Draft review: Green Bay Packers

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The Packers have been stuck in a rut of division-round losses for the past two years.  Here’s a look at how well they used the draft to improve a team that, beyond a high-end passing game, doesn’t really have much to brag about.

What they needed: Running back, nose tackle, linebacker, offensive line, tight end quarterback.

Who they got:
Round 1: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA.
Round 2: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama.
Round 4: David Bakhtiari, OT, Colorado.
Round 4: J.C. Tretter, OT, Cornell.
Round 4: Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA.
Round 5: Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa.
Round 6: Nate Palmer, LB, Illinois St.
Round 7: Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley St.
Round 7: Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland.
Round 7: Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida.

Where they hit: Franklin fits perfectly with the West Coast offense, and he could become a star in that system. Jones, who’ll man one of the three spots on the defensive line, lays the foundation for a future without Ryan Pickett and/or B.J. Raji. Bakhtiari is the latest college left tackle whom the Packers will move elsewhere on the line, possibly to guard.

Where they missed: There’s a reason Lacy was available late in round two. From chronic injury problems to a concern that he lacks true passion for football, Lacy has potential bust written all over him. While they needed running backs, Franklin fits. Lacy may not. They also failed to build depth at tight end and to give quarterback Aaron Rodgers a better understudy than Graham Harrell.

Impact rookies: If Franklin instantly can become a three-down back (blitz pickup will be the key), he could emerge as a candidate for offensive rookie of the year. Jones’ potential impact would be realized via increased production from the linebackers.

Long-term prospects:  The Packers continue to be an elite team.  With an improved defense, offensive line, and running back corps, they can get back to the Super Bowl and win it.  With this crop of rookies, it’s quite possible.

52 responses to “Draft review: Green Bay Packers

  1. Definitely agree about Lacy. He ran behind the top offensive line at Alabama. That won’t be the case in Green Bay. Packers have never been shy about drafting RBs with injury problems, as the litter of past busts proves. Add another one to the pile.

    The Jones pick, which is a descent pick, paid the bill for the Worthy bust last year.

    Outside of Franklin, who could work for them, the rest of the dumpster diving draft are a bunch of mediocre linemen to compete against existing mediocre linemen.

    Considering the off-season losses for the Packers, I don’t see much improvement for the Packers over last year with this draft.

  2. I disagree on your assessment of Lacy. Looking past the fact that he had a fantastic O-Line (he averaged a better YPC than Richardson and Ingram did between the tackles by the way), he is a tough runner to bring down. He adds toughness and no one has ever used the words finesse or soft to describe any aspect of his game. The fact that we have him, a real bruiser, helps our practices, scout teams and defense as they get tougher.

    No matter how he pans out, I’m glad to see a commitment to the running game by TT.

  3. I really like our first 2 days of the draft, we got good talent at positions of need. But our day 3 raises some questions, I have no idea where Bakhtiari is going to play or back up, I don’t know where Micah Hyde fits our defense seeing as how we already have Casey Heyward, we probably could’ve gotten Nate Palmer in the 6th, would have liked to see Ty Powell instead.

    Overall we got a good pick in Jones, a STEAL with Lacy at 61, plus we picked up a draft pick even if he has injury problems, we got Franklin who was an outstanding value pick, and was my 3rd running back. Tretter and Bakhtiari I think are going to be projects on the line, a potential safety, or maybe nickle or dime corner, and some late round athlete receivers. I liked our draft quite a bit, addressed some key areas of need, and got 11 picks in a deep draft class.

  4. They need to switch their strategy to only drafting 2 players a year. That way they can afford to sign all their rookies in spite of that bloated, overvalued, team-crippling, salary their QB pouted for.

  5. .

    Ted Thompson fits in with the other top tier GM’s. Ozzie Newsome, Jerry Reese and Bill Belichick are included in that group.


  6. I like the draft, they picked 2 of the best RBs in the class. They also got one of the top 10 OTs. Which was really heavy on picks in the first round. As always they pick a couple O linemen to add to competition and depth. The more positions you can play the better chance you have.

    I think people also need to remember that not only do they have these rookies coming in. They also have guys like Nick Perry coming back, and hopefully the Oline can stay healthy.

    I like thier chances to make the playoffs, and as everyone knows, anything can happen from there on in.

  7. HA! FYI, this is what NBC Sports and clowns like Wludford said about Aaaron Rodgers in the same article after Rodgers dropped in the draft: “Lacks top pass placement and has receivers extending vertically to pull the ball out of the air. Must improve his accuracy down the field. Lacks top footwork releasing the ball off a three step drop. Lacks pocket stature. Lacks mobility. Classic system QB. May not be athetic enough for NFL.” HAHA! Im telling you that not only will this be the best draft in the NFL this year, it may be the best draft in modern GB history. It immediately turns GB into a power team which already has the best passing game in the NFL. No other team can say their draft has compeltely overhauled their offense as much as GB has. You think drafting a WR makes MN better than GB drafting TWO RB’s? Not a chance. Better add more digits to your home scoreboards in CHI, DET, and MN. This is going to be epic.

  8. It looks like the Packers have reloaded and are ready to once again beat the hapless, tasteless Vikings and Bears twice this season as they have for each of the past 3 years. If those teams don’t pick it up a notch, we may have to consider promoting the Lions into a role as our primary rival.

  9. Lacy ran for 140 years against Manti Teo and Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game and won the national championship. But he stinks because his team was too good? What a crock. This guy, along with Franklin, are going to TEAR the league up. And if you think you are going to be able to put 8 men int he box to stop him? Oh yea, we still have Rodgers, Nelson, Jones, Finley, and a guy named Randall Cobb you can try to cover with the other three guys. Worst draft review ever. Keep this one. It will be a great laugh some day soon.

  10. No one knows if Eddie Lacy will be good, bad or somewhere in-between but didn’t this guy only miss one game in the last two seasons? That doesn’t seem chronically injured to me. He definitely didn’t seem to run poorly.

    Also, alot of players slid. The Vikings are geniuses for drafting three that slid but the Packers got a bust for one that slid to the end of round 2?

    I guess we’ll see who does what down the road but i thought the Packers had a good draft. Jones is a great fit for the 3-4 DT spot. Between Lacy and Franklin the Packers now have a shot at a more consistent rushing attack. The two OL even if they end up at guard and center are needed spots (look at the current scrubs they have at backup there now). I really liked drafting WR Johnson in round 7.

  11. Yeah, you’re totally right. Beyond that high-end passing attack, nothing to brag about. The Florios will totally make it past the divisional round this year because they have a lot to brag about. If only the Packers were them!

  12. I disagree with the basic premise that they need a tight end or QB to begin with. They already have 5 tight ends, how many more can they possibly need?

    As for Qb, they do need a good veteran back up and those are best signed as some other team discards a good one. If Rodgers goes down, the outlook isn’t good any way you look at it.

    As for the draft analysis, why not just admit it takes 3 years to evaluate a draft class, so if you insist on doing it, go back to 2009 (Raji and Clay Matthews) and give them a “A”

  13. Mike Florio writes:

    “Long-term prospects: The Packers continue to be an elite team. With an improved defense, offensive line, and running back corps, they can get back to the Super Bowl and win it. With this crop of rookies, it’s quite possible.”


    Well said Mike Florio. Once again the Packers are set to contend for their 14th World Championship.

  14. looking forward to seeing what Franklin can do with the Packers. he was the heart and soul of our team at UCLA. i imagine Packers fans are going to like what they see from him.

  15. crownofthehelmet says:
    Apr 29, 2013 8:12 PM
    They need to switch their strategy to only drafting 2 players a year. That way they can afford to sign all their rookies in spite of that bloated, overvalued, team-crippling, salary their QB pouted for.

    Wow – couldn’t be more wrong. Team crippling? Riiiight.

    Before Rodgers’ deal the Packers had 15.48 million in cap space. That’s AFTER Clay’s deal.

    With Clay’s and Aaron’s deals in place – Packers still have 13.23 million in cap space. See by doing the deal before the last year of Aaron’s contract it helps a ton on cap hit. Smart thinking there Ted and THAT’S why it had to be done this year and not next. Too many complaining that they should have waited and gotten some FA’s this year to help. THAT’S also why you’re on the couch and Ted’s in the office. He’s smarter than you.

    Figure 5 or so of that will be used on draft picks/rookies.

    You’re not down to a little over 8 million, just this year to extend guys like Shields, J. Jones or Raji OR roll that forward into next year to help with the cap then too.

  16. dallascowboysdishingthereal says:
    Apr 29, 2013 8:14 PM
    With 10 picks they should be able to hit on at least a few picks. Other than Franklin, it looks like a rather weak draft to be honest.

    Excuse everyone if they don’t take the analysis of a fan of a team that selected a 3rd round, at best, lineman in the first.

    Cowboy fans should NEVER and I mean NEVER criticize another team’s draft so long as Jerruh is drafting.

  17. Packers should be concerned about opponents pass rush. In a division full of fierce pass rushers they have bad OT’s and two rookie RB’s who even if they are good in pass pro will need a season to iron out blitz pickup packages. All that said, they are still the best team in the NFC North if Rogers stays healthy (big if) because they can simply out score people.

  18. Packers still have no o-line….sorry my bratwurst eating, beer guzzling friends, you’re all dreaming.

  19. Well, at least we know that the Vikings will be back in the cellar with the Lions where they belong.

    We won’t know if the Packers got better until the season starts, but they were by far the best in the division last year, and no one has done enough to change that.

  20. If the Packers have no idea how to draft and clearly Lacy is a bust – who would you have taken at 61? Every single running back in this draft had some question marks. Also, I don’t get how smart the Niners are for taking a running back who not only won’t play this year, but has blown up his knees twice, but the Packers are idiots for taking a guy who has missed one game in two years.

  21. Crownofthehelmet: overvalued, bloated, pouting??? you might want to try reading these numbers:

    “Rodgers’ decision to expose himself to the petty “whose is bigger?” comparisons reflects a pragmatism that will help the Packers remain competitive, if of course they’re willing to spend their cap money. Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Rodgers’ cap number never exceeds $21 million in any year of the contract. In contrast, Flacco’s deal has cap numbers of $28.55 million in 2016, $31.15 million in 2017, and $24.75 million in 2018.”

    He had two years left on his contract, never held out, wasn’t publicly asking for a new contract and the guaranteed $ is spread over 7 years. I’m actually embarrassed for you and your take. Maybe if you didn’t use the crown of your helmet we’d all be spared from your brain damaged takes.

  22. Im a BRUIN, not a Cheesehead . I said repeatedly to anyone near my seats at every game I attended at the Rose Bowl last year: “Whomever drafts Johnathon Franklin will be a SB contender for years to come. He’s a Randal Cobb or Percy Harvin except with power and he comes out of the backfield”. I dont care if it was the freakin RAIDERS. But, for Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers to get him?? OM FG. The same Rodgers I saw beat UCLA like 61-3 once? This in itself is a scary thought. But then add to it the fact that they also drafted a 230 pound monster back out of Alabama who is gonna come out with a HUGE chip on his shoulder, two new o linemen, two more WR’s, *not to mention* UCLA’s best defensive player in the FIRST round in Datone Jones? Plus a LB, a CB, a NT and they get four guys back who were out v. the Niners (Bishop, Jolly, Perry, and Worthy.) Thats 8 guys on D who didnt play aganist the Niners last fall. Fuhgeddabout it. Book your SB tickets now Packer fans. Trust me on this one.

  23. I’m thinking BJ Coleman beats out Graham this year for the backup job.

    At Tight end, it’d be nice to have a Jason Witten/Jimmy Graham playmaker type, but at the same time – Rodgers made Spencer Havner (?) look good in 09 – couple games with multiple TDs for the guy, we got some developmental players in Ryan Taylor/DJ Williams/Quarless – neither will be an all pro, but they’ll be serviceable.

    I’m more worried about our FS and OLB depth.

  24. The Packers could draft like crap, or just okay like this year, and it wouldn’t matter — they’ve got Aaron Rodgers to cover most their flaws.

  25. Lots of people have no clue about football or howw it eeven works. Mostly non packer fans saying stupid stuff.

    Ok, someone was talking stupid about other teams pass rush. Well, a running game will make these pass rushers check up just a little bit. this will make Rodgers’ job easier. that is how it works.

    The run game will also help the Packers Defense. Keeping the D from playing more than half the game by controlling the clock and running the ball will mae the defense more effecive in their style of play.

    It is not about a single player, it is about having a solid team with a handful of playmakers. The Packers have had that formula before and now they have it again. Green Bay is an elite fanchise, deal with it. if you don’t like the packers, you have to at least respect that they have been on top a lot over the past 20 years or so.

  26. ya right GB got the only running back that was projected to go in the first round and got him at the end of the second. ya terrible pick. great review. would he have been a value in the 4th?

  27. Think Marcus Allen, Jerome Bettis, and Joe Montana in the same backfield. That’s what GB has now. (Except Rodgers has a better arm than Joe Montana’s.)

  28. Despite being horrible in the run aspect of the game the Packers were still a top tier offense. Since the Pack seemed to bolster their offense more than their defense. I am somewhat unhappy with the draft this year.

    I really would have liked to see another OLB drafted to push Perry. Defense was the worst aspect of our team last year and I dont see how much of an impact Datone Jones can make, seeing as he was really the only player selected who could make an immediate impact.

    You can’t tell me that Eddie Lacy or Jonathan Franklin will be more effective than Stephan Jackson would have been. Those picks could have been used to bolster the HORRENDOUS front five (I say front five because Matthews and Raji are solid.) Idk I just feel like Thompson and McCarthy got lucky winning the Super Bowl that they did. Thompson because he keeps “building through the draft” when he should buildup off of what he has, its kinda hard to build with rookies since they are, well rookies. and McCarthy because he seems to always get out-coached in big games except during the Super Bowl run where the Packers came out of nowhere, it would have been hard to any coach to screw up the moment that the packers built. since the super bowl run nothing has really changed, THAT is a problem.

  29. Green Bay is still too soft and arrogant. There is too much playing for the cameras both on and off the field. The WRs without Jennings are all dive-to-turf types. There O-Line is built for pass blocking. Rodgers’ Dudeness doesn’t inspire grit. Çlay’s breck hair speaks for itself.

    Above all, A.J. Hawk is easily the weakest run defender in the league. His new trick is to scramble quickly back to his feet after he gets pancaked so that the cameras don’t catch it.

    Truly this is the softest team in the league, just as they were for two decades that have conveniently been forgotten by Packer fans.

  30. I think its amazing the Vikings drafted Ponder before anyone could get him in the 4th round Oh wait they drafted Ponder in the 1st round LMAO!

  31. What people are missing is the fact of a legitimate running game will open that offense up even more, was pretty good before. Not to mention we will have back two former 1st rounders back at the tackle positions who werent there last year.

    Also a first rounder back on defense who missed the season. So on top of the draft picks we have our last 3 no. 1’s back on a team that made the playoffs a season ago. I like our chances.

  32. The argument about Lacy having a top offensive line in college is somewhat invalid. Along with the injury issues.
    I remember a running back that came out of Oklahoma playing behind an elite offensive line, and was very injury prone entering the draft. This players name was Adrian Peterson. Not saying that Lacy will be the next Peterson, but those same criticisms were made of Peterson and look how he turned out. Lacy’s physical running style and ability to pass protect will make him a valuable asset towards the Packers making another championship assuming he can stay healthy.


  33. It should be noted that the Packers offensive line, particularly in pass protection is more or less impossible to evaluate right now. Two reasons.

    1. The O-line suffered a substantial number of injuries last year. Now, the Packers’ mistake there (that they seem to be trying to fix by adding depth in the draft) was that they started to need to move guys around the line instead of just plugging in replacements. Wreaked havoc with blocking schemes, the number of missed assignments I saw last year was awful.

    2. The Packers running game was pathetic. Any Packers fan in the world will say this. When you get excited over mediocre rushing performances like Packers fans did over DuJuan Harris last you know you have a problem. So as a result, opposing defenses could both drop safeties into a two-deep shell without fear, forcing Rodgers to hold the ball longer for someone to get open, and send pass rushers all in, ears pinned back, without needing them to give the run more than a cursory thought.

    Adding a quality, every down back that demands a defense’s respect actually improves the 0-line itself in pass protection for forcing teams to come out of the two-deep safety scheme and making it a bigger risk to go all in on the pass rush.

  34. So Dougy1970 has never seen a Packer game before. It’s fairly obvious. Accept it, the Pack dominates. We have the best QB in the league, so keep spouting off your jealousy.

  35. Also, Packers fans who are griping that the Packers did more to improve the offense than defense aren’t paying close attention. 2012 was not 2011 in terms of defensive performance. its just that terrible Niners playoff game that’s sticking with you, and the insane Adrian Peterson running performances.

    The Packers were 11th in total defense last year. Surprisingly, they were 13th in total offense. They were also 11th in scoring defense, and 5th in scoring offense (entirely based off the explosive ability of the passing attack.)

    So last year the Pack’s defense was ok. In spite of injuries, and Charles Woodson clearly losing a step in his last year. So they bring in a new DE and relatively quick CB to shore up those issues. But the disparity between total offense and scoring offense demonstrates the Packers’ totally inconsistent ability to sustain drives and keep the other team off the field. Sure, when Rodgers and that passing game get hot they can go downfield, and the receivers are talented enough to beat multiple coverage sometimes. But you can’t expect that every time, and certainly not enough to consistently put together long, sustained drives.

    The focus on bolstering the running game this draft was one of the best, most efficient uses of a draft to improve a team I’ve seen lately.

  36. Yes, it would have been nice if they could have signed one of the two top LTs and another DL stud and Ertz at TE and Cyprien or another top S, but guess what? The draft doesn’t work that way. They did pretty darn well imo.
    Last year they caused problems by moving Cobb between the backfield and slot. Now they can put both Cobb and Franklin in the backfield with Jones, Nelson, and Finley out wide. I wouldn’t want to be a defensive co-ordinator trying to scheme against that. Wouldn’t like the idea of trying to play a cover 2 or 3 late in the game with Lacy in the backfield either.
    He won’t get a lot of press but Tretter may as key from this draft as Lacy, Jones or Franklin. He’ll probably be starting at C or G in a year or two. Smart, strong, and a mean streak just like Barclay has. Use up all your “soft” lines trolls, because they aren’t going to be working very well in the near future.

  37. Franklin was probably the best every down back available, Jones has tremendous value in both base defense and in sub packages, Johnson is a monster receiver, albeit from a small school, and the two lineman are both versatile enough to add depth to a team that only keeps 7 active on game day.

    Consider how much better the O will be with a running game where play-action and screens are now a threat again, the O-Line isn’t always pass blocking and 3rd and 4 isn’t automatically a pass.

    With the return of Perry, Jones and Bishop at LB, and Worthy, Neal and Purple Drank on the Line, an overly maligned defense (11th last year) will be much improved.

    Hard to see anyone outpacing the 49ers this year in the NFC but I see the Packers as better than anyone else in the conference if they stay reasonably healthy.

  38. I disagree about needing a tightened they have 5? Yes Finley maybe gone soon and if that happens so be it. Lacy may be a bust but I’ll take that chance knowing my team is realizing they have to run the dam ball. If lacy can be close to the back he was in college opposing def won’t be able to sit back with 2 deep safeties and Rodgers should be able to carve them up. Also the packers mostly take best layer available and taking another qb may have Been nice they drafted one last year and maybe they believe in Harrell.something tells me that TT and mm know a little bit more than the rest of us.:

  39. On the QB front…better value with a lot of decent QB coming out in the draft. You have to figure after the 3 or 4 that teams in need of a starter grab early, some decent ones will still be on the board in round 4 again. I would rather wait on that than trade up or reach for a guy.

  40. A lot of good points made in these comments.

    The Packers went 10-6 and won the SB, then went 15-1 lost in the playoffs and then went 11-5 and again lost in the playoffs. They did all of this with a non existent running game and a soft pourous defense not to mention an avg of about 10 or 11 guys on IR every year.

    If this team can stay healthy, develop a real running attack and replace AJ Hawk as a starter then the sky is the limit for them.

    Go Pack.

  41. tigershark8 says: Apr 29, 2013 10:58 PM

    Think Marcus Allen, Jerome Bettis, and Joe Montana in the same backfield. That’s what GB has now. (Except Rodgers has a better arm than Joe Montana’s.)


    Are you kidding me! This seriously is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. EVER! Thank you for justifying how dumb Fudgers fans are.

  42. Simply the best draft of the NFL. It is amazing how Ted Thompson and their scouting department do so well despite always drafting late.

    2nd best draft was the Bengals who got a little of everything.

    3rd was the Titans but few will notice because they needed a lot of help.

    4th best of the draft was the Eagles.

  43. Obviously didn’t watch Lacy… All effort, strong tackle breaker , quick feet in the hole… This draft class is so good….. Charles Johnson is the super sleeper of the entire draft and Tretter is the solid pick to anchor a future OL that will have # 12 in the HOF …

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