What can we say, first, about the draft overall and, secondly, the selections in particular? Let's get the first question out of the way. I'd give Thompson and the Packers an A- on this draft. As I said in a reply to someone on Twitter during the draft, I had high expectations and they were exceeded. In scanning some of the pundit and media reviews of the Packers' picks, it seems as if the overall grades range from A to B depending upon the reviewer's view, of course (and individual player ratings generally ranged from A to C). So let's just not get into too many details about the overall grade. The Packers did well. Very well.
In particular, it seems as if many sportswriters' views of the success of the Packers' picks focuses around the two running backs they selected: Eddie Lacy out of Alabama and the aforementioned Franklin. Lacy, to many, was arguably the highest-rated running back in the draft and a likely first-round pick. He was a great value pick for the Packers, falling to number 61 in the second round. Franklin was also viewed very positively by many and for the Packers to wind up with both apparently left many in awe. Not just for the caliber of the backs themselves, but for the fact that the Packers might -- after so many years of floundering in the running game -- finally have a duo in the backfield that provides a thunder-and-lightening combination that could give defenses fits. Especially in terms of what it will do to further open up the Packers' passing attack. Add in last season's late arrival and impact running back, DuJuan Harris, and the Packers might finally have something to provide balance in the offensive scheme that we haven't seen in a long, long time.
The Picks for the Pack
Without further ado, let's just list who the Packers picked up in the draft. We'll then take a look at the undrafted free agents signed by the Packers so far.
- Round 1 #26 DE Datone Jones, UCLA
- Round 2 #61 RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
- Round 4 #109 OT David Bakhtiari, Colorado
- Round 4 #122 OT J.C. Tretter, Cornell
- Round 4 #125 RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
- Round 5 #159 CB Micah Hyde, Iowa
- Round 5 #167 DE Josh Boyd, Mississippi State
- Round 6 #193 LB Nate Palmer, Illinois State
- Round 7 #216 WR Charles Johnson, Grand Valley State
- Round 7 #224 WR Kevin Dorsey, Maryland
- Round 7 #232 LB Sam Barrington, South Florida
- QB Matt Brown, Illinois State
- S Ben Ericksen, Illinois State
- G Patrick Lewis, Texas A&M
- OLB Andy Mulumba, Eastern Michigan
- RB Angelo Pease, Kansas State
- NT Gilbert Pena, Mississippi
- TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State
- G Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
- CB Damond Smith, South Alabama
- S Cedrick Moore, Stony Brook
- C Patrick Lewis, Texas A&M
The general consensus among pundits seems to be that, after the Packers got shredded by the 49ers in the playoffs, changes needed to be made on both sides of the ball. And that's what the Packers have done with these signings and a few recent moves. "Bigger," "faster," "stronger" are descriptors which can apply favorably in most sports, but especially football. The Packers definitely got bigger and stronger with their selections. They may have also gotten faster, particularly with the addition of Franklin and Johnson, both of whom are speedsters. Hopefully, they also perhaps got a bit tougher. They'll need it all to go head to head against the 49ers again this season -- and every other team on a tough schedule -- beginning in the 2013 season week 1 re-match.
There's an excellent article on this very topic in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by sportswriter Tom Silverstein. I recommend you read it.
For now, it looks very good for the Packers going into their early pre-season OTAs and mini-camps. That's what we think. Tell us how you think the Packers did with their draft by taking our poll in the upper righthand column. Inquiring minds want to know: what grade would you assign?