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Draft Themes

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by HardRightEdge, May 3, 2015.

  1. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

    Jul 28, 2012
    The overall picture is "stay the course", add depth and bring numbers for competitive positions.

    1. Cover Corner Replacement / DB Depth

    The Packers lost the #2 and #3 cover corners. Besides setting up a competition at cover corner opposite Shields, adding these two particular players in the first round is a move for depth in scheme diversity.

    Single High Free Safety: Dix - Randall

    While I like Hyde for nickel, some safety duty and punt returns, his lack of long speed does get exposed and is problematic in the single-high role. This looks like Randall's natural position where play recognition and ball skills are at a premium over face-up tackling ability.

    Two High Free Safety: Dix - Randall


    Box Strong Safety: Burnett - Richardson - Rollins

    Rollins has physicality that belies his size; he could show some ability here.

    Two High Strong Safety: Burnett - Rollins/Hyde

    After Burnett, Hyde is the only incumbent who is at least an average secondary tackler while also bringing some coverage skills if not the preferred speed. At this point, Rollins looks like the #2 if Hyde is ensconced at nickel. Rollins looks best at this stage with the play in front of him, a natural safety perhaps, and he brings physicality. Hyde brings savvy and experience, but Rollins has more upside at this position with somewhat better speed and ball skills and is a logical #2 with Hyde at nickel.

    Nickel Corner: Hyde/Hayward - Rollins

    Hayward's status in this group depends on the outcome of the cover corner competition.

    Dime Corner: Lots of options in an alignment run about 5% - 10% of the time; outcome to be determined based on who secures the cover corner spot.

    Cover Corner: ???

    This is where it gets interesting, of course. Hayward lacks long speed; he's most productive as a zone nickel guy where most of his interceptions came from; he falls off in man coverage. Randall looks like he has the skills, except for being a bad tackler, thereby not a good complement to Shields. Further, since no sideline-to-sideline quickness was added at the ILB position, a Shields/Randall combo leaves the edges exposed. Rollins brings the physicality that would be the complement to Shields, but his technique to flip-run-track looks like it needs a lot of work; he'll need a fast ramp up to steal this job.

    Conclusion: These first two picks have a lot of bet-hedging built in. As Thompson put it, "life happens, injuries happen", and the picks have covering all eventualities written all over them. Further, these picks, together with the approach to the ILB position, indicate a "stay the course" in terms of defensive approach. That's disappointing.

    2. Roster Depth

    The position numbers on the roster tell much of the tale.

    WR: After the top 3 WRs on the roster going into the draft, there were development and health concerns. Without a legit receiving threat at TE, and injury to any of the top 3 leaving the passing attack exposed, a WR is not a bad choice in this spot. Further, there wasn't anybody on the roster going into the draft one would consider a slot receiver behind Cobb. Mongomery fits the cover-the-bases depth theme. This is a guy with the physical stature and quickness for the backup slot role. Further, he covers the wide out injury scenario in the same way that Barclay covers the LT injury scenario; Cobb has the route tree to go to wide out with Montgomery taking the slot. Montgomery has the widely reported hands issues, which is somewhat troublesome in the slot role working in traffic. We'll see how that shapes up. He should get his eyes thoroughly checked.

    FB/TE: Coming into the draft, there were only 4 on the roster. Perillo is bubble guy to start with. Neither Quarless nor Rodgers have looked good lead blocking in the H-back role, and both are thoroughly unfit as a short yardage running options as an up-back, if that even needs to be said. If Kuhn were to go down, there was no backup on the roster for lead blocking and short yardage.

    Enter Ripkowski, an old school sledgehammer FB, but he'll need to show some promise as a pass blocker to legitimately fill the back-up role. His presence on the roster could signal the return of the "inverted bone" 3-back short yardage alignment. Ugh.

    Backman is more a pass catching developmental prospect than a guy in the H-back profile. 4.66 speed with 17 lifts, indicative of his not being known as much of a blocker in college. Could fill a 3rd. TE spot if (1) McCarthy wants to go with 5 FB/TEs under the assumption that none of the TEs are H-back types and (2) he can beat out Perrilo. He looks more like a PS internship guy.

    ILB: The Ryan pick is disappointing, not so much because of the player himself but what it signals. His name is added to the numbers game in a group with similar characteristics...more physical than fast; more downhill than sideline-to-sideline; perhaps adequate in short zone coverage while questionable in seam running or covering slot or wheel-running RBs. This is a particular concern now that we hear Matthews is resisting the ILB role. Not getting a 3-down ILB says to me "cover the injury depth bases; bring numbers to a competitive position; stay the course", as is the case with cover corner selections. "Stay the course" in an underachieving and brittle defense is at the root of my disappointment with the defensive draft picks.

    QB: I find this pick far less surprising than most. First of all, there were only 2 QBs on the roster going into the draft, with no evidence the Packers would bring Flynn back. What you want in a backup QB is a guy who can come in and beat bad teams and provide a solid chance at mediocre teams in the event of a short term Rodgers injury. Take 2013 and mark it in bold. Many in these confines might view this pick as superfluous under the assumption that the home state guy neatly fills this role. I have questioned this assumption rigorously in the past. Ask the question: why was Tolzien signed to a one year deal, not two years? It stands to reason they need to see more progress in being comfortable having him filling that beat-the bad-to-mediocre teams role.

    Enter Hundley. He has the physical tools, but having played in that spread offense, he has a lot to learn. I doubt he'll leap frog Tolzien in 2015. But he has a solid chance to move to #2 in 2016 with Tolzien's contract up. In the mean time, Hundley can bring spread/option offense concepts to the scout team in preparing for those pesky teams that like to run this stuff. We do play Seattle and SF this season, after all, with QBs that have a history of giving us fits.

    DE: Ringo is a depth pick at the D-Line. They found a winner in Daniels who went against the DT/DE physical prototype. He's a shot at finding lightning in a bottle...twice.

    RB: I thought the Packers might draft a RB as soon as the 3rd. round. There were only 3 on the roster going into this draft. Starks will be 30 next year and has the ever-present durability issues. I don't think he can be counted on for 20 - 25 touches in the event of a Lacy injury. The #3 is largely and unkown coming off injury. Instead, the #3 becomes a numbers game with a raft of UDFAs.
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  2. AKCheese

    AKCheese Cheesehead

    Mar 11, 2014
    All of the above seems reasonable. I thought I had seen that Mathews had said he was fine with continuing to play significant time in the middle, no? I think the draft is indicative that TT thinks they already have next years starting linebackers on the roster. That kind of matches up with flat out releasing Hawk and Jones vs. bringing them back cheaper. I don't think you do that if you're counting on rookies or a free agent to fill their role. Gotta love a FB named Ripkowski!!
  3. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

    Jul 28, 2012
    Yes, it does appear Matthews is OK with playing some in the middle again, or so he said in February. And when that happens, the edge rushing is weakened with Perry and Neal. If the Packers were to stand pat at ILB, then an edge rusher in this draft would have been in order.

    We had a TE named Stoneburner. Let's hope Ripkowski fares better.
  4. Sky King

    Sky King Cheesehead

    Sep 27, 2012
    I hope that Ripkowski plays up to his name's hard-nosed potential. That's a name tailor-made for Packer fans.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. yooperpackfan

    yooperpackfan Cheesehead

    Jul 16, 2005
    It certainly is.
    His name exudes toughness!
  6. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

    Jul 23, 2012
    McGinn wrote just before the draft that according to several people close to Matthews he doesn´t want to play inside anymore in 2015.
  7. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

    Jul 28, 2012
    In November, after one week of the experiment, Matthews' brother Casey said that Clay is not keen on playing ILB, with Clay responding that there's "not much truth" to that report:


    In February, Clay discussed his season-ending exit interview, where he seemed fine with it in moderation:


    If I had to guess, there's "not much truth" to it, but some truth. With those February quotes, it sounds like it's a matter of how much and for how long.

    Given the Packers did not draft an alternative, it would stand to reason they were acting on Matthews complicity in the exit interview. There's a fine line between expressing your "don't want" while still trying to be a team player. One would hope some kind of "agreement in principal" was arrived at in that meeting.

    I think it is worth noting that of the $66 mil in his current deal, $20.5 mil was fully guaranteed but all of that is in the signing bonus. Beginning in 2015, there is cap savings in his being released that escalates to $11.1 mil in 2017 and $11.4 mil in 2018. I'm sure he'd like maximize his chances to play out this contract; the risk of injury increases at ILB diminishing those prospects.

    He might also have visions of the HOF, and for him that will hinge considerably on the career sack count.

    It's easy to say he's under contract and he must do as he's told. But you sure don't want him unhappy in his role or making business decisions on the field.

    He may not thrilled about this draft, since the "how much and for how long" equation my not look appealing.

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