26

April

Packers 2013 NFL Draft: Day 1 Grade and Analysis

Packers DE Datone Jones

Packers DE Datone Jones

The first 32 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft are in the books, and the Packers struck gold (and baby blue?) by grabbing UCLA defensive end Datone Jones at No. 26.

Jones was a popular pick among mock drafts, and he was my selection for the Packers in my final mock draft released Thursday. At 6’4″ 283 pounds, Jones has the frame to add another 10-15 pounds and be a difference-maker on the defensive line early in his career.

But when the Packers were on the clock, Jones wasn’t necessarily a no-brainer. A number of players at positions of need were on the board, including defensive linemen Jesse Williams and Sylvester Williams, safeties Jonathan Cyprien and Matt Elam, and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

The team’s two biggest needs are/were at safety and on the defensive line. So rather than go with a luxury pick like Patterson, the Packers opted to go with the more glaring need by taking Jones.

A year ago, the Packers addressed the defensive line by taking Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy in the second round and Iowa’s Mike Daniels in the fourth. Worthy suffered a torn ACL late in 2012 and may miss a large chuck, or perhaps all, of the 2013 season. And with Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson set to hit free agency after this season, the selection of Jones gives the team some flexibility along the line.

What they’re saying:

“Because Green Bay plays a 3-4 defense, this kid is an ideal fit. I love this kid’s upside. He fits the scheme. He’s the only one I saw who beat Eric Fisher all week long in one-on-one.” – Mike Mayock (via NFL.com)

“Datone is a very versatile player, played all up and down the line of scrimmage at UCLA. Really flourished in Coach Mora’s new system out there. We think he adds a lot of versatility to our group, should be able to fit in and help our group out.” – Ted Thompson (via PackersNews.com)

“I hate losing and I’m happy to come to an organization like Green Bay, with a winning tradition,” Jones said. “To be able to play at Lambeau Field is crazy. I’m so hyped up right now already. I just want to play.” – Datone Jones (via JSOnline)

7

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Cornellius Carradine, DE Florida State

Cornellius Carradine

Cornellius “Tank” Carradine

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: DE Cornellius Carradine

Player Information:

Cornellius Carradine, DE Florida State
6-4, 276 pounds
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

STATS: College stats

NFL Combine:

Bench press: 28 reps

News and Notes:

Tore his ACL in late November, which makes his draft outlook murky. Projected as a potential top 10 pick before the injury, maybe even top 5. … Signed with Illinois out of high school, but transfered to Butler Community College due to academic issues. … Registered 26 sacks in two seasons to become the top JUCO propect in the country. … Signed with Florida State in 2011 and had 38 tackles and 5.5 sacks despite not starting his junior year. … Started 12 games as a senior, toaling 80 tackles and 11 sacks. … Tore his ACL in the regular season finale against Florida and missed most of the pre-draft process.

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • National Football Post.com: “He uses his hands extremely well to slap the pass blocker’s hands down to stay free and can beat him inside or around the corner. Outstanding technique taking on run blocker at the POA, Carradine jolts blocker upright, holds ground, sheds and makes tackle consistently on runs at him. When left unblocked on the backside he does an excellent job of maintaining backside contain and making sure the play is going away before crashing down the LOS. When offenses try to “reach block” him on the backside he gets inside blocker consistently, keeps blocker on back and has elite speed chasing down the play in pursuit. On the handful of snaps that Carradine dropped off the ball into coverage he looked surprisingly smooth and fluid moving out in space and seemed to have a good sense and awareness.”
  • CollegeSportsMadness.com: ”Carradine is still most likely not considered a first-rounder at this point, but he could turn out to be a great find after Day One.  He is 6’5” and 265 lbs.  He has ample size, and he has proven he has the ability to chase down runners.  The question is his consistency (he really has only had one solid year in 2012).”

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • Not as quick off the ball as I thought he’d be. But he doesn’t get swallowed up by bigger offensive linemen. He’s explosive later in plays because he never really gets completely wiped out.
9

April

According to Hobbes: Packers Offseason Primer on the NFL Combine: Defensive Ends (Defensive Linemen)

Defensive Ends (Defensive Linemen): Here’s the seventh of a series of articles and first for the defense, looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. (Read here for the rationale for this serieshere for quarterbackshere for running backs, here for wide receivershere for tight ends here for offensive tackles and here for offensive interior linemen).  This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what defensive ends are likely to fit into the Packers’ scheme.

Again, this is merely an attempt to make a best guess based on statistics at which players the Packers might be interested in, game tape naturally trumps combine numbers, so take all of this with a grain of salt.  But I believe it will make for some interesting discussion.  Also listed below are also two defensive ends in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.

Statistics of offensive interior linemen drafted by the Packers:

Name Height Weight 40-Yard 3-Cone Shuttle Vertical Broad Bench
Mike Montgomery 6’5” 276.00 5.05 7.39 4.33 34.50 115.00 19.00
Johnny Jolly 6’3” 310.00 5.41
Justin Harrell 6’5” 300.00 5.04 7.63 4.79 30.50 108.00 24.00
Jarius Wynn 6’5” 273.00 4.94 19.00
Mike Neal 6’2” 294.00 4.95 7.53 4.53 33.00 113.00 31.00
C.J. Wilson 6’4” 271.00 4.93 4.77 33.00 116.00 32.00
Average 6’4”
287.33
5.05 7.52 4.61 32.75 113.00 25.00
StDev 1.26
16.24
0.18 0.12 0.22 1.66 3.56 6.28

 

What the Packers are looking for: Obviously one of the biggest differences between the offense and the defense in regards to drafting is the switch to the 3-4 defense under Dom Capers in 2009.  As a result some players were slotted into other positions, such as Aaron Kampman moving from defensive end to outside linebacker.  Ideally this article would only analyze players drafted from the 2009 season and beyond, but unfortunately there haven’t been enough drafts and picks to make a good analysis.

8

April

Packers Prospect Profile — DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State University

1) Profile:

Cameron Heyward

College: Ohio State

Position: DE (3-4), DE (4-3), DT (4-3)

Height: 6′5″   Weight: 295 lbs.

Born: May 6, 1989 From: Suwanee, GA

2) High School / College Highlights: In Heyward’s senior year of high school, he totaled over 100 tackles and 16 sacks. For his efforts, he was voted Georgia Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year.

Scout.com rated Heyward as their No. 20 defensive end and 15th best prospect in Georgia, and he was ranked No. 13 and 7th in those same categories on Rivals.com. Heyward was also a good high school basketball player and graduated with a 3.25 GPA.

Once at Ohio State, Heyward got right to work. He started eight games his freshman season and had 2.5 sacks, earning him freshman All-American and freshman All-Big Ten honors. He continued to start his sophomore year, but Heyward’s production leveled out. In 13 starts, he accumulated just 36 tackles and 3 sacks.

However, Heyward put his name on the draft map with a solid 2009 season. In 13 starts for the Rose Bowl Champions, Heyward had 6.5 sacks and 10 tackles for losses. He was a Lombardi Award nominee—given to the nation’s best defensive lineman or linebacker—and was voted Second Team All-Big Ten.

Heyward had the option to put his name in the 2010 NFL draft, but he came back to Ohio State for his much-anticipated senior season. Many pegged Heyward as a top-10 pick before the season, but his production in 2010 didn’t match the hype. Heyward tallied just four sacks and 13 tackles for losses, but he did look like a dominant player in the Sugar Bowl against Ryan Mallett and Arkansas. He was voted First Team All-Big Ten.

3) College Stats: 51 games/46 starts, 162 tackles, 15 sacks, 37.5 tackles for losses, 4 forced fumbles, 1 interception

4) NFL Combine Results: 30-inch vertical jump (did not partake in any other workout at Combine). Pro Day: 4.95 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical.

5) Strengths/Weaknesses: While not your classic speed rusher at defensive end, Heyward is an agile and explosive player for a man his size (6’5″, 295 pounds). His main strength, however, is rushing the passer with power. He’s strong in the upper body, and uses his hands well to disengaged blockers. This kind of power also makes Heyward a disruptive force against the run.