The Packers kept their starting lineup from a team that went to the NFC title game last season largely intact outside of cornerback and inside linebacker. We saw them go to those positions early and often in the draft and now the question becomes: can those players replace the production they lost? Let’s take a look at each draftee’s college performance and how they’ll fit on the roster.
Round 1: Damarious Randall, CB/S, Arizona State
A bit out of left field as we had really only evaluated Randall as a safety and the Packers really weren’t in the market for one. Randall is reportedly switching to cornerback, though, the position he played his last year at Mesa Community College. Reviewing his play we noted his strong coverage skills in the slot where he spent 259 of his 975 snaps last season. Of those plays, 129 were passing plays and he allowed eight of 23 targets for 136 yards and a 52.1 passer rating.
Depth Chart Fit: All accounts point to an open competition at starting corner across from Sam Shields. Unlikely to unseat incumbent Casey Hayward right was, Randall will vie for snaps at nickel corner with Quinten Rollins.
Round 2: Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
Our favorite corner from a school outside the Power 5 in the draft, only one player had more combined interceptions and pass breakups than Rollins' 15 (seven interceptions and eight pass breakups). Those numbers are all the more impressive considering Rollins played just one season of college football after four years of basketball. For the year he allowed a 53.8% catch rate, 1.02 yards per coverage snap, and a 45.6 quarterback rating against. Level of competition is definitely a concern, but he showed well against Cincinnati and at the Senior Bowl.
Depth Chart Fit: Same as Randall’s above.
Round 3: Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
The consensus among all the analysts that watched Montgomery was that he is an extremely talented football player, but that his best position might not be receiver. Montgomery is explosive with the ball in his hands. His 17 missed tackles forced on 61 catches was the best rate among receivers with at least 50 catches. The problem is getting the ball in his hands. His ball skills are below average and he lost out on 50-50 balls far too much. He’ll need a lot more polish in his route running as well if he is going to mesh with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Depth Chart Fit: Starting kick returner and will compete for fourth receiver spot with Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis.
Round 4: Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan
Packers fans were getting antsy with the glaring need at linebacker left unaddressed through the first three rounds, but in the end Ryan was a solid value in the fourth. Ryan already looks the part from a strength and athleticism standpoint. In the middle of Michigan’s defense he was asked to regularly stack and shed he is already one of the most developed linebackers in the class in that respect. His 14.5 run stop percentage was the second highest of any linebacker in the class and he was the highest-graded linebacker at the East-West Shrine game. In coverage Ryan was solid to a fault, rarely taking chances or breaking early on routes and he finished with one interception and one pass breakup on the season.
Depth Chart Fit: Has versatility to compete for starting position at both inside linebacker positions and likely to see playing time early.
Round 5: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Backup quarterback was almost the downfall of the 2013 Packers season and now it’s finally been properly addressed. Hundley was the second most accurate quarterback in the class with a 77.9 accuracy percentage last season, but a lot of that came on shorter passes. The UCLA quarterback completed only 43% of his passes over 10 yards downfield compared 86% of pass 10 yards or shorter. That downfield accuracy will be a major point of emphasis as he goes through Mike McCarthy’s famed quarterback school.
Depth Chart Fit: Might not overtake Scott Tolzien right away without a grasp for the offense, but Hundley is the long-term plan at back up QB.
Round 6: Aaron Ripkowski, FB, Oklahoma
Ripkowski did a little bit of everything for the Sooners last year. He lined up at fullback on 68% of his snaps, 29% at tight end, and 3% split wide. For the season he graded out positively with plus grades in every PFF category except for penalty. From a pure run blocking standpoint he had the fourth-highest grade in the class.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup fullback and immediate special teams contributor.
Round 6: Christian Ringo, DI, Louisiana-Lafayette
Ringo absolutely dominated the Sun Belt conference last season. His 15.8 pass rushing productivity on 238 pass rushing snaps dwarfed all other interior linemen in the NCAA last season (next closest was 12.1). His 11.2 run stop percentage was also fifth in the draft class. The only problem for Ringo is that outside of one game against Mississippi, all of his production came against very low level FBS competition. How that will translate to the NFL is uncertain and that’s why he fell to the sixth round.
Depth Chart Fit: He might take some time to develop, but Ringo should see time as a sub-package interior rusher as the season wears on.
Round 6: Kennard, Backman, TE, UAB
Not a big bruiser of a tight end at 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds, but a more than competent blocker, nonetheless. Finished with the fifth-highest blocking grade in the class and was the only one in the Top 5 to also finish with a positive receiving grade. Backman spent 74% of his snaps inline, 14% split wide, and 12% from the backfield.
Depth Chart Fit: With Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers yet to prove anything, Backman has a good chance at snaps right away.
James Vaughters, ED, Stanford: One of the most productive against the run with a 12.4 run stop percentage last season which was tops among Power 5 edge defenders.
Matt Rotheram, G, Pittsburgh: Named to our inaugural All-American Team. Rotheram ended the season with the lowest downgrade rate in run blocking in the FBS.
Bernard Blake, CB, Colorado State: Showed a nose for the ball with 11 passes defended, tied for second most in the class.
Javess, Blue, WR, Kentucky: Dropped five passes in 34 catchable passes and averaged 6.0 yards after the catch.
Malcolm Agnew, RB, Southern Illinois: Didn’t break a tackle and averaged 1.6 yards after contact per attempt on 10 carries in his only FBS game against Purdue.
Ricky Collins, WR, Texas A&M-Commerce: Didn’t play a snap against FBS competition last year.
Adrian Coxson, WR, Stony Brook: Dropped two passes and caught two others for 50 yards in only FBS competition against Connecticut last year.
John Crockett, RB, North Dakota State: Broke three tackles on 17 carries and averaged 8.1 yards per carry with 2.2 coming after contact against Iowa State in NDSU’s only FBS action.
Tavarus Dantzler, LB, Bethune-Cookman: Played two games against FBS competition and graded out very well against FIU and UCF. Racked up six stops and two hurries in 109 snaps, most coming at outside linebacker.
Fabbians Ebbele, T, Arizona: His 97.8 pass blocking efficiency was 12th-best in the draft class.
Alonzo Harris, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette: 74.5% of his yards came after contact, the highest percentage in the draft class.
Mitchell Henry, TE, Western Kentucky: Dropped five balls in 37 catchable passes and graded negatively in run blocking on the season.
Lavon Hooks, DI, Ole Miss: Graded above average against both the run and pass in a very limited role that saw him play 195 snaps last season.
Raymond Maples, RB, Army: Broke three tackles on 45 carries and averaged 1.8 yards after contact per attempt.
Larry Pinkard, WR, Bluefield College: Didn’t see a snap against FBS competition last year.
Marcus Reed, G, Fayetteville State: Didn’t see a snap against FBS competition last year.
Jimmie Hunt, WR, Missouri: Dropped seven balls on 46 catchable passes and broke seven tackles on the season. 720 of his 741 snaps came from the slot.
Ladarius Gunter, CB/S, Miami: Gunter’s .79 yards per coverage snap was 22nd best in the draft class. Took 151 of his 558 snaps at safety last season.
James Castleman, DI, Oklahoma State: Graded positively against both run and pass with the 16th-highest grade of any defensive tackle in the draft class.
Jermauria Rasco, ED, LSU: Rasco’s 7.6 run stop percentage was 14th best among defensive ends in the class.
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