By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan // @LUCYrk78
I’m the first to admit it. I’m a sap. I feel things too deeply. Because of that, I cry through the NFL Draft every year. Don’t get me wrong – it’s one of my most favorite weekends, and I look forward to it all throughout the winter. But I still cry, watching so many people’s lives change in an instant. It’s so exciting to watch these players achieve something they’ve been working daily for, most likely since they were tiny. And it’s not just their lives that change – it’s their families and their friends, and their future families.
But! This year was different. Almost immediately, I was in too much shock to get too emotional. I know that I’m a rare Chicagoan, choosing the Green Bay Packers as my favorite team over the Chicago Bears. I don’t know exactly how or when this started, but I’ve been a Packers fan for at least 15 years. I don’t wish ANY other teams ill will, especially my home team; that’s one of the best parts about being a Packers fan – we’ve got such a good team that I don’t need to smack talk other teams or players, to make myself feel better about my favorite team. They’re just that good!
It’s hard not to mention the Bears first round draft. As shocked as I was at what I see as a ridiculous trade, giving up so many future draft picks to move ONE position, I don’t think anyone was more shocked than the player they sold the farm for – QB Mitch Trubisky. He’s mentioned in interviews that not only did he not meet with the Bears, they didn’t even call him, prior to announcing his name as their pick! So…no tears this year. Just shock and anticipation, wondering what else might happen in this draft, if it was already starting out so surprisingly.
There certainly was no need for tears as I watched Green Bay pick such high caliber players each round. Let’s take a look at some of our new prospects.
Round 2, Pick 1 (No. 33): CB Kevin King – It’s not a secret that the Green Bay Packers could use some help defensively, so this pick makes a lot of sense. King is tall and fast which should come in handy. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the Combine. We saw our cornerbacks suffer many injuries last season – Sam Shields went out with a concussion during the season opener, never returned and was subsequently released during the offseason. Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins also were hurt last season. I was excited this offseason when Green Bay brought back Davon House and would love to see King join him as a starter this year.
Round 2, Pick 29 (No. 61): S Josh Jones – I didn’t think Green Bay would draft a safety so quickly, but it’s said that Jones is very versatile, and can potentially line up at the line of scrimmage much like a linebacker does. He also had a very fast 40-yard dash at the Combine, running it in 4.41 seconds. Having the first two picks be defensive backs makes me feel really good that the focus IS on improving the defense for this season.
Round 3, Pick 29 (No. 93): DT Montravius Adams – Another fast player! With just these three picks, the Pack will already be able to showcase a faster defense than we had last season. Adams ran a very fast 40-yard dash at the Combine at 4.87 seconds, which is most impressive given his size – he’s 6’3” and over 300 lbs! Three picks in, three defensive players – we’re already looking better than we were at the end of last season.
Round 4, Pick 1 (No. 108): OLB Vince Biegel – Other than Clay Matthews, we don’t really have any solid outside linebackers. That being said, I’m not sure Biegel is ready to be a starter. I think this is going to turn into more of a developmental pick.
Round 4, Pick 28 (No. 134): RB Jamaal Williams – It’s hard to talk about this position. It’s still “too soon”. I miss Eddie Lacy already and it hurts that much more that he went to the Seattle Seahawks. (although, funny – if you go to his profile on ESPN, while it does say “RB Seattle Seahawks,” he’s still in a Green Bay uniform in the photo!) The Packers have never taken 3 running backs, at least not since I’ve been following them. It makes sense though, without Lacy, we have a huge hole in this position.
Round 5, Pick 32 (No. 175): WR DeAngelo Yancey – With Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, I don’t think we will see Yancey take the field this season. He was also not invited to the Combine, and I’ve read that his pro day showing was a bit lackluster. Still, it’s always good to have insurance in such an important position. I’m not convinced he’ll make the team, however. Reading up on him on NFL.com, they write, “Drops have been an issue throughout his career.” We can’t really afford that.
Round 5, Pick 39 (No. 182) (Compensatory pick): RB Aaron Jones – The Packers needed a running back, but I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing Jones for a bit. Still, he’s a solid player, finishing in the top three of ALL running backs at the Combine, and seems versatile enough that he might be able to compete.
Round 6, Pick 29 (No. 212): T Kofi Amichia – The Packers just signed Jahri Evans to replace T.J. Lang, so I don’t expect Amichia to play for a while. He was picked as a guard at the draft, and will have to compete with three other players to earn the title of backup guard for Green Bay.
Round 7, Pick 20 (No. 238): RB Devante Mays – Mays is the third running back taken in this draft. I think there might be high competition in the locker room (and on the field!) within our depth chart as these players fight to stay on the roster. I wish there was more tape to watch on Mays, but his senior year, he only started two games (playing in six) before injuring his leg.
Round 7, Pick 29 (No. 247): WR Malachi Dupre – From what I’ve seen and read of Dupre, this pick is a bit questionable. Still, Dupre is big and athletic and put up some good numbers with the Tigers. I like that in four years at school, he never missed a game, playing in all 52 games and starting in 36. I’d love to end up being pleasantly surprised by him.
I’m going to go ahead and give the Packers a solid A- on this draft. I’ve seen a lot of articles grading them at a B+, but I was really very happy with the picks.
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