Author Archives: Don "Yoop" Christensen | About Don "Yoop" Christensen: Born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, moved across the border to Cheesehead land. Life long fan of the greatest team in the world, the Green Bay Packers. Old and decrepit but still kicking, maybe not that high but still kicking.

24

April

Green Bay Packers Draft Targets: Defense

Packers Defense Draft ProspectsI hear defense, defense, defense fans for this draft. In my other piece on the offensive side of the ball, I stated the offense fell from #3 in 2011 to #13 in 2012. The defense improved across the board in 2012 over 2011, and I expect a lot more of that improvement this coming season. I don’t believe we will see a repeat of last year, but there are needs that have to be addressed in the draft, where in the draft is the big question.

Based on the opinion of many, need and BPA make a convergence in this draft with a number of DT/DE prospects rated around the Packers #26 pick. All of these Defensive linemen have those warts I talked about in the offensive piece.

Lets start with Sylvester Williams,
A some what under rated DT, not as hyped as others right now, but very talented. But there are questions about him, Real concerns? Hype? Misinformation? All in the eye of the beholder.

To continue the Williams theme lets go with Jesse Williams NT/DE Alabama,.  I like this Williams because he can play NT, DE and that 3 technique used in the nickel and dime for the Packers. He is raw and limited in pass rush. Back to these players having questions.

Lets look at Jonathon Hankins,  more warts, but a possibility for the #26 pick, what I don’t like is two years of knee injuries. But quick long arms another prospect that can play multiple spots in the defense.

The player that is getting more and more buzz right now for the Packers is, Datone Jones. He might be the best fit as 3-4 DE in the entire first round. Like the rest of the group of Dlinemen at the #26 pick, he has questions about his effort but there is no question of his ability.

And last but not least is this D-line Prospect.  Rankings on him are all over the map. This is a high risk, possibly high reward pick. Big men with his athletic ability are few and far between, he will be drafted higher then he should be because of that. But I would think he is in the mix. He is a high effort, great work ethic prospect, and is a physical freak, The thing with this pick would be the teams projection of what he could be with development.  Margus Hunt offers the type of player along the defensive line the team does not have now. The question is, when do you draft him.

23

April

Green Bay Packers Draft Targets: Offense

packers draft targets  - Offense

Draft Target Bulls Eye

How many mock drafts have you checked out? How many positional ranking lists have you pondered? Maybe a scouting report or two? The draft is less then a week away. The NFL Draft might be one of the greatest marketing wonders of the world. Three days of TV coverage, on two Networks, with Parties at most home Stadiums and so much out there you can’t swing a dead cat and not hit something related to the NFL draft.

And I have to admit, I love it.

The amount of buzz created this time of year about everything football is quite amazing when you consider not that long ago, Well at least in my time as a Packer fan, which to some would be a long time ago, the draft was a much different affair. The year the Packers won the first Super Bowl, Vince had twenty two picks in 17 rounds. And that year of 1967 was the first year of the combined draft. The NFC and AFC had got that point to end the bidding war between the two Leagues for the Top prospects.

Today a player had better be a Super Star out of the box or that “B “ word gets tossed out there pretty quickly. We will also all hear what team had the best grade in the draft. That is the one thing out of today’s draft that makes me mumble short worded sentences that Jersey Al won’t put on his site.

Come back in a couple years and lets see who really did what. When you look at Ted Thompsons drafts over the last four years, they have been shaping up nicely.

I will not start a whole discussion on BPA and need. But I will add a link to what might be the best example of a NFL grading system you will find on the net, this is from someone that was a NFL scout. What we don’t know, is what each team puts the most emphasis on in generating those grades, but it shows the degree’s of rankings worked up on these prospects.

1

April

Searching for Sleepers: Packers 2013 NFL Draft

Ted Thompson on the Prowl

Ted Thompson on the Prowl

Since Ted Thompson has had final say in who the Packers draft, there have been a number of, WHO?, picks. Nick Collins, Jerron McMIllian, James Jones, Josh Sitton come to mind looking back at different drafts and remembering the comments by many of the sideline GM’s. You could have got this or that player way later and TT should have taken this or that player instead. When you look at these picks and how they have turned out, I give TT the edge over the sideliners.

All of these picks were either smaller school players or players that had little or no buzz about them heading into the draft. For those that don’t know me, I have always been a big fan of these types of players. A college OT that makes the move to OG, a college DE that makes the move to OLB or even ILB like Lattimore now with the Packers. My thoughts have always been that good football players are good football players, it does not matter where they come from or who they played against. Call them reaches or for some flyer picks for this we will call them sleepers. With most of these player there is little of no Video on them, but I will get what I can for your viewing pleasure.

Here are a few that have caught my eye so far in the pre draft process. I am not putting any importance on a position, just prospects I think need a closer look.

Matthew Tucker RB TCU. 6-0 221#, 4.50 40 time, 1.54 ten yard, 35.5” vertical, 4.44 short shuttle and 7.13 3 cone drill, averaged over 5.0 a carry in his career, 3rd all time in TD’s for TCU. When you look at his stats he had his best games against the toughest teams.

Kyle Juszcyzyk Played HBack/ TE/ FB at Harvard 6-1 246# 4.71 40 time, 37” vertical, 10’1” long jump, AMAZING agility with a 4.19 short shuttle and a 6.93 3 cone drill and 24 reps at 225#
Few FB’s have that kind of athletic ability. Having been a Hback/TE he can catch the ball and has experience blocking. Watch the helmet removing block in the video, Runs good routes, Shows he is just a good hard nosed football player. With his versatility he could be a better more athletic Kuhn.

23

March

Packers Defense: Who’s Still On the Way Up?

Green Bay Packers defense

Who’s Rising on Defense?

Here we are at the start of the 2013 NFL season. Let the great debates roll on!   Sign a FA?  Keep your own?  Difference maker free agent? Hole filler? Last gasp?  Which leads to next big thing, the team has to draft this position this year! { fill in your choice}.

Everyone goes nuts this time of year, I am of the use Free Agency to fill a hole in depth crowd,  but first and foremost keep your own.

From most of talk across the web, Packer fans are screaming for “DEFENSE” and I can’t disagree, but for many, players already on the team are over looked waiting for that big signing. { like that is going to happen in Green Bay in the first place}

So while many are playing fantasy GM with all the if’s, maybes, should have’s, could have’s, lets look at players on the team that are on the way up and will improve the team from the inside.

I consider C.J. Wilson on the way up. He missed games with a knee injury last year, in the eleven games he played, he was looked at as one of the Packers better run stoppers, he had 24 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Nothing to get excited about, but Wilson did improve in his second year, not bad for 7th round pick that played 4-3 DE in college. He is a better athlete then given credit for at 6-3 300# he ran a 4.83 40, 32 reps at #225, 1.67 ten yard time 4.50 shuttle and 7.65 3 cone drill. His best football is still in front of him.

Mike Neal actually stayed fairly healthy last year and flashed some of what he did as a rookie. He and Matthews got on a bit of roll before Matthews got dinged up. He has the work ethic and gained experience last year.  He now has 22 games played,  11 for 2012 with a 4 game suspension. Still on the way up.

Terrell Manning and Jamari Lattimore are the two inside linebackers I want to see most. Manning was a OLB in college and missed time with a parasite, but made his way on the field for 5 games in 2012. Lattimore was a DE in college, Packers they tried him at OLB first, he moved to ILB last year and showed promise in the preseason. Both are more athletic then Smith and Bishop.

22

February

Talking Wide Receivers: NFL Draft Possibilities That Fit the Packers

Packers Wide Receivers, NFL Draft

Packers Wide Receivers

With Donald Driver retiring and Greg Jennings putting his house up for sale, the Packers will be kicking the tires on Wide Receivers. The 2013 NFL draft has a talented group of prospects, so if you need one, it’s a good year to go shopping.

The Packers still have one the best WR groups in the NFL, with or without Jennings and Driver. Jennings leaving will make a hole in the group, but not as large are some think. Jennings has missed half of the regular season games with injuries the last two years. Driver was used very little this last year, where his smile and leadership will be missed, his production will not be.

Jones had his best year, lead the NFL in TD’s and reduced his dropped passes significantly. Nelson is still on the rise as a WR. Cobb when he was drafted, I called a steal, and he has shown that to be very true. His play and continued development is a huge plus for the Packers.

After those three, it’s unproven developmental players. Boykin could become a very nice procession type receiver or even more, he has good size at 6-2 and 217#. His testing numbers are almost identical to James Jones coming into the draft, not fast 4.57 40 time, Jones 4.58. Both have good quickness showed in there ten yard times and good agility. Boykin does have great hands and a excellent coach so I give him a 4th round type grade going into this next season.

Jeremy Ross is the other interesting WR to develop. He showed his ability with the ball in his hands returning punts and kick offs. Good size at 6-0 215#, 4.44 speed and a very nice 1.50 ten yard time.

I give extra credit to development players already on the team. The NFL training, coaching with the added experience of being a Pro gives these players a step up over most rookies. Regardless of those players the Packers are going to have to look at drafting a WR, and making it a priority to sign some UDFA’s for development on the practice squad. Wide Receiver might have the deepest talent in the 2013 draft, intriguing prospects can be found through the 4th round and even beyond.

5

February

Packers Running Backs: Present and Future?

DuJuan Harris - Packers Running Back

DuJuan Harris – Packers Running Back

I dig into every article I can find about the Packers and the draft, including here at Al’s site.  There is a wide range of opinions on the subject of Packers running backs.  Lets look at my views on running backs,  those with the team, and in the draft.

The Packers currently have six running backs and one full back listed on their roster.  Those include running backs Cedric Benson, Alex Green, James Starks, Brandon Saine, Dujuan Harris, Ryan Grant and John Kuhn at full back.  Grant filled a spot caused by injuries, showed he can still do a little, but like last year, just say thank you and good luck.   The question on Benson would be is he even worth bringing back?  He did ok at best. He is a talented back with mileage and age, he just turned 30 and is coming back from a foot injury that required surgery.   I don’t see any compelling reason to bring him back other then competition.

Harris looks like a very good 3rd down back that can fill in nicely when needed to start, but not a “featured back”.  He does it all pretty well.  Has a decent jump cut, might need to be a bit more patient looking for cut back lanes.  He needs to be brought back and coached up over the off season.  Starks has shown he can be productive as a runner, is a good receiver out of the back field, but needs to work on blitz pickup.  How much time do you put into a talented 6th round RB that can’t stay healthy?  I think he should be brought back, but with any additional injuries he would get a quick hook from me.

Saine, another UDFA like Harris, has good straight line speed, is a decent receiver out of the back field and quite good in blitz pickup.  His ability in Pass Protection might have been his best asset. Not a great fit for the Packers running game.  He lacks lateral agility, but has quickness and speed.

28

January

Talking Packers Linebackers: Present and Future?

Packers linebackersLet’s talk Linebackers, inside and outside. These positions in the 3-4 are what can make it a dominating defense or just another also ran. The roles of the ILB and OLB really quite different then any other scheme. The OLB’s are more like a right side DE in the 4-3 then the OLB in the 4-3. Playing both on the line and off, playing more of the 7 and or 9 spots along the defensive front. Both need to rush the passer and in the 3-4 coverage is a big part of the OLB’s duties.

Linebackers get a lot of discussion when it comes to the Packers. At the start of the season many comments were that the Packers were in good shape with there ILB’s. The comments on Hawk were from the biggest bust ever to a steady but not flashy starter, Bishop was gone and Smith would fill in just fine.

At OLB Perry needed to develop quickly for the OLB’s to be better then in 2011. Walden was liked by some and not liked so much by others. Moses got a lot of pre season hype, anyone else was a big question mark.

I have a some what radical view on the Packers linebackers, I am not a fan of Walden at all, he has some good games against weaker opponents but lacks so much at a starter he needs to be replaced. He cannot hold point against the run, he is a one trick pony in pass rush, if he can’t get around a OT he is done. He has no bull rush ability, and lacks inside moves or twists.

Moses to me is Walden in the different package. The only thing with Moses is we don’t know how much he can be developed, what will NFL level strength training and coaching do for him, so I put him as Walden’s replacement as a back up and situational player. Zombo has packed his bags and should not see them come back to Green Bay and I am a Zombo fan, I thought he just might develop nicely, but injuries put and end to that.