27

April

Packers 2013 NFL Draft: Day 2 Grade and Analysis

Alabama RB Eddie Lacy

Alabama RB Eddie Lacy

On the deepest second day of the NFL Draft in recent memory, the Packers only made one selection, but it landed a player that many expected to be the team’s first-round pick.

Alabama’s Eddie Lacy was the Packers’ lone second-round pick at No. 61 overall. He was regarded as the No. 1 running back in the draft by ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.

But three running backs were taken ahead of Lacy. The Cincinnati Bengals took North Carolina all-purpose back Giovani Bernard with the No. 37 pick at the top of round two. Bernard was the No. 1-rated running back on my board; Jayme Joers, who previewed the running backs for the CheeseheadTV Draft Guide, also had Bernard at the top.

But after Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell was picked to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was taken by the Denver Broncos, the Packers moved down from No. 55 to No. 61 and stole Lacy with the penultimate pick in the second round.

It’s hard to say definitively how the Packers ranked the running backs, but Packers Director of College Scouting Brian Gutekunst said the team had a high opinion of both Ball and Lacy.

“We liked Montee Ball a lot,” Gutekunst said. “We had (Lacy and Ball) in the same range. They’re different kinds of backs. The history of running backs from the SEC is very, very good. They tend to make it.”

Lacy rushed for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2012. He finished his college career with a dominant three-touchdown performance in the BCS National Championship Game and declared for the draft following his junior season.

Combined with DuJuan Harris, the Packers hope Lacy gives them the power running game they’ve been lacking.

What they’re saying:

“At 230 pounds, he’s got much better feet than people think. This guy’s a three-down tailback. He’ll protect the quarterback. He can carry 20 to 25 times a game. For the Packers, who have been running the ball by committee, this is a perfect pick.” — Mike Mayock (via NFL.com)

“He catches very well. We felt really good about that,” Gutekunst said. “Great lateral quickness. Great ability to drop his pads in the hole. He has an uncanny knack of getting out of trouble for a guy his size. He gives us a little bit of size we haven’t had in a while.” — Brian Gutekunst (via Packers.com)

“I’m a bigger guy, a tough runner, a physical runner,” Lacy said. “That’s just natural. But I’m also shifty and I can make defenders miss and also break long runs. I just feel like I can do anything.” – Eddie Lacy (via JSOnline)

“I will allow the defense to not just be able to focus on the passes because there’s a back in the backfield who’s going to have to make them think about the run. And if we can run out of the shotgun, it’ll just make the offense that much more dangerous.” – Lacy (via JSOnline)

Who was on the board at No. 61:

After the run on running backs began at the top of the second round, the Packers made it a priority to get their guy while they could.

Faced with choosing between a plethora of talent at wide receiver and a diverse group of running backs at No. 55, Thompson traded down and took Lacy at No. 61. UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin had been rumored to be of interest to the Packers, but he has yet to be selected through the first two days of the NFL Draft. Christine Michael, of Texas A&M, was the 62nd pick of the draft by the Seattle Seahawks.

The Packers could have opted to add a receiver such as Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton, West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey or Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton. Wheaton and Bailey came off the board in the third round, and Patton has yet to be drafted.

As far as safeties, Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid, Matt Elam, Jonathan Cyprien and D.J. Swearinger were already off the board. They could have reached for a guy like Georgia Southern’s J.J. Wilcox, Lacy had great value in the late-second round.

Why they went with Lacy:

It’s pretty simple. The Packers needed a running back to pair with DuJuan Harris, and Eddie Lacy gives them the power aspect they’ve been lacking.

Lacy was not my top-rated running back, but he was the No. 47 player on my board and was deemed too good to pass up at No. 61. Mike Mayock had Lacy as the No. 18 overall prospect in the draft. Had the Packers taken him in the first round, that may have been seen as a reach to some, but getting him at No. 61 seems like a steal.

On the same day they announced a five-year contract extension with MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers had an opportunity to address perhaps its biggest offensive need. And they did exactly that by drafting Lacy.

Lacy will likely have every opportunity to be the team’s starting running back in 2013. But on top of perhaps being the team’s bell cow, Lacy will have a chance to unseat John Kuhn as the go-to short-yardage back. At 231 pounds, Lacy is a physical runner between the tackles and is much more elusive than Kuhn.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Lacy averaged 7.6 yards per carry between the tackles last season at Alabama. When the defense went with seven or fewer defenders in the box, Lacy’s per-carry average ballooned to 8.7. Rarely (well, never) does a defense line up with eight men in the box against Aaron Rodgers.

Day 2 Grade: A

Another efficient day at the office for Ted Thompson and the Packers. This draft is loaded in the middle rounds, and while Thompson only made one pick on Day 2, he set himself up with a whopping ten picks on Day 3 and added a player who should make a major impact in 2013.

The Packers came into the draft with an immediate need for a defensive lineman, safety and running back. The team spent its first-round pick on UCLA defensive end Datone Jones and used its second-round pick on Lacy.

The only thing that prevents this from being an “A+” is the fact that the team traded out of the third round, perhaps missing out on missing out on wide receiver Stedman Bailey. After the Packers moved down from No. 88 to No. 93, the St. Louis Rams drafted Bailey at No. 92. As soon as the Rams made the pick, the Packers moved down again, this time with the Miami Dolphins.

Maybe the Packers didn’t want Bailey at all, but the player they wanted was likely selected between picks 89-92, and he seems like the most logical pick.

Either way, there’s plenty of talent on the board headed into fourth round, in which the Packers currently hold two picks. Owning ten picks on the final day likely means the team is far from finished on the trade front. They’ll have a chance to add a receiver early on Day 3, perhaps Quinton Patton who is the best available player on my board.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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16 Responses to “Packers 2013 NFL Draft: Day 2 Grade and Analysis”

  1. Dobber says:

    Packers, I think, get an incomplete on their day 2 draft. I personally don’t care for Lacy very much, but I don’t scout or evaluate personnel for a living, either. I appreciate his value where they took him.

    How they parlay their remaining picks into players will dictate their day 2 grade. Trading out of round 3 is a calculated risk, but if TT turns those picks into 3 fourth-rounders, and all of those are players we would have been happy seeing the Packers take at #88, I think we’ve seen TT put on a clinic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  2. PackEyedOptimist says:

    I suspect that the Packers were disappointed to see Ball (who I think would have been a perfect fit)and Bailey fall off the board after the trades. I think they gambled and “lost” on those trades…for the moment. That will leave TT and company feeling a little “unfulfilled,” UNLESS they end up with a few pleasant surprises falling to THEM today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      I don’t think they had Ball over Lacy. Bailey, though, they definitely came up snake eye on that roll of the dice. Who could have expected ST L. to take another WR after nabbing Tavon Austin? And his teammate to boot? Can’t win them all…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Nick Perry says:

        I agree with Al. I’d much rather have Lacy over Ball. I think Monte Ball has a bit to many miles on him. 924 carries, plus receptions, that’s a lot of hits. The injuries scared teams away from Lacy and rightfully so. But none of them were to serious. The wrist injury is a little concerning but overall at 61, the Packers got a steal. Thank god they didn’t take him in Rd. one.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Dobber says:

          I so agree: Kiper calling for Lacy at 26 made me really nervous. Even I can appreciate him at #61, whether TT really likes him or not (as JSOnline seems to imply).

          For all the mileage on Ball’s tires, which I was leery of, too, he never seemed to take nearly the number of hits Lacy did. Ball would dodge them and Lacy would try to run through them. Lacy is going to have to learn a little self-preservation on the next level or he won’t last very long.

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  3. PackEyedOptimist says:

    I think a good way of looking at today, is the way that TT has said they approach drafting: Compare the available players to the players already on the roster, then ask “Who has the best chance of unseating the vet at that position?” If they unseat a starter, it is better than unseating a back-up, obviously. With that in mind, here are some people whose jobs hang in the balance: Kicker-Crosby(the only good shot at replacing a starter), Center-VanRoten (maybe D-Smith), Safety-Richardson, Fullback-Kuhn, Quarterback-Harrell/Coleman, TightEnd-Taylor/Williams/Quarless. Wide Reciever-Ross/Boykin, I think it will hard to find a late round rookie who can push out a Nose Tackle, Cornerback, Linebacker, or Guard/Tackle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • PackEyedOptimist says:

      Oops. Actually there is a pretty good shot for a replacement guard; I’ve just been thinking they have a lot of tackles, and could move some into guard, but really, if a free agent like Barclay can make it, there could easily be an under-rated quality guard prospect.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      OG and OC are undervalued in the draft for that reason: college tackles with some size but feet too slow for the position in the pros are good developmental prospects inside.

      Unseating a starter is one thing, but finding the replacement for a guy who has just gone (Jennings) or might soon leave (Pickett, Finley) is pretty important in my mind. Would love to see Patton and Jesse Williams land in the Packers hands in round 4. Tremendous value at this point.

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  4. madtowne says:

    There are still many good football players
    left to choose from. Why not take one of
    the QB’s…Good value and quality backup
    insurance for MM. Big day today for TT.

    It’s finally warm here in Sconnie…I’m
    firing up the grill and getting ready!

    GO PACK!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Savage57 says:

    Day 3 in the NFL draft is kind of like that visit from your Grandma a couple days after Christmas. You know you’re going to get something, you just have no clue what it might wind up being.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Ron LC says:

    Quantity vs. Quality? He’s got ten shots to get maybe 1 or 2 players that will move to the roster of 53. The rest are a crap shoot. Any wins in that group reinforce the TT mystique.

    Not crazy about Lacey unless they are assured of a major attitude adjustment. Hope so

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      But Lacy, arguably a 1st rd. talent in what amounts to the 3rd round? Worth the ticket…like I said: seems to remind me of LenDale White.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Marques Eversoll Marques Eversoll says:

        Lacy wasn’t my top-rated RB, but I don’t think there are many similarities between he and LenDale White.

        White was a great college back but had no foot speed and really wasn’t all that powerful. Watch Lacy’s film against Georgia from this year, and you won’t see LenDale White.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Stroh says:

          White was a big fast RB, according to NFLDraftScout under 4.5 40. He was lazy and didn’t train hard enough to stick but he was enormously talented.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

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