The 2012 Draft is done, the drafted are at home celebrating, the less fortunate are at home thinking, what does their future hold, will they be signed as a UFA, will they attempt making a career out of the Arena Football League, many will consider hanging up the cleats and making a career from whatever they graduated in. Eight lucky young men were drafted by the Packers, who if you ask me are set to win the Super Bowl next year. Most of our picks were made with an improved pass-rush in mind, two of our defensive picks are aimed to improve, and make our secondary younger. From Round 1 to Round 7 Ted Thompson managed to surprise every cheesehead out there.
After Shea McClellin was stolen by the Chicago Bears at pick 19 overall, by the time the Packers were on the clock the only players I could see going to the Packers were Nick Perry and Courtney Upshaw, like I expected we went with Perry. Nick Perry is used to playing as a defensive end in USC’s 4-3 scheme, as expected to change to a 3-4 ROLB to play opposite of Clay Matthews. Although Perry practically told 3-4 teams not to draft him by saying he preferred keeping his hand in the dirt, the Packers called him up thinking they could make him comfortable as a pass-rushing linebacker. As a 4-3 end Perry played 12 games last year with 54 tackles, 13 for a loss, 8.5 sacks, and 3 passes broken up. Perry showed good athleticism at the combine running a 4.58 40 and and benching 225 lbs. 35 times.
Ted Thompson saw him slipping and knew his value so when the time was right he traded away our fourth and second rounder for the Eagles second round pick to draft defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. Jerel Worthy played DT and made an amazing 10.5 tackles for a loss, although his pass-rushing skills could be better (he had 3.5 sacks last year) I have read Worthy is a good gap-stuffer and allows linebackers to make big plays when he can’t make them himself sometimes. I think Worthy was worthy of the trade (pun intended) because he can support Raji in the inside, and makes our defensive line rotation a lot better in the d-end position, my only concern was his inconsistent motor, he has been seen taking a few plays off. His excuse in simple terms: People get tired when your playing, you cant always be 100%
Hayward is a ball-hawk. Last year while playing at Vanderbilt, he intercepted 7 passes from the cornerback position. We traded our third and fifth round picks to get the Patriots’ second round pick. After getting back in the second round we quickly recognized the talent in Hayward and gave him a call. Hayward showed his decent speed when he ran a 4.53 in the 40 but could improve on a few aspects of his game like his man coverage skills. I really like the Hayward pick, I think he has great potential that could be reached when learning from Charles Woodson. Some people think he could be moved to the FS position, but I think hes better off at CB which he has played all of his career.
Mike Daniels (Compensatory)
After trading up in the second we were left with no tradable picks in the fourth round. At the end of the fourth we were left with back-to-back compensatory picks, and with the first one we selected Mike Daniels the former Iowa Hawkeye defensive tackle who, like Worthy, will be moved to 3-4 defensive end. Mike Daniels had a solid season last year in Iowa with 7 sacks, 66 tackles, and a broken pass. Some think he was underrated, and I would agree. Daniels has quick hands, and natural leverage although he is undersized standing only 6.5 feet and weighing 291, he uses it to his advantage to get around and in between offensive lineman.
Jerron McMillian (Compensatory)
We all knew that the Packers needed a safety, we had the worst defense in history and our defensive backs were not able to stay in coverage while the opposing quarterback had all day to throw the ball. Are pass rush has improved (on paper) and we could use a starting safety after we let Nick Collins go. Jerron McMillian, like Collins is out of a small school but has had good years. I couldn’t find his stats in 2011 but in 2010 he had 2 interceptions, 58 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, and six pass break-ups. Jerron McMillian ran a 4.51 (4.37 at pro day), and looks to play at the strong safety position. If he gets the starting role I could see him being the SS of the team while Morgan Burnett moves to FS.
Yes, we did previously trade our fifth round pick, but we got it back. By giving all of our tradable round 6 and round 7 picks to New England we were back in round 5 where we selected Terrell Manning OLB out of North Carolina. Terrell Manning had 76 tackles, 3 interceptions, 5.5 sacks, and 4.5 tackles for loss last year in college. Manning was seen as a steal in the draft by a few sources, and him himself thinks he was underrated. Manning said that he was just as good if not better than Zach Brown who was drafted at spot 20 in round two by the Titans. I like players with confidence, it boosts there performance, and causes them to increase their overall potential, if Manning can be as successful as he thinks he could be he could be a great addition to our OLB rotation and overall defense.
Andrew Datko (Compensatory)
We are almost done with the entire draft and to start the end is Andrew Datko, offensive tackle out of FSU. After Chad Clifton was released earlier this off-season, it was important we added some quality depth at the tackle position. Before he had surgery on his shoulder some considered Datko a second round talent, hopefully he can be back at that potential efficiently block for the best QB in the league.
B.J. Coleman (Compensatory)
As I mentioned above Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL. Even the best get injured, and need to take a rest if we are blowing out a team. Before the draft it seemed that Graham Harrell and former Arena League player Nick Hill would compete for the backup position, but by adding B.J. Coleman, Thompson creates even more competition at the back up QB position. In my opinion Graham Harrell will become the backup QB, while Hill and Coleman compete for the number 3 spot.
It was obvious that Thompson saw the need on the defensive side of the ball, and addressed the problem by going defense on almost every pick in the draft. I can say that we will be better (it would be hard to get worse) on defense next year and will be a force to be reckoned with. We addressed all three levels of the defense during the draft and I feel that we made some good trades to land great players. On paper we look like a young defense who could shut down some teams, but no one knows until the pre-season games, where our defense will first be featured.