Green Bay Packers: Reviewing Their 2012 NFL Draft
The Green Bay Packers went 15-1 in a dominant regular season in 2011, making them big favorites to end up as the champions of Super Bowl XLVI. For the Packers, however, the postseason did not turn out as planned; they ended up suffering defeat in their first playoff game to the New York Giants, who ultimately won the Super Bowl.
That said, the Packers certainly remain among the favorites heading into the 2012 season. In the past two seasons, they have finished one season with a Super Bowl and the next with the best regular-season record.
In order to remain a Super Bowl contender, a strong draft is always an important step. Did the Packers have a draft that should hold up to the typically high quality of their selections? Read through the following slides to find out.
Evaluating the Picks
Round 1, Pick 28: Nick Perry, OLB/DE, USC
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 23
Perry is a raw talent whose productivity never matched his potential at USC. That said, he is a very talented pass-rusher with a tremendous combination of athleticism and size.
Perry has shown the skills to be a terrific pass-rusher; he just needs to do it on a more consistent basis.
Perry has an explosive burst, is strong and has very good pass-rush technique. He has the athletic ability to convert to outside linebacker in the Packers’ 3-4 defense. He needs to develop as a run-defender, but he has high potential.
Round 2, Pick 51: Jerel Worthy, DE/DT, Michigan State
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 16
Worthy is not a natural fit to play in a 3-4 defensive scheme, but his talent was too good for the Packers to pass up in Round 2. He was an inconsistent performer at Michigan State, but he has the potential to be dominant.
Worthy is strong, powerful, explosive and a very skilled run-stopper. He has a questionable motor and work ethic, but he has displayed the ability to be a true impact player on a defensive front.
Worthy is not a great fit to play defensive end, but he is a good interior penetrator who has enough athletic ability to make the transition. He could also play some time at nose tackle, and his best work could come when the Packers use a two-man defensive front in nickel packages.
Round 2, Pick 62: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 58
Hayward was a very productive cornerback at Vanderbilt, coming up with 17 pass defenses in each of his past two seasons. He has very good ball skills and instincts and plays with physicality, which helps make up for not having great speed or size. He also plays well against the run and is a strong tackler.
Round 4, Pick 132 (compensatory selection): Mike Daniels, DE, Iowa
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 193
Daniels played defensive tackle at Iowa, but while he was undersized for that position, he is a very good athlete for his size, which makes him a very good fit to move out to defensive end.
A lack of height is still a concern, but he is quick and disruptive at the line of scrimmage. He is a skilled interior penetrator who has the potential to be very effective in a situational role.
Round 4, Pick 133 (compensatory selection): Jerron McMillian, SS, Maine
Overall Prospect Rank: Not in Top 400
McMillan is a hard-hitting safety who tackles well and is a good athlete. However, he has stiff hips and may struggle in coverage, and he will have to adjust to an increased level of competition from the FCS.
He is best suited to play special teams, but he could excel in that area.
Round 5, Pick 163: Terrell Manning, ILB, NC State
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 134
Manning was a productive linebacker at NC State. He is a solid athlete and consistent tackler and does well with dropping back into coverage. That said, he is undersized, his game does not stand out in any way and he is not a great fit to play in the 3-4 defense.
He should be a solid rotational player who can provide depth at inside linebacker.
Round 7, Pick 241 (compensatory selection): Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 103
Datko has serious injury concerns, having missed the better part of each of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries, which seriously hurt his draft stock. That said, he is a very talented left tackle with the potential to develop into a starter if he can stay healthy.
Were it not for injuries, Datko would have been worth a second-round pick.
Round 7, Pick 243 (compensatory selection): B.J. Coleman, QB, Chattanooga
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 235
Coleman had problems with accuracy and consistency even at the FCS level, but he has good physical tools, including a very good arm.
He has potential as a developmental project quarterback and is a good replacement for Matt Flynn on the depth chart.
Evaluating the Trades
The Packers traded Round 2, Pick 59 and Round 4, Pick 123 from the Philadelphia Eagles from Round 2, Pick 51.
By giving up a fourth-round pick, the Packers were able to move up into position to select Jerel Worthy.
Considering Worthy’s tremendous value as a late second-round selection, this was a trade worth sacrificing a selection for, as chances are good he would not have made it to the No. 59 overall selection.
The Packers traded Round 3, Pick 90 and Round 5, Pick 163 for the New England Patriots for Round 2, Pick 62. The Packers later re-acquired Round 5, Pick 163 from the Patriots for Round 6, Pick 197 and Round 7, Picks 224 and 235. The Packers originally acquired Round 7, Pick 224 from the New York Jets for guard Caleb Schlauderaff.
The Patriots are known for getting the significantly better end of draft day deals, but in this case, the Packers ripped them off. In the end, the Packers moved up nearly an entire round on Day 2 for only three late picks in the final two rounds of the draft.
The Packers got the significantly better deal in this trade.
The Packers got very good value in this draft, both with their selections and with their trading.
The Packers got tremendous value by getting Worthy in the second round, while Perry and Hayward were also good values where they were selected.
The Packers’ most questionable value selections came with their Round 4 compensatory picks. Daniels was not a bad reach, but McMillian should not have been selected above the late rounds. They got very good value in Round 7 with Datko.
The Packers also got tremendous value in their trades with the Patriots, moving up from the late third round to the second round by only giving up three late-round draft picks, which was not a big deal considering they had four compensatory selections in the draft class.
The Packers’ two biggest needs coming into the draft were to upgrade at outside linebacker and at 5-technique defensive end. With their first two selections, the Packers drafted players with big potential at each position in Perry and Worthy.
The Packers added another defensive end in Daniels. They also had a major need at strong safety. They drafted McMillian, but he may not be capable of being the starting safety they need.
Center and running back were other needs that were worth addressing; they did not draft any players at either position, but they were not must-draft areas.
The Packers also needed depth at cornerback and offensive tackle, and got that in Hayward and Datko. They also got a potential second-string quarterback in Coleman, something they need following the free-agent departure of Matt Flynn.
The Packers had a very strong all-around draft. The Packers got good value with most of their selections and added players who can really help them at their positions of greatest need.
Nick Perry can be the dynamic pass-rusher that they needed to start across from Clay Matthews III. While Jerel Worthy is not a great fit for a 3-4 defense, he has high potential and if he has the desire to be a big contributor, he should make a considerable impact on the Packers defense.
The Packers got great value in their trade up to the second round, and they added another quality defensive back in Casey Hayward, who can step in and contribute right away. The Packers also added a potential future starting left tackle in Andrew Datko, who will start out as a backup but could develop into a starter on their offensive line in time.
The Packers’ only considerable reach was Jerron McMillian, and the Packers did a good job of addressing their area of greatest need.
The Packers had another very solid draft that should keep them in the top tier of contenders in the National Football League.