The Green Bay Packers draft class is set and grades are coming in for Ted Thompson's latest talent influx.
While grades for the Packers had a pretty wide range, most of the evaluations were fairly positive. The majority of analysts were impressed with what Thompson was able to pick and the value that he got throughout the draft.
With draft grades, it's important to understand how the analysts are grading the draft picks. Some won't give out anything below a C, while others use a more traditional scale with C being average.
Here is a look at what the experts had to say about the Packers' 2013 draft class.
Mel Kiper was pretty high on the Packers draft class compared to the rest of his grades. He gave out no A's, but did give out three A-'s (Cincinnati Bengals, St. Louis Rams and Baltimore Ravens). The Packers were there in the next grouping.
Kiper gave the Packers a B on filling needs and an A on getting value.
Here are some snippets from what Kiper had to say. The whole report can be found here (ESPN Insider required).
I love what Green Bay got out of this draft, particularly at two spots -- defensive end and running back. Datone Jones is a perfect scheme-fit for the defense.
One sleeper here is Charles Johnson from Grand Valley State. I thought he might come off much earlier than No. 216. Green Bay did well with its early picks, and that's plenty.
Kiper nails it on the Packers draft. He has a great understanding of what the Packers really needed to do in this draft and how they accomplished it. Kiper's grade seems entirely fair on both need and value. Adding Johnathan Franklin and Eddie Lacy in the middle rounds added great value.
The final note about Johnson is interesting. It's unusual for seventh-round picks to have an impact, but it seems that Johnson has the skill set to compete. Granted, it will take a lot of proving it on the field, but the potential is there for Johnson to succeed.
Bleacher Report's National Lead Writer Ty Schalter dished out draft grades for all 32 teams. As a tough grader overall, Schalter gave the Packers a solid B grade. Schalter had 11 teams with grades higher than the Packers.
When it came to the Packers, Schalter had positive things to say. Here are some excerpts:
The Green Bay Packers started the draft off with a very soft bang. That is to say, their pickup of Datone Jones didn't send shock waves through the NFL, but perhaps it should have. Jones is a perfect fit for what the Packers want to do up front.
Adding tailback Eddie Lacy was an inspired choice; plugging the draft's only do-everything back into the Packers' explosive downfield offense could be lethal. If not, fourth-round choice Johnathan Franklin could step up and gash defenses in the space opened up by the passing attack.
Overall, Schalter is very fair to the Packers draft class. This class has the potential to be very good, but some of the pieces remain questionable. Outside of Jones and either running back, the Packers didn't draft immediate impact players. That's worked for the Packers, but it doesn't usually result in high draft grades.
In order to over come the B grade, the Packers draft class needs to answer some questions. Does Datone Jones have the strength and size to play all three downs at defensive end? Can the late-round picks set up and contribute?
Chris Burke is a big fan of what the Packers did during the draft. He awarded three teams (San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars) A grades, while giving out a few A- grades, including the Packers.
Burke's grades can be found here. This is what Burke had to say about the Packers draft:
So…no one else wanted RBs Eddie Lacy or Johnathan Franklin? Well, good luck trying to stop them in Green Bay’s offense. DE Datone Jones also has a perfect look for the Packers’ front. G/T David Bakhtiari gives the Packers another option along the O-line (as does J.C. Tretter), while S Micah Hyde will be in the mix on defense.
For that statement, it seems that Burke's high grade for the Packers has a lot to do with his assessments of Lacy and Franklin. For analysts that had those two players ranked highly, the Packers come away looking real strong.
Burke also seems to think highly of Hyde. The others didn't make big mentions of Hyde's impact on the team. While the Packers listed Hyde as a cornerback, it's unclear yet whether he plays a mixture of the positions. What's certain is that Hyde will have every opportunity to compete on special teams.
Nate Davis was another solid believer in the Packers draft class. But while he did give the Packers an A-, he handed out plenty of those with a number of A's.
Davis' USA Today article can be found here (Packers statement below):
Looks like GM Ted Thompson's usual haul of potential starters, including DE Datone Jones and quality depth (OL David Bakhtiari). And don't be shocked if fourth-round RB Johnathan Franklin pushes second-rounder Eddie Lacy (but nice value at No. 61) for playing time.
Davis seems to a firm believer in what Thompson has accomplished throughout this remarkable tenure with the Packers. He seems to give Thompson the benefit for the doubt for the picks later on the in draft.
Regarding Franklin, Davis is a smart man. Franklin has the complete package needed to get serious playing time in the Packers offense. His skills out of the backfield could be absolutely lethal when paired with Aaron Rodgers.
While others were filled with praise for the Packers draft class, CBS Sports' Pete Prisco wasn't impressed with Ted Thompson's picks. Prisco's worst grade given out was a C-. He gave the grade to the Packers and the San Diego Chargers.
Prisco's C- was the lowest grade handed out to the Packers that I found.
If you are interested in checking out Prisco's full grades, they can be found here. Here is some of what Prisco had to say about Green Bay:
Questionable pick: Taking running back Eddie Lacy in the second round. They added Johnathan Franklin in the fourth, so who starts?
Analysis: I usually think Ted Thompson is one of the best in the business. But I wasn't enamored with his haul this year. It just didn't seem to have the same sizzle. And taking two backs lessens the grade.
Prisco's issue with running back selections seems off-base. It's pretty clear who starts the season: whichever player out of Johnathan Franklin, Eddie Lacy and even DuJuan Harris wins the job in camp. The Packers running game has been such an area of need that using a second- and fourth-round pick on it doesn't seem wasteful in any way.
Besides the first three picks, there isn't much flash among Thompson's haul. That's been the case since Thompson took over, and it's worked out pretty well for the Packers.