Draft Grader: Green Bay Packers
This storied franchise has been an exciting one to watch in recent years. Khaled Elsayed examines their 2008-2010 drafts.
Draft Grader: Green Bay Packers
In case you haven’t noticed we’ve been going back over the 2008, 2009, and 2010 draft selections of each franchise and assigning each pick a grade. Up next? Well that’s the Green Bay Packers.
Each pick between the 2008 and 2010 draft classes a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:
• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for
Let’s take a look at how Green Bay has drafted.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
With Aaron Rodgers on the roster they didn’t need to.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Josh Sitton, G (135th overall pick in 2008): In much the same way it astounds that Carl Nicks lasted as long as he did, so it does with Sitton. Sure he was a college tackle, but come on scouts, you must have seen his talent right? One of the most consistent guards in the league, Sitton has finished in the top four of our right guard rankings the past three seasons.
Clay Matthews, LB (26th overall pick in 2009): From his first day Matthews has been an impact player, originally from the left outside linebacker spot and now from the right side. On a defense that lacks playmakers in the front seven, you think teams would find a way to slow this guy down. Yet as his +72.4 grade over four years show, that just hasn’t happened.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Jordy Nelson, WR (36th overall pick in 2008): Seems odd to say it, but it did take Nelson some time to find his feet in the NFL. In his first two years in the league he didn’t catch more than 33 passes in a season, and then in 2010 he dropped 11 of 77 catchable balls (including four in the Super Bowl). Then in 2011 he turned it on in a big way and followed it up with a solid (if at times injury disrupted) 2012. A real weapon and an excellent find in the second round.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Jermichael Finley, TE (91st overall pick in 2008): At his best, Finley is a mismatch defenses can’t contend with. At his worst, a tight end that blocks like a receiver and drops the ball like an offensive linemen. His upside and what he can do is such that it’s a positive comfortably, but if he could ever put it all together it would be a lot higher.
Matt Flynn, QB (209th overall pick in 2008): He didn’t see the field all that much but when he did filled in adequately and generated plenty of buzz. If for Russell Wilson being Russell Wilson would likely have netted the Packers a decent compensatory pick of greater value than he cost. Now it’s time to see what he can do with the Raiders.
B.J. Raji, DT (9th overall pick in 2009): Made a big splash when the Packers went onto win the Super Bowl but did struggle some as Green Bay failed to manage his snap count effectively. Used more at defensive end in 2012, he looked some way back to his best in 2012 with a +12.8 grade.
T.J. Lang, G (109th overall pick in 2009): Finally found a home for himself at a left guard after it was vacated by Daryn Colledge, Lang actually managed to upgrade the position with a fine year and while his 2012 wasn’t quite as good, he still earned another positive grade. It’s always nice finding starters in the fourth.
Brad Jones, LB (218th overall pick in 2009): Was hardly worth the seventh when used as an outside linebacker, but the move inside brought the best out of him and he excelled as an every down player. Might struggle for more playing time but has delivered in a way seventh rounders rarely do.
Bryan Bulaga, T (23rd overall pick in 2010): Didn’t have the best of rookie years individually, but bounced back to look like one of the league’s best right tackles in his sophomore season. Has the potential to earn an even higher grade, but missed too much of 2012 hurt to earn that.
Morgan Burnett, S (71st overall pick in 2010): After his rookie year was cut short by injury, Burnett solidified his spot as a starter in 2011 with a decent season. Now the veteran safety on the roster and after a year where he was our 16th ranked safety, that’s a good thing.
Marshall Newhouse, T (169th overall pick in 2010): Upped his game in 2012, particularly in pass protection (outside of the odd horror game). Doesn’t have the tools to be an elite left tackle, but it’s not bad when you can turn a fifth rounder into a serviceable one.
James Stark, RB (193rd overall pick in 2010): Hasn’t proven himself deserving of an every down role, but the shifty Starks represents excellent value as a guy who can make defenders miss.
C.J. Wilson, DE (230th overall pick in 2010): Generates next to nothing as a pass rusher but when he’s been called upon he’s handled himself very well in the run game. A +8.5 grade in that respect over three years of getting on the field.
0.0: It could have been worse
Breno Giacomini, T (150th overall pick in 2008): Was given plenty of opportunities to win a starting job but never earned the trust of the coaches and was thus unable to get on the field. Giacomini has since gone on to have some success in Seattle.
Brett Swain, WR (217th overall pick in 2008): The Packers’ fifth receiver for some time got on the field for 109 snaps and made four special teams tackles. Not all that noteworthy.
Quinn Johnson, FB (145th overall pick in 2009): You can never have enough fullbacks’ right? Johnson did a decent job as one of the Packers three lead blockers, earning a +8.4 grade in 419 snaps before he became surplus to requirements.
Jairus Wynn, DE (182nd overall pick in 2009): With a -13.0 grade in 719 snaps it’s fair to say that maybe Wynn hasn’t quite worked out for the Packers. Still, you can’t win them all in the sixth round and this is far from a defeat.
Brandon Underwood, CB (187th overall pick in 2009): Didn’t contribute on defense, but did have some impact on special teams despite some off-field problems.
Mike Neal, DE (56th overall pick in 2010): Not suitable for an every down role, he has at least turned into a decent enough situational player as an interior rusher. Neal has earned a +7.2 grade in 2012 for his pass rushing.
Andrew Quarless, TE (154th overall pick in 2010): Found it hard to fill the shoes of Jermichael Finley as a rookie, then found his role in 2011 reduced before injury. Right now it’s too early to tell what kind of lasting impact he’ll have as a Packer.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Patrick Lee, CB (60th overall pick in 2008): Second round picks should play more than 126 snaps over a four year period. That’s less than what a lot of players manage in two games. Two knee injuries make you wonder what may have been, but this was still a major disappointment.
Jeremy Thompson, DE (102nd overall pick in 2008): Looked terrible as a rookie (-7.8 grade on 161 snaps) and wasn’t cut out for life in a 3-4 when Green Bay switched over.
Jamon Meredith, T (162nd overall pick in 2009): Snatched off the Packers’ practice squad by the Bills, Meredith didn’t spend much time as a Packer.
-1.0: What a waste!
They got something worse than a waste …
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Brian Brohm, QB (56th overall pick in 2008): An odd pick at the time, Brohm was a huge bust for Green Bay and was subsequently cut and re-signed to the practice squad as a sophomore player. He naturally never saw regular season duty and has had no success around the league.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
No Russell/ Leaf hybrids in this draft.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled