Category Archives: 2011 NFL Combine

3

May

On Ted Thompson: Someone Needs to Write the Green Bay Packers Version of Moneyball

Of all sports, baseball and golf seem to generate the best books. I’m not sure why this is, but I have a couple of theories. In baseball, reporters have more access to players and coaches than they do in any other sport. This helps would-be authors build relationships and uncover tidbits and anecdotes to craft a well-executed long-form narrative.

Golf offers a few pressure-packed moments during majors that turn regular guys into mythical figures that talented writers turn into books about life lessons and the deeper meaning of hitting a small white ball into a cup. Either that or talented writers get so bored watching golf that they write a book to keep themselves interested.

Football has some interesting books, but not nearly as many as baseball or golf. Access to players and management is also severely restricted in football when compared to other sports. This unfortunate fact makes it extremely unlikely that my dream project will ever see the light of day: A behind-the-scenes peak at Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers modeled after Michael Lewis’s Moneyball.

Moneyball examined how Billy Beane and the small-market Oakland A’s used innovative scouting and player evaluation methods to overcome a shoestring budget and remain competitive with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox. Many people think Moneyball is about statistical analysis, but it really isn’t. It’s about innovation in the stubborn world of baseball. It’s also about Beane’s mindset as he tries to remain one step ahead of fellow GMs that have more resources and bigger budgets.

That’s the kind of book I want to read about Thompson.

I know Thompson is shy, builds through the draft and avoids free agency, but I want to know more. Does he utilize any sort of quantitative analysis like you find on Football Outsiders? What, specifically, is he looking for when evaluating little-known rookie free agents or castoffs from other teams? What sort of demands does he put on his scouts? How does he define value?

What does he do when he gets angry? What is a conversation like between Thompson and another GM? Why does he think many of his draft picks on defense are prone to injuries? How often does he alter his overall roster plan? Is he just as shy and awkward dealing with players as he is with the media?

2

May

The Complete Green Bay Packers NFL Draft Class of 2011

Round 1 (32): Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State (@dsherrod78)

Sherrod measured 6’5” 321 lbs with a 35 3/8 inch wingspan and at the combine and posted a 5.18 second 40-yard dash, 23 bench presses, 28 inch vertical jump, 97 inch broad jump, 7.43 second 3-cone drill and 4.63 second 20-yard shuttle. Sherrod is one of the most decorated college football players in the nation both on and off the field; he was named to seven All-American teams this year as well as winning the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Award, which is given to the top 16 players in the nation for their academic and leadership ability.  Sherrod graduated in August of 2010 with a 3.54 grade point average in business.

Round 2 (64): Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky (@rcobb18)

Cobb measures in at 5-11, 196 pounds with 31″ arms. He posted a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, 16 bench-presses, 33.5″ vertical leap, 115″ broad jump, 7.08-second 3 cone drill, 4.34-second 20-yard shuttle and 11.56-second 60-yard shuttle.  Over his three years in college, Cobb racked up 5,000 all-purpose yards, including 1,661 receiving and 1,313 rushing. In his final year, Cobb posted 84 catches for 1,017 yards and was selected as a First Team All-American for his efforts.

Round 3 (96): Alex Green, RB, Hawaii
Green measures in at 6-0, 225 pounds with 32″ arms. Green posted a 4.53-second 40-yard dash, 20 bench-presses, 34″ vertical leap, 114″ broad jump, 6.91-second 3 cone drill and 4.15-second 20-yard shuttle. Playing in Hawaii’s pass-happy offense, Green was able to rush for 1,199 yards on 146 carries (8.2 ypc) and 18 touchdowns his senior season. He also caught 27 passes for 363 yards and another touchdown. Green was named Second Team All-WAC in 2010.

Round 4 (131): Davon House, CB, New Mexico State (@davonhouse4)

House measures in at 6-1, 200 pounds.  At the NFL Combine, he posted a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, 14 bench-presses, 4.12-second 20-yard shuttle and a 33.5″ vertical leap. House played 12 games as a true freshman and continued to improve throughout his entire college career. He intercepted 11 passes in four years and returned three for touchdowns. He also demonstrated an ability to stop the run, racking up 202 solo tackles.

Round 5 (141): D. J. Williams, TE, Arkansas (@dj45williams)

1

May

Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Draft — Seventh Round, No. 233: DE Lawrence Guy

With the 233rd pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Arizona State DE Lawrence Guy

He measures in at 6-4, 305 pounds.  At the NFL Combine, he posted a 4.96-second 40-yard dash, 28 bench-presses, 4.43-second 20-yard shuttle and a 29″ vertical leap.

College history

Highly recruited out of High School, Guy turned down offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska and other big-time programs to play for the Sun Devils. Guy has played every position on the defensive line for the Sun Devils, but mostly played tackle in a 4-3 defense.  Guy was a three-year starter and is leaving ASU with one year of eligibility left.

In 12 games in 2010, Guy ended the year with 41 tackles (14 solo), six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a pair of pass break-ups..

Commentary

Here’s what I wrote about Guy in the CheeseheadTV Draft Guide:  ”Guy could be this year’s Mike Neal – an under-the-radar player with below average stats but a ton of potential. Where Neal’s best asset was his strength, Guy’s is the athleticism he displays for a man his size. He shows an explosive first step and never stops coming. Perfect body type for a five-technique end but needs to hit the weight room. The Packers make him Neal’s workout buddy – that should do it.”

I had him pegged as a fourth round pick, and so did most draft boards. He thus draws comparison to C. J. Wilson, another DL who was expected to go much higher than where the Packers drafted him. I was excited about the Wilson pick at the time (called it a steal) and I feel almost as good about this Lawrence Guy pick.

Guy has had to overcome dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. After a shaky start in college, Guy has worked hard to better himself in the classroom and as a person in addition to his play on the football field.

The official scouting report on Guy states, “Known primarily for his pass rushing skills, his size, strength and athletic ability make him a prime candidate to move to the ‘five technique’ defensive end position in a 3-4 alignment at the next level.” Then, from NFLDraftScout.com, “Guy’s statistics are solid (122 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 35 games), but not spectacular, leading to some discounting his talents. Don’t be surprised when this Sun Devil defensive tackle proves to be anything but just another ‘Guy’” and hears his name called among the top 100 selections.”

30

April

Green Bay Packers 2011 Draft — Fifth Round: D.J. Williams

With the 141st pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Arkansas tight end D. J. Williams.

Williams measures in at 6-2, 245 pounds. He posted a 4.59-second 40-yard dash, 20 bench-presses, 4.51-second 20-yard shuttle and a 33.5″ vertical leap.

Before reading this preview on D.J. Williams, the Packers fifth-round pick, watch this E60 story about Williams’ journey to the NFL. It’s amazing and will have you cheering for Williams even if he never plays a down for the Packers.

Are you back? Ok good. Dry your eyes and continue reading about Williams on the football field. He looks like a good

D.J. Williams is a high-character guy that should get a chance to compete at TE and FB.

one.

College Highlights
Williams set an Arkansas tight-end single-season record with 61 catches as a sophomore. He only caught 32 passes the following season because he says he focused on refining his blocking skills. Everything came together his senior season when he caught 54 passes, blocked well and was named the John Mackey award winner as the nation’s top tight end.

Analysis
Williams is undersized but has continued to persevere both in life and on the football field. When he needed to overcome a bad family situation, he did it. When he needed to become a better blocker, he did it. When he needed to put it all together his senior season, he did it.

Some analysts think Williams might end up playing fullback in the NFL. Given the Packers infatuation with stockpiling multiple fullbacks and tight ends, seeing Williams line up in front of James Starks or Ryan Grant wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Perhaps Williams could free up Tom Crabtree to focus exclusively on being a tight end instead of occasionally lining up in the backfield. Or maybe both Williams and Crabtree will take snaps at tight end and fullback. Either scenario will be interesting to watch play out.

Many analysts also rave about Williams’ hands. Doug Farrar from Football Outsiders tweeted that Williams has some of the best hands in the draft. With Jermichael Finley set to become a free agent after this season and the Packers lapses in short-yardage situations, Williams should have an opportunity to establish a role in his rookie season.

30

April

Green Bay Packers 2011 Draft — Fourth Round, No.131: CB Davon House

Davon House went to the Packers in round four.

With the 131rd pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected New Mexico State CB Davon House

House measures in at 6-1, 200 pounds.  At the NFL Combine, he posted a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, 14 bench-presses, 4.12-second 20-yard shuttle and a 33.5″ vertical leap.

After trading the first of their two fourth-round picks to Denver, the Green Bay Packers selected New Mexico State cornerback Davon House with the compensatory picked received after DE Aaron Kampman’s free-agent departure.

House is a 6-foot, 184-pound press-coverage corner with the size and speed necessary to handle bigger outside receivers.

College History
House played 12 games as a true freshman and continued to improve throughout his entire college career. He intercepted 11 passes in four years and returned three for touchdowns. He also demonstrated an ability to stop the run, racking up 202 solo tackles.

Commentary
With Charles Woodson getting older and Tramon Williams and Sam Shields coming off seasons where each played out of their minds, the Packers needed to add some depth at CB. It would be great if Woodson, Williams and Shields all repeated what they did in 2010, but just in case they don’t, House is there to help.

Most analysts peg House as a press coverage corner that shines on the outside. Speaking shortly after House was drafted, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said that House is not a one-dimensional player. Capers praised House’s versatility and indicated that he would be used throughout the field.

Overall, House seems to be an ideal fit with the other Packers defensive backs. He’s big, he’s good against the run and the pass, and he doesn’t get beat deep. Many reports say that House is reactionary and doesn’t anticipate routes well, but if you give him a year or two in Capers’ scheme, perhaps that will improve.

Video

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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30

April

Packers Defensive Possibilities in Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2011 NFL Draft

Here are six potential defensive targets for the Green Bay Packers in rounds four and five of today’s NFL Draft:

Lawrence Guy, DE, Arizona State, 6′ 5″, 300lbs.
All-Pacific 10 Conference honorable mention…Quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy (top collegiate defender)… Member of the Outland Trophy Watch List (top collegiate lineman)…Started all 12 games and ranked eighth on the team with 41 tackles (14 solos), including 1.5 sacks for minus six yards and six stops for losses totaling 14 yards…Key piece in a front wall that led the Pac-10 and placed 16th nationally, allowing just 119.67 yards per game on the ground…Made 39 plays vs. the ground game, holding ball carriers to just 58 yards (1.49 ypc), as the defender limited those runners to five first downs while producing nine third-down stops and another on fourth-down…Delivered six of those tackles inside the red zone, including four on goal-line plays, as he posted 10 total stops (assists/solos) for loss and six tackles that brought down ball carriers at the line of scrimmage no gain…Made two stops vs. the aerial attack, holding receivers to just six yards on those receptions (3.0 ypc), as he deflected two passes, including one on a fourth-down attempt

Cedric Thornton, DE, So. Arkansas, 6’3″, 301lbs
All-American and All-Gulf South Conference first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report…Listed as the most underrated defensive tackle prospect eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft and the top defensive player in the NCAA Division II ranks, according to that scouting information service…Added more than 30 pounds of muscle to his frame since the end of the 2009 campaign…Ranked third on the team with 54 tackles (28 solos) that included 1.5 sacks for minus 7 yards and thirteen quarterback pressures…Tied for 11th in the Division II ranks with 14.0 stops for losses totaling 195 yards…Made 54 plays vs. the ground game, limiting those runners to 36 yards (0.67 ypc), as he registered 16 total stops for loss (solos/assists), took down ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain nine times, posted 12 of his hits inside the red zone, including six on goal-line plays and made six third-down tackles, with one more on a fourth-down snap vs. opposing rushers…Against the pass, none of the 15 passes targeted into his area were completed, as he delivered seven thirddown stops…Two of his 13 pressures caused interceptions, as one pass theft was returned for a touchdown and another set up a Muleriders’ field goal.

28

April

Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Draft – 1st Round, Pick 32: Derek Sherrod

With their 1st pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select offensive tackle Derek Sherrod  from the Mississippi State University.

Sherrod measured 6’5” 321 lbs with a 35 3/8 inch wingspan and at the combine and posted a 5.18 second 40-yard dash, 23 bench presses, 28 inch vertical jump, 97 inch broad jump, 7.43 second 3-cone drill and 4.63 second 20-yard shuttle.

 

College history: Derek Sherrod is one of the most decorated college football players in the nation both on and off the field; he was named to seven All-American teams this year as well as winning the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Award, which is given to the top 16 players in the nation for their academic and leadership ability.  Sherrod graduated in August of 2010 with a 3.54 grade point average in business.

On the football field he played in 47 games and started 36 of them at left offensive tackle, racking up 319 knockdown blocks (8.86 per game, highest of any draft eligible offensive linemen in this years draft), and graded out at 92.8% in blocking efficiency.  Sherrod is more of a pass blocker than a run blocker, just like the Packers like them.  He’s also seen as more of a technician than an athletic specimen, which again is just like the Packers like them (see Bryan Bulaga)

Commentary: The Packers waited until they had 30 second left before turning in their pick; this probably meant that the Packers were fielding trade options until the last minute (as is Ted Thompsons MO), but apparently the value wasn’t there for the Packers so they selected their best player available, which was Sherrod.  Sherrod is likely to be the future tackle once Chad Clifton decides to hang it up or as Bryan Bulaga’s replacement once he switches over to the left when Chad Clifton finally decides to hang it up.  Who will be where?  In actuality, it doesn’t really matter.  The Packers have stated that they prefer to have two “left tackles” at bookend; with defenses commonly shifting personnel to get the best match ups, the best pass rusher is no longer over the blind slide, the best rusher is now over the weakest player.

Video:

On Packers.com

 

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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