This was Rodgers’ true “coming out party” on National TV, primetime, at the #1-seeded Falcons. It was a clinic. Rodgers was a surgeon.
He probably could have had 5 or 6 touchdown passes if he wanted to. It’s hard to remember, but the Falcons were a strong favorite that game, as the top seed and seemingly unbeatable at home.
Not only was Rodgers a surgeon with his pinpoint passing, he also got away from many easy sacks with his escape skills. He flustered John Abraham all game long.
Rodgers was almost perfect. Interesting to look at the stats as they are almost identical to what Kurt Warner did one year earlier to the Packers defense.
Still recovering from the calf injury sustained 3 weeks earlier at Tampa Bay, Rodgers started slow and the Packers fell behind by 8 points in the 3rd quarter and it looked like yet another early playoff exit. But he heated up like Regular-Season Aaron (was MVP again), and he led the Packers to their first goodplayoff win (win over Joe Webb’s Vikings in 2012 season doesn’t count) since the magical 2010 Super Season.
His best play may have come after Dez Bryant didn’t catch it, not even producing any points.
The Packers offense iced the game away as Rodgers came up with first down-clinching pass to Randall Cobb and then another to Davante Adams to seal it.
The first one, however, was lucky as it was a very fortunate catch by Cobb. Regardless, the Dallas offense never got back onto the field to have a chance to steal the game.
#3- 2010 Super Bowl vs Pittsburgh, Win 31-25 111.5 passer rating, 24/39, 304 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints
This one maybe belongs ahead of the Cowboys game for a few reasons. First, it was the Super Bowl. Second, that Steelers’ defense was still a lot better than what the Dallas defense was last year (2015 playoff game). And third, the Packers didn’t have Eddie Lacy back then. They started James Starks or Brandon Jackson.
But Rodgers was great early in the game propelling the Packers to a big lead, and good enough at the end. He didn’t quite seal the deal at the end, however, as he did vs. Dallas. He couldn’t punch it in to seal it versus the Steelers, and it allowed Big Ben a chance to win it down by 6 with plenty of time left. The defense saved the game at the end. He was named the Super Bowl MVP, deservedly so.
Rodgers was fantastic in his first career playoff game. He had safety Antrel Rolle shaking in his boots. But Kurt Warner was a little better, and didn’t make any mistakes. -AP photo
#4- 2009 NFC Wildcard at Arizona, Loss 51-45 OT 121.4 passer rating, 28/42, 423 yards, 4 TDs, 1 Int, 1 Fumble
This was Rodgers’ first ever playoff game. It was just his 2nd season as the starting QB. And he was simply sensational. Except. Except his first pass was intercepted. And except for overtime, when he A) missed a game-winning deep touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, and B) he did what he does sometimes, holding the ball too long, and got it stripped for the game-ending, season-ending, fumble.
That missed pass to Jennings was very similar to the pass Russell Wilson hit in overtime this January to end that game, season. Except Tramon Williams had great coverage, while Jennings was open by 2 steps. It wasn’t an easy pass as it was about 50 yards downfield. Aside from those 3 plays, it was as good as a QB can possibly play. It just wasn’t as good as Kurt Warner was on the opposite side of the field.
Rodgers was solid with the passing, but he also hurt the Eagles with his legs. This was Rodgers’ first ever career playoff victory, getting a monkey off his back. -US Presswire
It really wasn’t much, 180 yards. But he was clutch, and mistake-free. Sometimes, that’s what it takes for a win. Clutch is the key, as Russell Wilson showed. It can make up for a terrible game. The Eagles should have won this game.
Had David Akers been the normal kicker he was all year, the Packers may have lost and Rodgers would have been 0-2 in his playoff career -with pressure mounting. But because of that luck, and because Rodgers didn’t give the ball away ever, he and the Packers he enough to advance to Atlanta the next round.
5-Game COMPOSITE: 17 TDs, 1 Interception, 1 Fumble
(the Int & Fumble occurred in same game, the lone loss at Arizona. Also missed wide open Jennings deep in OT, 2 plays before game-ending losing fumble)
AARON RODGERS BOTTOM 5 PLAYOFF GAMES
This one will leave scars on him and millions of fans for a long, long time. Nothing will erase those scars, except, perhaps, a Super Bowl win this season.
#1- 2014 NFC Championship at Seattle, Loss 28-22 OT 55.8 passer rating, 19/34, 178 yards, 1 TD, 2 Ints
There are many reasons why this is the worst of the worst. First off, the rest of the team played well in this game. The OL blocked great. The defense produced tons of turnovers.
This game should have been a rout along the lines of 41-10 at the closest, if Rodgers play was good this game.
Rodgers’ two interceptions were both terrible and left points on the table. He also missed an early touchdown on a simple pass at the goal line to Nelson, which led to settling for one of those early field goals. The OL pass-protected as well as any team has at Seattle in a long time. Yes Rodgers was playing on a gimpy leg. But he was the week earlier as well, in colder weather, and had no trouble carving Dallas up.
This shoestring tackle was Rodgers’ best play of the game. It saved a touchdown. -AP photo
This was a good Bears defense, and January Chicago weather. It was an ugly game for Rodgers, but the defense saved the game feasting on Cutler and then picking off the backup QB late to seal the game.
Rodgers’ best play of the game was his tackle on Urlacher (above) after the terrible interception right to him in the end zone. That shoestring-tackle by Rodgers saved a touchdown.
This was an overall team loss. The OL was subpar. All the RB’s and WR’s either fumbled or dropped passes. And the defense couldn’t force any punts in the first half, then allowed a garbage hail mary touchdown to Hakeem Nicks to end the half.
#3- 2011 NFC Divisional vs New York Giants, Loss 37-20 78.5 passer rating, 26/46, 264 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int
This was the incredible MVP Rodgers and the almost undefeated Packers, laying an egg in their first playoff game after the bye. Rodgers also had a bye in week 17 as they let Matt Flynn play that game at the Lions, which as it turns out was a mistake for the team to let Rodgers build up almost 3 weeks of rust.
That game wasn’t all his fault as the receivers dropped passes left and right, the OL had breakdowns even on simple 3-step drops when Rodgers was about to throw to a wide-open Jennings for a touchdown, and guys fumbled. Kuhn, Grant, Jennings all fumbled. That was supposed to be a Super Bowl repeat, and it all fell apart in an ugly fashion. Rodgers timing was also off right from the beginning. That game kind of reminds me of what happened last year in Buffalo.
Rodgers just couldn’t generate anything against a good 49ers defense on a cold day at Lambeau. Remember, it was Don Barclay and the rookie Dave Bakhtiari on the edges that game, not the veteran Bulaga and the second year Bakhtiari like last year. -AP photo
#4- 2013 NFC Divisional vs San Francisco, Loss 23-20 97.8 passer rating, 17/26, 177 yards, 1 TD, 0 Int
Both of these 49er games were not terrible, but had he played great or even good, the Packers would have won thisgame, not necessarily the other one when Kaepernick embarrassed Capers’ defense. Rodgers, here at home, just couldn’t get anything going. He still had James Jones to go along with Nelson and Cobb.
Remember both Cobb and Rodgers missed a ton of time that season and were barely back in time for the week 17 last-play win at the Bears. But they were not sharp in the Wildcard game, and Jordy didn’t pick up the slack either. The defense did enough to slow down Gore & Kaepernick that the Packers should have won the game. However, they next week they would have been at Seattle so it didn’t matter in the end.
Rodgers wasn’t terrible or even bad. But he was clearly the 2nd best QB on the field that day. Of course, he was facing a still-great defense, while Kaepernick ran for hundreds of yards and never even got hit hard once. -Getty Images
#5- 2012 NFC Divisional at San Francisco, Loss 45-31 91.5 passer rating, 26/39, 257 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int
This was the Super Bowl 49ers. They almost won the Super Bowl, and the Packers defense seemed like they were preparing for a QB like Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, or Tom Brady (immobile) instead of a QB like Robert Griffin or Michael Vick.
Rodgers was actually decent in that game, especially the first half.
But the great Niners’ defense shut him and the offense down in the second half, while Kaepernick kept running and running through and around the Packers’ defense all night long.
Rodgers was not at all to blame for this game, and for this being in anyone’s top 5-worst, that says a lot about his greatness. Hopefully, this game remains as his 5th worst as no other game in the future playoffs bumps it off the list.
~Journal Sentinel beat writer Bob McGinn answered questions about the Packers and the NFL draft during a chat Monday.
Q: AZ Warrior – Bob – Thanks for the chat. What do you think of our offensive line depth? We are good at center, and Barclay can likely provide serviceable back up at guard, but if we get an injury at tackle, I’m afraid AR’s protection will not be worthy of, well, AR.
A: Bob McGinn – Thanks to all for participating. It’s a sunny, beautiful spring day in GB. Now to the questions ..AZW: True, they didn’t draft any guards or centers since end of the season. They did add two guards and a tackle in college FA. One of the guards, Pitt’s Matt Rotheram, was regarded as a draftable prospect by several teams and should be in the running to make club. Josh Walker is back from the P-squad and is a massive, impressive-looking athlete. He’s a guard as well. FA G Marcus Reed is 355 pounds and isn’t a bad player, either. Improved depth will have to come from FA class.
Q: Carl Gerbschmidt, Elk Mound – Hi Bob, crazy question: with their high-powered explosive offense, is TT thinking they won’t be behind that much so are less concerned about big guys who can stop the run and more focused on pass defense?
A: Bob McGinn – Carl: That is possible. It’d be a mistake to think that way, but it is possible.
Q: gene, chicago – thanks for taking my question. I had not seen any description of D Randall from Arizona State as a 1st rounder until you quoted scouts after the 1st round who said he might be a 1st rounder. Would it have been wiser to try to get Randall later and use the #30 pick on a more highly rated player like the numerous players picked immediately afterward ? Why does Ted see certain players more highly than everyone else (such as K. Thornton from last year)
A: Bob McGinn – Gene: No, there was sentiment for Randall in D1. I took a stab and tossed him No. 20 to Philly. He wouldn’t have lasted beyond 45. I don’t think the Packers view players much differently than the norm.
Q: BrocknMac, Boston, MA – Hi Bob: Thanks for the chat. One question that I fail to see asked during draft day is what are the realistic expectations, medically and otherwise, for career length after serious knee surgery? Do teams really expect the injury will not effect the potential length of a career or do they just look at the average NFL career length and think that tenure is possible at least?
A: Bob McGinn – Brock: Each knee is different, and so is each evaluation by the team’s orthopedic guy. Hard to generalize here.
Q: Chris A., Mukwonago – Enjoy your draft coverage, especially look forward to the scouts opinions on Packer draft selections. It seems as though some prospects have vastly different opinions from different scouts. Do you see a correlation between certain scout’s opinions and win/lose record on their team?
A: Bob McGinn – CA: No. Scouts work hard at what they do. It truly is an inexact science. You can see that on the Packers’ top picks when I include everything I received pre-draft on the player. Evaluations often are all over the board. That’s the way it is in draft meetings. You might have four scouts who have seen/written a report on a guy, and maybe a position coach. The GM conducts that meetings, ask what they saw. All five probably see the guy a different way. They jointly look at tape trying to reach a consensus. Then it’s up to GM and his top 1 or 2 aides to make decision and assign a final grade on player. Nothing easy about it even though so often fans think it is.
Q: packer fan in medina, medina wa – I thought the packer draft was very disappointing. the team needs to get better to pass the seahawks as the best team in the fc. however, I see no improvement for 2015 with this draft class. do you see any players that will contribute as starters for the packers this year or will play a substantial role in the team’s improvement? all of the national sources rate the packer draft as one of the poorest in the league. while we know it is too early for a final grade, how do rate the draft versus the other top teams in the nfc? thank you for your thoughts.
A: Bob McGinn – Medina: Forget all that garbage from “national sources.” They’re all in way over their heads. Just filling space, really. They have no idea who the players will be out of this draft. No one does. That’s the fascination of it. I went over the Packers’ eight picks with four personnel guys Sunday. That followed talking to countless other personnel guys about the Packers’ picks and several hundred other players before the draft. Please read what we had in today’s paper.
Q: Brendon, Bend, OR – Like the draft but puzzled why we didn’t take Paul Dawson when he was available.Looks like he’s much more of a hitter than Ryan, who reminds me of Hawk-great guy, leader, but not a special athletic talent. what do you think?
A: Bob McGinn – Brendon: My guess is the Packers passed Dawson three times because they thought he was too slow and didn’t like his person. Dawson ran 4.90 at combine, then improved to 4.78 at pro day. He was 235 at combine before dropping to 230 on pro day when he knew lowering his 40 would determine his fate. Ryan was 240 at combine when he ran 4.65. Scouts said there was no question that Dawson played the game much better than Ryan. Some doubted how effective he would be at the NFL level. In other words, would his speed cause him to be a step slow chasing 4.5 RBs instead of 4.6 RBs. I saw Ryan a bunch during his four years because it’s my alma mater. He was an excellent OLB in a 3-4 for first two years before the ACL. He made a ton of tackles in the middle in 2014.
Q: Zook, Little Canada, MN – Bob, if you had a crystal ball how do you think this draft class will be considered 5 years from now?
A: Bob McGinn – Zooker: Mine’s permanently busted.
Q: John , Brookfield WI – Do you put any stock in what Kiper/McShay have to say? Something tells me “No”.
McGinn thinks that he’s the only one who gets comments from scouts and NFL personnel people? Kiper and McShay talk to 10x more scouts, GMs, agents, and players than McGinn does.
A: Bob McGinn – John: Why would I do that when so many personnel people working for teams graciously give me their time and expertise? Besides, those two have never worked as scouts or coaches. Also remember one thing. Everyone on NFL Network has checks signed by the league. Everyone at ESPN, CBS, NBC and Fox work for entities that pay millions to be broadcast partners with the league. They’re all going to go only so far in their reporting (at JS, we aren’t paid by the league). They’re entertainers. It was remarkable to me the reaction on NFL Media and elsewhere regarding Part 2 of the draft series when more than one evaluator compared Winston to Russell. Granted, the comparison was unflattering, but that’s life. Anyway, it set off a tempest. It stunned me. Those guys on TV blab draft month after month. Don’t tell me the Winston-Russell comparison (weight, size, ints, focus, Jimbo Fisher coached both, etc) didn’t cross someone’s mind. If it did, apparently no one dared bring it up. You get a lot of niceties on TV and in NFL Media stories, and a little bit of realism. But they will only go so far in what they say and write. The NFL wants to play the games and cover the games.
Q: HawkFreeZone, Chilton, WI – Bob, my sense is that this draft did not make this team any tougher. Your views?
A: Bob McGinn – HFZ: Again, hard to say. Montgomery might run tough on KOs. Ryan might be a tough guy. If Ripkowski makes it he might hit people despite his average size. Ringo is a strong though undersized 3-tech. But toughness isn’t a problem in GB these days.
Q: Joe Martinez, State College, PA – The Draft came and went without a selection that reinforces the NT, while Christian Ringo was a intriguing pick that fit the Mike Daniels mold… Letory Guion and BJ Raji sit as the only 2 NT with extensive experience, yet have both proven relatively ineffective, and only signed to one year contracts… Does TT have faith that either Mike Pennel or Khari Thronton could challenge for the role this summer?
A: Bob McGinn – Joe: He has three NTs in Raji, Guion and Pennel. He signed a fourth in Ole Miss’ Lavon Hooks. That’s enough noses, for goodness sakes. If he needs a body Ryan Pickett is out there. As for 5-tech, they could have used one. Can’t draft it all, I guess.
Q: Dean, Waukesha, WI – As I look at the list of UDFA’s I don’t see any ILB’s listed, no other players competing for a job in what remains a weak position group. I find this both confusing and troubling. What’s your take?
A: Bob McGinn – Dean: Tavarus Dantzler of Bethune-Cookman is an ILB. Joe Thomas, a fairly impressive rookie FA last summer, is back and could make a run. Nate Palmer is there as well. It’s tough to say anything about ILB until the regular season starts and we see how much Mike McCarthy uses Clay Matthews there.
Q: Joe, Springfield, VA – Bob…it???s always interesting reading the fans??? commentaries after the draft (and just about after everything Packers??? related) since it???s usually incredibly emotional, full of hyperbole, rarely fact based, and na??ve. As a fan who often finds himself incredulous after reading some of the posts, how do you manage to put up with it? Thanks!
A: Bob McGinn – Joe: I have to ignore it all. We all have jobs to do. Mine is to help readers make informed opinions. What I don’t need to be doing is reading comments from fans. No harm intended. I just talk with team personnel around the league because they know football. Then form my own thoughts. It’s the best way I know to do this job.
Q: John, Milwaukee – Hi Bob – thank your for your consistently great work! A quick question: Does this draft signal the end of the Jarrett Bush era in Green Bay? He was the target of much fan criticism over the years, but I always appreciated his toughness, work-ethic, and ability to tune out the noise and focus on his job. I understand the desire to get younger, but I have to think the DB room would miss the leadership and example provided by Bush and Tramon Williams.
Without Bush and his interception of Roethlisberger, the Packers may not have been Super Bowl XLV Champions.
A: Bob McGinn – John: On Friday, CB coach Joe Whitt brought up Bush as being in free-agent limbo. After drafting two CBs, the Packers added two more FAs. Jarrett won’t be 31 for a few more weeks. I’ve probably never covered a harder-working player. If it isn’t Green Bay, I sure hope he finds work with another team. What a class act. I always teased him about sloughing off, did he run the extra stadium, how much time post-practice did he spend on the field. He’d cock his eyebrow and always laugh. He’s such an earnest guy. Jarrett Bush will be missed inside that team.
Q: John, Bloomington, IN – ‘I’d be leery to spend a draft pick on this guy.’ That is a pretty harsh take on our 2nd round pick. Do you build your sense of some players based on the track records of some of these scouts you talk with? That is, this scout really tends to pan guys and they usually end up being solid NFL players, so I will sort of disregard his opinion?
A: Bob McGinn – John: No. I gather as many scouts’ opinions as I can, present all of them to you, the reader (at least all I have on every GBP draft pick) and let you decide. If you get the feeling that scouts differ on players, you’re right. As for being pretty harsh … hey, football is a pretty harsh business. I try to take readers places they can’t go themselves. I love writing it. Hope you enjoy reading it.
Q: Jeff Babcock, Manitowoc, WI – Bob, Thank you very much for the GREAT pre-draft series. That’s one of the main reasons I subscribe! After reading the series & your review of the draft choices, this seems like an entire draft of boom or bust selections. Am I reading this correctly? Who do you see as the most productive in 2015? Who has the best career? Who has you shaking your head in wonder? thanks!
A: Bob McGinn – Jeff: I tried to come to grips with that question in the column today. I knew nothing about Ringo and Backman before the draft. After talking to four personnel guys Sunday, I can see why the Packers made those picks.
Q: Tom, Appleton – Do you think the Packers would look into signing an inside guy like the free agent LB from Buffalo once they no longer count in the compensatory formula? Or do you think they are happy with where they stand on the inside?
A: Bob McGinn – Tom: Thompson never does stuff like that. Their roster is almost tight to 90. They feel they’re good where they’re at, and I imagine many teams around the league view GB as a strong Super Bowl contender in 2015…My time has expired, faithful readers. Thanks for reading us at JS//BOB McGINN
From Worldwide Wes Hodkiewicz, Green Bay Press-Gazette
~Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media on Saturday following practice. Here are some highlights:
We’ve completed practice. Really the two practices today was a step up from yesterday, the energy. I’ve been very pleased with the quality of it. Look forward to watching the tape. Players will continue with meetings this afternoon and take a tour of Lambeau Field. We’ll have dinner at Brett Favre Steakhouse tonight.
On practice-squad holdovers:
It’s a benefit for the coaching staff to see how they’ve improved and what they’ve done since the end of the season. It’s great to have them out there. They’re able to show the way. The drills they’ve done. We’ve actually incorporated some new drills from personnel evaluation. These two practices, I’m always so impressed from the conclusion of the weekend.
On Joe Thomas:
ILB Joe Thomas
Frankly, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention at Joe. Joe has been here. He looks good. He’s definitely needs to pick up where he left off and I think he’ll definitely do that. He’s done very well in the strength and conditioning so far.
On Adrian Hubbard:
OLB/DE Adrian Hubbard
He’s put on some weight, some size. He’s taken a huge step like you see from every player that’s been here from Year 1 to Year 2. I’m impressed with what Hubbard has done so far. He was here early. He’s put a lot of work in.
On John Crockett:
I think the notice part is over. You’re here for a reason. You’ve earned a right to be in an NFL facility, a right to challenge for a roster spot. A lot of these guys, it’s been really impressive. Scouting is different today than it was 25 years ago. I don’t think as many guys get missed.
On Ladarius Gunter, other young defensive backs:
I think you have to go into this with an open mind and stick to your philosophy, and build your past 90-man roster. The evaluation process doesn’t stop. There will be a number of men who leave who may be brought back or go onto another camp.
On rookie camp week after draft:
There’s two opinions to that. Our personnel department likes having it this week. Sometimes you’d lose a player to a tryout if you’re in the second week. Seems to flow better for us.
On Blake Sims:
He did some nice things today. The understanding from Day 1 to Day 2. He’s instinctive. He has a bounce in his step.
On possibly moving him around:
That’s something that’s been thrown around the evaluation process doesn’t end today. It’s nice to have video. We did some post-practice work at guys who we may want to look at different positions.
On undrafted outside linebackers:
I think that position carries on different characteristics. We develop the elephant positions. We have a lot of tweener body types. People who didn’t think they had enough to be a defensive end in a 4-3.
~Green Bay — Here is a look at the rookie free agents for the Green Bay Packers. There has been no announcement by the club on the signings.
The team also can invite an unlimited number of rookies to its three-day rookie orientation camp that begins Thursday. Those players will be competing for a couple of berths on the 90-man roster.
MALCOLM AGNEW, RB, Southern Illinois
Basics: From Chesterfield, Mo. Played two seasons at Oregon State, rushing 152 times for 692 yards (4.6) and six TDs and catching four passes for 16 (one TD). Although he “loved” then-coach Mike Riley and his staff, Agnew said he transferred to Southern Illinois to play alongside his older brother, Ray, a fullback, and because “I needed to make a change of scenery.” Immediately eligible at the FCS school, he started two years (19 games), rushing 316 times for 1,708 (5.4) and catching 29 passes for 329 (11.5) and three TDs. Missed last four games of 2014 (ankle). Father, Ray, was the 10th pick in the 1990 draft (Patriots) as a DE and started for seven of his 11 NFL seasons.
Measurables: 5 feet 9 inches, 207 pounds, 40-yard dash time of 4.63 seconds. Vertical jump of 37 inches, broad jump of 10-9, 19 reps on the 225-pound bench press and a score of 26 on the 12-minute, 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test. Arms measured 30 3/8 inches, hands were small at 8 7/8 inches.
Agnew: “I feel I just run really hard. I’m good running between the tackles. I love the zone running scheme. I’m a one-cut back. I’ll get downhill fast. I stick my nose in there. I may not be the biggest guy, but I feel like I’m a pretty good blocker. My best trait would be my burst through the hole….Good riddance to the 40. I had a good 10 (yards) time (1.54), the vertical was decent, the broad jump was really good. That shows more what a running back needs than long straight-line speed….I pretty much know all the running-back depth charts from one to four. I was aware they didn’t sign DuJuan Harris back, and Rajion Neal is coming back as the third back and there could be opportunities there.”
NFC scout: “Got a little juice. He runs tough. He’s just small.”
AFC scout: “I saw him in the NFLPA (all-star) game. Little bit undersized, but he’s got vision and feet. He runs with purpose.”
BERNARD BLAKE, CB, Colorado State
Basics: From Bastrop, Texas. Played off the bench in 2011, served as nickel back in ’12 and started last two years. Played 47 games, finishing with 141 tackles (8½ for loss), two interceptions, two forced fumbles and 27 passes defensed. Signing bonus was $3,500.
Measurables: 5-11, 183, 4.51. Vertical jump of just 31½, broad jump of 10-7, only nine reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 12. Arms were 30¼, hands were 9 5/8.
Blake: “At the time there were three teams calling me but I signed pretty quickly with Green Bay. They were the first team to reach out….I’m a passionate player. I’m going to lay it all on the line. I just love everything about the game. It’s life….I played man and zone. I was predominantly press my senior year….I’ve had minor injuries but nothing that made me miss anything.”
AFC scout: “He has adequate speed and quickness. He also has a slender frame, questionable aggressiveness and no closing burst.”
JAVESS BLUE, WR, Kentucky
Basics: From Lake Wales, Fla. Played two seasons at Butler (Kan.) Community College. Started two years at UK, finishing with 72 receptions for 1,111 (15.4) and nine TDs. As a junior, he returned 25 kickoffs for a 20.4 average.
Measurables: 5-11½, 194, 4.55. Vertical jump of 33, broad jump of 10-1, 13 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 13. Arms were 31 7/8, hands were 9.
Blue: “I see myself as more of a speed receiver. I got used mainly to playing inside but I’ve been all over. Very first catch I had this year I got my ankle twisted. It was a high ankle sprain. That took me out for a couple weeks. I was rehabbing and playing on it. With that injury they took me off kickoff and punt returns….I had 18 teams (interested) but it was mainly Green Bay to me because of the two UK guys already being there. That’s two I’ve always been looking up to. Randall (Cobb) and Tim (Masthay). (Randall) is a nice person to be my mentor.”
AFC scout: “I gave Javess a draftable grade. He’s a smooth athlete. He didn’t have a lot of opportunities. He’ll have a shot to make the team. Good route runner. Not a blazer. Plays with good awareness.”
RICKY COLLINS, WR, Texas A&M-Commerce
Basics: From Tyler, Texas. Played two seasons at Kilgore (Texas) junior college. Played six games at NCAA Division II Midwestern (Texas) State in 2012, catching seven passes for 98 yards before departing at midseason after his father suffered a stroke. Redshirted at A&M-Commerce, another Lone Star Conference school, in 2013 before breaking out as a senior with 71 catches for 1,187 (16.7) and 14 TDs.
Measurables: 6-0, 201, 4.53. Vertical jump of 36, broad jump of 9-11 and Wonderlic of 16. Arms were a long 32¾, hands were 9.
Collins: “My strengths are my routes, my hands and my speed. I think I had like three drops the whole season….I had like 10 teams. It came down to Green Bay, Dallas and San Diego. I picked the Packers because they brought me in on a (pre-draft) visit and I like the winning tradition they have. The town, I’m used to a small town. When I went up there I felt I was at home….Coming from a DII school where you basically don’t have nothing and then ending up in the NFL where you have everything you need, it was kind of, like, ‘Wow.'”
NFC scout: “He’s got some up side and some tools. Small school.”
NFC scout: “Could be a sleeper. He’s fast, quick. Good hands.”
ADRIAN COXSON, WR, Stony Brook
Basics: From Baltimore. Started career at Florida in 2010. Departed for home after two weeks when his father suffered a major health problem. Redshirted that year at Maryland under coach Ralph Friedgen and stayed there under new coach Randy Edsall in ’11, catching four passes for 90 yards (one TD). Transferred to Stony Brook, an FCS school on Long Island. Started two of three seasons, finishing with 84 catches for 1,335 (15.9) and 10 TDs. Visited Green Bay before the draft.
Measurables: 6-0½, 207, 4.46. Vertical jump of 32, broad jump of 9-3, 15 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 16. Arms were 31¾, hands were 9¾.
Coxson: “I’m very physical. I can stretch the field. Good after the catch. Make people miss. I’m able to turn a 2-yard pass into a 90-yard touchdown. Love to block….I returned (seven kickoffs, 12.6) and covered the gunner. Been the gunner….Atlanta, the Giants, Miami and Buffalo also were (interested). Me and my agent thought Green Bay was the best fit for me and my playing style….I just (need to) come in, work hard, prove myself and be great on special teams.”
AFC scout: “He’s OK. Late-round shot in the dark guy.”
NFC scout: “Big, fast, had some production. He’s a three-school transfer.”
JOHN CROCKETT, RB, North Dakota State
Basics:From Minneapolis. Redshirted in 2011, split time with 1,000-yard rusher Sam Ojuri in 2012 and ’13 before setting school records for carries (368) and yards (1,994) in ’14. Gained 1,038 in ’12 and 1,277 in ’13 as Bison won FCS national title each of his three seasons. Made 30 of his 43 receptions last season. Career-long 80-yard run Aug. 30 helped Bison win at Iowa State, 34-14. High-school high jumper at Totino-Grace with personal best of 6-6. Worst injury was broken wrist in 2012 off-season.
Measurables: 6-0, 218, 4.57. Vertical jump of 40 (fourth best among RBs at the combine), broad jump of 10-5, 15 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 15. Arms measured 31, hands were 9¾.
Crockett: “My style is to kind of do it all. Catch out of the backfield, that’s one of my strongest suits. Run inside, run outside and block. I’m not afraid of sticking my nose in there. We ran a pro-style offense with the power scheme and the zone scheme. I would say my (favorite play) was power. It’s a grown-man play. You go right down the ‘A’ gap and see what happens.”
AFC scout: “He’s intriguing. He could sneak into the third, fourth round. He’s big, runs tough, can catch out of the backfield, good blocker.”
NFC scout: “Watch all the times where the hole almost closes and he runs through an arm tackle. He’s got the big thighs and hips. You see that low-body power. I’m not going to say he has a burst of quickness because he really doesn’t. I wonder if he can make a team just because his speed will so limit him.”
NFC scout: “Very productive. You just wonder if he has the lateral explosion to create space when he needs to.”
TAVARUS DANTZLER, ILB, Bethune-Cookman
Basics: From Homestead, Fla. Played 46 games from 2011-’14, starting the final three seasons on the strong side in a 4-3 defense. Finished with 176 tackles (19 for loss), 2 ½ sacks, six forced fumbles and five passes defensed.
Measurables: 6-2, 240, 4.61. Vertical jump of 35½, broad jump of 10-1 and 21 reps on the bench. Arms were extremely long at 34¼, hands were 9 5/8. Ran the 40 at NFL regional and super-regional combines but didn’t run March 24 at pro day. Impressive workout numbers.
Dantzler: “We were a base 4-3 but I feel my best fit is the 3-4 defense. They (the Packers) have me at ‘Mike.’ It’ll be no problem….I’m a player who prides myself on bringing energy and effort. Someone who puts the team first. Someone who is very humble and looking forward to making the most of his opportunity. Once camp gets rolling my man-to-man (pass) coverage will be one of my strengths.
NFC scout: “Heck of a player. Competitive, active.”
AFC scout: “He’s all right. He popped up on pro timing day. Just a free agent.”
FABBIANS “FABO” EBBELE, T, Arizona
Basics: From Chicago (Simeon High School). Started 51 of 52 games at RT, including the last three seasons in coach Rich Rodriguez’ spread offense. Contacted by 10 teams after the draft. Vacationed several times at Wisconsin Dells. Signing bonus of $2,000.
Measurables: 6-7½, 317, 5.55. Vertical jump of 31, broad jump of 8-3, 22 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 16. Arm length (36¼) might have been the longest of any player in the draft. Hands were 10 1/8.
Ebbele: “In the run game, that’s where you show where your power is. I like to keep the quarterback comfortable and off the ground. I like communication among the O-line. We move in harmony as one unit….I’ve been pretty durable. The most I was sidelined was a couple practices. I always got injured the week before the bye week…. There was like 10 teams….After my sophomore year (at Simeon) it was be all football or be all basketball. It’s tough to play both, especially at my high school.”
NFC scout: “He’s huge. Doesn’t have great feet. Long. Can get in somebody’s way. Position and shield blocker.”
AFC scout: “He’s tall and has long arms. His weaknesses are strength, body control and balance.”
Miami cornerback Ladarius Gunter (left) Selected the Packers over a host of teams, including Dallas, Carolina and Detroit. -Associated Press
LADARIUS GUNTER, CB, Miami (Fla.)
Basics: From Montgomery, Ala. Spent two years at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, redshirting in 2010 and playing CB in ’11. At Miami, started five of the last six games at CB in 2012 before starting 25 games in 2013-’14, mostly at safety. Finished with 101 tackles (three for loss), six interceptions and 18 passes defensed. Selected the Packers over a host of teams, including Dallas, Carolina and Detroit.
Measurables: 6-1½, 201, 4.65. Vertical jump of 33½, broad jump of 9-0, 12 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 18. Arms were 31½, hands were 9 5/8.
Gunter: “I’m a high-motor guy. I’m a physical guy. I learn very well and I’m very versatile. I can play safety and corner. It really doesn’t matter. I’ll come there and work. That’s all I know. If someone’s ahead of me I’ll just keep working….A lot of teams called. I was just basically going after a place that was best for me to fit in at. ”
NFC scout: “Down the line guy. Miami has fooled me over the years. There are some defensive backs that come out of there that played better than I ever thought they would. The kid in Green Bay (Sam Shields) is one of them.”
AFC scout: “Great kid. Heart. Tough. Better safety than corner. I just don’t think he runs well enough. If he plays corner he’s got to be in a (Cover) 2 press kind of deal. He will put his hands on you. The turn and the running and the flexibility and the twitch, I worry about that.”
ALONZO HARRIS, RB, Louisiana Lafayette
Basics: From Gadsden, Ala. Played extensively in 49 games over four seasons. Highest rushing output was 942 in 2013; lowest was 700 in ’11. Finished with 704 carries for 3,330 (4.7) and 44 TDs and 29 receptions for 234 and one TD. Had about five offers, ultimately choosing Green Bay over Dallas. Signing bonus of $3,500.
Measurables: 6-1, 235, 4.65. Vertical jump of 36, broad jump of 10-7, 15 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 18. Arms were a long 33½, hands were 10 1/8.
Harris: “I’m more the type of guy that gets a lot of yards after contact. I can hit a home run if necessary. We had a zone scheme. I was probably 60-40 inside zone. I’d say I’m a guy that doesn’t go down easy….Go in with a mind-set really to learn. Confident, but not cocky. I feel like fear will get me nowhere. It’s what I’ve been waiting on for years. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. God has blessed me to come this far. If I do what I’ve got to do as far as practicing and being on time, taking care of my body, keep my head and my nose in the playbook, then I should be fine.”
NFC scout: “Big downhill back. Doesn’t have great top-end speed. Got a little inside run ability. Worry about him getting to the edge. ”
NFC scout: “Big, strong runner with average speed. He had a disappointing senior season compared to early in his career. Underachiever.”
MITCHELL HENRY, TE, Western Kentucky
Basics: From Elizabethtown, Ky. Backed up in 2011-’12 under coach Willie Taggart in a West Coast offense. Started in ’13 under Bobby Petrino and in ’14 under Jeff Brohm in more pro-style offenses. Finished with 78 catches for 1,094 (14.0) and 12 TDs. Also had an offer from Denver.
Measurables: 6-3½, 250, 4.69. Vertical jump of 37, broad jump of 9-6, 15 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 16. Impressive athletic numbers. Arms were 31 7/8, hands were 9 1/8. Added almost 10 pounds since November.
Henry: “Up there in the sixth round I felt I had a pretty good shot (to be drafted). I think it came down to me and the kid (Kennard Backman) they drafted from UAB….I’m more of a pass-catching tight end. I never did it (block) until I got to college. I kind of embraced that role and got a lot better at it through my four years. More of an athletic, speed, quick, get in and out of breaks type player. Getting open in space and using my athleticism more than my blocking skills probably….Worst injury I had was this year. I separated my shoulder twice but no surgery.”
AFC scout: “Good hands. Extends and bends. Adequate release, speed, quickness, run after the catch. Not a blocker. H-back type.”
AFC scout:“He’s a camp guy. He’s below average at everything. He’s tough. He does compete. But he’s just very limited in every athletic aspect. But he tries hard.”
NFC scout:“He’ll make a team. Kind of athletic. Big, strong kid. Good hands. Blocks OK.”
LAVON HOOKS, DE, Mississippi
Basics: From Norcross, Ga. Outstanding basketball player. Played basketball at a military school in 2010, then both sports at Northeast Mississippi Community College for two years weighing 295. Recruited by some low-majors for basketball but decided on football. Started just two of 24 games for Rebels, finishing with 27 tackles (nine for loss) and three sacks. Averaged between 11 and 15 snaps as a senior. Had seven NFL offers, picked Packers over Kansas City.
Measurables: 6-3½, 309, 5.26. Vertical jump of 27, broad jump of 8-9, 18 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 17. Arms were 33¼, hands were 10¼.
Hooks: “I was a receiver in high school. I graduated at 250. I’m pretty raw at the position, but I believe I’m very athletic and I’m strong. I’d say I’m a power player right now. I have pretty good feet. Green Bay looks at me more as a 5-technique. That’s mainly what I did at my JC. …It (bench press) wasn’t good at all, but I got a lot stronger since then (March 5). I was never really big in the weight room (before). I loved basketball but I wasn’t long enough to go play at a major DI. I played post. I ran the floor, though. Those 6-8, 6-9 guys really couldn’t run with me.”
NFC scout: “Big kid with some athleticism.”
JIMMIE HUNT, WR, Missouri
Basics: From East St. Louis, Ill. Redshirted in 2010, seldom played in ’11, made big plays in ’12 as a backup and played extensively in 2013-’14. Finished with 74 receptions for 1,204 (16.3) and 12 TDs. Posted career bests (6-169) against Alabama in 2014 SEC Championship Game. Had shoulder surgery after the season. Dogged by injuries throughout career.
Measurables: 6-0, 208, 4.55. Vertical jump of 31½, broad jump of 9-8, 10 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 6. Arms were 30 3/8, hands were 9½.
Hunt: “Honestly, my last four games were my best games. I got healthy. I showed my team I was still that guy that could make big plays….You might not think it but I’m very physical. I like to stick my nose in things. Show the coaches I’m not a guy who just catches the ball. I also block for my teammates….Green Bay talked to my high-school coach a lot. I got a lot of feedback. I had a few other places I could have went to, but Green Bay seemed like the best fit.”
AFC scout: “He’s quick, has adequate speed and plus hands. He has had the injuries and a low test score.”
LARRY PINKARD, WR, ex-Old Dominion
Basics: From Washington, D.C. Redshirted in 2010, started from Game 5 of 2011 through ’13. Dismissed from team by coach Bobby Wilder in late June 2014. The sole reason, said Pinkard, was the failed drug test for marijuana (he said it was his only positive test) that summer. Finished with 160 catches for 2,338 (14.6) and 25 TDs. Shortly thereafter enrolled at NAIA Bluefield (Va.) State where he practiced but wasn’t eligible to play. Chose Packers among five offers. Signing bonus of $3,000.
Measurables: 6-0, 196, 4.51. Vertical jump of 36½, broad jump of 10-8, 18 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 17. Arms were 32½, hands were 8 7/8.
Pinkard: “One practice at Bluefield a Green Bay scout (Lee Gissendaner) came and watched. He talked to me. That was one of the key factors in me deciding to come to Green Bay. They were there even though all that stuff happened. I definitely would have got drafted (otherwise)….You can put me anywhere on the field and I’ll make a play. I can take it the distance from basically anywhere on the field.”
AFC scout: “I had him on our priority free-agent list. He’s got size and he can catch. He can run a little bit, too.”
NFC scout: “Exciting player. Not real fast but a good player.”
JERMAURIA RASCO, OLB, Louisiana State
Basics: From Shreveport, La. Backed up in 2011-’12, started at DE in a 4-3 defense the past two seasons opposite Danielle Hunter. Finished with 154 tackles (19½ for loss) and 10 sacks (team-high four in ’14). Picked Green Bay over six other offers.
Measurables: 6-3, 252, 4.76. Vertical jump of 28½, broad jump of 9-0, 12 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 9. Arms were 32 5/8, hands were 9.
Rasco: “I feel like I’m a real finesse player. I’m a real smart football player. I feel like I have great play recognition. Definitely a student of the game. …I had no contact with the Packers at all. I had a good idea of the players there, and they’re a lot older. So if I make the team I feel like I’ll have a good career there.”
NFC scout: “Big and athletic, but no instincts. He was a guy to consider because he has some size and there’s a little speed.”
NFC scout: “Tough, active, physical player. Played big-time football.”
MARCUS REED, G, Fayetteville State (N.C.)
Basics: From Houston. Played two years at Kilgore (Texas) junior college. Transferred to Division II Fayetteville, where he started all 20 games the past two years (18 at RG, two at LT). Had offers from Green Bay, Kansas City and Indianapolis.
Measurables: 6-3½, 348, 5.43. Vertical jump of 25½, broad jump of 8-3, 26 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 18. Arms were 33 5/8, hands were 9¾.
Reed: “I’m very physical. Probably the most athletic big guy you probably could ever see. I’m ready to put it into work. It was a zone (scheme). Somewhat simple. I’ll conform to any kind of system they have….I just felt Green Bay was a great organization. I felt like I had a great opportunity to come up and contribute to this great team that they have.
AFC scout: “Huge, huge, huge. He’s got an outside chance at the practice squad.”
NFC scout: “Talented kid. He’s got some up side.”
MATT ROTHERAM, G, Pittsburgh
Basics: From North Olmsted, Ohio. Redshirted in 2010, started two games in ’11 and all 38 games from 2012-’14. His starts included 27 at RG and 13 at RT. Practiced at center last year. Paid pre-draft visits to Green Bay and New England. Had approximately 15 offers, choosing Green Bay over Minnesota. Signing bonus of $5,000.
Measurables: 6-5, 326, 5.38. Vertical jump of 28, broad jump of 8-8, 22 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 24. Arms were 33, hands were 9 5/8.
Rotheram: “I feel I’m kind of a power run game guy. Just a downhill kind of blocker. I do have the athleticism to be a great pass protector. I probably need some work in that area of my game. I’ve always felt I excelled in run blocking. I do fit in well with what the Packers do….I played at 342. I cut down for (pro day) because a lot of teams told me I wouldn’t fit into their style of play being how big I was.”
NFC scout: “Probably try to make him a center. Big, slow-footed guy. Just size.”
JAMES VAUGHTERS, OLB, Stanford
Basics: From Stone Mountain, Ga. Played in a 3-4 scheme. Backed up at OLB in 2011, started four of 14 games at ILB in ’12 and started at OLB in 2013-’14. Finished with 124 tackles (22 for loss) and 12½ sacks. Narrowed seven offers down to Green Bay, San Diego and San Francisco. Signing bonus of $5,000.
Measurables: 6-2, 248, 4.87. Vertical jump of 32½, broad jump of 9-4, a phenomenal 35 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 25. Arms were 32 1/8, hands were 9¼.
Vaughters: “If they ask me to play inside I’ll play inside. I love playing the game….One of my best attributes is my strength. I try to work leverage. I feel I can do a lot of things pretty well….I had a bit of an issue with continuity. I wanted to put the team’s goal before mine. I’d always just do what I was told so sometimes I lacked a little continuity in my development….I’m a big fan of the Packers’ organization. I felt like I’d have a good opportunity to make the team.”
NFC scout: “Doesn’t have a lot of speed. I wouldn’t say a super athlete or anything, but he’s got a little feel for rushing the passer.”
AFC scout: “He’s best as an edge rusher. He has…some burst to the quarterback. He is tight and will struggle in space as an inside linebacker.”
Bob McGinn is a beat writer and columnist covering the Green Bay Packers. A six-time Wisconsin state sportswriter of the year, he won the Dick McCann Memorial Award in 2011 for long and distinguished reporting on pro football.
~Green Bay — One day later, Christian Ringo was true to his word. The Green Bay Packers’ sixth-round pick vowed to Google “Mike Daniels” – the name coach Mike McCarthy told reporters kept coming up when the team discussed Ringo.
So Ringo did his research. And he realized he’s seen this No. 76 ripping through offensive lines before.
“He’s a bad man,” Ringo said.
The Packers wouldn’t mind striking gold again on the defensive line.
After seeing Daniels defy size limitations, they rolled the dice on this 6-foot-0 ½, 293-pound defensive end out of Louisiana-Lafayette three years later. His 11 ½ sacks in 2014 were the seventh-highest total for a defensive lineman. He did it the Daniels way, too. On leverage, first-step explosion, desire. Maybe there’s room for another overlooked defensive lineman to unleash some rage in Green Bay.
Out of Jackson, Miss., Ringo badly wanted to stay in his home state. Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss all recruited him, too.
But Ringo – checking his mailbox, refreshing his email, waiting for a phone call – never got a scholarship offer.
“I guess they felt I was undersized,” said Ringo, who was also 260 then, “and they didn’t want to take that chance on me. I was just waiting on one of them to offer me a scholarship.
“In the SEC, you think of 6-3, 6-4 D-tackles.”
If this sounds familiar, it should. Daniels had next-to-no Division I interest before Iowa offered a scholarship late. He was ready to attend Villanova.
What do programs miss? What do they fail to see?
Like Daniels, Ringo points to “passion,” to the fact that “the real measure is heart.”
Associated Press –Louisiana-Lafayette’s Christian Ringo (9) celebrates a turnover on downs during the New Orleans Bowl against Nevada on Dec. 20.
He wasn’t facing Big Ten competition by any means, but Ringo was disruptive. Playing in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, he finished with 109 tackles (35 for loss) and 21 sacks. By his sophomore year, his squat press was up to 625 pounds. Seeing those 45-pound weights adding up, the Ragin’ Cajun coaches made Ringo stop maxing out in fear of injury.
In the weight room – blasting rappers Kevin Gates or Meek Mill over Pandora – he found his zone.
He couldn’t play at 6 foot 4. He could strengthen his lower body to uproot offensive linemen with a low, violent center of gravity.
“I’ll get a good power clean in, anything that’s explosive to help keep me explosive,” Ringo said. “I like benching. Curls. Gush-out at the end of it — when you just kill your arms with different stations. You have curls, push press, push-ups, all that, it’s a circuit.”
Daniels learned to embrace the fact that he isn’t the “prototype.” Ringo is the midst of that process.
“I can feel where he’s coming from with that, being the short guy,” he said. “At first, I used to think, ‘Man, why couldn’t I just be two inches taller?!’ I had to learn and just accept that and know I’m unique for a reason.
“I know my get-off is key. Being shorter than the O-linemen, it helps me keep my leverage low. That’s where my power comes from. And my coach always preached me to have violent hands.”
The Packers noticed.
After whiffing on the likes of Justin Harrell and Jerel Worthy, general manager Ted Thompson used Daniels as a blueprint of sorts here. He called Ringo a “quick-twitch, penetrate”-type of player. The sack total stood out.
“Yeah that grabs your attention, sure,” Thompson said. “It’s splash stuff. But you have to do the nuts and bolts, too. We like him. We think he’s a pretty good player.”
The hometown snubs, all long, were motivation. Still are. Ringo never doubted he’d be in the NFL.
“That was one of the biggest drives – leaving my home state and having to go to another state to play college ball,” he said. ‘Everybody from Mississippi loves our state, love our roots.”
He never considered a different career path in Mississippi, instead growing with the new staff at Louisiana-Lafayette. Online footage of Ringo is fleeting. Right now, to most everyone, he’s a mystery.
Ringo insists he’ll be the one sticking around after practice with a veteran (maybe Daniels) to get a drill right. He realizes that precise technique takes precedence now. Green Bay is his Louisiana-Lafayette – the team willing to take a chance on a short end with a motor.
For years, Ringo looked up to arguably the most memorable motor ever on a football field, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle.
He says there’s Randle to his game.
“I believe so,” he said. “We’re going to see.”
And, really, the Packers would probably take half of a Mike Daniels.
About Tyler Dunne
Tyler Dunne covers the Green Bay Packers. He has been on the beat since 2011, winning awards with the Pro Football Writers of America and Milwaukee Press Club.
~As I say every year, the draft is about adding talent, but winning is about talent development. I know I can’t grade a draft class on performance for at least a few years, which is a reason I audit old drafts. What I do here is assess three main things:
• How much overall talent did a team add, based on board position?
• How effectively did they address key personnel voids?
• How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?
Remember: I have to use my player grades as the prism. I’m well aware all NFL teams see players differently — I debate with those evaluators all year. Disagreements are just the reality of this process, and I’m sure they have some grades on me.
Grading scale: In my mind an A means it’s exceptional; a B is pretty good; a C is average, with hits and questions marks; a D means below average with some big questions. An F … well, keep reading.
Let’s start with this question: Will there be any rookie in the NFL next year who figures to be better than Jimmy Graham? In a health vacuum, I’d say no. And remember, Graham is truly the centerpiece of this draft, as he came over for the price of the 31st pick and Max Unger. Every guy drafted this week has the hope of being a star; Jimmy Graham IS a star. That’s a good grade on its own. I have to trust Seattle has vetted Frank Clark‘s off-field problems and feels comfortable bringing him in. Assuming he’s OK there, the value is pretty fair, and they could use the pass-rushing help. The pick of Tyler Lockett (they moved up for him) is one of my favorites in the entire draft. The guy is just always open, and anybody who watched the Super Bowl knows how much the Seahawks need pass-catchers who can create some separation. This is your guy. From there, you see some decent bets on offensive line help, which we know is an obvious need area. Overall, the combination of adding Graham and Lockett, plus the attempt to improve things with some new competitors to win jobs along the offensive line makes this draft a pretty good one for the Seahawks, who seem to always have a developmental plan for their picks. We often have players graded differently, but they know how to coach them up.
I thought the Packers did a good job because they got players I can see helping them right away, and they really didn’t have major needs to fill. There was a lot of versatility added.
Damarious Randall is just the definition of duct tape in the secondary, as he’ll be on the field all the time in subpackages and will be called a safety or a cornerback depending on the look.
Quinten Rollins is just total intrigue, with the potential to be a Pro Bowl talent based on the glimpse we got of him after converting from basketball.
Ty Montgomery can be used in the passing game and the return game — and you could even hand the ball off to him.
I waxed about Jake Ryan on the broadcast, and I know Bill Polian really likes him too. If he’s at 100 percent, I think you have a future starter at one of the inside linebacker spots — he has a nose for making plays in the backfield.
Brett Hundley is a good value that late, a toolsy talent to mold under Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Ripkowski could be a favorite someday, as he reminds me a little bit of John Kuhn. Hard to knock a draft like this, though I would have liked to see them add some depth along the D-line.
Trae Waynes brings about a lot of debate among my colleagues on the draft. We know he can cover in a straight line, and I love the speed, but the detractors point out Waynes really struggles when wide receivers aren’t running in a straight line. As well, Jon Gruden is concerned Waynes isn’t good in run support. I had him at No. 22 on my final Big Board, but my sense is the Vikings felt he was a clear need fit at No. 11, and they wouldn’t be able to get a CB at his level later on. If it were me, I’m going with DeVante Parker right there, reuniting him with college teammate Teddy Bridgewater. They had one of the best picks in Round 2 when they added a potential immediate starter in Eric Kendricks. This kid can really run sideline to sideline and is the best cover linebacker in the draft. He doesn’t just cover — he actually makes plays. Danielle Hunter is a good developmental pick as a pass-rusher with great physical tools — he was quietly more productive than people think. T.J. Clemmings has a foot issue that threatens his long-term potential, but that’s a reasonable value bet in Round 4, especially after the disastrous situation the Vikings saw at left tackle the past season. Stefon Diggs was a good addition late because he’s a guy who can turn short passes into big plays, though I would have liked a wide receiver pick a bit earlier. Mycole Pruitt and Tyrus Thompson both have the potential to stick — I once saw Thompson as a potential Round 2 guy. The Vikes hit needs pretty well, and if Waynes cleans up aspects of his game, they might have really helped the defense with him and Kendricks. Good draft, but Waynes still has some “we’ll see” aspects.
Rest of Kiper’s Grades HERE(ESPN Insider subscription required)
~The 2015 NFL draft concluded Saturday evening. Rotoworld blurbed every single selection, picks one (Jameis Winston) through 256 (Gerald Christian). You can use our search engine in the top right-hand corner of this page to access our in-depth rookie writeups.
After a grueling three days of “work,” we’ll put the finishing touches on our intensive draft coverage with post-draft grades.
But let’s be clear: We don’t believe in assessing draft hauls immediately after the three-day event. This is strictly for your pleasure. If you’re reading this intro, you’re interested. And we want to appeal to you. Don’t take these grades too seriously. We’ll know a lot more about this draft around 2018.
Here are the NFC Draft Grades:
7. West Virginia WR Kevin White
39. Florida State NT Eddie Goldman
71. Oregon C Hroniss Grasu
106. Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
142. Penn State S Adrian Amos
183. TCU OG Tayo Fabuluje
Overview: The Bears’ roster is reeling so much from the failed Phil Emery era that they just needed to prioritize adding good football players. Rookie GM Ryan Pace entered Thursday with too many needs to worry about drafting positions. He needs contributors. And I think he came away with a lot of them. White is a monster on the perimeter who can win over the top and turn short catches into long gains. Goldman lacks flash, but is willing to do the dirty work inside and will bolster Chicago’s mediocre run defense. I think Grasu provided excellent value in round three and believe he will be a long-term fixture at center. Langford lacks starting-caliber running ability, but should be a useful NFL role player, particularly in the passing game. Amos is exceptionally versatile and could be a starting safety in time. Fabuluje is a dart throw with some upside. Did the Bears fail to address a number of needs? Yes. But I never expected them to solve all of their problems with only six picks. This was a rock-solid first draft for Pace.
28. Duke OG Laken Tomlinson
54. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
80. Stanford CB Alex Carter
113. Auburn DT Gabe Wright
168. Rutgers FB Mike Burton
200. Texas CB Quandre Diggs
240. South Carolina OT Corey Robinson
Overview: GM Martin Mayhew began his draft by acquiring two fifth-round picks and useful reserve G/C Manuel Ramirez from the Broncos at the cost of dropping just five spots in round one. The Lions were surprisingly hot after CB/S tweener Carter on day two, sending the 143rd pick to division-rival Minnesota in exchange for just an eight-spot move up the board. Early on day three, the Lions gave up a 2016 third-round pick for No. 113. Tomlinson may not have offered ideal “value” at No. 28, but is a pro-ready mauler with underrated pass-blocking ability. Abdullah will run circles around Joique Bell in Lions camp and spark Detroit’s previously plodding run game. Carter, Wright, and Burton are players I wasn’t especially high on during the pre-draft phase. I do think Robinson was an excellent flier. Although this wasn’t my favorite draft from top to bottom, Mayhew attacked multiple needs and made his team better.
Green Bay Packers
30. Arizona State DB Damarious Randall
62. Miami (OH) DB Quinten Rollins
94. Stanford WR/KR Ty Montgomery
129. Michigan ILB Jake Ryan
147. UCLA QB Brett Hundley
206. Oklahoma FB Aaron Ripkowski
210. Louisiana-Lafayette DT Christian Ringo
213. UAB TE Kennard Backman
Overview: I’m used to giving Ted Thompson high “grades.” I think I’ve done it every year. This draft seemed a little more needs-focused than usual, which is a fine approach in general but may have left some “value” on the board. Thompson clearly entered Thursday worried about his secondary. (I do love Randall as a playmaking ballhawk and Rollins as a versatile defensive chess piece.) Montgomery is essentially a poor man’s Cordarrelle Patterson, while Ripkowski and Backman will likely amount to throwaway picks. Thompson made an intriguing move in round five, jumping 19 spots to acquire Hundley at the mere cost of a late seventh-round pick. I thought he got the better of that deal with New England. Ringo and Ryan were good day-three selections. I don’t think this was a bad draft, but I also don’t believe it was a tide tilter in the NFC. I’ve come to expect a little more from Thompson over the years.
11. Michigan State CB Trae Waynes
45. UCLA ILB Eric Kendricks
88. LSU DE Danielle Hunter
110. Pittsburgh OT T.J. Clemmings
143. Southern Illinois TE MyCole Pruitt
146. Maryland WR Stefon Diggs
186. Oklahoma OT Tyrus Thompson
193. Louisville DE B.J. Dubose
228. Alabama G/T Austin Shepherd
232. Newberry OLB Edmond Robinson
Overview: Fact is, I’ve “heard” of all of these prospects and seen a bunch of them play. This is usually how Rick Spielman’s drafts go. More so than most GMs, Spielman tends to select players who’ve often been discussed inside the draft community. That isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, but Minnesota often gets positive “draft grades” as a result. When I look at this draft, I certainly lean toward believing Spielman did well. Waynes and Kendricks hit major needs and project as Opening Day starters. Hunter is a high-ceiling developmental pick. Clemmings has an outside chance to supplant struggling LT Matt Kalil in time, assuming his foot checks out. Pruitt is a highly athletic H-back type, while Diggs combines impact kickoff-return skills with slot receiver potential. Thompson is a boom-or-bust prospect, albeit with plenty of upside. Dubose, Shepherd, and Robinson all profile positively as role players. My belief is the Vikings emerged with at least two and as many as five year-one contributors, and as a significantly better team.
It’s print-and-save time, which means it’s time for my immediate draft grades.
Some of you will growl at the mere mention of knee-jerk grades, and they really are tough to do, but we do these because it’s fun and it puts me smack-dab in the crosshairs. I usually go back in three years from each draft to re-grade it, which means this is something that I will need in 2018.
You need three years to truly grade a draft, but when the boss says grade it now, that’s what I do.
I gave out four “A” grades. They went to Jacksonville, Miami, Baltimore and Arizona. There were no “Fs” given out, but there were a few below-average grades, which I am sure will lead to outrage from the fans of those teams.
Just remember as you read this: It’s quick-twitch movement, which means in three years a lot of it will make me look foolish — sort of like my grade for the 2012 Seattle Seahawks class has done.
Best Pick: Linebacker Jake Ryan, who can play both outside and inside, will have a chance to play early at a position of need.
Questionable move: Taking two corners with their first two picks who are projections.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
First-round pick Damarious Randall was a safety at Arizona State, while second-round corner Quinten Rollins was a basketball player before moving to football.
Third-day gem: Quarterback Brett Hundley needs some seasoning, but in the fifth round he’s worth a look. Hundley can spend a few years learning from Aaron Rodgers.
Analysis: The Packers must really like the versatility that the two young corners/safeties will give them. They need corners with the loss of two in free agency, but Randall looked more like a safety to me. Then again, Ted Thompson usually knows what he’s doing.
Best Pick: I love the choice of Eric Kendricks in the second round. He is a speed linebacker who will add to the already young defense. Nice pick.
Questionable move: I like third-round defensive end Danielle Hunter, but while he has talent he needs to flash it more. He could be a big-time hit or a bust.
Third-day gem: Getting tackle T.J. Clemmings in the fourth round is a major steal. I know he has some injury concerns, but this kid has a ton of raw talent. He has a chance to be a good starter down the road if healthy.
Analysis: General manager Rick Spielman had another good draft. He has done so the past couple of years and has a good, young team on the rise. This draft is littered with a lot of productive college players. First-round corner Trae Waynes will be a starter right away.
Best Pick: I loved the pick of guard Laken Tomlinson in the first round. He gives them a great pair of guards with Larry Warford. They will be able to run the football now with those two power players.
Questionable move: I like running back Ameer Abdullah, but they needed to get more of a power runner and the second round was a little high for him. He also has to cut down on his fumbling.
Third-day gem: CB Quandre Diggs was a four-year starter at Texas, but he is short at 5-9. That would likely make him an ideal slot corner, but in the sixth round that is a nice pick.
Analysis: Over the course of the three days, the Lions did a solid job. It’s clear they want to help their run game. They also traded to get Denver center Manny Ramirez, who should start. Tomlinson isn’t a sexy pick, but he is a good player.
Best Pick: I love the pick of Kevin White in the first round. They needed an outside vertical threat and this kid can be a lot like Julio Jones. Jay Cutler has to get it done now.
Questionable move: Not addressing edge rusher in the first three rounds. They are going to a 3-4 and they lack big-time players on the outside other than Pernell McPhee.
Third-day gem: Fifth-round safety Adrian Amos will bring some range to a position that badly needs it. That’s good value.
Analysis: Three of their first picks were on the offensive side, which might seem surprising considering they had so many troubles on the defensive side last season. But they got two starters in White and third-round center Hroniss Grasu.
Week 1, Sep 10- vs Seahawks -3:25 Fox
Week 2, Sep 17- at Atlanta -7:30 NBC
Week 3, Sep 24- vs Bengals -3:25 CBS
Week 4, Sep 28- Thursday vs Bears -7:25 CBS
Week 5, Oct 8- at Dallas -3:25 Fox
Week 6, Oct 15- at Minnesota -Noon Fox
Week 7, Oct 22- vs Saints -Noon Fox
Week 8- BYE
Week 9, Nov 6- Monday vs Lions -7:30 ESPN
Week 10, Nov 12- at Chicago -Noon Fox
Week 11, Nov 19- vs Ravens -Noon CBS
Week 12, Nov 26- at Pittsburgh -7:30 NBC
Week 13, Dec 3- vs Buccaneers -Noon Fox
Week 14, Dec 10- at Cleveland -Noon Fox
Week 15, Dec 17- at Carolina -Noon Fox
Week 16, Dec 23- Saturday vs Vikings -7:30 NBC
Week 17, Dec 31- at Detroit -Noon Fox
*Weeks 10 & Later all subject to NFL flexible scheduling
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