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.

30

April

Breaking Down the Green Bay Packers 2010 NFL Draft Picks

If you’re looking for a straight-to-the-point, no-nonsense breakdown of each Green Bay Packer draft choice, I have just the article for you. Written by guest author Pigskin Paul, this synopsis will give you the key points you need to know about each new player. Enjoy!

ROUND 1    PICK 23    BRYAN BULAGA/OT/IOWA/6’5/315                   PPP RANK #11

So did the PACK get the steal of the DRAFT when BULAGA fell to them at PICK 23? Probably not. Did they get great value at the Pick? Sure did. Is he the next FORREST GREGG in Green Bay? No, he’s more likely to be the next CHAD CLIFTON. And that’s something they have been trying to find and Draft for the past 5 years. He has more technique and athleticism than BARBRE. He is more ready to step in and produce than BRENO.

A big part of the job for Personnel People is to find good replacements for aging,  quality players. BULAGA will play LT, and do so very well, for a decade in Green Bay. He certainly has as much talent (if not more) than CLIFTON, who has been good enough to fashion a ten year NFL career, and even get to the Pro Bowl. He does not have as much athleticism, or upside as BRUCE CAMPBELL, the COMBINE Wonder Boy, but he is much more of a sure thing to play, and play well, soon. Great value at the Pick!

ROUND 2   PICK 56    MIKE NEAL/DE/PURDUE/6’3/295                        PPP RANK #128

NEAL may be the guy to make, or break the PACKERS 2010 DRAFT. He was a solid college player, on a mediocre defensive team at PURDUE. He is a cut, physical specimen who is weight room strong, but with a maxed-out frame. It will be the task of the PACKERS strength and conditioning staff to increase his stamina, and translate more of that pure strength into functional, football strength.

After the PICK I pulled out tape of both the SHRINE and SENIOR BOWL games to watch NEAL. The Coaches must have liked his work because he played as many, or more, snaps than any other DL in both games. He is incredibly quick off the ball, and it doesn’t look like he is guessing all the time. His biggest weakness was getting overwhelmed and buried when double-team blocked on the inside. I think the PACKERS Scouting Staff projected his talent outside to the 5-technique and they believe they have a potential starting player. I like the fact that he stays on his feet, and will pursue the ball down field. He also seems to have a good feel for where the play is going. I had him ranked as a Round 4 Prospect as a 4-3 scheme, 3-technique DT, but I can see more value from him in the move outside.

3

May

New Green Bay Packer Clay Matthews: Is He Worth It?

Now that draft euphoria was worn off, let’s meet the Packers’ second first-round pick:

Clay Matthews III didn’t start as a 166-pound linebacker his Junior year in High School, even with his father as his coach. Nor did he start a college football game until the fourth game of his senior season. He played as a stand-up DE, not a linebacker, when he finally became a starter.

Clay Matthews III was not even rated by NFL scouting services coming into his senior season. He also started a “White Nation” Facebook group as a Junior in College as a joke.

Are you worried yet?

Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers traded a second-round and two third-round draft picks for the opportunity to select Clay Matthews. Giving up all of that for a player with only 10 starts in college and taking him in the first round? Does this not go against all logic?

Logic would dictate that Packer fans should be (as always) calling for Ted Thompson’s head. Just what exactly was this pick based on? If you look at it closely, it’s really based on three things:

G.A.P.—Genetics, Attitude, and Potential.

Genetics

You can bet that Thanksgiving Day at the Matthews household includes a few footballs being thrown around before dinner.

Clay’s grandfather played DE for the Forty-Niners in the 1950s. His father was an All-American linebacker at USC and played 19 seasons in the NFL. Ans his uncle, Bruce, was an All-American offensive lineman at USC, also played 19 seasons in the NFL and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of fame.

“He’s got some interesting traits that are not unlike his father,” said Ted Thompson, “The Clay who played for Cleveland for a long, long time. He’s got the ability to extend his hands and leverage against offensive linemen and stay on his feet…I just think he brings a lot to the table.”

Obviously, Clay Matthews III has great bloodlines. If football players were bought like racehorses, he would have sold at auction for a lot of money.

But this is the NFL—do bloodlines really mean that much? Probably not, but it certainly can’t hurt, so we have to look at it as a positive.

Attitude

Matthews has been told his whole life that he was too small, too slow and not good enough to be a football player.

25

April

Packers’ Ted Thompson Rocks Green Bay’s World

Did anybody see this coming?

The Green Bay Packers, after seeing B.J. Raji fall into their laps (and turning their backs on Michael Crabtree), pulled a rare move up the draft board.

Ted Thompson traded the Packers’ second-round pick and both their third-round picks for New England’s first rounder (26th overall) and a fifth-round selection.

Sure, if one bases evaluation solely on value points, the Packers were taken, but Ted Thompson got the object of his desire at 26: USC Linebacker Clay Matthews.

Again, I ask, did anyone see this coming?

According to Thompson, for weeks the Packers have been exploring trade possibilities to move up and select Matthews. He thinks Matthews is the best of the three USC linebackers and the perfect fit for Green Bay’s new defensive scheme.

Matthews is fast, athletic, and smart and made tremendous improvements in his game last season. He has come from being a walk-on at USC to having a great year as a starting linebacker for the Trojans. He is considered to have the most upside of the USC linebackers.

With B.J. Raji, the Packers filled a definite need on their defensive line. He is an amazing athlete for a man his size and a disruptor in the middle of the line. Can’t argue with the direction the team took with pick nine.

But what about this trade? Did the Pack pay too much?

On paper, it certainly appears to be the case. New England got a high second-rounder and two third-rounders for for a mere 15-spot fall.

But sometimes you have to overpay to get the guy you really want. I guess TT really wanted him…

——————

Follow Jersey Al:


                    Add to Circleson Google+

Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

——————