I, like many, didn’t initially like the 12th overall selection of Rashan Gary (DE-Michigan), ‘nor was he really on my radar. Gary possesses many of the traits of a “Bust.” A ton of potential that never really showed, especially on a consistent manner, in college, and an injury that can easily be nagging (see Kevin King). However, if he ends up becoming the player his potential shows, it’ll obviously be a good pick. Where I still struggle, is that every player in the draft, let alone the 1st round, has a ton of potential…and picking the “safer” player (Christian Wilkins, DL-Clemson) may have been the play.
After Gary, the Packers continued to address the defense, which I’m always a fan—Darnell Savage seemed to be the target of Indianapolis and Baltimore as each traded back after Green Bay moved back up to select the Maryland safety. Savage seems like the type of player that is a cover safety. He can play in the box and tackle, while at the same time possesses that athleticism to cover the slot or potentially a tight end. This should give Defensive Coordinator, Mike Pettine, plenty of versatility to disguise his coverages and blitz packages for years to come.
The rest of the draft covered eventual needs: Guard/Tackle; Tight End; Defensive Line; Cornerback; Halfback; Inside Linebacker. Again, to reiterate, it’s not realistic to expect rookies to make an immediate impact, however some may make some sort of impact in certain areas. Say, for instance, Ka’Dar Hollman (CB-Toledo) and Ty Summers (LB-TCU) will likely get a major opportunity to contribute on special teams, while Dexter Williams (HB-Notre Dame) will be called upon for reps at running back due to eventual injuries throughout the season. Kinglsey Keke (DL-Texas A&M) will hopefully find himself in a rotation of the defensive line. Keep in mind, the teams that have great defenses (top 7), a common trait of Super Bowl winners, have a deep rotation along the defensive front (ala Packers in 2010), and hopefully Keke can provide more depth voided so far by Montravius Adams (2017 3rd round pick from Auburn) and a few others. If he can join Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry, and Tyler Lancaster, that will only help the pass rush, linebackers, and secondary.
Plenty to keep an eye on, however for football junkies, the rookie class is always front and center of attention of the fan base in training camps—with true Draft & Develop teams (still the best strategy to build a longevity of quality), your eyes should focus on those guys from the 2017 and 2018 draft classes for steps of improvement.
Kevin King #20 CB
Josh Jones #27 S (apparently wants out)
Montravius Adams #90 DL
Jamaal Williams #30 HB
Aaron Jones #33 HB
Jaire Alexander #23 CB
Josh Jackson #37 CB/S
Oren Burks #42 ILB
J’Mon Moore #82 WR
Cole Madison #61 G
Marquez Valdes-Scantling #83 WR
Equanimeous St. Brown #19 WR
James Looney #99 DL
Kendall Donnerson #53 LB
These are the players still on the roster that have been drafted by the Packers, as of 8a CST Wednesday May 8, 2019. As we approach training camp in summer, these names should become more apparent and the expectations they should play major roles and contribute will rise.
The ones really to keep an eye on are Josh Jackson (#37), he had high football IQ coming out and was a ball hawk, he needs to step up in a major way. J’Mon Moore (#82) was the 1st of three WRs drafted by the Packers last year, but had the least amount of snaps during the season for one reason or another. He’s been active on social media posting his training videos and there’s no doubt he possesses the most talent of the 3, but again, means nothing without production. Cole Madison (#61), never attended minicamp last season due to a personal matter, but there were expectations he could even potentially take a starting role at Right Guard as a rookie. We’ll see what kind of shape he’s in and how good he can be after missing football for an entire season, but if he can fill the void along the OL, that would be a major boost to the depth of this team at one of the most important areas.