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Defensive drafts blow cold on GB.

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Packerlifer, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Packerlifer

    Packerlifer Cheesehead

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    Ted Thompson is famous and respected for his "build thru the draft" philosophy. The Packers' GM has, in his 9 years running the football operation in Green Bay ,brought in the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Josh Sitton, Mason Crosby on draft days. You'll note that list is all on offense. That's because on the other side of the football the record is not nearly so good.

    Thompson has drafted 37 defensive players, 45% of all his picks, and has hit an "A" or better rating on only two: Nick Collins and Clay Matthews.

    The Packers have had two top ten first round picks during TT's tenure and he's used both on defensive players; A. J. Hawk #5 in 2006 and B.J. Raji #9 in '09. While both have been decent players neither has ever been as dominant as envisioned or hoped for for such high selections. If these were quarterback or runningback picks at those levels with these kind of results they would be almost considered busts.

    The Packers have used 3 other first round picks on defense: Justin Harrell in 2007, Nick Perry in 2012, and Datone Jones in 2013. Harrell gets a Dolly Parton for one of the all time biggest busts in Packers' history. Perry is trending down a similar path and Jones was an invisible rookie this past season.

    The Packers have also invested prime second and third round picks on defense: Jerel Worthy, Mike Neal, Pat Lee, Casey Hayward, Morgan Burnett, Abdul Hodge, Aaron Rouse. What do they have to show for these? Sure, injuries took down some but chronically injured and unavailable players are as much a liability to the team as incapable ones.

    Remember that knack Ron Wolf had for finding gems in the middle and late rounds? It apparently didn't rub off on his disciple. That's where such memorable guesses were made on Jeremy Thompson, Will Blackmon, Tyrone Culver, Marviel Underwood, Mike Montgomery, Kurt Campbell, Jerrion McMillian, Terrell Manning, Brandon Underwood, Michael Hawkins.

    I don't mean to create the impression that TT hasn't found any one in those later rounds. He did choose Johnny Jolly, Brad Jones, Desmond Bishop, CJ Wilson, Brady Poppinga, Mike Daniels and Micah Hyde in those stages. But you can see and judge for yourself how to grade out those selections.

    There's clearly a pattern here, although I don't pretend to have the answer to what it is. One thought is to look at where Thompson looks for his defensive prospects. It's pretty heavy on the Big Ten and Pac 10 conferences. In 9 drafts he's selected 6 Pac-10 and 5 Big Ten defensive players, close to one-third of all his drafted defensive players since 2005.

    Teams from those conferences, though, keep getting exposed defensively when they venture out into bowl games against the SEC and other conferences for lacking in speed, agility and athleticism. It'sno wonder they don't have much success in the NFL with their limited skill sets.

    Thompson also has a fondness for small college prospects. Not that there's anything wrong with that, if it works, but in the last four drafts one-third of his defensive prospects hailed from Mississippi St., Illinois St., Southern Florida,Maine and Appalachian St. Good players can come out of small colleges but so far none has out of these drafts for Green Bay.

    When people call for firing coaches it should be kept in mind that in spite of this poor drafting history on defense for almost a decade the Packers have managed to produce some respectable defensive showings. The 4-3 coordinated by Bob Sanders in 2007 was 6th in the league in scoring defense and 11th in yards. The 3-4 Dom Capers and the current staff was brought in to implement in 2009 ranked 2nd in the NFL that first year and 5th in 2010 and was second in the league in scoring defense that year when they won the Super Bowl.

    But the shortcomings of the club's defensive drafts over the past 9 years keep catching up with the team as they repeatedly fall off on their defensive showing in the other seasons, including the most recent one. It's why the Packers are spending the divisional and conference championship rounds of the playoffs watching the games on TV like the rest of us.

    Einstein famously said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Hopefully Ted Thompson and every one involved in the scouting, evaluating, investigating and choosing of defensive prospects for the club this year will look at that and figure out doing something different and getting a much better result.
     
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  2. Carl

    Carl Cheesehead

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    If the Packer defense was fantastic, nobody would say it played poorly against the 49ers. Since they haven't been good lately, people automatically put it on them. Without Shields, Matthews, Jolly, and others, they did their job against a good offense.

    This game belongs on the offense. Even against the 49ers, Rodgers and company should have put up more. If they put up 24 offensive points like the did the last two games agains them, the Packers win.

    Anyway you look at it, the defense improved against the 49ers while the offense didn't get it done.
     
  3. Packerlifer

    Packerlifer Cheesehead

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    As an addendum here's the complete list of Ted Thompson defensive draft picks:

    2005: S Nick Collins (2nd round, Bethune-Cookman)
    DB Marviel Underwood (4th round, San Diego St.)
    LB Brady Poppinga (4th round, Brigham Young)
    DB Micael Hawkins (5th round, Oklahoma St)
    DL Mike Montgomery (6th round, Texas A&M)
    LB Kurt Campbell (7th round, Albany)

    2006: LB A.J. Hawk (1st round, #5, Ohio St.)
    LB Abdul Hodge (3rd round, Iowa)
    CB Will Blackmon (4th round, Boston College)
    DL Johnny Jolly (6th round, Texas A&M)
    DL Dave Tollefson (7th round, NW Missouri ST.)
    S Tyrone Culver (7th round, Fresno St.)

    2007: DT Justin Harrell (1st round, Tennessee)
    S Aaron Rouse (3rd round, Virginia Tech)
    LB Desmond Bishop (6th round, California.)

    2008: CB Pat Lee (2nd round, Auburn)
    LB Jeremy Thompson (4th round, Wake Forest)

    2009: DL B.J. Raji (1st round, #9, Boston College)
    LB Clay Matthews (1st round, USC)
    DL Jarius Wynn (6th round, GEorgia)
    CB Brandon Underwood (6th round, Cincinnati)
    LB Brad Jones (7th round, Colorado)

    2010: DE Mike Neal (2nd round, Purdue)
    S Morgan Burnett (3rd round, GEorgia Tech)
    DE CJ Wilson (7th round, East Carolina)

    2011: CB Davon House (4th round, New Mexico ST.)
    LB D.J. Smith (6th round, Applachian St.)
    LB Ricky Elmore (6th round, Arizona)
    DL Lawrence Guy (7th round, Arizona St.)

    2012: LB Nick Perry (1st round, USC)
    DE Jerel Worthy (2nd round, Michigan ST.)
    CB Casey Hayward, (2nd round, Vanderbilt)
    DE Mike Daniels, (4th round, Iowa)
    S Jerrion McMillian (4th round, Maine)
    LB Terrell Manning (5th round, North CArolina St.)

    2013: DE Datone Jones (1st round, UCLA)
    DB Micah Hyde (5th round, Iowa)
    DL Josh Boyd (5th round, Mississippi St.)
    LB Nate Palmer (6th round, Illinois St.)
    LB Sam Barrington (7th round, Southern Florida.)
     
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  4. Packerlifer

    Packerlifer Cheesehead

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    I'm not basing the critique of the defensive history and pattern on one game and certainly not last week's playoff. Yes, getting the touchdown instead of the field goal late might have made the difference. But the defense did get driven on in the final five minutes and failed to make the game sealing interception so it has its share of the blame.
     
  5. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

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    With our offense, we only need a middle of the pack D. We really only need 3 (maybe 4) positions filled on D to be good again. A good OLB opposite Clay, a good NT, a good MLB and a Safety opposite Burnett. Get these positions fixed in the offseason, and we'll win 12-13 games next year.

    We really dont need much on O. A TE and maybe another OLineman. But thats it really. Our RB situation is finally fixed at least.
     
  6. Carl

    Carl Cheesehead

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    I'll agree the defense has some talent issues. I trust Ted to turn it around though.
     
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  7. I_am_smoked_cheddar

    I_am_smoked_cheddar Guest

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    1st round Safety should be priority one !
     
  8. Poppa San

    Poppa San SB I trophy First of four Staff Member Moderator

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    We have a good chance for the 12-13 wins even without getting another defensive player based on the offense alone, provided the big guns remain relatively healthy. It is the one and done playoffs that we need the defense for.
     
  9. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    If available, reaching for a position in the 1st round is a no no
     
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  10. yooperpackfan

    yooperpackfan Cheesehead

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    This is absolutely true.
    There aren't many safeties on the board that warrant a 1st round pick.
     
  11. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    First of all, I love your analysis. I think that your points about where Ted Thompson is drafting from is insightful and overall the defensive analysis is well done. It certainly has been the weakpoint of his strategy. That said, all GMs have weak points. It was definitely noticeable that all of the teams playing this weekend had good defenses, quite a contrast to the Packers.

    However, I do have a few things that I'd like to point out in your analysis:
    Ted Thompson has had remarkable success in the first round, even compared to the man that most consider a genius in Packer history in Ron Wolf. Ignoring the past three drafts*, Thompson has hit on all of his first round picks except for Justin Harrell, as you noted. Wolf missed on Terrell Buckley, John Michels, Antoine Edwards, and Jamal Reynolds. This isn't a negative on Wolf, but more to highlight Thompson's success. Both have an average 1st round pick position of around the 20th/21st pick of the draft.

    * I generally avoid grading draft classes until the third season. While it could provide fodder for internet arguments, I don't see the point in guessing about drafting success until it's generally proven one way or the other. So Perry and Jones get a pass for now in my book. Sherrod does as well due to his extenuating medical situation, but 2014 will surely be his make or break season.

    You can't look at these guys but ignore the talent that TT has found in those rounds. Every GM misses players in every round. By my grading he's done better than Wolf and equal to Tom Braatz in the 2nd round, and just below Wolf in the 3rd round. Should I list all of Wolf's and Braatz's 2nd and 3rd round busts? Shawn Patterson, Bobby Houston, Mark D'Onofrio, Torrance Marshall........the list can go on

    Thompson has found gems, but to your point, more of his gems are on the offensive side of the ball. Wolf fared no better on defense. In ten drafts, Wolf only found the following defensive players in the 4th round or later: Gabe Wilkins, Na'il Diggs, KGB, and Doug Evans - that's it. If you want to scrape the barrel you could add Scott McGarrahan, Keith McKenzie, and Chris Akins but those are all reaches. So that's 4 "gems" and 15 duds unless you move the barrel reaches into the "gem" pile, which I would advise against.
    From the defensive side, Mike Montgomery should be on that list as well. Thompson has picked very well in the 4th round, terribly in the 5th, very well in the 6th, and average in the 7th.

    The real key, I believe, is that Wolf was a master at finding low-risk FAs and bringing them in. Bruce Wilkerson is the shining example of that tactic. Thompson's strength is the undrafted FAs. The difference tends to be that Wolf's method provided more veteran experience while Thompson's method is more cost-effective.

    One could say that one way is better than the other. I would venture to think that Thompson knows what he is good and bad at doing. If he knows that he and his staff are better at evaluating college talent vs free agent talent, I'd rather have him go with his strength than force a weakness.

    No matter what, he still has to find a way to bolster the defensive roster. Your main point of this thread definitely holds water though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
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  12. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    In olden days, that was more of the case. Nowadays, rookies have had more immediate impact and are expected to.
    In fact, the teams who do well these days are teams with the most young guys on their cheaper rookie contracts performing well.

    As for waiting til the 3rd season goes, that's no necessary either, to evaluate a draft pick.
    Just on this list, look at these picks.
    Of the 4 picks in the 2011 draft on defense, you ba e3 of 4 guys who were let go, no longer are Packers.
    And you have the other, a cornerback in House, who was taken ahead of Richard Sherman on Ted's board, most likely because House had faster combine times.

    2012 is newer, but 2 seasons under their belt.
    We know Hayward is a player, after one year.
    And we know McMillian isn't as he was already released.
    Same thing, amazingly, about Terrell Manning, whom Teddy traded up to select.
    Those cases can be closed already.
    I would bet a lot of $ that Worthy will never come close to meeting expectations.
    Daniels has contributed, and Perry does too when healthy. ALthough don't let him be in space.

    2011: CB Davon House (4th round, New Mexico ST.)
    LB D.J. Smith (6th round, Applachian St.)
    LB Ricky Elmore (6th round, Arizona)
    DL Lawrence Guy (7th round, Arizona St.)

    2012: LB Nick Perry (1st round, USC)
    DE Jerel Worthy (2nd round, Michigan ST.)
    CB Casey Hayward, (2nd round, Vanderbilt)
    DE Mike Daniels, (4th round, Iowa)
    S Jerron McMillian (4th round, Maine)
    LB Terrell Manning (5th round, North CArolina St.)
     
  13. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    I'm with ya Frank for the most part. I know that you can evaluate guys after one season but there's no points scored by us fans for being the first correct guess.

    When I rate the drafts I usually wait until the second or third year to render grades, but will tab players to continue my evaluation. From 2011 I still have Sherrod, House, and Ryan Taylor on my watch list without grades. I still actually have Andrew Quarless on my list as a bust but without a final grade. He's shown flashes and might be given the starting job in 2014 to either sink or swim.

    From the two most recent classes, the only players that I have put even a temporary positive grade on are:
    Hayward
    Daniels
    Lacy
    Bakhtiari

    Obviously there are a bunch of guys not even with the team that are all busts, as is the case every year: McMillan, Terrell Manning, Andrew Datko, and BJ Coleman.
     
  14. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    IMHO most of the horses are already in the stable for the Defense. The Packers just need a Run Stuffing hold the gap workhorse NT ala Casey Hampton and an athletic hard nosed athletic ILB to pair with Hawk. I think we're fine with moving Hyde to SS, where I expect him to surprise people even if he figures to be more of a finesse player at the position. As for the OLB spot opposite of Matthews again I suspect we have the players to play that position. Perry showed some dynamic edge rush ability before an unlucky foot injury, player fell on it, and Neal kept improving over the course of the season and even produced a respectable 4 sacks over the last 8 games. I suspect Neal will be even healthier next season after he drops an extra 10 pounds, although durability and toughness is a concern with all three of our top OLBs.
     
  15. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    Terrell Buckley had 50 INT's in his career and played something like 13 seasons and over 200 games, almost always healthy.

    I know he wasn't good in his young years for us, but to call him a "miss" and to call guys like Hawk and even Raji "hits" won't seem fair to air.

    And I'm surprised at how many are still not willing to call Sherrod a "bust". He's closer to free agency than draft day, at this point. 3 complete seasons and he's played sparingly in parts of 12 total games. I know that injuries have played a big part in this, but they played a big part in the career of Jon Michels, too.

    It seems like a really arbitrary argument to me. I think almost all would agree that Reynolds was a bust, but from my understanding Sherman had really strong control over personnel decisions by that point. So there are a lot of different ways to look at it.
     
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  16. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    Buckley may have been good with the Dolphins but he wasn't when with the Packers. If he could tackle in addition to going for interceptions while here, he might have stuck around longer. A GM's job is to draft players that contribute to their team, not other teams. The only exception that I make to that distinction is when players are stolen off of the practice squad.

    Hawk and Raji are solid players. Contrary to many here, I don't give weight to draft position. If Hawk or Raji were 7th round picks many of you would be calling them gems. In the end, who really cares? The team spends $xxx every season and they draft 6-9 players. If you can get 50% of them to be reliable players with a few studs...who cares where they came from? I liken it to college graduates entering the work world. The school you attended gets your foot in the door, but nobody gives a hoot afterwards about where you got your degree. It's all about performance after that.

    Sherrod is on the edge of bust status. I didn't mark Harrell a bust until he was released in 2011. There are players that suffer injuries early in their careers and then rebound. Again, no points scored for jumping to conclusions.
     
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  17. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    A) Totally agree with you on Buckley. He accomplished more in his lengthy career than I suspect Raji or Hawk will. He just didn't in our system, on our team.

    B) That I disagree with. I cannot at all call a guy a bust for getting his leg broken in 2 spots because Marshall Newhouse *##^%!% let Tamba Hali run right around him all day long. If Sherrod never comes back and plays well, I won't blame Ted for that pick even 1%.
    That was more bullshit bad luck for this organization like Collins, Sterling, etc. Derek's just occurred sooner, like Terrance Murphy and Tim Lewis.
     
  18. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Sherrod didnt play in 3 seasons though..All you can say is he played in about 12 games...To say he is a bust cant be taken seriously..

    If so, then take Rodger's 1st 12 games, and that includes mop up duty for Brett in 2005, 6, and 7, or Favres 1st 12 games...You could say they were busts too if you just go by their 1st 12 games.
     
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  19. I_am_smoked_cheddar

    I_am_smoked_cheddar Guest

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    No matter who you are or how right you believe you are, it is a FACT that the Defense needs to improve before the 2014 Season.
    It could take a Coaching change, a Draft/Free Agent philosophy change, some very good luck, or all the above.
     
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  20. JacobInFlorida

    JacobInFlorida Cheesehead

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    No doubt, but you just can't fly into it and look at your needs and draft in order of needs that year. You have to get players that are gonna make the team and make an impact. Sometimes that's a safety, sometimes a LB or maybe this year it's a WR or a CB. If a safety that will be worth drafting high isn't there, I don't care how bad we need one, we'd be dumb to take it.
     
  21. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    Hawk has been a solid player for this franchise and will likely be the franchise's leading tackler, if he isn't already. He may not be sexy but he's been a consummate pro and a locker room leader. Raji has been a disappointment but he practically put the Defense on his back back in 2010, and played a key role in winning a Super Bowl. I'd say that both players were much better picks than T-Buck, who was never more than a liability on the field and a distraction in the locker room.
     
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  22. lambeaulambo

    lambeaulambo Cheesehead

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    Defensively the B1G and Pac 12 are extremely suspect. Another trend I have noticed is the total disregard for UW O-lineman lately. Goodness, ANY of them are better options than Newhouse. I don't get it. Look more to the SEC for Defensive players would be a start.
     
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  23. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    John Michaels and Aaron Taylor were horrible draft picks, injuries or not. Those two guys were drafted to be LTs but simply never had the ability to play at either tackle position. Furthermore you also have Antuan Edwards to add to Ron Wolf's train of first round suck.

    T-Stank had 50 picks because his technique was awful and teams routinely threw at him throughout his career, he was bound to get a few.

    As for Sherrod, we saw Mike Flanagan come back from a very similar injury and move on to become one of the best centers in the league in his prime. Derrek Sherrod has been behind the 8-ball since he got here. Yet even still Packers Sports writers are calling him the best looking OL on the team both in looks and in the way he moves. He'll play next season, you'll eat your words.
     
  24. I_am_smoked_cheddar

    I_am_smoked_cheddar Guest

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    I believe the real question is, how can the Defense improve the quickest ?

    The Draft ?

    Free agents ?

    A sensible combination of the two ?

    Trade or release the deadwood, draft very carefully, and by not fearing the Free agent market .
     
  25. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    So in summation

    1992: T-Stank- bust
    1993: Wayne Simmons-Wash, good in coverage but that was it more of a role player.
    1994: Aaron Taylor- Bust
    1995: Craig Newsome- hit, never a great player but solid
    1996: John Michaels- Bust.
    1997: Ross Verba- Wash, solid fill in but his play didn't match his attitude.
    1998: Vonnie Holliday- Wash, long NFL career but never did much for us.
    1999: Antuan Edwards- Bust
    2000: Bubba Franks- Hit, though I think he was more solid than good.

    T2

    2005: Aaron Rodgers- crushed it.
    2006: AJ Hawk- hit, although this is diminished by the players that could have been taken. I guess this is what happens when you value first year contribution more than total ability.
    2007: Justin Harrell- Bust
    2008: Jordy Nelson- Hit
    2009: BJ Raji- Hit, no way we win a Super Bowl without him.
    2009: Clay Matthews- Hit an crushed into the parking lot.
    2010: Bryan Bulaga- wash, up and down and injured.
    2011: Derek Sherrod- incomplete, still coming back from injury
    2012: Nick Perry- incomplete, flashes a lot of pass rush ability but struggles to stay healthy.
    2013: Datone Jones- incomplete


    EDIT: Forgot about too small Jamal. That pick perfectly illustrates Ron Wolf's first round drafting, too many selections were for "NFL Ready" need reach types with limited upside.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014

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