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

April

Meat and Potatoes of the NFL Draft: Middle Round Prospects to Keep an Eye On

NFL Draft Logo Image

2012 NFL Draft

In last week’s Bridesmaids piece we went over how the cream of the draft is talked about way too much and we peeked just a bit into the crust of the matter with the late rounder’s and UDFA’s.

Today, lets look at the meat and potatoes of the draft, those 3rd though 6th rounder’s.  This is where teams are built; you just have to look at Packer players like Sitton, Lang, Jones, Bishop, Starks and more to see what these players do for a team.

Some of these prospects come out and play right away and even start. But most take a little time to become full time starters.  These players show how good a coaching staff really is.  The best coaching staffs see what these players can do and put them in a position to make plays, all the while teaching them the finer points of the team’s systems and techniques. When a player has to earn his playing time and/or fight to keep it, you get the best out of them.

In this area of the draft system, compatibility and the value from that has more to do with where a player is picked in these rounds then anything else.  One GM’s trash is another GM’s treasure.

I am going to list some players at the positions that Ted Thompson has to draft someone, according to most opinions. The best thing about all this is Ted Thompson has six picks from #90 through #197.  And if his other drafts are any indicator, that could end up being even more picks.

With the signing of Jeff Saturday, this is the area I expect to see the Packers draft a Center.  These Center prospects are ranked in the 100’s overall.

Michael Brewster 6-4 312 lbs. OhioState.  A bigger center with some length. Strong, moves well.  5.25 40, 29 reps at 225#, 4.60 short shuttle and 7.73 3cone drill.

Well coached, played in more of a pro style offense. Just a good football player.

The next player Philip Blake from Baylor is 6-3 311 lbs., 5.25 40 time, 22 reps at 225#, 4.65 short shuttle and 7.86 3 cone drill.

Blake brings a bit of nasty to the position.  Good in pass protection and brings that nasty to the run game.  Started at RT before moving to Center.

15

April

Bridesmaids of the NFL Draft: Late Round or UDFA Prospects to Keep an Eye On

NFL Draft Logo ImageFrom the end of the NFL season and through the draft we see the big name prospects dominating coverage.  Getting those top picks right or wrong impact teams for years.

Everyone wants the next Clay Matthews or the next Aaron Rodgers. Fans want to see that kind of player fall into place.

To be honest, by the time the draft comes around I have had enough of   those players.

You can only guess so many times where those top 20 or so players are going to go and it just gets boring.  So I am going to peek at the bottom of the draft instead.

When you review the rosters top to bottom in the NFL, starters, backups, practice squads there are hundreds of undrafted players. Last year 61 new undrafted players made NFL rosters.

Every year teams sign ten to fifteen UDFA’s in feeding frenzy that takes place the minute the draft ends to try get the best of the rest.

The Packers at this time have twenty seven UDFA’s on their roster, with eight of them starting games last year.

I admit I’m a big fan of the late round pick and UDFA’s.  If you are lucky enough to get to a practice, Packer family night or a pre season game it might be the only time you get to see some these players.

Some you see are not going to make it at all. Others you see how bad they want it. And some you wonder why that player was not drafted.

You don’t know who that next Donald Driver or Tramon Williams is going to be. Ted Thompson has four picks in the 7th round this year. That gives him a leg up on signing the best of the late rounder’s and UDFA’s.

For all the draft prospects I look for there are a few simple rules that I go by.  I like seniors more then prospects coming out early. I like prospects with a minimum of 2 years starting experience and stats that show continued improvement in production. And last do they have the god given physical talents to compete at the NFL level.

Taking into account the defensive performance this last year…

I’ll start with a few prospects for the defensive side of the ball: