Why The 2013 Draft Class Wasn’t As Bad As You Think

Now that we’ve hit the four-year mark (when most first contracts expire), everyone is giving their opinions on the Packers 2013 draft class. The big thing that everyone seems worried about right now is that we only have one player remaining from the 2013 draft.

That doesn’t really tell the whole story or necessarily make it a “bad” draft.

There’s a couple ways to judge how “good” the class was at this point:

  1. Were the picks good? Are the players still in the league?
  2. Did the Packers get value from these players?

Let’s start by taking a look at who was chosen and in which round:

1 Datone Jones
2 Eddie Lacy
4 David Bakhtiari
4 JC Tretter
4 Johnathan Franklin
5 Micah Hyde
5 Josh Boyd
6 Nate Palmer
7 Charles Johnson
7 Kevin Dorsey
7 Sam Barrington

Lots of recognizable names, including a couple big ones.

Eddie Lacy was the rookie of the year and single-handedly kept the 2013 season alive until Aaron Rodgers came back and did this to win another division title. David Bakhtiari was somehow found in the 4th round. He’s the best pass blocking left tackle in the league (the best pass blocker in the league at any position, actually – he just happens to play the most difficult spot at the line) and probably would have been a top 5 pick if anyone knew what he was going to develop into.

Those are the two headliners for sure, but there were a lot of good players taken.

Seven of these guys are still playing in the league (a couple others are free agent hopefuls and there’s also Johnathan Franklin, who was looking like a player before a neck injury). When the draft is only seven rounds, it’s really hard to get seven guys who are actually still playing four years later, especially when at least five of them are projected starters.

In terms of the value selected, this was an amazing draft.

But what did the Packers get out of the 2013 draft?

This is where most people miss a major factor. The Packers did a great job scouting and had their eye on a lot of guys with their three 7th round picks (two of whom went on to be NFL starters). They couldn’t draft everyone they wanted, including a guy named Lane Taylor.

The Packers picked up Taylor as an undrafted free agent and he started all of last year at left guard, replacing Josh Sitton and doing a damn fine job.

When you factor in Taylor, the Packers got 202 starts and another 207 games participated in for the team over 4 years. Taking into account the fact that most players are injured a couple games each year, they got the equivalent of 4 full time starters and another 4 contributing role players. These weren’t special teams role players, either – these guys actually played their position and had an impact.

Don’t underestimate the value of having all these quality players around for four years. These were guys that contributed to four playoff appearances, three division titles, and two NFC Championship Game appearances in a four year span. That’s a pretty good stretch.

So the Packers only have one draft pick from 2013, but he’s a dominant player at a critical position and they also have an UDFA that is a full time starter. But wait, there’s more!

Hyde, Tretter, Lacy, and Jones all went elsewhere to contracts worthy of compensatory picks. That means the Packers still aren’t done getting value from the 2013 draft. While the Browns are hoping Tretter can stay healthy and the Seahawks are weighing Eddie Lacy every other day, the Packers will be drafting a new crop of players to contribute. If they’re anything like the 2013 group, the team should be in pretty good shape.

Oh, and for the record: the 2013 draft class kinda sucked. When the Dolphins cut Dion Jordan on March 31st, they became the ninth team in the league to have zero draft choices from 2013 still under contract.

A stud left tackle, a solid left guard, and four comp picks looks pretty good next to that.

It’s pretty good in general.

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