Opening The Packers 2017 Draft Time Capsule In 2021

After every draft, we put together a time capsule so we can remember (with some accuracy) how the general fanbase felt immediately after the selections. We always look at how a rookie class pans out in the first year, but players take time to develop and four years is about the time you can really look back and see how a team actually did.

You can check out the original article here, but we’ll bring you up to speed on the big items below.

Sorry, but this won’t be a big Kevin King-bashing thread. Yes, the Packers could have had TJ Watt, but the perfectly logical reasons why they didn’t take him could fill a trilogy and have been beaten to death.

They missed and we need to move on (but that won’t stop us from ripping on the Bears for trading up to take Trubisky when Mahomes and Watson were still on the board!).

On interesting tidbit from the time capsule though, is remembering the other big name that people considered at that spot. TJ Watt wasn’t the only guy that fans wanted to take there. There was another big name that a lot of people wanted to take before the Packers traded down.

Reuben Foster.

Foster was an inside linebacker (which the Packers needed a lot more than edge rusher) that looked like he was going to be a top 3 pick, a long-term defensive cornerstone for whoever drafted him. Forster fell when it was revealed he recently had shoulder surgery and then went through a bizarre predraft interview process that included an altercation with a student medical examiner. He ended up going 31st to the 49ers.

In his first season, he made the PFWA All-Rookie team, making the Packers look foolish.

But we know that judging rookies after one year is what’s really foolish, so we wait until four years have passed.

Despite a fantastic rookie season, Foster was cut the following year after off-the-field incidents. His played spot duty in 6 games for Washington before his career flamed out altogether.

So maybe Kevin King wasn’t TJ Watt, but we can agree he worked out a lot better than Reuben Foster.

In the 5th round, however, there were no better options than the guy the Packers took when they hit the jackpot with Aaron Jones. Not only was Jones a phenomenal pick, but the Packers also picked up Jamaal Williams earlier.

The funny thing was, neither prospect was particularly well-known and the most vocal contingent of the fanbase felt that taking a bunch of running backs was a waste because they were convinced Christine Michael was the next big thing after getting 31 carries over 6 games the previous season.

Michael never played for the Packers again. In fact, he didn’t play in 2017 at all. He got 9 yards in one game with the Colts in 2018 and that was the end of his career.

Four years later, it appears the Packers made the right move.

They weren’t all winners, though, as we know. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds, the Packers took Josh Jones and Montravius Adams. Fans were excited with both of these picks, though. They wanted to get more defensive help, and these two seemed to fit the bill. Neither worked out well, though.

The rest of the draft included Devante Mays, DeAngelo Yancey. Malachi Dupree, and Kofi Amichia, who all garnered a general response of “Who?” That’s what happens on Day 3. They took fliers on a lot of guys and most of them didn’t work out.

There was one noteworthy pick on Day 3: Vince Biegel, who generated a lot of excitement from the fans (for being a Wisconsin linebacker with some potential) and as well as a fair amount of angst (for being the wrong Wisconsin linebacker with some potential).

Obviously, despite fans’ positive reaction to the pick, Biegel didn’t work out.

Here’s the thing though: the 2017 class wasn’t a particularly deep draft crop for the league. Eddie Jackson and George Kittle both lasted until Day 3 and were huge steals, but outside of that, most of the talent that was available after the Packers pick were running backs, and the Packers did a fantastic job in drafting both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.

All things considered, after trading down to take King instead of staying put for Watt (or Foster) , the Packers basically got a mediocre draft class from a mediocre draft year.

King, Jones, and Williams were all valuable players, but at the end of the day, none of these guys will get a second contact with the team.

There will definitely be some compensatory picks that the Packers gain from this class, but what does that say about the drafting?

Let’s look beyond missing TJ Watt (which most teams in the league also missed on). There were only a couple players who had any impact on this team and that is just not enough, even in a year where there wasn’t a ton of talent on the board.

Sadly, this was the beginning of the end for Ted (may he rest in peace) and where it began to become apparent his health was failing. His degrading health and productivity led to him taking a reduced role.

Still, pick for pick, the Packers did better than the fans. They ended up with a stud running back, a great complementary back, and a full time starting corner (when he wasn’t injured). However, beating the fans isn’t a high bar.

Overall, it was a down year. It may not have been the disaster many make it out to be, especially when you look back at how little talent actually came out of this draft class, but the fact that no one from this class will get a second contract is a better indicator of how bad of a class it was than just the fact that they didn’t take the hometown kid when they had a chance.

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Want more insight into how winning teams build through the draft (and how losing teams fail)? We’ve got you covered!

Start shallow, then get deep into understanding draft strategy with our draft book (rated a #1 New Release): A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft: Strategies, Tactics, And Case Studies For Building A Professional Football Team

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Finally, get to the game behind the game with our new must-have book for 2021: A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap – which lays out detailed, easy-to-follow scenarios to explain exactly how contract structures and salary cap rules impact teams.

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Don’t just watch the draft – understand it and learn why GMs make the moves they do.

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Check out Packers Draft Central 2021 for all our 2021 NFL Draft coverage!

 

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