Note: This post can also be seen in the May 13 edition of the Clintonville Chronicle as well as the May 14 edition of the Manawa Messenger.
Packers’ GM Ted Thompson continually explains to the media that team need does not play into the selections Green Bay makes in the draft.
But the Packers needed to fill spots at safety, wide receiver, linebacker, tight end, center and defensive line. Thompson drafted at least one player at each of those positions.
So either things just worked out perfectly for Thompson, or need is at least somewhat of a factor.
Regardless, it’s too early to know if any of the players in this class will work out; only time will tell. It’s not too early, though, to judge Thompson’s class on what kind of value he got, what risks he took and which of his picks could contribute this season.
Best Pick: Davante Adams, WR, Fresno St.
Thompson’s track record on second-round receivers is legendary at this point. Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb were all second-round picks. Now comes Adams, who led the country last year in catches with 131 and receiving touchdowns with 24. His 1,718 yards wasn’t too shabby, either. Over his two seasons as a Bulldog, he compiled 233 receptions for 3,030 yards and 38 touchdowns. He fits the mold of a Packer receiver – great hands and good after the catch. He should compete with Jarrett Boykin for the third receiver job in training camp.
Best Value: Corey Linsley, C, Ohio St
One of last year’s fourth-round picks, J.C. Tretter, who has never played a down in the NFL, was the best option at center this year for the Packers before this selection. Linsley started all 26 games for the Buckeyes at that position the past two seasons, earning All-Big Ten honors in 2013. He will show up on day one with more experience at center than anyone on the Packers’ roster. If Thompson got his starting center in the fifth round, that defines value.
Biggest Risk: Richard Rodgers, TE, Cal
This was a reach for the Packers. Rodgers is essentially a developmental prospect, which is fine at the tight end position, but not in the third round. He didn’t even play tight end last season for the Golden Bears. He has good hands and is a decent route runner, but he’s not fast or explosive by any means. He’s a similar prospect to former Packers’ tight end D.J. Williams, who never made an impact. This is a high-risk pick because if the Packers can’t develop Rodgers, it’s a wasted third-round selection.
Best Late-Round Selection: Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State
The Packers have already said they’re going to play their fourth-round selection at outside linebacker and let him rush the passer, something he did well for the Sun Devils. Eventually, he could end up moving to inside linebacker, which is more of a need for Green Bay. He’s athletic enough to drop into coverage and is a good, strong tackler. The major knock on him is his size and arm length, which could cause him to struggle to get off blocks. More than anything, Bradford plays with an aggressiveness and a sense of urgency that fans are going to enjoy. He also has the determination and maturity that could allow him to succeed despite his size.