Packers 2013 Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
From Zach Kruse, Bleacher Report ~
1st Round, 26th Overall: DE Datone Jones, UCLA
The Green Bay Packers made an easy choice Thursday night in selecting UCLA defensive end Datone Jones in the first round.
A powerfully built 5-technique with experience in the 3-4 defense, Jones immediately fills a hole on the Packers’ razor-thin defensive line. He should be expected to immediately start in the base front with Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji, and his pass-rushing ability gives him a chance to be disruptive in the nickel package as an inside rusher.
As a senior at UCLA, Jones provided 19.5 tackles for losses and 5.5 sacks—with the majority of that production coming against double teams in the Bruins’ three-man defensive front. The Packers will hope that production will carry over to the next level.
Without much doubt, Green Bay entered this draft with defensive line as its biggest need. While Raji and Pickett return as starters, C.J. Wilson was a below average starter, Mike Neal and Mike Daniels are strictly nickel pass rushers and Jerel Worthy is rehabbing after ACL surgery. The Packers also have five upcoming free agents along the line in 2014.
With Jones on board, the Packers suddenly look much more talented in the front-seven. A potential weakness could become a strength in 2013.
2nd Round, 61st Overall: RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
A gaping hole for the Green Bay Packers throughout the Aaron Rodgers era may finally be shifting into a legitimate strength.
After trading down with the San Francisco 49ers to No. 61 overall, Green Bay picked Alabama running back Eddie Lacy—a potential workhorse back who gives the Packers the most talented runner of the football they’ve had in some time.
With Lacy on board, the Packers can now team him with 2012 discovery DuJuan Harris to create an intriguing and productive running-back duo behind Rodgers and Green Bay’s explosive passing game.
However, there are reasons why Lacy fell to No. 61 overall.
He has dealt with injury issues in the past, including a hamstring problem in the lead up to this draft. It’s also worth wondering how much of his production came via the nation’s most dominant offensive line at Alabama. There won’t be truck-sized holes to maneuver through at the next level.
But at 231 pounds, with agile feet and a strong lower half, Lacy certainly has the kind of skill set that can translate to the NFL.
The Packers will now hope the threat of Lacy in the backfield will pull some of the two-high safety looks Rodgers has had to deal with in previous years. If so, Green Bay’s offense just reached dangerous levels.
4th Round, 109th Overall: OT David Bakhtiari, Colorado
Under Ted Thompson, the Green Bay Packers have generally been known as a team that leans towards “best player available.”
While it’s impossible to know their board, one thing in the 2013 NFL draft is clear: The Packers have identified obvious needs and have set out to address them.
After fixing huge problems at defensive end and running back in the first two rounds, Green Bay took a stab at solidifying the tackle position with Colorado’s David Bakhtiari.
An early entry after his junior season, Bakhtiari arrives in the NFL as a somewhat raw prospect. But he does have the feet necessary of a left tackle, plus the experience of playing inside and at right tackle. He also brings a nasty disposition to finishing blocks.
The Packers may not be getting an immediate fix for their tackle woes in Bakhtiari, but it’s an attempt to rebuild what has been a trouble spot for the past two seasons. The one worry here is if he can eventually play left tackle or not.
4th Round, 122nd Overall: OL J.C. Tretter, Cornell
The Packers are getting serious about addressing their offensive line woes.
Just 13 picks after taking offensive tackle David Bakhtiari from Colorado, the Packers selected Cornell’s versatile offensive lineman J.C. Tretter.
A former tight end, Tretter moved to left tackle in 2011 and went on to start two-straight years on the blindside. Despite his athleticism, Tretter probably doesn’t have the heigh (6’4″) or arm length (33 3/8″) to think he’ll translate to left tackle at the next level.
Instead, the Ivy League product will likely move inside to play guard in the NFL.
The Packers have more depth issues at guard than they do tackle, so Tretter makes sense here.
4th Round, 125th Overall: RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
Think the Packers came into this draft serious about finding a running game?
Two rounds after taking Alabama battering ram Eddie Lacy with a value pick at No. 61, the Packers moved back into the fourth round to select UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin. Some would argue Lacy and Franklin represented the top two running backs in this class.
Franklin’s fall into the fourth round is somewhat surprising, and could do somewhat with his fumbling problems early on in his collegiate career. But the overall running talent is certainly there.
A quick, one-cut runner with vision and explosion in-and-out cuts, Franklin is a potential Frank Gore-type runner at the next level. He also has experience catching the football out of the backfield.
By all accounts, this is another of the best value picks in the fourth round, and maybe the entire draft. Franklin, who stands 5’10” and weighs 205 pounds but plays much bigger, has immediate impact potential.
The Packers now have the talent at running back to match the passing game. This offense could get scary in 2013.
5th Round, 159th Overall: CB/S Micah Hyde, Iowa
The Packers’ drafting of Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde has made it three-straight drafts in which Green Bay has addressed the cornerback position.
Hyde will now join Casey Hayward (2012 second-rounder) and Davon House (2011 fourth-rounder) and starters Tramon Williams and Sam Shields in a talented group of cornerbacks in Green Bay. Special teamer Jarrett Bush also returns.
The Packers likely targeted Hyde because of his positional versatility.
While primarily a cornerback at Iowa, Hyde also brings experience (two starts) playing free safety. As more of a read-and-react player, his best position may eventually be at the backend.
Over three years starting, Hyde intercepted eight passes and proved to be a play-maker for the Iowa secondary.
However, his 197-pound frame will likely limit his early (if ever) transition to safety. Considering the Packers depth at cornerback, the value here is questionable.
5th Round, 167th Overall: DL Josh Boyd, Mississippi State
Considering the Packers current and long-term health along the defensive line, a second selection of a defensive lineman isn’t surprising.
With the second-to-last pick in the fifth round, the Packers took Josh Boyd, a 310-pound defensive lineman from Mississippi State. He’ll enter a crowded rotation in Green Bay that needed the help.
The Packers will have five free-agent defensive linemen to deal with following the 2013 season, and while not all will leave, the team did need to protect itself moving forward.
Boyd, who posted 32 reps at 225 pounds at the NFL combine, can now come in and compete for a role at either defensive end or nose tackle, depending on how defensive coordinator Dom Capers wants to use him.
6th Round, 193rd Overall: OLB Nate Palmer, Illinois State
Despite having two first-round picks penciled in as starters, the Green Bay Packers entered the 2013 NFL draft with an obvious need at outside linebacker.
To fix that issue, the Packers drafted Nate Palmer out of Illinois State with their sixth-round pick.
Depth behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry was all but eradicated this offseason, as the Packers lost both Erik Walden and Frank Zombo in free agency. Adding Palmer gives the Packers another young, high-upside rusher to team with Dezman Moses behind the starters.
Palmer was certainly productive at Illinois State.
In his two years after transferring from Illinois, Palmer (6’2″, 248 pounds) tallied 17 sacks and five forced fumbles. He also led the nation in quarterback hits with 27 his final season.
The Packers will hope working with noted outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene can help Palmer translate his college production into a successful NFL career rushing the passer. That transition might need to be accelerated, too, as the Packers have relied on depth at the position in each of the last three seasons.
Considering how poor said depth was at the position entering the draft, and the upside Palmer brings to the table, this appears to be a solid selection.
7th Round, 216th Overall: WR Charles Johnson, Grand Valley State
In Grand Valley State receiver Charles Johnson, the Packers are either getting a workout warrior or a legitimate seventh-round sleeper.
At his pro day in March, Johnson, who stands 6’2″ and weighs 215 pounds, blazed through the 40-yard dash with sub 4.4-second 40-yard dashes. He also posted an impressive vertical leap of 39.5 inches.
While his competition level at Grand Valley State wasn’t great, Johnson went over 1,000 yards receiving in each of his two seasons at the school and finished with 31 touchdown receptions.
The physical traits and collegiate production are all there for Johnson.
The question now becomes whether or not the small-school receiver can adjust to life in the NFL. Gone are the days where he is running free against FCS-level secondaries, no matter what he timed out in the 40-yard dash.
However, the Packers are still deep at receiver, so Johnson won’t be thrown into the fire immediately. He’ll have a chance to marinate behind the likes of James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Once he’s ready, he could be a serious down-the-field and red-zone option for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
7th Round, 224th Overall: WR Kevin Dorsey, Maryland
Obviously not content with drafting just one athletic but raw receiver, general manager Ted Thompson went to the well again eight picks later and took Maryland receiver Kevin Dorsey.
While limited by poor quarterback play while at Maryland, Dorsey opened some eyes with his physical attributes.
Standing 6’2″—the same height as Charles Johnson, who the Packers picked at No. 216—Dorsey ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds and posted a vertical leap of 38 inches.
Again, the numbers weren’t great at Maryland—Dorsey caught just 18 passes his senior year, and 81 total—but that was more a product of outside factors. Or so the Packers hope.
Green Bay has clearly targeted tall, athletic receivers to finish out this draft, and Dorsey is just the latest example. The Packers will bank on either Johnson or Dorsey putting the athletic tools together and becoming a legitimate NFL receiver.
7th Round, 232nd Overall: LB Sam Barrington, USF
The Packers finished their 2013 draft class by selecting South Florida linebacker Sam Barrington at No. 232 overall.
While officially listed as an outside linebacker, Barrington may project better to playing inside in the 3-4 defense. He was listed at 246 pounds and ran 4.83-second 40-yard dash at the combine, which are numbers closer associated to a thumping-inside backer than 3-4 edge rusher.
Considering the unrest at inside linebacker, Barrington is a likely fit. At the very least, he’ll be a replacement for the recently released D.J. Smith.
Barrington may also be a similar player for the Packers as Brad Jones, who can interchange between outside and inside linebcker in the 3-4. Versatility is always a big part of how Ted Thompson approaches draft picks.
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