Green Bay Packers 2013 draft in review|
April 29, 2013
By Nick English
for the Antigo Daily Journal
After making a total of 11 selections in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers have not only added depth to their roster but they have also created some healthy competition to a number of positions that needed to be addressed. Six players on offense and five players on the defensive side of the ball will attempt to make the 53-man roster come August.
One area of concern heading into this draft was specifically at the running back position. The Packers have drastically improved their running game by picking up RB Eddie Lacy from Alabama and RB Johnathan Franklin from UCLA. Lacy had a breakout season as a senior for the Crimson Tide gaining 1,322 yards on 204 carries with 17 TD. He averaged 6.77 yards per carry en route to being named the MVP of the BCS National Championship game vs. Notre Dame.
After selecting back-to-back offensive tackles in LT David Bakhtiari from Colorado and LT J.C. Tretter from Cornell in the fourth round, Ted Thompson decided to trade up to the 125th pick overall to select RB Johnathan Franklin from UCLA. In his college career, Franklin started 45 of 53 games for the Bruins carrying the ball 788 times for a school-record 4,403 yards (5.59 yards per carry) to go along with 31 TDs. Franklin was nominated as a Doak Walker Award finalist (nation’s best running back) and Maxwell Award semifinalist (national college player of the year) while adding first-team All-American honors and first-team All-Pac 12 as a senior.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing who grabs the rope (at running back) and runs with it,” Coach Mike McCarthy said. “This will be the most competitive group that we’ve had in my time here at the running back position and clearly the most diverse group.”
Other picks on the offensive side of the ball were WR Charles Johnson from Grand Valley St. University (MI) and WR Kevin Dorsey from Maryland.
Johnson is a very interesting prospect in my opinion. He played only two seasons at Division II Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. after spending one year at Eastern Kentucky and one year at Antelope Valley Community College (CA). However in those two years at GVSU, he amassed an impressive 2,229 yards receiving with 31 career TDs on only 128 receptions (17.4 yards/rec). Considering there are only three wide receivers guaranteed to make the 53-man roster in Randle Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, both Johnson and Dorsey will be given every opportunity to compete for a roster spot in training camp.
At the offensive tackle position, it appears that Coach McCarthy is open for competition by drafting two tackles with consecutive picks in the fourth round. Both [David] Bakhtiari and [J.C.] Tretter will be given a shot to compete with current left tackle Marshall Newhouse for the starting spot.
Bakhtiari started 33 of 34 games in his collegiate career while earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors for the Colorado Buffaloes his senior season. Eleven of those 33 starts came at right tackle when then-future New England Patriot first round draft choice Nate Solder was his teammate and starter at left tackle.
After Solder left CU for the NFL, Bakhtiari took over at the left tackle position for the remainder of his career, starting 22 games in a row. As a senior, Bakhtiari led the Pac-12 Conference with 94 knockdowns despite playing for a team that ranked last in the conference and 116th in the nation in total offense.
Tretter comes to Green Bay with an Ivy League education while playing for the Big Red at Cornell University. The two-time All-Ivy League selection started all 20 games at left tackle in his final two seasons at Cornell. Perhaps the most remarkable statistic in Tretter’s collegiate career is that he allowed just one quarterback sack on 853 pass plays as a starter.
When asked about the offensive tackle position, McCarthy sounded excited. “It looks good! We’ve got a lot of opportunities for a number of different guys,” he said. “It will be another very competitive position in camp.”
Defensively, the Packers selected two defensive lineman, two linebackers, and one defensive back in this year’s draft. Thompson elected to choose defensive end Datone Jones from UCLA in the first round (26th overall).
Jones has been compared to former Packer Cullen Jenkins when comparing his athletic ability and versatility as a defensive lineman. He feels comfortable playing every position on the line and with his 6’4” frame he will provide the Packers defensive line with the length and versatility that has been lacking ever since Jenkins’ departure. Jones started 41 consecutive games to end his career at UCLA while earning third-team All-American honors and first-team All-Pac 12 honors as a senior.
In the fifth round, the Packers drafted two defensive players in DB Micah Hyde out of the University of Iowa and DL Josh Boyd out of Mississippi State.
Hyde earned first-team All-Big Ten honors twice as a Hawkeye while also winning the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year Award in the Big Ten in 2012. He also returned punts in 2011 and 2012, averaging 6.7 yard/return on 27 attempts.
Boyd is a 6’3” 310 pound DT from Mississippi State who was a member of the 2012 Outland Trophy Watch List for Best Interior Lineman in the country. A powerful, athletic big-man who was credited with 32 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the NFL Combine, look for Boyd to compete with Mike Daniels, Jerel Worthy, Mike Neal, and Ryan Pickett for playing time along the defensive line.
He’s got some explosion to him, and we think he’s got a little versatility to him as well,” Packers’ defensive line coach Mike Trogvac said. “I’m going to see if we can get some nose (tackle) reps out of him. For a big man he’s got good movement.”
In my opinion, one of the most intriguing prospects that the Packers drafted this year came in the sixth round when Ted Thompson selected LB Nate Palmer from Illinois State.
Palmer originally enrolled at the University of Illinois as a highly touted prospect coming out of Simeon HS (Chicago). After red-shirting his freshman year and then playing the next two seasons for the Illini, he was disappointed with his playing time and chose to transfer to Illinois State. Listed at 6’2” 248 pounds, Palmer played defensive end for the ISU. however he will be listed as an OLB for the Packers come OTAs.
With the departure of Erik Walden, Green Bay is still looking for another outside linebacker in Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense who can relieve some of the pressure off of Clay Matthews. Considering the fact that Nick Perry will be coming off of a season ending knee injury, I like Palmer’s chances to at least make the 53-man roster. I foresee Palmer and Dezman Moses eventually battling it out in training camp to earn the starting nod opposite of Matthews.
With the 232nd pick overall, the Packers picked up another LB in Sam Barrington from South Florida. Barrington started 36 games in his career at South Florida registering 258 total tackles, including 21.5 TFLs and 6.5 sacks. He will be playing inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense and will be competing for a roster spot. Special teams may be the best option for him to make the 53-man roster.
“I feel pretty good about this year’s draft,” Ted Thompson said on his 2013 NFL Draft picks. “I think most teams would probably give you the same answer after the fact, but now we have an opportunity to bring in 11 more guys onto our team to work out this summer and see how they compare with the guys we currently have.”
I really think this year’s draft class is one of the better groups of prospects the Packers have brought in for a long time. They addressed basically every area of concern going into the draft with the exception of tight end in my opinion.
Overall, I gave the Packers’ draft a respectable B+. Every prospect seems to be very well-spoken and high in character which is important to the Packer community. I’m anxious to see how they progress throughout OTAs, minicamp, and eventually training camp. The 2013 NFL season has already begun…Go Pack!
Overall Grade: B+
Total Draft Picks: 11
2 Offensive tackles
2 Running backs
2 Defensive lineman
2 Wide receivers
1 Defensive backs
Round by Round Selections
Datone Jones (26th Overall) 6’4” 285 pounds DE UCLA
Eddie Lacy (61st Overall) 5’11” 230 pounds RB Alabama
David Bakhtiari (109th Overall) 6’4” 300 pounds OT Colorado
J.C. Tretter (122nd Overall) 6’4” 307 pounds OT Cornell
Johnathan Franklin (125th Overall) 5’10” 205 pounds RB UCLA
Micah Hyde (159th Overall) 6’0” 197 pounds DB Iowa
Josh Boyd (167th Overall) 6’3” 310 pounds DL Mississippi State
Nate Palmer (193rd Overall) 6’2” 248 pounds LB Illinois State
Charles Johnson (216th Overall) 6’2” 215 pounds WR Grand Valley State
Kevin Dorsey (224th Overall) 6’1” 207 pounds WR Maryland
Sam Barrington (232nd Overall) 6’1” 235 pounds LB South Florida
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