The Packers had always avoided much business in free agency, in part because former General Manager Ted Thompson was able to draft enough contributors to get away with it.
But with yesterday’s departure of linebacker Jake Ryan to Jacksonville, it closes the books on an entire draft class of Packers.
As noted by Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, former fourth-rounder Ryan was the last member of the Packers’ 2015 draft class still with the team.
First-round defensive back Damarious Randall was traded to Cleveland a year ago, for backup quarterback DeShone Kizer. Second-round cornerback Quinten Rollins never made much of an impact, and they tried to convert him to safety a year ago before releasing him. He made a brief appearance with the Cardinals last fall but isn’t on a roster now.
Third-round wide receiver Ty Montgomery was converted to running back, and released last fall after fumbling a kickoff he was supposed to down in the end zone.
After Ryan in the fourth round came quarterback Brett Hundley (who signed with Arizona having been previously pawned off on the Seahawks), fullback Aaron Ripowski (who was signed to a future contract by the Chiefs this offseason), defensive tackle Christian Ringo (who has bounced around to a second stint with the Bengals), and tight end Kennard Backman (who appeared in seven games as a rookie).
After four years, all but Randall would have been entering free agency anyway, meaning the Packers would have had to re-sign them. But not having anyone from that year’s class to be deemed worth keeping leaves a hole in the roster, one that needed to be filled by other means.