What Were They Thinking?!?!

The issues and misconceptions around the NFL Draft.

  1. Good teams don’t Draft for Need; Bad teams do
  2. Immediate impact by Rookies?
  3. Greg Cosell on Aaron Rodgers
  4. How does this set up the Packers moving forward?
  5. Rashan Gary project…

First, let’s take a look at the draft picks:

Round Pick Name Position College
1 26 Love, Jordan QB Utah State
2 62 Dillon, A.J. HB Boston College
3 94 Deguara, Josiah TE/FB Cincinnati
5 175 Martin, Kamal LB Minnesota
6 192 Runyan, Jon OL Michigan
6 208 Hanson, Jake C Oregon
6 209 Stepaniak, Simon G Indiana
7 236 Scott, Vernon S Texas Christian
7 242 Garvin, Jonathan DL/Edge Miami (FL)

 

Most, if not all, of Packer Nation is pissed about this draft.  First and foremost for not only taking a QB in the 1st round, but trading UP to do so.  A complete head-scratcher for many.  My initial thought was sheer laughter as I knew 99% of Packer fans would erupt.  Am I sick?  Probably.  Am I an idiot?  Maybe.  Has GM Brian Gutekunst and Head Coach Matt LaFleur shown the competence for me to trust them?  So far.

For me, General Managers get 3-4 years of judgement free time from me.  Like his predecessor, Ted Thompson, Brian Gutekunst inherited a somewhat trouble-some roster, but not in cap hell (Thompson was always great with the cap).  After their last pick on Saturday, April 25th, it was clear the Packers were building a roster to fit LaFleur’s run-heavy scheme.

  1. Love is a big QB with a big arm. He’s also athletic, which always helps, but can drive the ball and get it down field with minimal effort.
  2. Dillon is just a brut. He’s a nightmare to tackle 1-on-1, and if he hits the 2nd level with any momentum, he’s a problem.
  3. Deguara- while unknown, after watching some film he’s extremely athletic for a guy his size/build. Seems to fit the Kyle Juszczyk-type of player that wears #44 on the San Francisco 49ers.  Creates matchup problems for the defense due to his versatility to line up in the back field, slot, or out wide and produce from each location.

I’m only aware of 2 of the other draft picks: Jon Runyan Jr.; Jake Hanson.  Runyan’s father played for 14 seasons, most with Philadelphia and put together a pretty strong career.  The NFL has taught us bloodlines mean something, and drafting his kid from Michigan will, at worst, add depth to a position always in need of depth.  Hanson, I believe was the leader of the Oregon offensive line and did a fine job in the Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin’s tough front 7.  This seems like a safety guard to be the eventual replacement to Corey Linsley, who was a nice rookie in 2014, but never really improved and has been steady.

Now to cover the hot topics…why the Packers drafted the way they did.

  1. Good teams don’t draft for (immediate) need. This statement is said this way for a purpose…good teams continue to pick the best football players available at the time, regardless of position.  Unless they’re deciding between 2 or more players and they’re all considered damn near the same, then side with the one for need, but even then…
    1. Example being, the Packers were gifted Aaron Rodgers in 2005, so they were left with no choice but to trade the pick or take him. Say what you will about how you think I view him, but that was a no-brainer choice, and he did net 1 Super Bowl W, which I don’t believe any other QB from that class has.
  2. Do rookies make an immediate impact? Yes, of course they do.  However, the better question is Do rookies make an immediate impact on Super Bowl-winning teams?  That is the question for almost any team.  Reason being, if your team is close enough to win the Super Bowl, and you’re addressing needs through the draft, odds are:
    • Those needs really aren’t all that dire
    • You’re further away from winning the Super Bowl than you truly think
    • Your team actually isn’t in contention and why the hell are you drafting for need vs. adding the best player available? (Hint: the correct answer is C)
  3. Greg Cosell appeared on the Rich Eisen podcast/radio show the following week after the draft, and lent some really good insight into the reasons Green Bay decided to grab Jordan Love. I’d suggest listening, since apparently everyone has extra time these days.
  4. How does this set up the Packers moving forward? I hinted at this above, but look for the Packers to appear a bit closer to the 2019 San Francisco 49ers or the 2016 Atlanta Falcons.  While highlighted by the big plays, those were run-based offenses that allowed the QB to make easy throws and manipulate defenses rather easily, which means that offense doesn’t really require super star pass catchers, but all 11 on the same page, all the time.
    • Green Bay now has a solid Offensive Line depth (again, after losing TJ Lang) and a very, very solid stable of Halfbacks:
      • #33 Aaron Jones
      • #30 Jamaal Williams
      • #28 A.J. Dillon
      • #22 Dexter Williams
      • #32 Tyler Ervin
  5. Lastly, 12 months after I (and many others) criticized the draft pick of Rashan Gary, let’s look at why…am I a hypocrite for doing so? While I’d understand that argument, here’s why that was far different:
    • Gary was considered to be the 3rd best defender…from his school in that draft alone (behind Devin Bush- ILB and Chase Winovich- Edge Rusher).
    • He never really produced when he should have in college
    • There was another player that not only fit need, but did produce and was the 3rd best defender from his school (Clemson) which was, and is, light years ahead of Michigan…that player is Christian Wilkins
    • Did the Gary pick make sense? Sure, like OL, you really can’t have enough pass rushers.
      • i.e. 2018 to 2019 Baltimore Ravens.
      • i.e. 2019 to 2020 Green Bay Packers.
        1. Each team lost 1-2 edge rusher so not having to address that immediate need will always be relieving.
      • Should the 12th overall pick contribute? Yes, a bit, and he was drafted to do so, even if the Packers got more from the Smith Bros. than expected.
      • Lastly, the Packers were not expected to contend for the Super Bowl, so as long as they took the best player available on their board, I’ll understand.

If you’re still here, I greatly appreciate it, and hopefully if you were upset, mad, frustrated, or in search of why I’m not any of those, you at least have an understanding as to how the brain trust of the Green Bay Packers is operating and why it may be a good thing.

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