When the 29th pick of the 2017 Draft finally rolled around late Thursday evening fan favorites TJ Watt and Dalvin Cook were surprisingly still on the board for Green Bay, as was CB Kevin King, who Bob McGinn reported earlier in the day was Thompson’s top first round target.
Rather than selecting any of these top prospects however, Ted instead shipped the pick to Cleveland for their 2nd (33rd overall) and 4th (108th overall) round picks. Picking up the first picks on both Day 2 and Day 3 in return for moving back a mere four spots is tremendous value, but it left us without any new blood on the Draft’s first night.
TJ Watt subsequently went 30th overall to Pittsburgh, and we were left with all of Friday to speculate what Green Bay would do – take King or trade it again?
After Thompson spent all of Friday spreading #FakeNews about Green Bay’s potential interest in RB Dalvin Cook and QB Deshone Kizer in order to drum up trade interest, the Packers ultimately stayed put and got their guy.
When the draft process began months ago, King was viewed as a Day 2 type prospect. A lean 6’3″ 200 pounds, he combined freakishly athletic plays with mouth-watering size, but was often reckless on the field. His over-aggresiveness at the line of scrimmage sometimes got him in trouble, and too often he was unable to recover in coverage. A willing tackler, his lean frame limits his effectiveness in that regard as well. Still – his size, speed, and ball skills made him an intriguing potential Day 2 steal.
That is, until the NFL Combine came around. King absolutely stole the show in Indy with a 6.56 3-cone (96th-percentile among CBs), 3.89 short shuttle (96%), 39.5″ vertical (88%), and 4.43 forty (72%). King immediately leapt into the first round conversation with a performance that’s even more incomprehensible when factoring in his size.
In the end these tools were too enticing for Thompson to pass on. DBs coach Joe Whitt has worked wonders with the likes of Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Ladarius Gunter, and Davon House over the years; all good-to-average athletes of varying degrees. He has never had an athlete/alien the likes of King however, and that includes top picks Randall and Rollins. With Whitt, King’s ceiling is limitless.
This pick made me jump out of my seat. I mentioned in my Mock Draft 2.0 that I expected Green Bay to come away with a Safety from this loaded class, but didn’t think it would happen until Day 3. When I stumbled across Jones weeks ago, I had to suppress my wishful thinking as he was clearly a top-50 prospect, and I wrongly assumed there was no way he would end up in Green Bay
Well, Jones fell, and Thompson pounced. Let’s start with the physical traits. Standing at 6’1″ 208 pounds, Jones ran a 4.41 Forty (94th percentile among Safeties), Broad Jumped 11 feet (96%), and added a Vertical of 37.5″ (76%). Athletically, Jones is the most gifted Safety the Packers have drafted since Nick Collins.
Noticing a trend yet?
More than just an impressive athlete though, Jones is absolutely fearless when he attacks ballcarriers. Sometimes he can be reckless, resulting in more than a handful of missed tackles, but his aggression is a trait that simply can’t be taught. Discipline can be coached however, and should come with time. While that sounds like a Strong Safety profile, he’s also got the speed, range, and ball skills (8 career interceptions) to be a tremendous Free Safety, a position switch he made in his Junior year.
There is boom/bust risk potential with Jones given his propensity for mental mistakes which need to get cleaned up, but he is a tremendous addition to the secondary and protects the team in the event Burnett or Clinton-Dix don’t get extended.
I also previously wrote about the need for Defensive Line depth with Letroy Guion likely on his way out of Green Bay, and Adams provides immediate versatility with his ability to play all along the defensive line. His talent is also undeniable, with 11 career sacks and 21 career TFL, many of which were highlight-reel quality. Consistency is a major concern with Adams though, and his tape is a mixed bag with a motor that tends to run hot or cold, both reasons why he was still available here.
PFF is highly complimentary of his potential though, comping him to Tennessee Titans star Jurrell Casey. While that may be optimistic, a more pessimistic view could be a career that follows the path of Adams’ two highest athletic profile matches according to MockDraftable:
Let’s hope the third time’s a charm for Ted.
Thompson broke the hearts of many when he opted to trade back in the 1st round and pass on hometown hero TJ Watt. Thompson healed many of those same wounds on the start of Day 3 however, selecting the “other” Wisconsin OLB with the extra 108th overall pick he received in that deal from Cleveland. If you’d like to read more about Biegel, you can check out my Mock Draft 2.0, where I also had the Packers taking him in the 4th round. Not to brag.
Williams is an aggressive, powerful runner with the mentality of Eddie Lacy, albeit not nearly the same amount of talent. Admittedly, I didn’t think Thompson would be interested in Williams after his lackluster Combine where he posted a 4.59 Forty and 7.25 3-cone. Still, much like I hoped Ted would do with Kareem Hunt, Thompson looked past the measurables and instead focused on the tape, where it’s easy to fall in love Williams as a prospect.
He may not have elite breakaway speed, but Williams has no issue staying on his feet even as he invites contact, a trait many of us loved about Lacy. He often wins the battle against defenders who are up to the challenge, either running through them or spinning out of arm tackles. To put it simply, his “truck stick” rating in Madden is top notch, and he sacrifices little in ball security with just two fumbles in 369 touches. He may not contribute much on third downs, but he’ll serve as a tremendous early down complement to Ty Montgomery.
Absolutely love this pick. The Packers badly needed more receiving talent on the roster, and Yancey is a tremendous fit as a bigger, faster version of James Jones. Want to know more? Check out my Mock Draft 2.0 again, where I had Yancey a little later in the 7th round.
Okay, starting to brag a little.
Well now this is a very pleasant surprise. Jones is on the small side for a RB at 5’9″ 208 pounds, but he doesn’t play like it. He’s a fearless inside runner with a mean stiff arm, and could prove to be an even more effective back than Williams. Jones exhibited elite athleticism at the Combine with a Broad Jump of 127″ (93%), 3-cone of 6.82 (86%), and a massive Vertical Jump of 37.5″ (84%) despite his height. All of that explosiveness shows on film where he flashes big play ability nearly every time he touches the ball. With 71 career receptions, Jones has the skills to be one of the most electric pass-catching backs Rodgers has ever had, coupled with the toughness to handle early down work as well.
With the selections of Williams and Jones, consider the Running Back depth concerns fixed in Green Bay.
Thompson loves drafting college Left Tackles and converting them to Guards in Green Bay, and that’s exactly what he’ll do with this 6’4″ 304 pound prospect. The Packers were one of the few teams showing interest in Amichia back in March after an impressive pro day, and clearly they liked him a lot. He’ll provide valuable depth for an offensive line that has lost Sitton, Lang, and Tretter in the last calendar year. I don’t really have anything useful to add here.
Looks like Ted identified a need. The Packers add another big back with the 6’2″ 230 pound Mays, their third back of the Draft. Mays ran a 4.52 Forty with a massive 40.5 inch Vertical and 10-foot-9 Broad Jump at his pro day. The athleticism is clearly there, but on the field he usually only gets what’s blocked. After an embarrassing carousel at the position last season, the Packers clearly won’t let themselves get caught short at the position this year. Mays will have an uphill climb competing with Montgomery, Williams, and Jones for a spot on the final-53.
With their final pick of the 2017 Draft the Packers added more (much needed) competition to the Receivers room with this vertical threat. Dupre has solid 4.52 forty speed but can jump out of the stadium with a 39.5″ Vertical, and his 11-foot-4 Broad Jump was in the 98th-percentile for Receivers. Dupre was held back by poor quarterback play at LSU but is oozing with potential and has a legitimate shot of reaching it now that he’s working with the best in the world. The Packers’ passing offense just got a whole lot more interesting with the additions of Yancey and Dupre.
The plan for the Packers in this Draft was clear. In a loaded class, Thompson targeted the most elite athletes at various positions of need. CB Kevin King, Safety Josh Jones, WR DeAngelo Yancey, and RB Aaron Jones all ranked among the best in their class in athletic testing, and the Packers roster should stand to benefit almost immediately. OLB Vince Biegel and DT Montravius Adams add much needed depth to the front seven, while RBs Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays provide big backs to replace Lacy.
With this class, Thompson has indeed heeded Aaron Rodgers’ request to reload for the 2017 season, which should be a fun one.
Go Pack Go.
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