade: B-

3rd round (#85 overall): Khyri Thornton, DT, Southern Mississippi

This pick makes a lot of sense. The last two postseason appearances for the Packers have ended with San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, running circles around their defense. Thornton brings speed, versatility and athleticism to the defensive line, which should help the Packers contain quarterbacks like Kaepernick who like to stretch the field..

Grade: B

3rd round (#98 overall-compensatory): Richard Rodgers, TE, California

With tight ends Amaro, Seferian-Jenkins, Niklas and Fiedorowicz off the board at this point, it was evident that the Packers felt the pressure to grab someone when they took Richard Rodgers from the University of California.

I thought this was a bit of a reach here, but it filled a huge need. Rodgers is a tight end turned wide receiver that will be converted back to a tight end. At 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, Rodgers has good size and is athletic. He lacks experience and polish as he only started 11 of 37 games in his collegiate career and is considered a long-term investment for Thompson and the Packers.

Also of note, drafting Rodgers probably means the Packers will not be resigning Jermichael Finley.

Grade: C

4th round (#121 overall): Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State

This is a great value pick at #121 overall and it may actually turn out to be one of the Packers’ best picks. Bradford was uber-productive in college (142 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, and 20 sacks in his past two seasons) and was a steal in the 4th round. He played outside linebacker at Arizona St., but projects to be an inside linebacker in the NFL. There are a few attitude concerns with Bradford, but with the right coaching, he should be a quality player that will add depth to the Packers’ front seven.

Grade: A-

5th round (#161 overall): Corey Linsley, C, Ohio State

It took the Packers five rounds to do it, but the Packers finally addressed the question mark at center. I’m not thrilled with this pick because Linsley has anemically short arms and is by no means a great athlete. However, he is very strong and showed leadership abilities as the team captain at Ohio St. last year. The Packers certainly could have waited until the 6th or 7th round to take him, as there were better options at center on the board.

Grade: C+

5th round (#176 overall-compensatory): Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin

Value. Value. Value. Abbrederis is a fantastic route runner, has good hands and is a reliable possession receiver. The three-year starter at Wisconsin has had some issues with head injuries, but should be a reliable contributor for years to come.

Grade: A

6th round (#197 overall): Demetri Goodson, CB, Baylor

Goodson played basketball for the University of Gonzaga from 2008-2011 and then transferred to Baylor to play football. At 25, Goodson is a bit older than most scouts would like him to be, especially since he is so raw. It was surprising to see the Packers go with another cornerback shorter than 6 foot, but Goodson should come in and provide depth to the Packers secondary in the nickel and dime packages.

Grade: B-

7th round (#236 overall): Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State

The Packers worked out Janis and really liked what they saw from him at the combine (Janis ran a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, has a 37 1/2 inch vertical leap and 3.98-second 20-yard shuttle- 4th best among receivers). Besides the fact that the Packers already have two proven receivers in Nelson and Cobb, a potential starter in Jarrett Boykin, and drafted two wide receivers in the 2nd(Davante Adams) and 5th round(Jared Abbrederis), Janis was a great value pick in the 7th round. Needless to say, there will be some great competition among the wide receivers in training camp.

Grade: B+

Related links:

NFL Draft: Three Biggest Winners

NFL Draft: Three Biggest Losers

  • Chanchai Jaidee

    Tim Wickey greatly undervalued Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers, and Corey Linsley. Adams is an A-grade pick – I predicted before the draft that Ted Thompson would draft a wide receiver in the 2nd round, just as he did with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb, in view of the fact that all three existing wide receivers of the Packers will be free agents after this season. For this reason, TT also drafted two more very good receivers in Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis. Both Richard Rodgers and Corey Linsley will become starters for the Packers. And you don’t give C grades to Packers’ starters!