Monday, May 04, 2015

Packers 2015 NFL Draft Wrap-up

It's taken a few days for fans of the Green Bay Packers to take in the events of the 2015 NFL Draft, as well as the signings of the undrafted free agents (UFAs) that occurred following the completion of the draft. What do we make of it all? What, if any, surprises were there? How would you grade it? Take our poll in the upper righthand column (below our Welcome message).

To begin, let's review the Packers' picks.

Packers 2015 NFL Draft Selections
  • DB Damarious Randall, Arizona State
  • DB Quinten Rollins, Miami-Ohio
  • WR Ty Montgomery, Stanford
  • LB Jake Ryan, Michigan
  • QB Brett Hundley, UCLA
  • RB Aaron Ripkowski, Oklahoma
  • DL Christian Ringo, Louisiana-Lafayette
  • TE Kennard Backman, Ala.-Birmingham
Packers fifth-round draft pick, UCLA QB Brett Hundley
Photo via

Pundits who grade such things seem to have given the Packers a B- to C grade on this draft. Certainly, there were no big names among the selections, other than QB Brett Hundley who some had pegged as second or third round talent. But he was the only player that the Packers moved up in the draft to take. So clearly they saw something there -- in addition to the value of getting a talented QB in the fifth round -- that they liked. Clearly, also, he can be groomed for trade bait in two or three years if that's the way things shake out behind Aaron Rodgers.

Stanford WR Ty Montgomery, with some reportedly questioning his hands as a receiver, apparently drew the Pack's attention as a returner. He could add a big dimension to that part of the Packers special teams game...a dimension which has been seriously lacking the last few years.

While Michigan LB Jake Ryan may not have been a household name in college, he could become one with the Packers. It would seem that if anyone was ever made to play linebacker, it's this guy. He could make an immediate impact in the linebacking corps. And that would be something that everyone would be glad to least if you're a Packers fan, that is.

With the top two picks being defensive backs, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, obviously the Packers were taking care of the glaring needs in that area of the defense. Yay.

The selection of Oklahoma fullback Aaron Ripkowski raised eyebrows...not because it was a bad pick but because if he pans out he could be the successor -- or perhaps even replacement -- to current FB and fan fave, John Kuhn. While it's unlikely the Pack would keep two fullbacks on the roster, they have done it before. Whether this year is one of those years or not remains to be seen.

Let's not forget the UFAs
The Packers in recent years have done more with undrafted free agents than any other team in the league. There have been more UFA players on the roster and more snaps played by UFAs. Somehow, some way, GM Ted Thompson and his scouting staff find those proverbial diamonds in the rough. Here's what things look like in that regard so far:
  • John Crockett, RB, North Dakota State
  • Raymond Maples, RB, Army
  • Alonzo Harris, RB, Louisiana Lafayette
  • Malcolm Agnew, RB, Southern Illinois
  • Adrian Coxson, WR, Stony Brook
  • Larry Pinkard, WR, Old Dominion
  • Ricky Collins, WR, Texas A&M-Commerce

  • Jimmie Hunt, WR, Missouri

  • Javess Blue, WR, Kentucky

  • Mitchell Henry, TE, Western Kentucky

  • Fabbians Ebbele, OL, Arizona

  • Matt Rotheram, OL, Pittsburgh

  • Marcus Reed, OL, Fayetteville State

  • James Castleman, OL, Oklahoma State

  • Lavon Hooks, DT, Mississippi

  • James Vaughters, OLB, Stanford

  • Jermauria Rasco, OLB, LSU

  • Tavarus Dantzler, ILB, Bethune-Cookman

  • Bernard Blake, CB, Colorado State

  • Ladarius Gunter, DB, Miami (FL)

  • Anthony Wooding, S, Wake Forest
Minicamp Tryout Invites
  • Blake Sims, QB, Alabama
  • Chris Mallott, WR, Southeastern Louisiana
  • Jake Silas, OT, Buffalo
  • Josh Bredl, OT, Colorado State-Pueblo
  • Andy Phillips, OG, Central Michigan
  • Mitch King, TE, Penn
  • Uona Kaveinga, ILB, BYU
  • Skye Povey, DB, BYU
  • JD Rousell, DB, Sacred Heart
The names among the reported UFAs and tryout invitees that seem to garner a mention as strong candidates to potentially make the squad (regular season or practice) are RB John Crockett, WR Jimmie Hunt, OL Matt Rotheram, QB Bernard Blake, and QB Blake Sims. But given oppportunities, who really knows who will make the most of their opportunity to make the Packers? As both Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy have both said in their post-draft interviews, the expectations for the draftees are that they come in and play behind the veterans. The Packers are a deep team where it counts, but they definitely had needs. Whether those needs were met or not in a way which can help elevate the Packers, particularly on defense, we'll have to wait to see. Regarding how we'd grade this draft, we'd give it a "B+" taking all the players noted above into account. How would you grade it? Take our poll in the upper righthand column (right below our Welcome message).