With the draft now less than a we3k away, let’s look back at what we thought of last year’s draft in the 2017 Draft Time Capsule. For those who don’t remember, the PFTW pre-draft analysis pretty much nailed the Packers draft last year – stay tuned in the coming week for all our pre-draft analysis.
The Packers traded down in the first round and TJ Watt went with the next pick, which served primarily to rile up the #FireTed crowd, as everyone wanted the home state favorite (although, to be fair, they would have bee riled up anyways). In Watt’s first game, he had 2 sacks and an interception, which led many to beleive he was destined to become the greatest linebacker in NFL history. His rookie sesason ended with 7 sacks and 1 interception despite playing in over 75% of the snaps. In the playoffs, he had one tackle and no sacks. It’s a solid start to a young career, but he’s not a superstar yet and Packer fans want to cut CM3 for having better stats in fewer snaps. Ruben Foster was another name that was in play for the Packers first round pick. He fell from a potential top 10 pick based on health concerns. He had a phenomenal rookie season, but hs longevity is still in question.
The Packers, holding the first pick on Day 2, were subject to all sorts great rumors overnight. Another trade down and taking DeShone Kizer were the two most popular theories, though many thought the Kizer story was just a ruse to try to get a QB-hungry team to trade up. In the end, they took Kevin King, who is a physical marvel. A single highlight of a one-handed interception gave fans a lot of hope – but not enough to quiet the whining about not getting TJ Watt.
He looked good in limited playing time (including against Julio the Great), but a nagging shoulder injury prevented King from having a totally stellar rookie campaign. His season ended with surgery to clean it up. The injury concern may have been what let him slip to the second round. If the surgery has fixed it, he could be special, a CB1 fixture for years. If not… well, it could be back to the drawing board. Like Watt, it’s too early to tell.
Kevin King is currently the great hope and lead dog in the secondary. We’d be in a world of hurt without him. Meanwhile, we still have some pretty good starting OLBs, even if the fans want to complain about them. Drafting King in the second round instead of DeShone Kizer made it less painful to part with Damarious Randall, who was traded for DeShone Kizer… funny how that all comes full circle. Apparently they really did want DeShone Kizer after all.
With their second pick, the Packers took Josh Jones. He wasn’t really on anyone’s radar, but McCarthy seemed really high on him. This gave Packer fans a shrugful reaction and they seemed to have faith in the pick. He showed some potential and nastiness on the field, but he also missed some assignements. His career could go any direction at this point, but it seems like his versatility will be useful in the new defensive scheme.
In the third, the Packers took Montravious Adams, who looked like a mild steal based on pre-draft rankings. The pick didn’t really garner a lot of response from fans and his rookie year was a total waste. He has the tools and potential but it remains to be seen if he can do anything with them. The good news is that the Packers don’t need to rush him on the field.
After passing on Watt earlier, the Packers took his teammate Vince Biegel in the 4th. Packer fans were ecstatic, some claiming he was better than Watt, some even going so far as to compare him to Clay Matthews. He had some injury concerns and they proved valid, robbing him of most of his rookie year. He had some limited snaps late in the year, but they looked pretty good.
Kofi Amichia was an unknown name that left fans wondering who he was and his rookie was spent mostly on the practice squad. Campen has a way of molding young lineman, but so far, this one hasn’t been able to beat out undrafted free agents.
The Packers drafted a couple receivers, starting with DeAngelo Yancey in the 5th. The consensus reaction was “Who?” and it turned out to be the right one so far. He has shown nothing and an undrafted basketball convert beat him out for playing time late in the season. In the 7th, the Packers took Malachi Dupre from LSU, who local fans remember from the Badgers opener last year. He had a solid college career and showed potential. He fell to the 7th with concerns on how high that potential could go. He also did nothing his rookie year, indicating the concerns about his ceiling could be very valid.
To the surprise of many, the Packers, who let Eddie Lacy walk in the offseason and were looking to build a run game around Ty Montgomery, drafted three running backs. For the most part, fans felt they needed to draft a running back, but scratched their heads to why they needed three.
A couple of them showed serious talent during the year. Aaron Jones looked like the best runner of the bunch – a shifty type with uncanny vision and recognition. Jamaal Williams was a rugged runner with better blocking skills, which earned him the most playing time. Williams went to BYU, where the Packers reprtedly spent a lot of time scouting last year (which also impacted ther UDFAs). Devante Mays was the disappointment of the bunch, with 4 carries for 1 yard on the year, but, hey, two out of three ain’t bad.
Quarterback Taysom Hill got the most reaction and looked like a promising prospect in the preseason. However, he was cut and went to New Orleans. Justin Voegel got a lot of press beacuse he was a punter and ended up proving to be a pretty decent one. Wide Receiver Michael Clark got a lot of attention becuase of his size and, even though he looked good in a limited trial late in the year, he has a long way to go to make it as a football player. Lenzy Pipkins most got attention for having a funny name at a position of need, but he earned some playing time, late as well.
It’s only been a year, so the jury is definately still out. We’ll have to open this again next year to see who made a year two jump, but it’s fun to look back and see what happened last year as we count down to the draft this year.