Saturday, May 10, 2014

2014 NFL Draft, Rounds 2 and 3: Packers Select Adams, Thornton, and Rodgers (Not That Rodgers)

There's some merit in the idea of drafting the best player available. Maybe that's what the Green Bay Packers are doing, but it sure looks like they're addressing the positions (other than inside linebacker) where they need help.

2nd round, Fresno State WR Davante Adams. He posted obscene numbers in his final college season (131 receptions, 1718 yards, 24 TDs - in one season!) as part of Fresno State's high powered spread offense, which he'll never come close to repeating as a pro. At 6-1 and 212 pounds, he's similar in size to former WR James Jones, though he doesn't have quite as much speed. However, he did record an outstanding 39.5 inch vertical jump at the combine, so he can go up and get the ball away from a defender. Watching the highlights below, he's good at getting yards after contact, another important skill for a Packer receiver. Mike McCarthy's offense has struggled at times when he's been forced to scrape together a group of receivers due to injuries, so keeping the position deep and talented is important.
3rd round, Southern Miss DT Khyri Thornton. Without Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly around, they needed at least one more big body to backup on the defensive line along with second year DL Josh Boyd and free agent Letroy Guion. Thornton's not much of a pass rusher, but he's a high energy guy who was his team's captain. He's a bit of a reach for the 3rd round, but he's agile for a 300 pounder and that probably makes him a good fit for the more flexible scheme DC Dom Capers wants to install next season.

3rd round, California TE Richard Rodgers. Yes, the Packers just drafted another Rodgers from Cal. It's destined to be a great move! Just as Clinton-Dix reminds me of Burnett, and Adams reminds me of Jones, Rodgers reminds me of another Packer; Andrew Quarless. The Packers seem to keep drafting players who are comparable to players they've drafted in the past. This Rodgers is more of a receiver than a blocker, he even slimmed down last year to play a hybrid slot receiver position, which is fine because they really need a tight end who can catch more than they need one who can block. Just like Thornton, he's a bit of a reach for the 3rd round, but there aren't a lot of players like him who are still available, so it's better to get him now.

The Packers have five more picks on Saturday and it's time to find some depth. They could use another interior lineman, and maybe even a tackle depending on the rehab schedules for Bulaga and Sherrod. I'd be surprised if they didn't draft a linebacker, and they could also use another defensive back. Maybe even a quarterback, who could start the regular season on the practice squad, leaving the backup job as a battle between Flynn and Tolzien (with the runner up finding himself released).

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