Draft Grader: Green Bay Packers

One of the prime franchises in recent memory, Khaled Elsayed reviews the Packers drafts from 2009-11 as they wrap up their 2014 draft preparations.

| 3 years ago

Draft Grader: Green Bay Packers

draftgraderGBfeatDraft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.

For me though that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.

Up next? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the Green Bay Packers


+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round

Nope …

+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!

Not here …

+1.0: The scouts nailed it!

Clay Matthews, LB (26th overall pick in 2009): While Matthews may have missed some time the past two years, he’s still logged an impressive 4,527 career snaps in Green Bay and been largely impressive (as his +67.0 career grade would suggest). What makes the exploits of Matthews all the more impressive is that for large stretches of his career he’s been the team’s only viable pass rushing threat.

T.J. Lang, OG (109th overall pick in 2009): Lang has worked at numerous spots before finding a home at guard on the right side of the line in 2013. Prior to that he’d established himself as a solid starter but the switch of sides truly benefited him with his best season to date. A great selection who has gone on to play 3,927 snaps.

Randall Cobb, WR (64th overall pick in 2011): It’s only really playing time that hurts Cobb, with his three seasons averaging fewer than 500 snaps per year. Yet, he’s been so explosive when he has been on the field (both on offense and returning) that he’s still well deserving of this category. A unique threat from the slot, his Yards Per Route Run from there has been in the top seven in the league the past two years.

+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor

Brad Jones, ILB (218th overall pick in 2009): After struggling as a pass rushing outside linebacker, Jones made the switch to inside linebacker and fully repaid that with an excellent 687 snaps in 2012. Sure his play fell off a year later, but he’s more than justified his selection.

Morgan Burnett, S (72nd overall pick in 2010): Burnett is teetering here. His good work in 2012 was undone by a lackluster 2013 but he’s at the very least developed into a solid starter, which is in turn, good payback on a third round pick.

Andrew Quarless, TE (155th overall pick in 2010): Has never quite taken the leap to being a starter you are fully confident in, but the fifth-rounder has logged 1,475 snaps and looked okay in the process.

James Starks, RB (194th overall pick in 2010): Only playing time that has hurt Starks who has wowed on more than one occasion since being a 2012 sixth-round pick. Might not have the durability to be a lead back, but a playmaker he is nonetheless.

C.J. Wilson, DL (231st overall pick in 2010): Finding a solid rotational body in the seventh is handy work. Sure Wilson is on the lesser side of average, but he’s been able to eat up 1,198 snaps without looking out of place.

0.0: It could have been worse

Quinn Johnson, FB (145th overall pick in 2009): Close to a positive, Johnson was a decent enough lead blocker during his 419 snaps with the team but just didn’t play enough.

Jairus Wynn, DE (182nd overall pick in 2009): You take chances on sixth-rounders in the hope they might amount to something. Wynn would play 720 snaps without ever being one that worked out.

Brandon Underwood, CB (187th overall pick in 2009): Lasted two years with the team before being waived. Would play just 63 snaps on defense but contribute 11 tackles on special teams.

Bryan Bulaga, OT (23rd overall pick in 2010): A rollercoaster of a career. Awful as a rookie, brilliant as a sophomore, and either someway in between or injured since. He’s about what you’d expect (when you sum his career up) of a first round tackle but with the ability to be so much more.

Mike Neal, LB (56th overall pick in 2010): Can play a number of spots but you get the feeling that maybe hasn’t been to his benefit. Developed into a below average starter and is clinging on to a neutral grade right now.

Marshall Newhouse, OT (170th overall pick in 2010): Even with the career grade (-45.1) Newhouse has still achieved more than most fifth-round tackles.

Davon House, CB (131st overall pick in 2011): Jury remains out on House who has picked up 851 snaps in a crowded secondary.

D.J. Williams, TE (141st overall pick in 2011): No longer with the team, Williams found it hard to get on the field making just 366 snaps in Packer colors.

D.J. Smith, ILB (186th overall pick in 2011): Looked promising as a rookie as he earned a +3.5 grade on 267 snaps. But that was the high point and he wouldn’t last much longer with the team.

Ryan Taylor, TE (219th overall pick in 2011): Has had 349 snaps on offense during which team he’s shown why he was seventh-round pick (-7.7 grade).

Lawrence Guy, DT (235th overall pick in 2011): Had success elsewhere after the Colts plucked him from the Packers’ practice squad.

-0.5: That pick was not put to good use

Jamon Meredith, OT (162nd overall pick in 2009): Was deemed expendable when the team placed him on the practice squad as a rookie.

B.J. Raji, DT (9th overall pick in 2009): This is not at all about what I’d expect from a ninth overall pick. I’d expect them to be a difference maker for the duration of their contract. Raji had spells where he looked very good, particularly in 2010 and 2012. But outside of that there was a whole heap of nothing and his career grade of -19.1 over 3,856 snaps indicates he hasn’t delivered on his potential.

Alex Green, RB (96th overall pick in 2011): Third-round pick just never developed into a guy the team could trust. Green would feature on just 355 snaps.

Ricky Elmore, DE (197th overall pick in 2011): Would end up done in Year 1, struggling in camp and cut not long after.

Caleb Schlauderaff, OG (179th overall pick in 2011): Would be traded to the Jets for an undisclosed draft pick.

-1.0: What a waste!

Derrick Sherrod, OT (32nd overall pick in 2011): Unfortunate here as Sherrod suffered the kind of injury that has robbed him of a career to date, featuring on just 121 snaps. His Packers tenure will be defined by what happens with him in 2014.

-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!

Nope …

-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!

Nor here …


Here are the teams we’ve covered so far:

PIT | SL | SD | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WAS


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled


  • mutzki

    Overall a pretty good list. I just wonder why guys like Sherrod aren’t left off the list because it really is impossible to grade a draft pick on a player who barely played before suffering serious injury. Injuries really shouldn’t play into factor as much as they apparently do (with injuries the amount of snaps obviously goes down as well).

    Put in an extra category and mention all the players that were not gradeable due to injury. Same discussion was already on the Ravens draft grader.

    • smilerz

      When grading how much a draft pick has meant to the team you have to take into account the wasted picks regardless of why they were wasted. This isn’t an indictment of the player or the GM that picked them, just point out that they failed to receive value from a Round 1 pick.

      • Chris from Cape Cod

        I was going to make the same point, but you nailed it.

  • Jacob Basson

    James Starks was drafted in 2010, not 2012 (and contributed significantly in the 2010 superbowl run).

  • Brandon

    I would say Cobb is arguably and Mathews is definitely underrated here. Good evaluation otherwise. Gotta feel for Sherrod, was never injury-prone in college, just got really unlucky.

  • bobrulz

    Clay Matthews definitely deserves a +1.5, especially as a late first round pick.

    • Ryan

      He was a first rounder and he’s been injured a lot, not exactly a +1.5

      • bobrulz

        He hasn’t missed that much time to injuries. Just 11 games in 5 seasons. He was also a late 1st round pick, not an early 1st round pick (the expectations are quite different), and has been absolutely dominant when on the field.

  • Kevin

    It’s amazing seeing how many players on this list would at least be a grade higher if it wasn’t for injuries. Matthews, Cobb, Bulaga, Starks and possibly even Jones. Jones looked great in 2012 but played all of last season with injuries which seriously hurt his production.

    Another factor holding some players back is the people they are playing beside. Burnett for example has been put in a horrible situation considering who he has played next to. I would love to see what he would be playing next to Collins. Matthews could fall into this category also considering how often he is doubled because of the lack of another pass rushing threat.

    I’d like to see UDFA’s added to this list. UDFA’s are basically the same as a 6th/7th rd draft choice. Late rd draft choices are just glorified UDFA’s after all.