Let’s recap the Draft, which for Packer nation seems as if it never happened. We’ll also dive into the elephant in the room…TCA. I’ll explain later.
Overall, the draft went as expected:
- QBs early and often
- Packers drafted someone on no one’s radar
- Packers seemed to have a plan and execute it, again
As for the entire NFL, the draft went according to plan. Trevor Lawrence, the “safest, surest pick” since Peyton Manning (or Andrew Luck…mmm….) went #1 overall to Jacksonville. After that, a bunch of QBs came off the board, but none really jump out at me. Possibly Justin Fields, however if anyone can screw up a QB, it’s the Chicago Bears.
Green Bay stayed put and drafted someone off the radar for pretty much everyone at that point. The scouting reports on Stokes are fairly consistent: he can run and cover. Seems good to me. Apparently, his issue is tackling, but of a cornerback’s responsibilities, the highest that ranks is 3rd. Cover and play-making are top 2. Some scouts claim he can fit both outside and in the slot. Hindsight being 20/20, Joe Barry (the Packers’ new defensive coordinator) has mentioned in today’s NFL, you need a slot corner (last year was Sullivan #39) to play essentially full-time starter snaps. With Stokes’ world-class speed (a blazing 4.25 forty-yard dash) and solid size (6’1” 194 lbs.), he has the chance to overtake Kevin King as the #2 corner and really help transform this Packers Defense into a consistent top-5 contender.
The remaining picks all fit the bill for building a roster to fit LaFleur’s scheme.
- 62nd: Josh Myers, C – Ohio St. Should be expected to takeover the starting C spot from departed Corey Linsley.
- 85th: Amari Rodgers, WR – Clemson. Could fit the slot/returner/Tyler Ervin-type role for the offense, maybe more.
- 142nd: Royce Newman, OL – Ole Miss. Drafting OL after the 1st round is a great way to keep a great OL for years to come, however they typically take 2+ years to fully develop (see Josh Sitton and TJ Lang).
- 173rd: T.J. Slaton, DT – Florida. Tedarrell Slaton is a big man, with quick/athletic feet. The last we saw like this was Montravious Adams, however while these types haven’t worked as of late, if you do find a gem, it really gives a monster boost to your entire defense. Hopefully he’s the one, DL needs depth, badly.
- The only other players I’m aware of, or have heard of are Cole Van Lanen (OL – Wisconsin) and Kylin Hill (HB – Miss. St.): Any time you can draft a highly-rated OL from Wisconsin, do it, especially late. Could turn out to be a Mark Tauscher-type value, if not, it’s a 6th-round pick and that’s worth the risk. Hill is intriguing. He was very productive in college and was rated as a top-10 running back coming into the draft. Some scouting reports state his “ideal role” would be #2 in a committee, and that’s exactly what the Packers have built (Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are extremely solid).
All in all, the Packers have drafted to build a good defense, an offense built on running the ball (OL and solid HBs) and have not reached on positions where reaching will kill you (WR, TE, DL, and LB). General Managers and Head Coaches shouldn’t be graded until at least 3 years (4 for me) into the job, and so far, if I had to grade, they’re easily passing.
Now for the elephant in the room. The Choke Artist, err, Aaron Rodgers. For those still reading, you very likely know my position on the Quarterback. I never have any personal issues with him, mainly my take on him is the perception…most Packer fans believe Aaron Rodgers is the greatest QB ever, because of passer rating and getting creative to find anyone but him as the fault of losing in January.
With the Adam Schefter, and others, releasing reports of tangible evidence Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, that news hi-jacked the entire NFL Draft. While trading him would be a dream come true for me, it is possible the Packers don’t have ALL of the leverage, then again, maybe they do. Let’s cover what’s happened since:
- None of this seemed to influence the Packers’ draft plans.
- It’s a game of optics, and if the Packers win that game, they will win the battle between with the QB. – Considering Aaron cares soooooo much about what people think of him, if the Packers continue to, publicly, show they’re committed to him, Rodgers will come off looking shallow and bitchy.
Nothing needs to happen; however, an ideal scenario would be for Rodgers to play at a high-level again in ’21 so Love can sit for a 2nd year, then deal Rodgers. That would be a win-win-win:
- Rodgers’ value stays high as possible.
- Love sits and learns for a 2nd season (for some reason I like having a QB sit 2 years vs. 1).
- Rodger’s cap hit essentially becomes “manageable.” Instead of having $38.5M in dead cap, it’ll be “just” be $17,204,000.
As of May 23rd, where does that leave the Green Bay Packers? In fairly good shape, overall. In year 3 of the Matt LaFleur era, the Packers are one of the youngest rosters, with a total of top-4 talent. They’ve gone 26-6 in the regular season with a 2-2 postseason record, and that’s while transforming their roster to fit the scheme. Technically they’re improving annually and if they can flip Rodgers for a Herschel Walker-type trade, this could really set them up for a strong run in the next 5-7 years…could.