The best of the Packers 2014 draft...
1.21: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
The Packers didn't get a chance at either of the coveted inside linebackers, but great value still met great need when Clinton-Dix—arguably the best free safety in the draft—was still available at No. 21. While not an elite athlete, Clinton-Dix is the most complete and overall talented safety the Packers have acquired since losing Nick Collins in 2011. He might not be Collins athletically, but his skill set figures to be a drastic improvement over what the Packers had alongside Morgan Burnett last season. An immediate starter for a defense now well-stocked with first- and second-round picks.
2.53: WR Davante Adams, Fresno State
Is anyone seriously going to question Ted Thompson's evaluation of receivers, especially those found in the second round? Adams could be the next great one, following in the footsteps of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. The Fresno State product caught a nation-high 131 passes in 2013. He stands 6'1" and possesses a vertical leap of almost 40 inches, giving him a huge catching radius for Aaron Rodgers. He'll slot in and replace James Jones, a player Adams resembles in body type and playing style. The rich get richer here.
3.85: DL Khyri Thornton, Southern Miss
My initial reaction to this pick was that it could be a slight reach, but the more you dig on Thornton, the more you like him. At 6'3" and 303 pounds, he has just OK size for a down lineman in the 3-4. It's his non-stop motor and first-step quickness to shoot gaps that are his impressive traits. The Packers won't count on him for sacks—he had just 5.5 career sacks in college despite being a three-year starter—but he'll be an effort player against the run and a potential future starter at base end in the three-man front. Early on, he'll be a rotational player at the 5-technique. Expect him to be the eventual replacement for C.J. Wilson, but with much higher upside.
4.121: LB Carl Bradford, Arizona State
A college defensive end, Bradford likely doesn't have the length or first-step quickness to project as an edge-rusher in the NFL. The Packers will start him outside, but his best pro position might come at inside linebacker. Bradford showed an ability to take on and shed blocks and flow to the football against the run. While not an elite athlete by any means, Bradford can play in space and function in coverage. All his traits work for what Green Bay expects out of an inside linebacker in the three-man front. But who knows, a team playing the 3-4 can never have enough pass-rushers. An added bonus is the value Bradford will bring on special teams, where he could become an instant impact player.
5.161: C Corey Linsley, Ohio State
One of the Packers' bigger needs on offense entering this draft was at center, where 2013 starter Evan Dietrich-Smith left in free agency. Green Bay waited until the fifth round to address to it, but Linsley has Scott Wells-like strength and toughness. According to his combine profile at NFL.com, Linsley can bench-press 500 pounds at 6'3" and 296 pounds. Wells, a former Packers center, stands 6'2" and weighs just a pinch over 300. At the very least, Linsley will come in as a rookie and compete with 2012 fourth-round pick JC Tretter. He'll also add depth at guard, where he played some at Ohio State. While late, this was a good value pick at a need position.
5.176: WR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
The Packers stay in-state to give Aaron Rodgers another shiny new toy at receiver. Abbrederis isn't the biggest or strongest at the position, but he consistently won as Wisconsin's No. 1 option thanks to an excellent understating of route running and an underrated ability to beat press at the line. He made plays underneath and over the top, and he'll immediately slot in as a dangerous No. 5 receiver for the suddenly receiver-rich (again) Packers offense. Go watch him carve up Bradley Roby (a first-round cornerback) and Ohio State back in September. He can also add competition for returning kicks and punts. The Packers got tremendous value in the final pick of the fifth round.