2014 NFL Draft Review: Green Bay Packers Fill Biggest Need
It was a typical haul under GM Ted Thompson for the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFL Draft. As usual, they let the board fall the way it would and took the best player available, acquiring both talent and depth along both sides of the ball.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama) was the first pick for the Packers, and he was one of the best picks in the first round by my estimation. Not only did the Packers have a huge hole at FS opposite Morgan Burnett, but Clinton-Dix was the best safety in the ’14 draft class, so to have him fall all the way to 21 to GB was a shock. Great move here by Thompson showing the patience to let the board take shape and let his prized prospect fall to him without moving up and giving away draft capital. The only thing that’s kind of fishy is that everyone picking from no. 10 through 20 all had holes at FS, and all passed on him. Still, I really like this pick.
Davante Adams (WR, Fresno State) and Khyri Thornton (DT, Southern Miss) were the teams 2nd and 3rd round picks. Adams was a very good value in the second round (many projected him going in the first) and will be another fine weapon for QB Aaron Rodgers. Both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will be free agents after this season and Adams will provide insurance in case one (or both) are gone.
Thornton wasn’t necessarily a ‘need’ pick at 5-tech for the Pack, but will provide some needed pass rush from up front. GB has struggled generating pressure aside from the blitz, and Thornton could aid that. It’ll be interesting to see how the DE rotation shapes up with Thornton, Datone Jones (first rounder in ’13), Mike Neal (2nd rounder in ’10), Jerel Worthy (2nd rounder in ’12) and Mike Daniels (4th rounder in ’12).
Richard Rodgers (TE, Cal) and Carl Bradford (LB, Arizona State) were picks 98 and 121 respectively. Rodgers wasn’t one of the better picks by Thompson here, as he’s a very raw and doesn’t offer a whole lot of upside. Bradford, on the other hand, was a solid value in the fourth round. I’m not sure if he’s got the length to rush off the edge for the Pack’s 34 front, but could be a good 3rd down rusher from the inside on nickel and dime sets. He’s got some potential if he can get a stronger base.
Corey Linsley (C, Ohio State), Jared Abbrederis (WR, Wisconsin), Demetri Goodson (CB, Baylor) and Jeff Janis (WR, Saginaw Valley) were the teams 5th, 6th and 7th round picks. Linsley will be a longshot to make the team out of camp, but the other three are high upside developmental guys. Abbrederis was a good value at no. 176 and reminds me a lot of Brian Hartline (who’s coming off two consecutive 1,000+ yard seasons with the Miami Dolphins). Goodson, if he can ever stay healthy for a stretch, shows the natural athleticism to play man coverage at the NFL level. Janis is a small school guy who offers a good size/speed combination, but will need some time to adjust to increase competition level.
All in all, a good haul for the Pack. They didn’t have a ton of needs aside from S and did a good job of letting the board take it’s natural shape. What they ended up with was a lot of depth at some good values, and a potential star at FS.