Packers get Michigan linebacker, move up for UCLA QB Hundley
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Packers closed out the draft by filling their need at inside linebacker with a player who could start this season, then picked a quarterback who might never play a meaningful down for them.
After beginning the final day of the draft by picking Michigan inside linebacker Jake Ryan in the fourth round (129th overall), Green Bay took UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley in the fifth (147th overall) after trading up in a deal with New England.
The Packers gave up their seventh-round pick (No. 247) to move up from No. 166 to take Hundley, leaving them with three sixth-round picks. They used those to take Oklahoma fullback Aaron Ripkowski (No. 206), Louisiana-Lafayette defensive lineman Christian Ringo (No. 210) and Alabama-Birmingham tight end Kennard Backman (No. 213).
With 31-year-old reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers in the prime of his career and with No. 2 Scott Tolzien re-signing this spring, the Packers could end up developing Hundley in order to trade him down the road.
”Aaron Rodgers is one of the greatest quarterbacks,” Hundley said. ”I know he still has a lot of years to play, but my job as a quarterback is to go in and compete. And just play football and learn as much as possible. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
Although the Packers wouldn’t say where they had Hundley rated among quarterbacks, Hundley said he’d hoped to go in the first round after Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota were the first two picks of the draft. When he didn’t go in the second or third rounds, he said he was so disappointed that he stopped watching the draft and started watching reruns of ”Family Guy” and playing table tennis.
Hundley was the sixth quarterback taken after Winston, Mariota, Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson, Sean Mannion of Oregon State and Baylor’s Bryce Petty.
”I think he’ll be an excellent fit in our quarterback room,” coach Mike McCarthy said. ”You can never have enough quarterbacks.”
The Packers could be counting on Ryan to start immediately.
With a few of their loyal fans panicking on social media about his failure to address the position during the first two days of the draft, maybe Packers general manager Ted Thompson picked Michigan inside linebacker Jake Ryan in the fourth round (129th overall) to calm them down.
Even Thompson apparently joked about that possibility.
”He kind of just said, `Maybe they’ll get off my back,’ " Packers director of player personnel Eliot Wolf said with a smile after the pick. Then, turning serious, he added, ”I honestly don’t think it had any bearing.”
Although Thompson probably wasn’t influenced by outside opinions, the addition of Ryan fills a need after the Packers took Arizona State cornerback Damarious Randall in the first round Thursday and Miami (Ohio) cornerback Quinten Rollins in the second round. Green Bay got Stanford wide receiver/kick returner Ty Montgomery in the third round.
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Ryan moved to middle linebacker in Michigan’s 4-3 defense as a fifth-year senior last season and had 112 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss, after missing half of the 2013 season with a knee injury suffered in spring practice that year. Despite the injury, Ryan made his way back for the second half of 2013.
”I feel comfortable,” Ryan said. ”Hopefully I can make an impact and help the Packers.”
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