The Green Bay Packers had another very successful draft as the team filled a number of needs and were able to secure some players that should have an immediate impact. However, as we all know, not every draft pick is going to make an impact right away.
In this post, the Packers Guru is going to examine how each rookie fits into the Packers’ plans this season and will project their role on the team for the upcoming 2014 season.
Without further ado let’s get to the list:
1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama – Clinton-Dix, the Packers’ first-round selection was Green Bay’s best selection by far and should come in and start at safety opposite Morgan Burnett on day one. Clinton-Dix has all the physical tools to be great NFL safety and he has the versatility that is needed at the position in today’s NFL. He can cover, he can hold his own in run support and has the range to cover the deep middle. He intercepted seven passes in his last two seasons at Alabama, so hopefully Green Bay won’t have another season without an interception from a safety.
2. Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State – This is a pick that Packer fans should love. The 6-1, 212-pound wide receiver is a playmaker waiting to happen. In just two college seasons, he caught 233 passes for over 3,000 yards and hauled in 38 touchdowns. He doesn’t have blazing speed, running a 4.56 in the forty but is very shifty and is skilled in gaining yards after the catch. He reminds me of Greg Jennings and giving Aaron Rodgers another weapon in the passing game is never a bad idea. However, Adams impact may be limited in 2014. Currently he is headed for the no.4 receiver spot so unless he is able to unseat Jarrett Boykin, I would expect 300-500 yards and a few touchdowns in 2014.
3. Khyri Thorton, DT, Southern Miss – Thorton expressed his surprise when Green Bay took him in round 3 of the draft but the Packers fell in love with his explosiveness and ability to make plays in the backfield and felt they couldn’t afford to pass on him. Thorton may not make a huge impact in 2014 but he is stout against the run and should see some snaps in the 3-4 defense at defensive end on a rotational basis.
4. Richard Rodgers, TE, CAL – This pick has garnered a lot of attention. Some are viewing Rodgers as a replacement for Jermichael Finley but that’s not the case. Green Bay still wants Finley back, it just depends on getting medical clearance and agreeing to a contract. Yet, Rodgers is a sound prospect. He is young and still developing. He has outstanding hands but lacks quickness. I wouldn’t expect Rodgers to make a huge impact in 2014, even if Finley doesn’t return. He would still be behind Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick on the tight end depth chart but he will be interesting to watch as he develops.
5. Carl Bradford, OLB/DE, Arizona State – Bradford was one of my favorite picks in this draft class. At 6-1, 251-pounds, Bradford is too small to play defensive end in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme so he will shift to playing outside or inside linebacker for Green Bay. What I love about him is his motor never stops and he made a ton of plays in the backfield in college, registering 20.5 sacks to go along with 43 tackles for loss. He will definitely make an impact on special teams early on but should see snaps on defense. It will be interesting to see how Dom Capers decides to utilize him.
6. Corey Linsley, C, Ohio State – It was important for Green Bay to get a center in this draft, thus Linsley was selected in round 5. Linsley has decent size at 6’3, 296-pounds but at times struggles in space. He is not the greatest athlete in the world but he is hard worker and overachiever. With J.C. Tretter set to be the starting center, Linsley is probably the only other Packer with a chance at winning the starting center spot. If he fails he should make the team as a backup.
7. Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin – The Packers got a steal in round 5 when they selected Abbrederis. The former Wisconsin wide out can flat out play and proved it when he torched Ohio State corner Bradley Roby, who ended up going in round 1 to the Denver Broncos. Abbrederis doesn’t have blazing speed, he ran the forty in 4.5 flat. He has tremendous hands and body control, which will fit perfectly with Rodgers. Abbrederis may never be a no.1 or no.2 wide receiver but even as the fifth option this season, I expect to see some flashes from Abbrederis, who will make Packer fans glad he was selected by Green Bay.
8. Demetri Goodson, CB, Baylor – Goodson is the classic, height, weight and speed prospect. He has all the physical tools but his game is still very raw. It will be intriguing to watch him develop and the Packers have had success with corners that were unheralded in the past (Tramon Williamd and Sam Shields) so there is reason to believe he can be developed into a player. In 2014 though, he will need to play on special teams in order to crack the 53-man roster.
9. Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw State – Janis was simply a value pick in round 7 after Green Bay had already picked two wide receivers. Janis dominated at Division II Saginaw State but has eye-popping physical skills. That made him too hard to pass on for Green Bay. Yet, the Packers normally only keep five receivers so Janis could have his work cut out for him making the roster. Yet, if he can contribute on special teams, my guess is that Green Bay will find a way to keep him but don’t expect much of an impact in the passing game until later down the road.