Green Bay Packers 2014 NFL Draft
The NFL draft has come and gone. Now all that we football fans have will be snippets of mini-camps and what not until the preseason starts in August. However, as a Packers fan, there is much to be excited about going into the 2014 season. The Packers drafted well, filling some needs they’ve had not just last year, but the past few seasons. Here’s how the NFL Draft shook out for the Green ‘n Gold:
Round 1 – Pick 21
“Ha-Ha” Clinton Dix – Safety – Alabama
Since Nick Collins had his all-pro career abruptly stopped back in 2011, the Packers secondary has been (to put it politely) sub-par. Many analysts, myself included (I use the term analyst lightly on myself), feel that the Packers caught a break this past Thursday as Clinton-Dix dropped all the way to 21 and right into the Packers’ lap. Clinton-Dix was the full-time starter for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide in 2013, and he recorded an impressive 51 tackles while also picking off the ball twice. He figures to be the starter in Green Bay come day one.
Round 2 – 53rd Pick
Devante Adams – Receiver – Fresno State
With James Jones heading to Oakland this off-season, the Packers needed to add one more piece to the trio of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, & Jarrett Boykin. They think they have found just that in Mr. Adams. The similarities between Adams & Jones are almost spooky coming out of college:
When he came into the league in 2007, Jones measured 6’1″ and weighed 207 pounds. Adams is also 6’1″ with a little more bulk at 214 pounds. Jones ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds, whereas Adams ran it in 4.56.
Whether or not the Packers have found James Jones replacement obviously remains to be seen, but they definitely have found a productive player as Adams comes in with a total of 233 receptions, 3,030 yards, and 38 touchdowns in just two seasons with the Bulldogs.
Round 3 – Pick 85
Khyri Thornton – Defensive Tackle – Southern Mississippi
As Packer fans, we’ve been a little let down with Dom Capers’ defense ever since 2010. We’ve spent most of our picks on the defensive side of the ball over the course of the past three years, so we’re young, but the talent is there. Khyri Thornton will surely add to a struggling Packers defensive line. A three-year starter at Southern Miss., Thornton recorded 99 tackles (26 for loss) along with 3 sacks. That may not be eye-popping numbers, but for a nose-tackle, that’s just what Green Bay needs, especially if you consider that B.J. Raji hasn’t recorded a sack in the past two seasons.
Round 3 – Pick 98
Richard Rodgers – Tight End – California
With the talented Jermichael Finley cut from the Packers after last year’s devastating neck injury, the Packers need some depth behind Andrew Quarless. They looked to Cal’s Richard Rodgers, who entered the draft early after a 39 reception 608 yard season for the Blue & Yellow. At 6’4″, the Cal product should create a nice option for former Golden Bear Aaron Rodgers. I don’t know about you, but the phrase “Rodgers to Rodgers for the touchdown!” does have a nice ring to it.
Round 4 – Pick 121
Carl Bradford – Outside Linebacker – Arizona State
He’s small. 6’1” with 30-inch arms. That isn’t up there with what most analyst say an OLB in a 3-4 scheme needs to be (6’4” with 35-inch arms). Over the past two seasons, he’s had 20 sacks and 39.5 tackles for the Sun Devils, and if you do a little research on him, you’ll instantly want to root for him.
On March 12th, 2013 Bradford lost his father to a heart attack. He even was the one who held him in his arms after the incident. The ASU product has had a fire lit underneath his you-know-what ever since. He plays with anger. He plays with pride. He plays for his father. This is a perfect Ted Thompson pick in my eyes.
Round 5 – Pick 161
Corey Linsley – Center – Ohio State
I’m a Michigan fan, let’s get that out of the way first. However, having watched the Buckeyes beat up on the Maize & Blue for the last half of my life, I’m familiar with Ohio’s skills. They’re offense has been one of the best in the school’s history over the past two seasons, and Linsley played every game during that span at Center for the Buckeyes. With the Packers losing their third center in three years (Scott Wells, Jeff Saturday, & Evan Dietrich-Smith), this was a need for the Packers. Hopefully this will be one of those steals that Green Bay can pull off from time to time.
Round 5 – Pick 176
Jared Abbrederis – Receiver – Wisconsin
The former Badger only has to move two hours north in a self-described “dream come true”. Abbrederis, a former walk-on at Wisconsin, had 202 receptions (school record) for 3,140 yards and 23 TDs in his Badger career. While his number did dip when pitted up against top-tier Big Ten defensive backs, he didn’t have Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. We’ll see where his NFL career takes the Badger product.
Round 6 – Pick 197
Demetri Goodson – Cornerback – Baylor
A former point guard for Gonzaga, the 6-foot tall basketball player transferred his athleticism to football. After two years of injuries, Goodson finally got to play a full season. He earned All-Big 12 honors with 3 interceptions & 16 deflections. A natural athlete, he’ll need to hone his skills to make the leap to the NFL. Joe Whitt, the Packers’ cornerbacks coach will have to improve Goodson in some areas, but he likes what he sees. Whitt is an experienced coach for the Green & Gold; he was the one who helped transform Sam Shields into a cornerback after Shields went undrafted as a receiver back in 2010.
Round 7 – Pick 236
Jeff Janis – Receiver – Saginaw Valley State
It’s always nice to see a Division II player get drafted and get to play in the NFL. Hopefully Janis follows the likes of Detroit’s Joique Bell & the Jets’ Chris Ivory. Janis is the 4th player ever picked up by an NFL team from SVSU. At 6′ 3”, Janis is described as a pure athlete. He led the GLIAC in most receiving categories with 83 receptions, 1,572 yards, and 14 touchdowns. He also ran a 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds and bench-pressed 225 pounds an impressive 20 times! With it being the 7th round, the Packers took a risk that could pay off some big dividends.
My (Humble) Takes on the draft
I’ve talked about it all off-season. Ted Thompson has a love-hate relationship with Packers Nation. This draft was slightly maddening, because we didn’t fill one of our biggest needs: Middle Linebacker. A.J. Hawk is okay, but our depth is small and our talent isn’t that great. While I like most of our picks, it would have been nice to see us draft an Inside Linebacker. However, that is why I’m not the General Manager of the Green Bay Packers. I trust Mr. Thompson, and say what you want, he’s usually right in his decisions. Go Pack Go!
-Carl Leander Johnson