By Ryan Ratty @RyanRattyNFL on August 30, 2014
It's been three years now since the Green Bay Packers were the Super Bowl champions. The Packers still have quality offensive players in place in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy. It is also good to know that one of the best quarterbacks in the league plays for Green Bay too. On the defensive side of the ball, this unit is very young and rookies will have their shot to make an impact. Here are the rookies' grades after preseason.
It was no surprise when the Packers selected Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round in May's draft. Although Calvin Pryor went before him, Clinton-Dix was the overall best safety in the draft class. Playing with excellent vision and ball skills, Clinton-Dix is a natural in Dom Capers' defense. Clinton-Dix is a playmaker and he has played exceptionally well so far in Green Bay.
You can never have too many offensive weapons in the NFL. Judging by that theory, the Packers took the best available approach in the second round when they selected Davante Adams out of Fresno State. Adams was one of the best receivers in college last year. Although the Packers are deep at wide receiver, Adams will be a contributor for this offense. Unfortunately, so far in the preseason, Adams hasn't done much.
Another player who hasn't really made big contributions is Khyri Thornton. The Packers reached for the Southern Miss product, but Thornton has a wide open opportunity to start at defensive tackle now that B.J. Raji is most likely out for the season. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel has been very upset with Thornton's play.
The Packers reached again in the fourth round to fill a need. Despite displaying bad numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine, California's Richard Rodgers is a matchup problem for opposing defenses. The Packers filled a need by drafting the tight end, but he has failed to take over the starting job. Rodgers is still competing with Andrew Quarless for the starting gig.
Carl Bradford is another player who didn't do much in the preseason. While the Packers love his versatility for the 3-4 defense, it's tough to predict where he will play because he failed to produce on the field when his name was called upon. Bradford is an intriguing player, but he has problems with staying consistent and that could be a problem going forward.
Corey Linsley is a player who has played really well for the Packers in the preseason. After Evan Dietrich-Smith left in free agency, the Packers had a huge hole at the center position. Many thought J.C. Tretter would slide over and start at center, but Linsley has done extremely well in limited time.
Jared Abbrederis had many things going for him when the Packers drafted him. Many thought he would be a versatile player in this spread offense. Instead, Abbrederis will be out for the season after tearing his ACL. Coming back from an injury to that extent is going to be difficult, but Abbrederis will need to come back strong if he is to make it on a team next season.
Demetri Goodson hasn't made much of an impact for the Packers. This is a crowded secondary. The Packers have invested a lot of money and draft picks in this position group over the past few years. That being said, Goodson could be an odd man out. He didn't impress the coaching staff that much in preseason. Knowing that, he may not be on the roster by the end of the day.
At this point in the draft, taking a chance on anyone is a shot in the dark. Jeff Janis lit it up at the NFL Scouting Combine. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Janis looks the part for an NFL wide receiver. Janis needs work on his technique and his footwork, but there is potential in this player. ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky has said that Janis is a lock to make this roster. This guy is going to be a fun one to watch if he keeps improving.
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