Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Post Draft Thoughts: Offense

There was a lot of curiosity leading up to the draft.  I know that most Packers fans like myself were thinking about having both a TE and WR in rounds 2 and 3.  I know that those same fans were frustrated and saddened when the top 4 TE went in round 2 right before the Packers selection, because I think there would have been a chance for the Packers to select a top TE then, like Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jace Amaro, or Troy Niklas even, but they were all gone.  We can sit here and digress about that, but instead I will take some time to focus on exactly who the Packers have taken and what kind of potential there could be in those players.  Obviously I know that this was not a perfect draft, but I think I want to take a look at some facts about who we've taken and imagine a best and worst case scenario for each player.

2nd Round--Davante Adams WR Fresno State 6'1" 212 lbs (Will wear #17 for the Packers)

Facts:  Davante Adams played 2 seasons at Fresno State, and had a total of 233 catches, 3031 yards, and 38 TD's.  I know that it's the Mountain West, but those numbers are impressive even on video games.  His top skill at the combine is his vertical leap, with a leap of 39.5", which is better than Julio Jones (38.5"), same as Emmanuel Sanders (39.5"), better than Kenny Britt (37.0"), Hakeem Nicks (36.0"), Greg Jennings (36.5"), and Brandon Marshall (37.0").  He did win the Paul Warfield Trophy last season, awarded to the nation's top WR.  Also, he is currently 21 years old, which means he could be around for quite some time.  He beat Sammy Watkins at the 3 cone drill and the 20 yard shuttle.

Best Case:  Davante Adams gets some solid playing time this year and ends up in red zone packages where Rodgers learns to trust him for his ability to outleap the cornerback, scoring the game winning TD in the first game by outleaping Richard Sherman (who only has a 38" vertical), to a end zone lob pass.  He gets the Packers a 2nd consecutive ROY by putting up a season with 75 catches, 1,100 yards, and 10 TD.  Putting up even better numbers than Keenan Allen did last year for the Chargers.  He ends up becoming the 2nd WR for the Packers behind Jordy Nelson and by the end of his career has the career reception record from Donald Driver, having 850 total catches for his career.

Worst Case:  Adams has trouble separating from NFL corners and has trouble getting himself on the field with the logjam of WR that the Packers currently have.  His 9" hands have trouble catching the Rodgers' rockets that are flying down the field to him.  Packers cut him after 2 seasons considering the worst second round pick they have spent since Bryan Brohm.

5th Round--Jared Abbrederis WR Wisconsin 6'1" 195 lbs (Will Wear #84 for the Packers)

Facts:  Abbrederis has been getting open for Wisconsin QB's for several years now.  He had a better 3 cone drill than Martavis Bryant, had a 4.5 40 yard dash.  Tied Wisconsin record with 202 catches.  2nd in school history with 3140 yards and 23 TD's.  He has had previous concussion problems and only did 4 bench press reps.  I'm worried about his strength, because is he going to become strong enough to block any cornerbacks on a screen pass?  Will he be able to get off the line if defense does any press coverage on him?  I know that in general Wisconsin fans and Packer fans go together, so there is probably no one we would like to have succeed more than Jared.  And I would like to officially state that any time he catches a pass from Rodgers, the official tweet will be, "He went to Jared."

Best Case:  Jared stays healthy with the Aaron Rodgers helmet that is being used to help avoid concussions in the future.  He works in the slot across from Randall Cobb as they carve up linebackers and safeties in zone coverage up the middle.  This year he goes out and gets 40 catches, 550 yards, and 7 TD.  Being an old HS quarterback he even plays a wildcat role for us and goes into a large special teams role that was held by Jarrett Bush for the last few years.  He is a valuable part of a successful team and is proud to be with his hometown dream roster.

Worst Case:  Jared gets hurt in one of the first preseason games and they figure out that he had a few more concussions in college than they had previously let on.  He has another head injury and the Packers put him on the PUP list for the rest of his rookie season.  After a rough training camp in year 2 then the Packers decide that they need to cut their losses.

7th Round--Jeff Janis WR Saginaw Valley State 6'3" 219 lbs (Will Wear #83 for the Packers)

Facts:  Jeff Janis has the best measurables of all the WR that we have drafted this year, Best 40 (4.42 sec), Best bench press (20 reps), not the best vert (37.5), tied Adams for broad jump (123), Best 3 cone (6.64 sec), best 20 yard shuttle (3.98 sec).  Last year he had 83 catches, 1572 yards, and 14 TD.  The possible problems that come with Janis are all developmental.  He doesn't have firm route running ability, he played against 2nd level competition in DII.  This is most certainly a boom or bust pick.

Best Case:  Janis figures everything out and is not fazed by the higher level of competition in the NFL.  He takes all the advice from the coaches and soaks it in.  Ends up being a high caliber WR for the Packers for years to come.

Worst Case:  Janis simply can't figure everything out.  He has all the ability and none of the mental game needed to get him on the field.  Even Myles White ends up beating him out and we try to stick him on the PS but instead he signs with the Vikings.

3rd Round--Richard Rodgers TE California 6'4" 257 lbs (Will Wear #89 for the Packers)

Facts:  I realize that many people are surprised by the pick of Rodgers in round 3, especially after the top 5 TE's had been taken.  Looking at measureables, he did out perform both Niklas in the 3 cone drill and 20 yard shuttle.  I keep reading that Rodgers has a good first step, to either start his route or start on a block.  Averaged 15.6 YPC during his Junior season, and had 39 catches for 608 yards.  He did this after transitioning into a new offense and missing all of spring practice, and lowering his weight by 30 pounds to be more of an interior receiver instead of a tight end.

Best Case:  The coaches are able to polish some better catching skills out of Richard, making the Rodgers to Rodgers connection one with promise.  He plays in our goal line package and in our inverted wishbone back by John Kuhn.  He gets about 25 catches for 250 yards and 3 TD during his rookie season.  He continues to develop and becomes one of the best tight ends in Packer history, which really isn't saying all that much.

Worst Case:  Rodgers simply is unable to get his hands around the balls that Rodgers sends his way.  He misses a critical block in the deciding game against the Chicago Bears, and the Packers miss the playoffs in the first time in years.  Rodgers gets cut from the team before his second season.

5th Round--Corey Linsley C Ohio State 6'3" 296 lbs (Will Wear #63 for the Packers)

Facts: He was on the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy (Best Center).  He was a backup OL until Urban Meyer moved him to C during his first season at coach.  He was named all First Big Ten team Center during his Senior year.  I did read that he was suspended for violating Team Rules during his Sophmore season, but that was his only trouble with the team.  He was responsible for all of the blocking assignments for the team.  He did 36 reps on the bench press at the combine, which was better than Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan, Jake Matthews, and basically everyone except Russell Bodine from this season.

Best Case:  Beats out JC Tretter and Garth Gerhart to be the new member of the OL between Sitton and Lang.  Starts all 16 games and does an excellent job calling out line assignments against our opponents.  Lacy runs for 1300 yards, Rodgers gets sacked the fewest amount of times during a season in his career with 26, and doesn't get hurt at all during the season either.

Worst Case:  Has an ankle injury during training camp.  JC Tretter plays like a stud all season long instead.  Basically becomes a career backup, one offseason becomes unmotivated and puts on too much weight.

No matter what happens with the team, I'm certain that the Packers will keep drafting and developing talent for our team.  Personally, I want everyone to meet their potential best case scenario, but I know that people balance between each scenario when it comes to each individual player.  Anyway, we still have to wait another 113 days before they take on the Seahawks in the season opener.  September 4th cannot get here soon enough.

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