2017 NFL Draft: Grades For Every Green Bay Packers Pick
Grading the Green Bay Packers’ haul during the 2017 NFL Draft was easy based on some of the big-time moves they made in late April.
The 2017 NFL Draft is officially in the books, and the Green Bay Packers are walking away with a huge haul that should help this team stay in contention. So how do their 10 selections from this past weekend grade out?
Before we take a look, I first want to explain how I came up with my draft grades for the Packers. I took two factors into consideration when determining my grades for Green Bay’s haul: the value based on the position of the draft, and whether or not the addition addressed some sort of need for the team.
Don’t take them too seriously, though. Remember that these grades are subjective, and are based solely on my opinions of the prospects and the Packers’ current needs. Different people value different players differently, so I wouldn’t expect my grades to match the grades of other folks out there. We also have no idea how the future will unfold with these NFL newcomers.
Still, I believe it’s a good exercise to get an overall look at Green Bay’s draft decisions.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Packers’ draft grades for the 2017 NFL Draft. It was a strong showing overall with plenty areas of need addressed, but there were also a couple of headscratchers in the group.
When this pick was finally announced, it made perfect sense why the Packers decided to stay put at No. 33. Not only did they have a significant need at cornerback, but Kevin King was a tremendous value atop the second round.
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One of the fast risers of the 2017 NFL Draft, King quickly saw his stock go from mid-round pick to fringe first-round talent. His combination of size, speed and ball skills earned the attention of scouts from around the league, which eventually saw him come off the board to join one of the NFC’s best clubs.
And we all know Green Bay could use a starting-caliber cornerback after last season’s debacle in the secondary. Both Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins took significant steps back, and Sam Shields missed most of the year with a major concussion. Even with Davon House back in the mix, the Packers couldn’t afford to ignore the cornerback position.
Grabbing King at the top of the second round was a wonderful opportunity for the Packers to happen upon. They get one of the most intriguing cover men of the 2017 draft class who can contribute early. If he lives up to his full potential, he’ll be the No. 1 cornerback in Green Bay before long.
Safety, NC State
The secondary rebuild continues with the selection of Josh Jones later in the second round. While I know some folks love what the NC State product brings to the table, I’m not as convinced he can be a star at the next level.
What does make sense here, though, is that Green Bay could be looking for a replacement for Micah Hyde as an impact No. 3 safety with some upside. Jones is a versatile cover man, with experience at both cornerback and safety. Although he should see most of his time playing in the deep part of the field, he could slide down into the slot if needed.
Realistically, it’s the athleticism that has so many intrigued by Jones. He put up a blazing 40 time at the Combine while also showing off his explosiveness with an 11-foot broad jump. The on-field product isn’t as clean as you would like, but he’s a reliable option in coverage who isn’t afraid to get dirty against the run game.
When it all comes down to it, though, I believe there’s some significant potential for Jones to disappoint. His athleticism put the blinders on some of the scouting community, forcing them to forget about his inconsistent tackling and over-aggressiveness. Some coaching, though, could bring out the best in the uber-athletic Jones.
Defensive Tackle, Auburn
Chances are the Packers went into this draft knowing they were going to grab a mid-round defensive lineman to boost their depth. While this isn’t a bad pick by any means, I don’t know if Montravius Adams is going to be the impact player Green Bay was hoping for.
Sure, Adams is a great athlete for a man of his size. He’s also shown glimpses of pass-rush potential, which isn’t exactly easy to find from interior defenders. However, when it all comes down to it, chances are he’ll end up being nothing more than a rotational lineman who makes only a decent impact as a rusher.
Most likely, Adams will settle into a backup role as a run-stuffer with the versatility to play nose tackle or defensive end. The film shows a player who can earn snaps as a rookie, but who will struggle to match the power at the point of attack he’s sure to see against veteran offensive linemen. In time, I’d imagine Adams leveling out as a dependable early-down option.
Don’t get me wrong — Adams is a capable playmaker who should enjoy considerable success in Green Bay. In the grand scheme of things, though, I don’t believe his athletic abilities will translate into the pass-rushing impact the Packers are looking for. His floor is a quality backup who notches the occasional sack and provides solid run support.
Outside Linebacker, Wisconsin
The defensive theme continues here with yet another potential contributor being added at the start of Day 3. The pick also makes a lot of sense when you consider the Packers are rather lacking when it comes to depth at outside linebacker.
The starting jobs on the edge are currently locked down between Nick Perry and Clay Matthews. However, with Matthews on the decline, it’s no surprise Green Bay is starting to look at potential replacements for the All-Pro linebacker. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure Vince Biegel has what it takes to be the next man up.
While the Wisconsin product certainly shined in college, he does have a few areas that need considerable improvement before he’s ready to see significant snaps. His lack of power at the point of attack hindered him at times, and will continue to do so in the NFL. Biegel also battled some injuries at Wisconsin and comes into the league at 24 years old.
When it all comes down it, Biegel possesses the motor and tenacity needed to be a playmaker. Unfortunately, I think he’ll end up making a bigger impact on speical teams than as an edge rusher. It’s a solid depth pick, but not what you would have hoped for to kick off the fourth round.
Running Back, BYU
I was starting to wonder when the Packers planned on addressing the running back position. With Ty Montgomery and Christine Michael atop the depth chart, it seemed like a significant need–especially after Green Bay fielded such an inconsistent ground game in 2016.
While not an overly exciting addition, Jamaal Williams seems like a solid complement to Montgomery in the Packers backfield. While Montgomery fills the speedy, receiver role, Williams can serve as the short-yardage, power back who can handle work down on the goal-line. It’s not like the mercurial Michael can be counted on.
Williams isn’t a great athlete, depending more on power and aggressiveness to win as a runner. He isn’t much of a threat as a receiver, and will struggle to pick up big chunks of yards due to his lack of speed and elusiveness. It also doesn’t help that he’s dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career at BYU, labeling him as a considerable health risk.
Still, this is a solid selection for the Packers. Williams can come in and fill a particular role early on, with the potential to serve as the thunder to Montgomery’s lightning. The former Cougar’s ceiling is relatively low compared to some of the other backs in the 2017 class, but this is a great fit for him in Green Bay.
Wide Receiver, Purdue
With the way the Packers’ receiving corps is shaping up right now, they could certainly use some more bodies further down the depth chart. So it makes perfect sense why Green Bay would target a talent such as DeAngelo Yancey in the later rounds.
Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure if he’s going to end up doing much for this team. Sure, he’s got good size and reliable hands, especially further down the field. However, he’s an average athlete at best who routinely struggles to create separation. That isn’t going to get any easier at the next level.
Still, Yancey was a productive receiver during his days with the Boilermakers. He kept opposing defenders on their toes with his ability to make big plays on deep passes, evidenced by his 19.4 yards per catch in 2016. Even without legitimate separation skills, he could assert himself as a reliable possession receiver with a couple of years of coaching.
It’s unclear at this point what the future could hold for the Packers at receiver. Randall Cobb may soon be gone, and the end of the depth chart is all potential and no production. I’d expect Yancey to get every opportunity to prove he belongs in the mix for snaps in the not-so-distant future.
Running Back, UTEP
While Williams filled a significant role as a power back, Aaron Jones is a whole different type of beast. UTEP’s all-time leading rusher after only three seasons, Jones is one of the most intriguing late-round prospects in this 2017 draft class, at any position.
When you look at his physical tools, it all appears to be there. He’s got the size to be a difference maker whether he’s running inside or out. Jones also boasts the speed and elusiveness to strike fear in would-be tacklers, allowing him the ability to turn short runs into huge gains without too much effort.
Of all of the late-round running backs in this class, Jones could very well have the most potential to develop into a starter. On tape, he displays impressive vision, short-area burst and the ability to break big runs. To top it all off, Jones is a ridiculous athlete with the explosiveness you rarely see regardless of position.
Is he going to be a star some day? Chances are that won’t be the case. However, if he continues to develop at his current pace, we could very well see him emerge as a legitimate starting option in a committee approach for the Packers. They could definitely have done worse in the fifth round.
The Packers must know something most others don’t, because Kofi Amichia was not even expected to hear his name called during the 2017 NFL Draft. Heck, most folks in the scouting community had no idea he was even a consideration.
And yet, Green Bay spent a sixth-round pick on the guard out of USF. It’s a head-scratching move, at least in terms of who they selected. It would appear as though the Packers easily could have gotten this guy as a priority undrafted free agent. Instead, they spent the No. 212 pick on the former Bull.
From a need standpoint, this move makes sense. Following the departure of T.J. Lang via free agency, the Packers were left without a clear-cut starter at the position. Don Barclay and Jahri Evans figure to lead the charge for the starting job, but adding extra bodies to the competition isn’t the worst idea for Green Bay.
Amichia was a two-year starter at USF while earning All-AAC first-team honors in 2016. He played left tackle for the Bulls, but figures to bump inside at the next level due to his lack of elite athleticism and lateral quickness.
Running Back, Utah State
Another round, and another runner to add to the stable of backs in Green Bay. Put simply, the Packers are doing everything in their power to ensure there’s a brighter future at running back beyond a converted wide receiver.
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The additions of Williams and Jones were both steps in the right direction. In the case of Devante May, it’s another win for this backfield. While not nearly as exciting of a late-round talent as Jones, the Utah State product possesses the physical tools needed to at least push for a spot near the end of the depth chart.
More than anything, Mays is a terrific athlete with the explosiveness to compete for touches somewhere down the line. He is electric in the open field and brings an intriguing mix of power and speed to the table. Unfortunately, reoccurring injuries and a lack of receiving skills limited his draft stock — as did coming out of a school that isn’t known for producing much NFL-caliber talent
The Packers are committed to taking as many swings at running back as possible. Mays is definitely another option who could pay dividends down the road, especially if a committee approach is taken in Green Bay.
Wide Receiver, LSU
It’s starting to look like the Packers want to incite some competition at the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart. Well they should achieve exactly that with the selection of Malachi Dupre near the end of Day 3.
The former LSU standout was a top recruit coming out of high school, but failed to live up to the hype for the Tigers. Although a large part of that had to do with horrific quarterback play, Dupre often appeared overmatched and seemed to struggle with the mental aspects of the game.
Despite all of that, the physical traits are present with this one. He sports exceptional size and athleticism for the position, but doesn’t have the prototypical straight-line speed. However, with the glimpses he’s shown at LSU, it’s easy to understand why Green Bay would see him as an intriguing developmental receiver with significant upside.
Given some time to learn and grow as an NFL receiver could do wonders for Dupre. Playing with a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers could also play a big part in him realizing his potential. Either way, there’s a lot of upside in this pick, especially considering where in the draft it was made.