Sunday, May 11, 2014

Packers add undrafted free agents to talent pool

As with every other team in the NFL, when the draft is over it's still not really over. Oh sure, the draft part is with the big hoopla. But minutes after the selection of the last pick -- Mr. Irrelevant -- teams can begin signing those players who, for whatever reasons, weren't among the chosen draft elite.

For the Green Bay Packers, they have reportedly picked up the following players as undrafted free agents:

* Chase Rettig, QB, Boston College
* Justin Perillo, TE, Maine
* John Fullington, G, Washington State
* Justin McCray, G, Central Florida
* Rajion Neal, RB, Tennessee
* James Sims, RB, Kansas
* Mike Pennel, NT, Colorado State-Pueblo:
* Carlos Gray, NT, North Carolina State
* Joe Thomas, ILB, South Carolina State
* Jake Doughty, LB, Utah State
* Jayrone Elliott, OLB, Toledo
* Ryan White, CB, Auburn
* Tanner Miller, S, Iowa
* Jordan Stanton, OLB-DE, James Madison

Among these may be players invited for try outs. There may also be players not listed here who are also invited in for tryouts. This is a fun week, Packer fans. Ted Thompson provided a great draft class, and there are a few interesting players among the above list, as well, even given the long-shot nature of their current status.

I'd keep my eye on Joe Thomas as perhaps the most likely candidate in this group to have a shot at making the final roster. The skinny on him is that he was the MEAC defensive player of the year in 2013, with 116 tackles (20 for loss) and 7½ sacks. His team, South Carolina State, was the FCS' No. 1 defense. He's a player, although perhaps a bit undersized at a little more than 6 feet tall and 227 pounds. But with the Packers' draft needs going unmet for an inside linebacker, Thomas may be a guy to keep your eye on.

Go Pack Go!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Packers 2014 Draft Review: Rounds 4-7

The 2014 NFL Draft for the Green Bay Packers (and the rest of the league, of course) wound down this afternoon. The Packers had nine picks going into the draft; they made four yesterday (see prior post) and five today. Contrary to form, GM Ted Thompson stayed pat with the selections the team started wheeling and dealing, no moving up or down, no Trader Ted. How unusual. But, all in all, it looks as if Thompson and the Packers' brain trust had very good reasons for sticking with their allotted selections. All the players selected -- even the later round picks -- could potentially make the team. They were the best available athletes available, and they met needs. The only real need going into the draft that was not addressed was inside linebacker. When asked about that in his post-draft press conference, Thompson reportedly replied that "It just didn't work out." So it goes.

So who are the latest additions to the team?
Top row L-R: Carl Bradford, Corey Linsley.
Bottom row L-R: Jared Abbrederis, Demetri Goodson, Jeff Janis.

Carl Bradford
Arizona St.
Corey Linsley
Ohio State
176 (compensatory)
Jared Abbrederis
Demetri Goodson
Jeff Janis
Saginaw Valley State

Analysis on each player can be found here; kudos to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for providing a great overview of the newest Packers.

Our take?
In general, we like the Packers' picks very much. Given where the Pack was picking and the depth available, these picks makes sense. And, as noted earlier, it would seem at least on paper that each of these players from top to bottom has a chance to make the final roster. A lot of things will obviously play out between now and the start of the season. But we grade this an A- draft, given that inside linebacker was not addressed. But other than that...?

We especially like the fact that, for the first time in his tenure as Packers GM, Thompson finally drafted a player from the University of Wisconsin. Finally! Jared Abbrederis, some felt, dropped a bit in the draft because of his conussion history. But sitting there at number 176 -- a compensatory pick, that cannot be traded, by the way -- Abbrederis was just too good to pass up. Personally, we're very happy he got the call from 1265 Lombardi Avenue. Another former Badger we would have liked to have seen the Packers get was ILB Chris Borland. Unfortunately, he wound up going about eight selections ahead of the Packers in the third the (ew!) 49ers. Dang!

Next up for all teams is signing undrafted free agents. These players are much more of a long-shot to make a team, but they can and do. Let's see if Thompson gets an inside linebacker and quarterback in that group. Here's betting he does.! Nothing better. And especially nothing better than being a Packer fan!

Go Pack Go!!!

If you have anything to say about this draft, here's your chance. We don't open up for comments very often, so make it good.

Packers 2014 Draft Review: Rounds 1-3

While the actual NFL football season is still several months away, the NFL Draft marks the unofficial start of the season for many fans. It sure gets the juices of Packers fans going.

To the surprise of some, GM Ted Thompson -- Trader Ted -- didn't make a move through the first three rounds, choosing instead to stay pat with the team's assigned picks. So, what do we make of the Pack's picks through the first two days? From this vantage point, we're pleased. Let's take a look at the selections, shall we...

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Davante Adams
Fresno State
Khyri Thornton
Southern Miss
98 (compensatory)
Richard Rodgers

Analysis on each player can be found here; kudos to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for providing a great overview of the newest Packers.

What's our take?
As noted earlier, we think the Packers have generally had a good start to the draft. Getting Clinton-Dix, one of the top safeties available, means there is finally a good complement to Morgan Burnett. Perhaps the Pack's safeties will actually record an interception this season. Plus, Clinton-Dix is physical. Being given Charles Woodson's old number -- 21 -- is hopefully a precursor of things to come.

With Adams at wide receiver, the Packers added the nation's reception leader from 2013. He knows how to find the endzone, too. Over the last two seasons, he scored 38 touchdowns with Fresno State. As one pundit stated after the pick, the Packers replaced James Jones with a better version of James Jones. If you were happy with Jones (at least, most of the time), we think you'll be happy with Adams. Our guess is Aaron Rodgers will be, too.

Thornton may have been an unknown commodity to most Packer fans, unless you happen to reside in the South, of course. He was a fifth-year senior and team captain at Southern Miss. The story on him is that he is an athlete. At 6'3" and 304 pounds, he is the type of defensive tackle that could spell relief for B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, and perhaps be the replacement for one or the other down the road...with Pickett the more likely given his age.

To say we'll have fun with the Rodgers to Rodgers pass-catch duo is an understatement. Plus, both of the Rodgers' attended California...synchronicity! Rodgers (that will be Richard, not Aaron) has played at both blocking tight end and inside receiver. He has versatility, something the Packers value highly in all their players and particularly their receivers. He's not exactly a burner speed-wise (not too many tight ends are), but at 6'4" and about 260, and apparently with very good hands, he should add some needed competition and depth at the tight end spot for the Pack, who will likely be without Jermichael Finley going forward.

So, bottom line: good job, Ted. Can't wait to see what you do today.

At least for now, the remaining selections for the Packers look like this:
Round 4 (121st overall)
Round 5 (161st overall)
Round 5 (176th overall) -- Compensatory
Round 6 (197th overall)
Round 7 (236th overall)

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Packers 2014 Draft Musings - Part 1

At long last, we're finally getting around to addressing the 2014 NFL Draft and what the Green Bay Packers might do during the draft. It's about time, don't you think? After all, it's just four days away.

We've never done mock drafts here at for one main reason: we generally think they are a waste of time. At least, for us. Really, the odds of actually correctly making all picks in the first and second rounds would be akin to accurately picking the winner of the NCAA basketball tournament with all the bracket winners included. Possible? Sure. Probable? Not so much. And seven round projections...? C'mon. Really? Really???

Having said that, we do still appreciate all those individuals and organizations, however, that spend countless hours reviewing all the players in the draft, their stats, etc. etc. We confess to checking those out on occasion and, in fact, consider some of them as the basis for what we might wish to say about the draft or the Packers' possible picks, such as this article, for example. So, thanks to those who do the heavy lifting in this regard. You'll find yours truly on the patio, in the hammock, kicking back until things actually happen.

What will the Packers do?
As Packers GM Ted Thompson said the other day during his pre-draft press conference, if anyone says they have "inside information" about what the Packers are going to do, they don't. Thompson said that sometimes he's the only one with the inside information within the Packers organization. And he's not telling...anyone.

But, of course, as noted earlier, lots of folks have views. One of the folks we look to here for some trusted insights is the Radio Voice of the Green Bay Packers, Wayne Larrivee. He spoke with the Packers' flagship radio station, 620WTMJ in Milwaukee, a few days ago regarding his thoughts. Here's the interview. Take 10 minutes and listen to it.

Generally, we don't even discuss possible picks beyond the first round because at that point it's a crap shoot -- and, let's be honest, even in the first round that's the case. So, let's take a look at the players that seem to be emerging as somewhat consensus picks for the Packers if, in fact, they keep the 21st pick:

  • C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama -- Mosley shows up at this slot in quite a number of the mock drafts out there. He's a pick that makes sense as the Packers need to beef up their linebacking corps, especially opposite A.J. Hawk. He could line up at several spots, and provide the Packers with some speed, power and versatility that was lacking last season. We'd be quite happy if Mosley was the selection.

  • Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State -- Shazier, like Mosley, is one of the best linebackers in the draft. Many of the qualities that would make Mosley a good fit for the Packers would also make Shazier a good fit. Arguably, he might be a better cover linebacker than Mosley, an area where the Packers really need some improvement. Again, we'd be quite pleased if he wound up being the pick.

  • Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina -- With TE Jermichael Finley's career likely over, at least in Green Bay if not in the league, the Packers need to replace the threat that Finley was when healthy. Ebron would be that player. He'd have to fall into the Packers' lap, as most mocks have him off the board by this point, but if he's available, we think this could be the Packers' man at number 21. This is a deep draft, with good prospects at several key defensive positions, which means the Packers could get the help they need in that area of things during the second and third rounds especially. But there are not that many great tight end prospects. If Ebron is there, the Packers would be well served in selecting him.

  • Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State -- Many mock drafts have Dennard off the board by the time the Packers will be making their pick. But if available, he could make a significant impact in helping to improve the Packers' secondary because of his speed and physicality. If Mosley and Ebron are gone by the time the Packers are on the clock, and both Dennard and Shazier are available, it will be interesting to see which area of the defense the Packers choose to address first: secondary or linebacker. Again, this is a pick we'd be happy to see the Packers make.

  • Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame -- Even though the Packers kept B.J. Raji around for another season, they need to restock. Nix is one of the best defensive tackles in the draft and would make a great addition to the Packers front line. If the other players noted above are gone, the Packers would do well to put Nix into the Green 'n' Gold.

  • Other Possibilities

  • Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville -- Safety is a definite need for the Packers in this year's draft, and Pryor would bring size and speed to the position. In many mocks, he's off the board by the time the Packers pick at 21. If he's there, and players noted above are off the board, Pryor could be a very good gift in the first round.

  • Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois -- We wouldn't say this player is a "consensus" pick for the Pack at number 21, nor even a consensus first-rounder. But his stock seems to be rising and a couple mocks have him going to the Pack. He could play either corner or safety, and is physical...something that the Packers' secondary was not last season. We could see the Packers taking Ward if he's available in a later round, or if they trade back, but would be surprised if they made this pick so early in the draft.

  • Kony Ealy, DE/DT, Missouri -- Ealy has a lot of speed and versatility. But, as with Ward, we don't see the Packers taking him in the first round, but could jump on him if he is available later.

  • What are your thoughts about the upcoming draft? Who would you like to see the Packers get at 21? Who would you be your surprise pick for the Packers at number 21? Feel free to share your thoughts.