By Doug Farrar, Shutdown Corner
~With the 2011 NFL season in the books, it’s time to turn our eyes to the NFL draft, and the pre-draft evaluation process. Before and after the 2012 scouting combine, we’ll be taking a closer look at the 50 draft-eligible players who may be the biggest NFL difference-makers when all is said and done.
USC’s Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2011, Perry wasted no time once he first got on the field with the Trojans in 2009. He had two sacks in his first game against San Jose State, and eight in his first season. After a somewhat disappointing follow-up season with four sacks in 2010, Perry went off the hook last year. He picked up 9.5 sacks (nine solo), with five in his last four games. It was a near-certainty that he’d declare for the 2012 draft, and in an era when pass-rushers are more important than ever, he’s got a very good chance to excel right away, just as he did at USC.
Because of his 4.64 combine speed at 6-foot-3 and 271 pounds, some see Perry switching from 4-3 defensive end to pure outside linebacker at the next level. However, even a cursory look at Perry’s game tape proves that while speed can’t be coached, there are different kinds of speed that fit different positions better, and it’s my belief that Perry is best suited to the roles he played in college.
Why mess with success?
Pros: Perry’s first-step quickness absolutely explodes off the tape, and it’s the primary reason the buzz about him keeps getting louder. He’s not just fast through and to the pocket; he’s amazingly quick from his stance and you’ll see him blow by blockers before they can get their hands up at times. Even when he’s blocked or ridden out of the pocket, he has the change-of-direction skills to create problems for a quarterback with his second effort and re-direct. Has a tremendous outside move that can foil even the most agile pass-blocker — if your feet aren’t set against Perry and he’s on your outside shoulder, you’re in a lot of trouble.
As a straight-on rusher, uses his hands well to separate; will be even better at this as he develops spin, rip and swim moves. Has a good “dip-and-rip” move that allows him to turn the corner quickly. Excellent run defender who will move from seam to seam with great fluidity to make plays on ballcarriers from yards away that other ends simply can’t. Good overall sense of fundamentals for the position; understands how to use the momentum of a rip move to propel him forward, and this is one of the primary reasons for the Freeney comparison. Doesn’t use a lot of stunts and loops, but will certainly be asked to at the NFL level, and with his pure speed, he could be pretty scary when doing so.
Cons: While Perry gets a decent push on tackles and tight ends, a lot of that comes from his speed and explosiveness, and he doesn’t display optimal upper-body strength from play to play. Stronger blockers will be able to deal with him pretty consistently as a result. Played inside in a few three-man fronts, and that lack of pure strength shows up in his inability to beat double teams. More practiced NFL tackles will be able to walk him back and to the side until he learns to peel off of power blocks.
While he does a decent job of dissecting the action when asked to play in space, he will overrun some plays; seems to be a player predetermined to go as quickly as possible in a forward direction. Has some experience in zone blitzes and dropbacks, but he’s more a space player than a true coverage threat in those packages. 2011 Stanford game, as impressive as it was, revealed Perry’s tendency to bite on play action; mobile quarterbacks could have a field day with him as they escape the pocket.
Conclusion: Perry was among the last recruiting scores of the Pete Carroll era along with Matt Kalil, and one wonders how much going up against Kalil in practice all the time refined Perry’s pass-rush moves. From a pure “Oh my God!” speed perspective, he’s probably the most impressive pass rusher in this class, and he’s developed enough technique to make that quickness into something truly special. In an NFL where hybrid defenses rule the day, teams will look at Perry in different functions and possible roles, and I think he’s potentially dominant in several of those roles — everything from a straight end in a 40 front, to an occasional endbacker in a five-man front to a wide-nine end attacking from a 45-degree angle (where I believe he could really shine).
What you will get from Nick Perry is a peerless pure pass rusher with the ability to improve, and the chase speed to blow up some second-level run plays. What you will not get, at least to start, is a player who can also stone blockers at the point of attack or drop into coverage in an optimal sense. If he could do those things as well, he’d be a top-10 pick, but as it stands right now, Nick Perry should be on the top of the draft board for any team in need of quarterback terrorization right away.
Pro Comparison: Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts
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By Doug Farrar, Yahoo! Sports
~We continue this year’s series with Boise State end/linebacker Shea McClellin. Everybody wants to talk about this or that offensive player when discussing the Broncos’ recent run of success, but Boise State has enjoyed one of the NCAA’s best defenses every year over the last half-decade. McClellin is a big reason why. In 2011, he was named first-team All-Mountain West Conference with 46 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. He built off a 2010 season in which he racked up 13.5 tackles for loss and a team-high 9.5 sacks. It’s clear that McClellin has everything it takes from a raw athletic perspective to be an elite pass-rusher, but how do his abilities best transfer to the NFL?
Pros: Very impressive pursuit ability in pass rush from one side of the field to the other — if you’re blocking McClellin out and you succeed at first, you’d still better try again, because he will get sacks by bailing out of those blocks and chasing the quarterback down. Extremely athletic player who will burst off the tape at times and make everyone else look as if they’re in slow motion. Good burst from a standing position allows him to make up ground quickly. Occasionally fast enough to blow right by a tackle before he can get set to block. Especially effective in slanted formations where he can bear down on the ballcarrier and use that first step to gain even more of an advantage.
Decent at sifting through trash to get to a running back, but could use his hands more effectively. Looked very adept away from the line when Boise State had him play linebacker in certain fronts, and might be even faster with his hand off the ground. Average ability when dropping into coverage, but there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t be great at this with more reps. Good sense of gaps and when to split them. Didn’t loop inside a lot on the tape I saw, but he would seem to be a real potential weapon in that capacity.
Cons: McClellin is so concerned with being the fastest guy on the field that he will overrun plays on occasion — sometimes, pretty wildly. Does not yet possess the upper-body strength to run consistent bull-rushes on NFL-caliber blockers; his game is all about speed and agility. Comes off the snap high at times and can be absolutely erased by blockers as a result. Not at all set to handle drive-blocking against power teams — you can see him get bulled back a lot on sweeps and pulls. Needs to develop better hand moves, footwork and change of direction skills to get around blocks; he won’t be able to just sweep around the NFL’s tackles as a defensive end.
Conclusion: Most of McClellin’s obvious negative issues as an NFL prospect could be mitigated, or eliminated, with a switch to strong-side linebacker, or to straight “endbacker” in the Clay Matthews mold. Like Matthews, McClellin transcended his original status as a lightly recruited player to become a true difference-maker on an elite defense. His coaches at the Senior Bowl had him playing linebacker for the most part — they had the right idea. It’s clear that McClellin’s primary attributes (demon speed and spatial awareness) would benefit him most at a position where he could simply pin his ears back and go.
The 4.63 40-yard dash McClellin ran at the scouting combine would have placed him sixth-fastest among outside linebackers in Indianapolis, and at a time when pass rushers are more valuable than ever in the NFL, look for creative defensive coordinators to watch McClellin’s game tape, get big cake-eating grins, start planning how best to use this second-round prospect, and turn him into a first-level quarterback disruptor. The challenge will be when he’s asked to kick inside to end in sub packages; he’ll most likely be a rotational guy at first. The Reed pro comparison is a bit of a compromise — McClellin is more explosive than Reed, but he’s certainly not at Matthews’ level yet. You can also see elements of Trent Cole and Patrick Kerney in his skill set.
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By Dougie Farrar, Yahoo!
~With the 2011 NFL season in the books, it’s time to turn our eyes to the NFL draft, and the pre-draft evaluation process. Right up to the draft, we’ll be taking a closer look at the 50 players who may be the biggest NFL difference-makers when all is said and done.
We continue this year’s series with Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry. In two full seasons as a defensive force for the Thundering Herd, the 6-foot-3, 266-pound Curry lived up to the team’s name all by himself — through he started all 13 games in 2009, it wasn’t until 2010 that Curry really started to explode off tape and the stat sheets. In the 2010 campaign, he amassed 12 sacks (11 solo), 18 tackles for loss, and 18 quarterback hurries. He build on that great season in 2011, racking up 11 sacks (10 solo), 21 tackles for loss, 8 quarterback hurries, and a new skill displayed — three blocked kicks. Any concern that he padded his stats against inferior opponents can be put to rest; Curry was a consistent disruptor of one type or another through the last two seasons. If he didn’t have a sack, he’d have three hurries, or a forced fumble (six of those in 2011), or a special teams standout play. Curry seems athletically predetermined to mess up quarterbacks, but how well will he attain that goal at the NFL level? The world is full of defensive ends who blew it up in college, only to attain a Milk Carton Scholarship in the NFL. Curry has a few technique fixes to deal with, but does he have what it takes to do what he did against the best?
Pros: Curry is an outstanding fast-twitch, first-step athlete — he comes off the snap with lightning speed and is very good at finding or creating an opening right away. Total forward-motion player who is always looking for the ballcarrier in the backfield. Even when he comes up late off the count, he’s fast enough to get going and create problems for opposing tackles.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Curry’s game is his upper-body strength; combined with his speed, he’s got a lot of pass-rush potential at any level because he doesn’t just vaporize when presented with power blocking. He will bull-rush with consistency and can actually keep a blocker at bay with one hand at times while waiting for a play to develop. Very difficult to handle one-on-one when playing from a wide slanted position, because he will double back if he overplays the original rush. Great edge-rusher in four-fronts from either side, though one of his best moves is the inside stunt from the LDE position. Quick enough from the line to blow up swing and screen passes before the back gets very far. Startling chase speed; Curry can be a factor on plays happening yards away from him because of his ridiculous speed and great motor.
Curry’s lateral speed gives him the opportunity to dominate when looping and stunting inside; he did that a bit at Marshall, and he was generally a problem to deal with when doing so. Outstanding run defender who will go sideline-to-sideline and can chase down elite speed backs. Plays a bit as a five-tech end and “endbacker” pass rusher in five-man fronts or four-man slanted fronts with a blitzing DB at the line. Has the raw strength to make some plays as an inside rusher on passing downs, and the speed to come off the edge as a 3-4 OLB, though he may not have the quick “dip-and-rip” move common to many great 3-4 edge rushers.
Cons: Right now, Curry has two speeds: “Off” and “Kill.” While you can see traces of a more patient and even more effective player on certain plays, he can be fooled on traps and misdirection plays — at times, he’ll overrun plays by a pretty wide margin as a result of his breakneck pace.
Can be fooled out of position on playfakes, as well — he’ll bite pretty hard on that stuff. Comes off the snap too high at times and can get bulled back as a result. Will need better and more varied hand and foot movement against the NFL’s stronger tackles, though he shows an embryonic swim move that could be devastating. Ran a slow time (4.98) at the scouting combine, but went much faster (4.69) at his Pro Day, and at no time does Curry appear slow on tape.
Conclusion: Because of his speed and gap versatility at the college level, some may try to buy into Curry as a pure 3-4 outside linebacker, but he’s really a pass-rushing specialist with impressive run-defending ability. He’s not going to drop into coverage at an expert level without a lot of work, but expecting him to do that would like asking a Lamborghini to tow a U-Haul trailer. His one scheme-transcendent asset — demon speed off the edge — should translate very well to the NFL.
Where Curry can separate himself from the college speed ends who wash out in the pros is in his ability to develop technique around his raw tools. There’s evidence of this when switching from his 2010 to 2011 tape. He’s now more of a read-and-react player, and if he can augment this new patience with the kinds of moves that work at the professional level, he’s got what it takes to be one of the NFL’s more feared pass-rushers. Curry would be best-utilized in a four-man or hybrid front in which he plays outside, especially in conjunction with a defensive tackle good enough to soak up blockers and let him wreak havoc.
Like Pierre-Paul, who went to the Giants with the 15th overall pick in 2010 despite limited college experience, Curry could surprise with his draft position — he’s projected by most as a player worthy of a top-second-round selection, but it will only take one defensive coordinator falling in love with the speed on tape to change that.
Pro Comparison: Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants
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By Ty Dunne, JSOnline
~Green Bay – Deep down inside, there were so many other things Vinny Curry wanted to ask Green Bay Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene.
He admired Greene, the linebacker. But he also was a huge fan of Kevin Greene, the short-lived wrestler. Those tag-team days with Steve McMichael. Trading body blows with Ric Flair. The Marshall defensive lineman would have loved to discuss power-slams, leg-locks and funky costumes.
But not yet. Not with so much on the line in 15 precious minutes at the scouting combine.
This was a job interview.
“Strictly football,” Curry said. “We talked about me coming off the edge for the Green Bay Packers.”
Maybe the two will get a chance to talk wrestling soon. Curry is another pass rusher in the draft mix for Green Bay.
It’s hard to say who will trickle down to the 28th overall pick. There’s a reasonable chance South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus and USC’s Nick Perry will be long gone. And right now, Boise State’s Shea McClellin can do no wrong.
As general manager Ted Thompson said Thursday, you can never predict the NFL draft. Curry may be the team’s best bet at landing a pure edge rusher. His stock fell after a rough combine and rose with a strong pro day. Curry says his small-school background drives him and that is what can separate him from the pack.
“I feel like I’m the most consistent pass rusher in this draft,” Curry said. “I play every down like it’s my last. I have some great passion for the game and can bring things to the table, making great plays on the field opposite of Mr. (Clay) Matthews.”
At Marshall, Curry started three seasons – one at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and two at defensive end. Given the green light to rush, he flourished. The last two seasons, Curry totaled 171 tackles (40 for loss) with 23 sacks. Unlike Perry or Ingram, he doesn’t flaunt world-class athleticism. Unlike Mercilus, he didn’t face towering tackles each Saturday.
So Curry hopes his no-plays-off mentality is the difference.
Packers defensive end Johnny Jones, who spent 2011 on the practice squad, played alongside Curry at Marshall. They’re close friends who would love to reunite. After seeing the speed of the pro game up close, Jones says Curry’s pass-rushing talents can adapt.
“I think it will,” Jones said. “It’s just a matter of time learning the ins and outs and technique. But he has natural pass-rushing ability and is relentless. And he has that get-off. It’s all about the learning curve. If he picks it up, he’ll play in this league for a long time.”
The learning curve may come in “getting off blocks,” Jones added. In the NFL, the linemen are much bigger and faster than what they faced in Conference USA. That’s why Curry’s 40-yard dash time at the combine raised so many eyebrows.
In Indianapolis – as Perry put on a clinic – Curry clocked in at 4.98 seconds. The conference defensive player of the year said the poor time was a result of tripping up toward the end. Three weeks later, at his pro day, Curry rebounded. He reportedly ran the 40 in 4.64 seconds, bench-pressed 225 pounds 28 times and had a vertical leap of 35 inches.
So during this wild, unpredictable Wall Street-like stretch, Curry’s stock is rising again. Longtime NFL executive Gil Brandt now ranks the 6-foot-3, 266-pounder as the 43rd-best prospect.
Curry says his 40 times are usually in the 4.6 range, a product of his quick first step. As a 3-4 outside linebacker, that’s critical.
“The thing that pass rushing is, is get off,” Curry said. “If you can get off the football, you have a 99% chance of winning that pass-rushing battle. It’s all about get-off. That’s what I pride myself on.”
Maybe it’s a similar mentality. Or, well, madness. But Curry, like Greene, is drawn to the ring.
Whenever he is done with football, he plans to go straight to WWE. He has the personality to do it. Curry once showed up to an interview session at Marshall in a Nature Boy-esque, white-and-pink robe. Yes, the sport is fake. Theater. But as Curry points out, all of those wrestlers are athletes, too. The job takes very real acrobatics, and very real courage.
So until then, he’ll try bringing it to the football field. Curry already is envisioning himself opposite Matthews.
“With him getting the majority of the double-teams and the pass protection sliding his way,” Curry said, “that will certainly create opportunities for me to make plays for my team.”
More important, he wants to match Matthews’ energy. At Marshall, that was his focus.
Like many prospects from mid-majors, Curry is raw. There is risk. Patience and strong coaching will be essential. But Curry doesn’t apologize for that mid-major experience. It’s what helped him get here.
“I don’t want you seeing me sacking the quarterback one play,” Curry said, “and the next three plays you see me lollygagging or trotting or jogging. I should be going as hard as I was in the first quarter in the fourth quarter.”
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By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor
~It’s that time of the year, the final week before the draft, and it’s time to turn over every possible stone and get the perfect mock draft ready.
A week away, look for Ted Thompson to make at least two draft-day trades over the 7-rounds. He has 12 picks at his disposal, and knows he’s only a few key pieces, premium pieces, from taking his defense from soft to great again. With the age of the weapons on offense, one would figure they’re going to be fine for years to come, barring serious injuries to Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, and Jordy Nelson, as well as the offensive line.
So here we go with the April 19th mock draft.
Round 1 – Pick 28 – Jerel Worthy, DL, Michigan State
Round 2 – Pick 59 – Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
Round 3 – Pick 90 – Philip Blake, C, Baylor
Round 4 – Pick 123 – Trade to Indianapolis for Jerry Hughes, OLB
Round 4 – Pick 132 – Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
Round 4 – Pick 133 – Christian Thompson, S, SC State
Round 5 – Pick 163 – Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor
Round 6 – Pick 197 – Brad Smelley, FB/TE, Alabama
Round 7 – Pick 224 – Trade to Indianapolis
Round 7 – Pick 235 – Kelcie McCray, S, Arkansas State
Round 7 – Pick 241 – Matt McCants, OT, UAB
Round 7 – Pick 243 – John Brantley, QB, Florida
Jerel Worthy, from Charlie Campbell: When he took on Wisconsin in two games, he would be blocked well for a portion of the game, before wrecking havoc in the backfield for a quarter. Worthy had underwhelming performances against Nebraska, Iowa and Notre Dame. He had a superb showing against Ohio State, and ended his career well against Georgia. Versus the Bulldogs, Worthy got the better of the matchup against Georgia center Ben Jones, a second-day prospect.
Bruce Irvin: He ran the fastest 3-cone drill at the combine (6.70) and also ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. While he had a dip in production this past season with 8.5 sacks, he got people’s attention in 2010 with 14 sacks. – Karen Guregian, The Boston Herald Bruce Irvin has similar size and production as last year’s top-5 pick, and defensive rookie of the year Von Miller did. Most are projecting Irvin as a third rounder. I don’t think he even should make it past the Packers 2nd round pick. Even though the Packers will have traded for third year prospect Jerry Hughes at OLB, who I believe has the potential to become a Pro Bowler in this defense, Irvin is too good to pass up here. New England reportedly is very high on Irvin as well. – Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com
Philip Blake is ready now, but will have a year or two to learn from Jeff Saturday on Sundays. He was the captain for Robert Griffin III at Baylor, and will give the Packers an achor on the offensive line for years to come.
His teammate at Baylor, Terrance Ganoway, proves to be a steal late in round 5. I am not saying he’s going to be Terrell Davis, another 5th round steal. -Brian E. Murphy
Baylor Pro Day: Not to be lost in the day’s events was the impressive performance by running back Terrance Ganaway, who ran his 40-yard dash times in the low 4.5’s after running a 4.65 at the Combine. He also lifted 225-pounds 22 times on the bench and looked smooth catching the ball. After entering the season as an undrafted free agent prospect, Ganaway could be a top-125 draft pick next month. – Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
Minnifield is a 1st round talent who has had some questions with his knees, and his draft stock has slid as a result. Like Clay Matthews, Minnifield’s father was a long time NFL star, so he has the bloodlines as well as the talent. Davon House is expected to be ready this year at CB, and Minnifield should have the luxury of being able to learn and develop for a year without being thrown in there too soon. At best, he’d be counted on to be the dime back, but the Packers brought back Jarrett Bush too, and he can play corner or safety.
Spealing of safety, Christian Thompson, from Pro Football Weekly: Raw, physically talented, FCS , height-weight-speed prospect whose measurables are more impressive than his tape, as his instincts and read-and-react skills do not parallel his athletic ability. However, has size, speed and tackling ability to factor on special teams.
Brad Smelley showed he could become a Chris Cooley type force in the NFL at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.
Through three days of practice, it could be argued that no pass-catcher has been more consistent than the Tide H-back who has shown vacuum-hands all week. He isn’t explosive in any way, but he plays hard and fast at all times and has earned a draftable grade. – Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
Kelcie McCray is 6-1 1/2 and 202 pounds, perfect size. Kelcie McCray improved on his combine results at Arkansas State’s Pro-Day. The Hardaway alum is expected to be a fourth to sixth round pick at safety in the NFL draft. At pro-day McCray ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, a .02 improvement from the combine. -NFLDraftScout.com
Matt McCants is a typical Ted Thompson late-round pick.
McCants possesses a great looking frame that has the ability to get bigger and mature physically. Athletically, all the tools are there for this kid to play left tackle in the NFL, he just needs some time to make the jump in competition and mature physically. -National Football Post
John Brantley is a natural thrower of the football and can make all the throws. Displays the arm strength to fit passes into tight areas in the intermediate pass game. His timing and anticipation are good when he sees “it” and has the ability to throw in rhythm with good ball placement allowing receivers to run after the catch.
Possesses some real mental toughness, replaced Tim Tebow at Florida, struggled at times this past year, but fought through it and now really has a chance to shine.
Impression: Does a lot of things well, but doesn’t always trust what he sees. Needs some time, but is worth a developmental grade and late round/priority pick. -National Football Post
And last but not least: Jerry Hughes.
This is a guy who two drafts ago was predicted by many to be going to the Packers with their first round pick. Rick Gosselin and Bob McGinn had sources within the Packers and/or agent circles who tipped them on it. But nobody knew before the draft that Bryan Bulaga would slide out of the top ten, and then top-20, all the way to the Packers. Chad Clifton appeared to be on his last legs at LT, and Tauscher appeared done at RT, so Bulaga was a need and BPA value there.
Fast forward two years. Hughes has been miscast by the bungling Colts as a hand-on-the-ground DE. He’s not Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis.
The Colts have not done a lot right in terms of evaluation or coaching, hence them picking #1 overall and firing their whole coaching staff and GM.
One problem is they are now moving their defense from a conventional 4-3. But by keeping Mathis and Freeney, who knows.
Hughes was written off last year as a bust, and was on the trading block. Why Ted Thompson didn’t scoop him up last year and attempt to patch up the invisible pass rush will always remain a mystery to us. But Teddy prefers to plug holes with street guys like Josh Bell, Eric Walden, and Frank Zombo.
It’s time he takes a swing at a guy who had enough talent and ability to be a first round pick just 24 months ago. Enter Jerry Hughes, who will both compete with Bruce Irvin at ROLB, but also give the Packers some added depth behind Clay Matthews. Matthews will not remain healthy for every game, every year. As bad as the pass rush was last year with Clay and whoever at ROLB, imagine it without Clay and two of those “whoevers”.
By Brian E Murphy
~Packers 2012 Schedule
Wk Date Matchup TV Time (Central)
1 Sun, Sept. 9 vs. San Francisco 49ers FOX 3:15 p.m.
The 49ers were a punt returner away from the Super Bowl last year. They’re on the rise under now 2nd-year coach Jim Harbaugh. They’ve given Alex Smith a couple new weapons to go with All-World tiht end Vernon Davis. Randy Moss and Mario Manningham are now new toys for Alex to throw to.
This is a very stern week one test for the Packers.
2 Thu, Sept. 13 vs. Chicago Bears NFLNetwork 7:20 p.m.
Again at home, the Packers welcome their long-time division rivals the Bears. Chicago was starting to get on a roll last year when Jay Cutler suffered a season-ending injury. Matt Forte and Brian Urlacher also later suffered season-ending injuries. Cutler is back, and so is his favorite receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall won in his last visit to Lambeau Field.
3 Mon, Sept. 24 at Seattle Seahawks ESPN 7:30 p.m.
Matt Flynn should be facing his long-time team the Packers. Rodgers versus Flynn is nice enough, but Seattle is tough at home and figures to feature Marshawn Lynch. These first three games are opportunities for younger NFC teams to measure their progress, and possibly knock down the cream of the crop, the Packers.
4 Sun, Sept. 30 vs. New Orleans Saints FOX 3:15 p.m.
Last year’s great opener, which most people were assuming would be the NFC Championship game. Surprise, neither team even made it to that game. The Saints will have a new coach, and new defensive coorinator, but expect the same offense to show up with Drew Brees engineering that high-octane offense and the tall tight end Jimmy Graham creating mismatches.
5 Sun, Oct. 7 at Indianapolis Colts FOX 12 p.m.
A closeup look at Andrew Luck awaits. I expect the Colts are not a terrible, lifeless team, so this game is no cupcake like many think it will be.
6 Sun, Oct. 14 at Houston Texans NBC 7:20 p.m.
A very serious test against the high octane Arian Foster & Andre Johnson dymanic duo on offense, and Brooks Reed, Connor Barwin attacking the passer. The Texans won a playoff game last year with their number 3 QB playing, and almost beat the Ravens in the AFC semifinal. They expect to be better. The Houston crowd will be going crazy with their primetime showcase.
7 Sun, Oct. 21 at St. Louis Rams FOX 12 p.m.
Not a lot to spotlight here, which is why it’s one of the few noon games.
8 Sun, Oct. 28 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars CBS 12 p.m.
Another game with not a lot of excitement. Hopefully Blaine Gabbert will still be at the helm for the Jags.
A Florida game in late October, I was hoping this would be a December game for the traveling cheeseheads to get a little winder getaway down South.
9 Sun, Nov. 4 vs. Arizona Cardinals FOX 12 p.m.
Larry Fitzgerald and Beanie Wells pay a visit to Green Bay. The Packers still owe it to the Cardinals following the 2010 Wildcard loss in overtime, 51-45, on the strip-sack-TD off Aaron Rodgers.
11 Sun, Nov. 18 at Detroit Lions FOX 12 p.m.
A huge game for the rising Lions. They expect to take over the division from the Packers, and this game will be their chance to do that. This is a growing rivalry obviously.
12 Sun, Nov. 25 at New York Giants NBC 8:20 p.m.
Rodgers has beaten Eli Manning in the regular season no problem. But Eli has owned the Packers in the playoffs.
While that proves the regular season is overrated in the big picture, this will be a game the Packers are eager to play.
13 Sun, Dec. 2 vs. Minnesota Vikings FOX 1 p.m.
The Packers don’t see the Vikings until the final month of the season? And they play twice in that month? Who made this schedule? Will Christian Ponder be entrenched as a solid, franchise quarterback, or will they and he struggle all year long?
14 Sun, Dec. 9 vs. Detroit Lions NBC 8:20 p.m.
Another poor job by the schedule-makers having these two teams play twice in a 3-week span.
The timing of key injuries could help one team an awful lot in these two matchups.
15 Sun, Dec. 16 at Chicago Bears FOX 1 p.m.
Could be very cold and windy in Chicago the week before Christmas. If both healthy, this could be a game that decides a playoff birth for one team, or both.
16 Sun, Dec. 23 vs. Tennessee Titans CBS 1 p.m.
On paper, this looks like one of those cupcakes. But this time last year, the Chiefs looked like one, especially if you knew they’d be missing their best player on offense, on defense, and their starting QB.
17 Sun, Dec. 30 at Minnesota Vikings FOX 1 p.m.
Could this be a game where the Vikings are chasing history, trying to match the Lions that went 0-16?
Could the Packers be chasing history at 15-0? Anything in the middle is more likely.
Top threats to defeat the Packers in 2012:
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com Senior Editor
~Eli drops back to pass. Looks right. Looks left. Looks over the middle and fires. There’s Victor Cruz open for an easy 25 yard gain. First down Giants.
Eli back to pass again. He pump fakes. Now he looks over the middle. Nicks gets open on the left and Eli throws deep. 20 yards and a Giant first down.
And none of those were a Hail Mary where Eli had plenty of time to measure up his throw, without a worry in the world back there in the well-protected, peaceful pocket.
Clay Matthews needs help. He cannot do it alone.
Enter Bruce Irvin, West Virginia outside linebacker and pass-rushing specialist.
Von Miller was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year last year. He was productive on the field in college at Texas A&M, and he showed himself to be quite an athlete at the NFL combine.
The same things could be said about Bruce Irvin, with a straight face. Facts and statistics don’t lie.
Bruce Irvin has been at rock bottom in his life, and as a result, he’s a very hungry person, and player.
Irvin said: “Trying to reach the top because it’s too crowded at the bottom.”
Teams have asked him about the details of his past problems and issues.
“They’ve heard the stories, read the articles,” Irvin said. “They’ve questioned me, which I don’t blame. They want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, the whole situation and how it happened.”
He has owned up to his mistakes of the past, moved on, and is proud of who he’s become.
“Check my past four or five years. I got a lot of people who can vouch for me. I’m no longer that person,” Irvin said. “I went by B.J., now I’m Bruce. That’s what I tell them.”
Although he had some problems in the past, this is a guy who you want to join forces with Clay Matthews if you are a Packer fan.
He’s no Adam Pac-Man Jones, another former Mountaineer who was both talented and troubled. He never could shake the thug in him because that was who he was. He just happened to be blessed with talent in addition to that.
Irvin is not a thug. He’s talented as hell, but had a tough upbringing, as Donald Driver and James Jones did as well. Driver did some things when he was younger that he’s not proud of. He straightened himself out, overcame his circumstances, and Bruce Irvin is on that same path.
Here are some comments on Irvin from national draft guys/scouts. It really cracks me up when these so-called scouts, scientists, refer to Irvin as “undersized”. Undersized for what? Was Von Miller undersized? Is Clay Matthews “undersized”? Irvin is bigger and stronger than both of them, and they’ve terrorized NFL QB’s at their “undersize”. Lacks the ideal size? Really? Who’s the premium pass rushers in the NFL to compare to?
Wes Bunting (National Football Post): A gifted athlete who has the initial burst to routinely reach the edge. However, lacks ideal size and doesn’t have a real sophisticated pass rushing repertoire. Is going to make the move to a 34 OLB at the next level and might need a little time. Reminds me some of Chris Clemons.
Chad Reuter (CBS Sports): Despite his lack of experience, Irvin’s athleticism and toughness should give him a chance to be a pass rusher as a 3-4 linebacker at the next level, or possibly a defensive end for the handful of NFL 4-3 teams not minding his lack of size. If he answers questions about his past to NFL scouts’ satisfaction, they may decide to take a chance on his potential in either role with an early-round selection.
NFL.com (Combine): Bruce is a compelling prospect whose athletic ability is as unique as his path to the NFL. An electrifying pass rusher who will fit as either a specialist DE or an OLB in a 3-4 scheme, Irvin uses a flurry of moves and his uncanny athletic ability to maneuver his undersized frame around and through offensive linemen to produce massive sack production in his limited views at West Virginia. A player who is hampered by his size and amount of snaps taken at a high level, Irvin should be selected within the first two rounds of the draft by a team looking for a boost in their ability to get to the quarterback.
“I’m a fast guy. I like mismatches,” Irvin said. “So I think that gives me the chance, especially if I have big guys in the middle to occupy the guards. It allows me to go one-on-one with the tackle.
“I usually won those [battles] in college. It’s going to be different at the next level, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
It’s not often a guy this talented lasts until pick #28, and it’s even rarer for one to last until late in the 2nd round. And we’re talking about a pass-rusher in today’s NFL where the passing game is king.
Bruce Irvin would be a fantastic addition to the Green Bay Packers at wherever GM Ted Thompson took him.
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider senior editor
~Three years ago, Packers GM Ted Thompson knew he needed a pass rushing threat at OLB for his new 3-4 defense being installed by new defensive coordinator Dandy Dom Capers.
Packer fans knew this as well.
What they didn’t know was that Thompson would buck his trend of trading down, and instead he traded up to the latter stages of round one and shocked almost everyone by taking Clay Matthews with the pick at #26.
Matthews had the bloodlines, but he only had one year of starting experience, and didn’t have a great body of work at USC. Looking back now, it was a great pick. I believe it’s Thompson’s best move as GM, but that’s for another day’s debate.
Fast forward to today, and it’s as clear now as it was then, that Capers needs another guy who can get to the QB. In 2009, Matthews was available at pick #26. This time, Thompson has the #28 pick.
One guy who might be there is Boise State’s Shea McClellin, who will be a natural OLB in the NFL for some team who plays the 3-4 defense.McClellin is 6-3, 260 pounds, and has the speed and agility to become a Kevin Greene-type OLB.
A month or longer ago, he was viewed as a probably third round prospect, maybe late 2nd. But now it would appear that McClellin will be gone by the end of the first round, and sources say he could go before the Packers #28 pick comes up, possibly to New England right before the Packers pick.
What makes McClellin such a high riser in the months of March and April?
Well first, he looked great in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, then he also tested great at the combine and his pro days. He showed he has the speed, quickness, flexibility, agility to transition to the OLB position in the NFL.
Secondly, his measurables remind many of Matthews in 09, and Brooks Reed last year.
40 Time: 4.62
3 Cone: 7.07
Short Shuttle: 4.33
Reed, you might remember, is the OLB from Arizona who many Packer fans, and national mocksters, had going to the Packers last year at pick #32.
Reed was on board at the pick, but Thompson went with OT Derek Sherrod instead. While Sherrod looked like a fine prospect, he had his leg broken in two places in the Kansas City loss, when OLB pass rushing specialist Tamba Hali went right around LT Marshall Newhouse for the 18th time in that game, and went smashing into Sherrod’s leg.
While that can’t be blamed on Thompson, obviously, it is worthy to note that Reed had a great rookie year for the Houston Texans, and showed that their defense was just fine thank you without Mario Williams. So good, in fact, that they let Mario go this off-season. Reed would have, perhaps, been a difference-maker for the Packers defense last year.
As you know, their defense was awful and getting to the quarterback was the number one problem. Teams focused on stopping Clay Matthews, and with Cullen Jenkins let go, there was nobody else who could get pressure on QB’s.
McClellin appears to be a perfect fit to pair with Matthews and he has the great character, work ethic, that Ted Thompson looks for.
I don’t think he will be there at pick #28 however, so don’t be shocked to see Teddy Ballgame make another rare move up in the draft and pick a guy who most didn’t even think would be worth a 1st round pick, as was the case in 2009 with Clay.
By Tyler Dunne, Journal-Sentinel
~Shea McClellin (Boise State), OLB/DE
- 6 feet, 3 3/8 inches
- 260 pounds
- 40 time: 4.63 sec
- Bench: 19 reps
- Vertical leap: 31.5″
- Broad jump: 118″
- 3-cone drill: 7.07 sec
- 20-yard shuttle: 4.33 sec
- 2008: 14 tackles (1 for loss), 1 sack, 3 FF
- 2009: 36 tackles (6 for loss), 3 sacks
- 2010: 30 tackles (13.5 for loss), 9.5 sacks, 1 FF
- 2011: 50 tackles (12.5 for loss), 7 sacks, 1 FF
On his strength: “I think that’s one of my biggest assets — versatility. This year, especially, I lined up all over. I played outside, inside ‘backer, I even played nickel at times.”
— McClellin nails it. Versatility is his best asset. He has lined up in a three-point stance at defensive end, upright as an outside linebacker and also in the middle. Boise State as a team is extremely active pre-snap, but McClellin always appears calm and comfortable. He turns the corner effectively at both DE and OLB. On one 3rd and 8 against Georgia in the season opener, McClellin embarrassed first-round prospect Cordy Glenn. He cleanly beat Glenn off the edge immediately. Glenn could only lunge in desperation and try to hold McClellin as the end flew by and lassoed QB Aaron Murray around the ankles for a sack.
— An overachiever who doesn’t give up on plays. In Boise State’s bowl win over Arizona State, QB Brock Osweiler stepped into the pocket and appeared to have running room upfield. McClellin spun off LG Evan Finkenberg and tracked down Osweiler from behind for just a two-yard gain. We throw around “high motor” way too much in our business. With McClellin, it’s justified.
— Technically sound. McClellin isn’t a freelancer. He understands his role each play and rarely floats out of position. With the Broncos pounding the Sun Devils 21-0 in that bowl win, Arizona State tried running wide. From the ROLB spot, lined up over the tight end’s head, McClellin read run and effectively forced all action inside. He shrugged off TE Trevor Kohl and pulling C Garth Gerhart to trip up the running back for a three-yard loss. The play wasn’t flashy, but McClellin did everything right to allow a host of teammates to clog the play as well.
— Solid form tackler. On a fourth and 1 against Georgia, Bulldogs TE Orson Charles didn’t lay a finger on McClellin who stormed in to stuff Richard Samuel in his tracks for a loss. Good instincts, too. From the MLB spot in that same game, McClellin timed an A-gap blitz well and caved the pocket for a half-sack.
— The more you watch Boise State’s defense, the more you notice just how talented and fast it is across the board. This is no mid-major guppy. McClellin was surrounded by athletes, who definitely made his job easier. The Broncos also didn’t face great competition. McClellin probably should have had more than seven sacks last season.
— Had one solo tackle against Toledo and was hardly visible throughout the game. On one 20-yard screen pass, McClellin was unblocked and was a split-second slow on sacking QB Austin Dantin. At times, his short-ish arms (32 ¾”) are apparent. Compare that to Syracuse’s Chandler Jones (35 ½”) or Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus (33 7/8”). Look at the best pass rushers in the league. Long arms are critical to the position.
— Average athleticism. Doesn’t have elite burst around offensive tackles. Part of the problem may be that Boise State asked McClellin to do so much. He lacks an array of pass-rush moves others have in this draft class and was neutralized by double-teams. Not as strong as others at his position (18 reps), thus massive pro tackles could pose a problem
As we wrote last week, the Packers are interested in McClellin. In many ways, he’s exactly the type of linebacker Kevin Greene covets. McClellin is intelligent, relies on strong fundamentals and has a no-quit playing style. Once projected as a fourth-rounder, McClellin’s versatility seems to be driving him into the first-round discussion. Should he be? We’ll say ‘yes.’ While McClellin lacks the eye-popping surge of USC’s Nick Perry, he gives a more consistent effort. His numbers at the NFL scouting combine don’t do McClellin justice as he plays fast and instinctive. He should be on the Packers’ radar.
Full story here
~As we approach the NFL Draft, it’s time to take a look back at the worst draft picks of the modern era for the Packers.
While there were plenty of busts before 1980, I’m only going to cover the worst of the worst since 1980.
QB- Rich Campbell, 1981, 1st rd, #6 overall
Ronnie Lott and Mike Singletary went off the board after this atrocious pick. He lasted four seasons with the Packers, appearing in just seven games. He threw a career total of 386 yards and 3 touchdowns, against 9 interceptions and a passer rating of 38.8. He was considered a “franchise-quarterback” when drafted.
Brian Brohm, 2008, 2nd rd, #56 overall
For a 2nd round QB to only last one season on an NFL team in today’s modern NFL, you have to be horrible. That’s what Brohm was for the Packers. He was taken as insurance as the Packers were turning over the franchise to Aaron Rodgers that 2008 season, and many people thought Brohm was ready for the NFL even a year sooner out of Louisville. He looked lost, and was cut the next season, then signed off the practice squad by the Bills.
Robbie Bosco, 1986, 3rd rd, #82 overall
Bosco would end up never throwing a pass in an NFL regular season game. After spending his first two seasons on injured reserve, the Packers cut Bosco. He had a great collegiate career at BYU, following in the footsteps of Steve Young, and preceeding Ty Detmer.
RB- Brent Fullwood, 1987, 1st rd, #4 overall
Like Bosco after Steve Young, Fullwood road the coattails of his previous guy at Auburn, Bo Jackson, and was over-drafted at #4 overall.
Although he had one good season in the Majikal 1989 season, he lasted just three full seasons for the Packers. His career rushing total of 1,701 yards for the Packers as a #4 overall pick is a sad story.
RB- Darrell Thompson, 1990, 1st rd, #19 overall
Thompson was the Gophers’ all-time leading rusher, and the Packers thought they were getting a franchise RB. Although he lasted five seasons in Green Bay, Thompson’s running style was so upright he was an easy target for tacklers. He finished his Packers’ career with 1,641 yards rushing, eight touchdowns and a 3.5-yard average in his career.
RB- LeShon Johnson, 1994, 3rd rd, #84 overall
As is often the case with the RB position, this was another case of a torn ACL ruining the player. After leading the nation in rushing his senior season at Northern Illinois with 1,976 yards, Johnson tore his ACL during his rookie year with the Packers. Five games into his second season, the Packers released Johnson. His Packers’ career consisted of 28 carries for 97 yards.
WR- Derrick Mayes, 1996, 2nd rd, #56 overall
The former Irish Mayes spent three seasons with the Packers, appearing in 29 games and starting only nine. His best season came in 1998, when he recorded 30 catches for 394 yards and three touchdowns. Although he broke receiving records of Tim Brown and Raghib Ismail at Notre Dame, he was a flop for the Packers. He did get himself a Super Bowl ring, however.
WR- Frankie Neal, 1987, 3rd rd, #71
Lasted just one season in Green Bay, despite the Packers being horrible during those years. Eventually, Frankie turned to a life of crime on the streets.
There have been some great #80 WR’s for the Packers. But not all of them have been worthy of the number.
TE- Gary Lewis, 1981, 2nd rd, #35 overall
Lewis played four quiet seasons for the Packers, starting a total of three games. His career stat line: 21 catches, 285 yards and one touchdown.
C- Jason Spitz, 2006, 3rd rd, #75 overall
Was drafted to replace Scott Wells as the Packers center, was given multiple chances at both center at guard, but ultimately was never able to last at either position.
OT- Tony Mandarich, 1989, 1st rd, #2 overall
OT- Jon Michels, 1996, 1st rd, #27 overall
The left tackle from USC started nine games for the Packers during his rookie season after veteran Ken Ruettgers went down with a knee injury. In ’97, he started the team’s first five games before suffering his own season-ending knee injury. The next year was more of the same – Michaels injured his right knee in training camp and never played another game for the Packers. In total, the Packers got 14 starts out of Michaels.
G- Dave Dreschler, 1983, 2nd rd, #48 overall
Never started a game, was castaway after just 2 seasons. Never should have been taken any higher than the 6th or 7th round to begin with. Fans had no idea why he was taken in round two. They still have no idea.
G- Syd Kitson, 1980, 3rd rd, #61 overall
Started 9 games in 3+ seasons before the Packers let him go, to Dallas. At least he earned a handful of starts and wasn’t a complete washout, but a 3rd rounder at guard is expected to become better than that.
DE- Jamal Reynolds, 2001, 1st rd, #10 overall
Absolute huge bust in Ron Wolf’s final draft-dagger as Packer GM. Reynolds lasted all of two seasons for the Packers before they tried to trade him away, but ultimately simply released the bum.
DL- Justin Harrell, 2007, 1st rd, #16 overall
Most Packer fans moaned and groaned the second this pick was announced, and they ended up being correct on this one as Harrell was often injured in college, and that translated into the NFL. He had the perfect blend of size and agility, but for some reason was just made brittle and couldn’t last. Was a total waste, and what makes it worse is that Ted Thompson was just about to draft Darrell Revis with that pick, but the Jets flew in and scooped him up right before the Packers pick.
A nice guy with tons of talent, Harrell was never able to shake his brittleness. Some would say he just had a large amount of bad luck. Some would say it was a bad pick. Either way, the Packers got no return on their first round investment.
DL- Bruce Clark, 1980, 1st rd, #4 overall
Clark never wanted to play for the Packers, and he never did. The Packers thought he was bluffing, but he wasn’t. The idiot opted to instead go to the CFL where he signed with the Toronto Argonauts. The Packers got zilch out of the #4 overall pick, while some great players went off the board after the wasted pick. Dolphins center Dwight Stevenson, Redskins Hall of Fame WR Art Monk, and perennial Pro Bowl guard Matt Millen all would have been nice picks there.
What makes it even worse was that Wolf cashed in Matt Hasselbeck here to simply trade up in the first round and select Reynolds. Seattle got themselves the franchise QB who would lead them to numerous division titles as well as a Super Bowl. The Packers reached for Reynolds with their higher pick in round one, while Seattle then later used their lower pick in round one from the Packers to draft themselves Steve Hutchinson, who would become a perennial Pro Bowl guard.
DL- Mike Neal, 2010, 2nd rd, #56 overall
You all know the story here. He still has time to magically heal up and turn it around, but he’s already been suspended for the first ¼ of the 2012 season so his path looks remarkably similar to Harrell’s, and odds are that he will stay who you thought he was. An over-drafted, injury-prone college player who couldn’t stay on the field for the Packers. Ted Thompson’s overfaith in him also caused Cullen Jenkins to be let go, erroneously. Neal could only dream of becoming the player that Jenkins did.
DL- Donnell Washington, 2004, 3rd rd, #72 overall
The 6-6, 330 pounds behemoth out of Clemson never accomplished a single thing in his 2 seasons stealing money from the Packers. Not a single game played before the Packers threw him to the curb, and nobody else ever picked him up.
DL- Steve Warren, 2000, 3rd rd, #74 overall
Lasted 3 seasons, never started a game, registered a career total of 11 tackles and 1 sack for the Packers, which looks Pro Bowl like compared to Neal and Harrell through two seasons.
LB- AJ Hawk, 1st rd, 2006, #5 overall
True, he is not a total bust as he has been solid, somewhat productive, and accountable, for his six seasons. But the fact that he was taken so high, and taken before true dominant players like DL Haloti Ngata and TE Vernon Davis makes this one hard to swallow. Hawk provided a total of zero turnovers in the 2011 season. One of the highest-drafted linebackers in the whole NFL, the Packers have a right to expect more than no turnovers in a season.
LB- Mark D’Onofrio, 1992, 2nd rd, #34 overall
Like Harrell and Neal, it was the injury factor that led to his demise. He tore his hamstring his rookie year, and eventually was released before his second season. He never recorded a single tackle for the Packers despite being named a starter in his rookie training camp.
LB- Abdul Hodge, 2006, 3rd rd, #67 overall
Part of a great Big Ten linebacking crew that year (along with Hawk and Chad Greenway), Hodge had Packer Nation excited when Thompson drafted him. He lasted two seasons, mostly injured with knee problems, before the Packers cut him in August of 2008.
LB- Torrance Marshall, 2001, 3rd rd, #72 overall
Lasted three seasons for the Packers, totaling 19 tackles in his Packer career. 2004 was the end of the road for Torrance. The last NFL news we heard from Marshall was this: Marshall had an arrest warrant issued for him in connection with the trashing of a former girlfriend’s house in Sheraden, Pennsylvania. The ex-girlfriend told police that when she got off work June 14, she found that her home had been ransacked. The damage, according to a police report, included clothes strewn around and bleach dumped all over them; mattresses sliced; electrical cords on appliances cut; and urine left on family photographs. Marshall had visited Pittsburgh earlier this month to “try and work things out” with the woman, police said.
Hodge was a fan-favorite when drafted. He never lived up to the hype as his knees were a problem, and so was his quickness.
CB- Ahmad Carroll, 2004, 1st rd, #25 overall
CB- Terrell Buckley, 1992, 1st rd, #5 overall
Cocky and brash, Buckley added some excitement to the Packers during a time when they had been horrible and boring for over two decades. Buckley was a great athlete, but too tiny and he had terrible technique as a cornerback.
He made an impact the first time he touched the ball, returning a punt for a touchdown in week three of the 1992 season in a thrilling win over the Bengals. It also was the game that the youngster Favre came in to replace the injured Don Majkowski.
CB- Vinnie Clark, 1991, 1st rd, #19 overall
Clark lasted only two seasons in Green Bay. During those two years, the cornerback started only 15 games and recorded four interceptions.
CB- Patrick Lee, 2008, 2nd rd, #60 overall
Lee was taken in the 2nd round, surprisingly, and was one of the few head-scratchers by Ted Thompson. He had one decent season only at Auburn, but never showed the ball skills or fluidity to be a successful corner in the NFL. But he had the size that Thompson looks for in his cornerbacks.
S- Marques Anderson, 2002, 3rd rd, #92 overall
Taken in 2002, he would only last two seasons before the Packers let him go, to the Raiders. He wasn’t terrible as he made some plays, but he gave up way too many big plays gambling.
S- Bhawoh Jue, 2001, 3rd rd, #71 overall
Born in Liberia, Jue wasn’t a total bust, and he actually made some plays for the Packers. But by the end of the 2004 season, the Packers had seen enough of him getting burnt, so they let him go. The Chargers gave him a chance, so then did the Rams and Cardinals.
He lasted an amazing four seasons in Green Bay and got himself a Super Bowl ring, but he was worthless as he never had a career interception and only made one start. That’s not what one expects from a second round pick.
P- BJ Sander, 2004, 3rd rd, #87 overall
The 2004 draft was very strange for the Packers. GM Mike Sherman traded up to select the crappy punter in round 3, causing the team to only have 2 more picks after round 3. They ended up being DL Corey Williams in round 6, and Scott Wells in round 7, pretty darn good picks. But the first 4 picks that draft were all awful in Carroll, Joey Thomas, Washington, and Sander.
All in all, a decent draft considering you got a Pro Bowl C in Wells and a nice player in Williams. But the earlier picks were all flops
K- Brett Conway, 1997, 3rd rd, #90 overall
From Penn State, Conway never played a single game for the Packers after he was beat out for the kicking job by waiver-wire pickup Ryan Longwell. Longwell would go on to have a fabulous 16+ season career with the Packers and Vikings, but Conway was a total flop, and more proof (like Sander) that you really never should take a punter or placekicker in the first three rounds of a draft. Sebastian Janikowski is the rare exception to that rule.