Assessing the Draft Class (2024)

Thirteen Below

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e That’s the 1 time you jam the Receiver at or near the LOS and force the QB to throw into traffic or throw it away or take a sack. As you said “disturb the route timing” don’t let that Receiver get to his practice point. At least just tag him with physicality and frustrate the play.

I hope Hafley does repeat that Circus routine.
I'm positive that won't be happening.

I've seen some coaching clinics by Hafley on Youtube, and read a transcript of one that I found on the internet, and he is the anti-Barry. His mantra is get right in the receiver's face first step off the line; punch him in the first stride, don't let him get a clean start, disrupt him, make him go around you - study your opponent's route trees so that you can anticipate where he's going to make his break, and don't let him do it. Get your hands on him, make him focus on fighting you off instead of counting the strides to his break... break his rhythm, slow him down... just basically interfere with every single thing he tries to do, so that he has to do something he didn't want to do. Make him go somewhere where the quarterback wasn't expecting him to be; just do everything you can with your receiver to keep the passer from getting a clean shot at him.

You get him talking about this, and he immediately goes straight to preaching it like an evangelical pastor. He's passionate about it sometimes. It's worth googling some of his coaching clinics; he's just on fire. The man seems to have an enormous animosity toward quarterbacks.

It's like Lafleur looked at every single thing Barry did and said "I want someone who will do the exact, 180-degree opposite". And the defensive coordinator fairy left Jeff Hafley under his pillow.

Now, granted - NFL-level receivers aren't going to make that an easy task. But to the extent that he can get his entire defensive team bought into the philosophy of doing every single thing they can at all times to make the quarterback's job harder (which is, basically, the ultimate goal of every defensive player on every snap), the net effect is going to make a difference.

Edit: Oh, and I had to laugh the other day while binging all the interviews and comments Gutekunst has shared with the press since the draft. A number of times, while talking about what it is he expected from the individual players he'd drafted, I caught him using the exact same language that Hafley was using as far back as 2019 when giving clinics to his coaches at Ohio State. Almost word for word. I think they've been talking, and Hafley has sold Gute on his defensive philosophy.
 
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Thirteen Below

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Even sniffing 9-10 yards per rec. would earn him early playing time. In his first meaningful year (2022) he was a lighter 4.9 per target. He’s a “Medium Floor-High ceiling” damager in space.
The only problem with him getting early playing time on passing downs is - how quickly can he learn the pass blocking assignments? I don't see Lafleur putting him in there on a pass play until he can count on Lloyd keeping Love vertical.

Hopefully, he's a quick study.
 

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I can see that. Sort of analogous to Gutey taking over for Ted and being more aggressive.
One of the observations that I’ve always made is under Pettine or Barry and even some Capers.. we’d blitz and then still play the CB’s in zone or off the LOS 8 yards. Which kind of defeats the purpose. If you already know the ball is coming out in 1.5 seconds why would our CB’s or LB’s play so far off the LOS?? It drive me crazy and we’d get burned more often than not. Our opponent QB would just take that easy completion for 5 yards in stride. We’d both miss a coverage sack AND allow our opponent to dictate the tempo. I get playing zone but not in that scenario. That’s the 1 time you jam the Receiver at or near the LOS and force the QB to throw into traffic or throw it away or take a sack. As you said “disturb the route timing” don’t let that Receiver get to his practice point. At least just tag him with physicality and frustrate the play.

I hope Hafley does repeat that Circus routine.
You describe what was so frustrating about Barry. Even on 3rd and long, the CBs would back up, back up right to the first down marker. Passes underneath were like handoffs and the result would be 1) a first down or 2) 4th and less than 1 yard or 2 - and teams go for it on that down and distance now.

There's certainly risk in playing man. If a receiver breaks coverage and gets behind the CB then he's gonna get some yards. But chucking a receiver at the line, to your point, disrupts rhythm - for the receiver and the QB - and makes a second, third read more likely. Add a blitz here and there and it's a completely different D and a different outcome, as in more TOs.

Barry was always willing to bend but not break, until the D broke, usually in the red zone, inside the 10. I'm looking forward to a more aggressive style of play - and now that the D has more speed and experience at S - that should be possible and successful.
 
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The only problem with him getting early playing time on passing downs is - how quickly can he learn the pass blocking assignments? I don't see Lafleur putting him in there on a pass play until he can count on Lloyd keeping Love vertical.

Hopefully, he's a quick study.
That was one of his two biggest question marks (pass blocking and fumbling). I’m not sure a RB can completely alleviate both concerns, but those are coachable to a large degree. In the meantime, they might use Lloyd on more designed running plays or where the ball comes out quickly.
 

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That was one of his two biggest question marks (pass blocking and fumbling). I’m not sure a RB can completely alleviate both concerns, but those are coachable to a large degree. In the meantime, they might use Lloyd on more designed running plays or where the ball comes out quickly.
Those are good points on how MLF is likely to use Lloyd early in his career. They may be telegraphed plays, so he'll mix it up some - but yeah, keeping Love intact is job #1.

Also to your point, blocking and ball security can be coached up in the NFL. As far as ball security, some of it will be learned behavior. Lloyd will have to learn to cover the ball more quickly, and himself, to avoid getting killed by NFL defenses. I do appreciate the skillset he showed in college. Yet we all know it's a lot different in the NFL and the yards don't come as easy anymore. RBs take a fierce pounding, and the smart ones learn to live to fight on another down.
 

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Those are good points on how MLF is likely to use Lloyd early in his career. They may be telegraphed plays, so he'll mix it up some - but yeah, keeping Love intact is job #1.

Also to your point, blocking and ball security can be coached up in the NFL. As far as ball security, some of it will be learned behavior. Lloyd will have to learn to cover the ball more quickly, and himself, to avoid getting killed by NFL defenses. I do appreciate the skillset he showed in college. Yet we all know it's a lot different in the NFL and the yards don't come as easy anymore. RBs take a fierce pounding, and the smart ones learn to live to fight on another down.
Thing about having that rep is the defense will smell parsnips in the water and attack the ball like penguins in the pool for the first few seasons. Every turn over will be magnified and a reminder. It won't be peaches or apple turnovers for him.
 

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Thing about having that rep is the defense will smell parsnips in the water and attack the ball like penguins in the pool for the first few seasons. Every turn over will be magnified and a reminder. It won't be peaches or apple turnovers for him.
Fans of GB however have to live with this type of defense will always be more susceptible to a big play than Barry's was. I'm here for it and ready, but I bet we hear issues with that aspect when it happens.
 

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Fans of GB however have to live with this type of defense will always be more susceptible to a big play than Barry's was. I'm here for it and ready, but I bet we hear issues with that aspect when it happens.
Good point. Barry's relentless use of zone mostly kept the ball in front of the defense. Well right up until the red zone and the resulting TD.

Hafley's use of primarily man coverage will result in occasionally giving up big plays. A single high safety goes the wrong way, a WR cleanly beats his coverage and creates separation and the QB throws a strike. Hopefully the stops and TOs more than make up for this occasional gaff.

But whether it's zone or man, the defense needs to make tackles. That was a coaching/talent problem last year that needs to be corrected.
 

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I didn't get to see many games last year so I can't really say if this was a factor or not but I wonder how much Jordan Love being a first time starter and his erratic play in the first half of the season may have impacted Dillon's performance. No one was afraid of Love and our receivers and with Dillon getting the snaps when Jones was out maybe the defenses felt they could key on him. We know the passing game came on in the second half and we all know how Jones ended the season. Was it a coincidence? Had Dillon been the guy at the end would his numbers have been better?

I guess my point is that I agree with you. I think Dillon could bounce back nicely. If nothing else we could have the best #3 RB in the league
I read a yahoo article mentioning Dillons move to being a FB.... That idea was spun around here predraft .. I still think he is a perfect fullback in a world of no fullbacks.... If he can become a good lead blocker, and have another quick big powerful offensive weapon who shows run, but can actually catch the ball still?

I miss those days of power run, and all those backs and TEs going out for catches (successfully)

I wouldn't build the offense around that idea. But it's a sweet changeup throwback to keep defenses guessing.
 

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One thing the guy at SF does is catch a few passes. While Dillon can catch well enough; he does not look nearly as flexible/athletic to me. But if he can be an effective blocker and get to the 2nd level as needed, I think that would be good enough.
 

tynimiller

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One thing the guy at SF does is catch a few passes. While Dillon can catch well enough; he does not look nearly as flexible/athletic to me. But if he can be an effective blocker and get to the 2nd level as needed, I think that would be good enough.
I fought with folks at the draft of him saying he wasn’t a receiver option. Dillon has constantly proven to have exceptional hands and ability to catch the ball from Rodgers and now Love.

Dillon’s hands are never going to be the issue, it’s the mileage on his legs and if his body is able to me.
 

Heyjoe4

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One thing the guy at SF does is catch a few passes. While Dillon can catch well enough; he does not look nearly as flexible/athletic to me. But if he can be an effective blocker and get to the 2nd level as needed, I think that would be good enough.
Good point. I think the Niner guy's name is Juscyzk or something with a lot of consonants. He is pretty fluid in the pass game for a FB.

And you're right - Dillon doesn't have a lot of flexibility/fluidity. His hips look locked and his best angle, well it isn't an angle, it's straight ahead.

Nothing wrong with that. I have a feeling he'll have a decent year.
 

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One thing the guy at SF does is catch a few passes. While Dillon can catch well enough; he does not look nearly as flexible/athletic to me. But if he can be an effective blocker and get to the 2nd level as needed, I think that would be good enough.
Go get him Old fan!
 
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The 2024 Packers are gearing up for something special. I mentioned earlier how this 2024 draft seemed to go after more experienced players and leaders on their respective programs. This speaks to me of a team no longer in early development. Rather our FO obviously has an immense amount confidence in our current Roster carryover and this is our PUSH to a SB imo.

Another observation I’ve noticed that backs up that theory is the more global approach to this draft. This is a list of the Conferences we targeted in this draft.

SEC
#41 Cooper
#58 Bullard
#91 Hopper

PAC-12
#25 Morgan
#88 Lloyd
#111 Williams
#169 Oladapo

BIG 10
#255 King

ACC
#163 Monk

AAC
#245 Pratt

SUNBELT
#202 Glover

We chose 2 “Non Power 5” players and both were standouts in their Group of 5 Conferences. A developmental backup QB and backup OT. Both positions already stocked or addressed that are not expected to start immediately. That infers that of those getting early opportunities are 100% Power 5 school selections. 7 coming from arguably the best and deepest Conferences in 2023. SEC, PAC-12
9 Draft picks came from Power 5 programs.

8 of our draft selections were standout players from individual school programs that touched the Top25 ratings (or stayed inside) Effectively standout athletes plucked from the Top 20% of Total individual College Programs. Including our first 6 draft choices coming from ranked programs.
There were ZERO selections from FCS or other (outside Div1A Football).

Once again, this is our moment.
 
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Heyjoe4

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The 2024 Packers are gearing up for something special. I mentioned earlier how this 2024 draft seemed to go after more experienced players and leaders on their respective programs. This speaks to me of a team no longer in early development. Rather our FO obviously has an immense amount confidence in our current Roster carryover and this is our PUSH to a SB imo.

Another observation I’ve noticed that backs up that theory is the more global approach to this draft. This is a list of the Conferences we targeted in this draft.

SEC
#41 Cooper
#58 Bullard
#91 Hopper

PAC-12
#25 Morgan
#88 Lloyd
#111 Williams
#169 Oladapo

BIG 10
#255 King

ACC
#163 Monk

AAC
#245 Pratt

SUNBELT
#202 Glover

We chose 2 “Non Power 5” players and both were standouts in their Group of 5 Conferences. A developmental backup QB and backup OT. Both positions already stocked or addressed that are not expected to start immediately. That infers that of those getting early opportunities are 100% Power 5 school selections. 7 coming from arguably the best and deepest Conferences in 2023. SEC, PAC-12
9 Draft picks came from Power 5 programs.

8 of our draft selections were standout players from individual school programs that touched the Top25 ratings (or stayed inside) Effectively standout athletes plucked from the Top 20% of Total individual College Programs. Including our first 6 draft choices coming from ranked programs.
There were ZERO selections from FCS or other (outside Div1A Football).

Once again, this is our moment.
Well one year ago I was thinking it would take the Packers 2-3 years to round into contender. And last season started out looking that way. But this is certainly a team that is ready to contend now. Amazing.
 

Heyjoe4

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You'd be right with 2.
It seems that in the last half of last season, especially the playoffs, and now with FA and the draft, the Packers enter 2024 as SB contenders.

Right or wrong, expectations will be very high, are very high.
 

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