PACKERS 2019 Draft Review

By | June 30, 2019

The PACK started the Draft proceedings with 10 Picks to use, but before the first Round was over, GM BRIAN GUTEKUNST dealt their 2 4th Round Picks to move up in Round 1 for a player they had fallen in luv with during the pre-Draft evaluation process. Most of their selections are ranked lower on my rankings chart, but in the final analysis, I don’t have many issues with what they got out of this year’s Draft process. So let’s take a detailed look.

Round 1, Pick 12
6’4 277 4.62/40 PP#10
Despite signing two players whose position assignments are split between DE and OB/ER duties, just to show how desperate the team was to provide jumbo size, defensive play-makers for Defensive Coordinator MIKE PETTINE, they drafted another one in GARY. There were some raised eyebrows when GARY was selected, in part because of the athlete redundancy, but also because GARY was perceived by many to have underachieved at MICHIGAN. However, when healthy, GARY had the ability and athleticism to tilt the field in his team’s direction. When healthy and motivated, this guy can take over a game. He played with a bad shoulder last season, but still recorded 44 T, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 S, and 5 QBH. He looks even bigger, and especially longer, than his Combine numbers indicate. You also cannot ignore his 34 1/8″ arms and his LB-like 40-time. He reminds me quite a bit of a guy named CLOWNEY, when he came out of SOUTH CAROLINA. CLOWNEY has not been a superstar for the TEXANS, but he has indeed dominated in some games. The PACK would likely be glad to have GARY match CLOWNEY’s pro performances.

Round 1, Pick 21
5’11 199 4.36/40 PP#70
This Pick has taken some heat in many media outlets, but I would be willing to bet that more than a few of those critics never labored through a 2018 MARYLAND game tape to actually watch him in action. Yes, it may seem a bit early to trade up in Round 1 to get him, but the PACK are convinced that several other teams were ready to draft him in the twenties-range had they not moved up, and S was one of the biggest need areas in their secondary. SAVAGE is an impact player with speed, ball skills, tackling acumen, and highly competitive attitude. He should be able to play multiple roles in their secondary as they switch from one sub-package to another. He may also be able to help them on Special Teams. I also find it almost humorous that some question whether he is big, (stout), enough to hold up as a pro S. Add a pound to that number above and he’s 5’11/200. MALCOLM JENKINS is 6’/204; EDDIE JACKSON is 6’/202; VONN BELL is 5’11/205; BUDDA BAKER is 5’10/195; and ERIC WEDDLE is 5’11/195. These guys, and others, have all thrived as NFL starting S’s. On paper, and game tape, this looks like another starter added to the roster. He also looks like he can be an impact defender and playmaker.

Round 2, Pick 44
6’5 310 5.20/40 PP#80
COREY LINSLEY is still firmly entrenched as their starting OC, so I expect that JENKINS will receive every opportunity this Summer to win a starting job at one of their OG spots. He’s a solid athlete, with mobile footwork. Watching him in games, as he fired out after snapping the ball, he readily gets to second level blocks. He is certainly able to be a multi-position backup for a while, if he can’t win a starting job. He has 10″ hands and 34″ long arms. He has good functional strength, as evidenced by his 29 reps on the bench press at the Combine. My rankings would indicate at least a Round too high, but he looks like a very good fit for their OL group, and an eventual, if not an immediate, starter. Nice Pick!

Round 3, Pick 75
6’4 251 4.75/40 PP#123
The team is hoping to get at least one more solid season out of JIMMY GRAHAM, who was not terrible last season, with 55 catches for over 600 yards and 2 TD’s. However, it was clear that a major need for them was an added, athletic talent for their TE group. Many personnel people felt that after FANT/HOCKENSON/SMITH, JACE was in the next cluster of quality TE’s for this Draft. His size and overall athleticism are above average. His 9 3/4″ hands and 32 1/8″ long arms are appealing. His 40-time leaves a bit to be desired, but he does seem to get separation on most of his routes. His blocking is really his biggest challenge. Improving it will be job one for the coaching staff this summer, but he brings some much needed energy and youth to a TE group with many vets that are over 30 years old. He should make a solid red zone target, (10 TD’s last season), and will run over some defenders after the catch.

Round 5, Pick 150
6’3 288 4.96/40 PP#231
After missing out on Round 4, because of two traded picks to move up for SAVAGE, the team came back with a very interesting prospect in KEKE. KEKE trimmed down a bit for the new JIMBO FISHER coaching staff in 2018 and improved his speed and energy. Note that at 288 pounds, he still ran a sub-5.00/40. Of the 21 prospects in the Combine DT group, KEKE was ranked 6th in overall athleticism for his work in Indy, by Ourlads. He has some explosion as a gap shooting penetrator. His 34 1/2″ arms bode well for his ability to keep blockers off his body. He could provide the PACK with some versatile work in their 2 & 3-man DL alignments. KEKE performed well overall in Mobile during SR Bowl week. His 2018 A&M stats; 51 T’s, 11 TFL, 7 Sacks, 4 QBH, 1 PBU, and 1 FF. He needs to improve his explosion off the snap and overall consistency but his ceiling potential is high.

Round 6, Pick 185
6’0 193 4.39/40 PP#185
He is a former walk-on who developed into a solid pro prospect while at TOLEDO. He had a nice career there, but it may have been his workout numbers that cinched a draft selection for him. He has decent size and a pretty impressive 40-time that you see above. His Pro Day vertical of 39″ was pretty impressive also. In addition to his straight line speed, he has very quick feet and can change direction smoothly. He looks like a sure thing to find his way into their sub-package looks. He should be another nice addition to their woeful Special Teams units, especially in kick coverage. This is a very solid Pick here in Round 6.

Round 6, Pick 194
5’11 212 4.53/40 PP#151
His career for the IRISH was marred by some off-the-field issues. I have been assured that his 4 game suspension to start the 2018 season was pot related, not felonious. He has always been an explosive, power back with good balance to bounce off tacklers. He is mostly a one-cut runner, who shows explosion thru the hole. Interestingly to me, Ourlads left the Combine with WILLIAMS ranked 6 out of 24 RB’s, athletically speaking. He just missed 1,000 rushing yards last season, despite the 4 missed games, averaging 6.3 ypc and scoring 12 TD’s. Though not known as a great receiver, he shows enough potential for coaches to try to develop more. He has nice 9 1/2″ hand size. He could be the 3rd Musketeer in the young, rebuilt PACK RB room, with AARON JONES & JAMAAL WILLIAMS.

Round 7, Pick 226
6’1 241 4.52/40 PP#255
Not to say that he can’t find a way to get on the field as part of their defense, but for now, I see this guy as being an important addition to improve their recently poor Special Teams play. SUMMERS is a hard nosed young man, who is also more athletic than most seem to give him credit for. I was flabbergasted when I saw his Combine 40-time. I checked with a valuable resource, Ourlads, and found that of the 15 players in the IB group at the Combine, they had SUMMERS ranked as the 4th most athletic player overall. My guess is that the PACK would like nothing better than to see SUMMERS emerge as their leading tackler on Special Teams this season. He may also surprise with his work in some of their defensive packages.

As you can see above, I have most of their Picks rated a Round or more later than they did in my prospect rankings. That is nothing new, when it comes to analyzing picks made by TED THOMPSON proteges like DORSEY, SCHNEIDER, and now GUTEKUNST. However, they have had overall success in the Draft during the THOMPSON era, and with other teams. Overall, the theme here seemed to be defensive help, (5 of 8 Picks), as well as improved team speed, and overall athleticism. Help for Special Teams was also clearly a big need, and many of their Day 3 draftees may answer that call. Barring injury, I would expect all of these Picks to make their 53-man roster, and contribute as Rookies. This Draft group is in my top quarter of Draft efforts by any team this year! It will be superior if their first 4 Picks really do gain full-time roles as Rookies.