Grading the Draft: Green Bay Packers

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The Packers were looking to fortify the back end of their defense and they did exactly that, in the end coming away with the most impressive draft of 2017. 



Kevin King




Josh Jones


North Carolina State


Montravius Adams




Vince Biegel




Jamaal Williams




DeAngelo Yancey




Aaron Jones




Kofi Amichia


South Florida


Devante Mays


Utah State


Malachi Dupre



UDFA Signings: Izaah Lunsford, DT, Bowling Green; Donatello Brown, DB, Valdosta State; Adam Pankey, OL, West Virginia; Aaron Peck, WR, Fresno State; Cody Heiman, LB, Washburn; Michael Clark, WR, Marshall; Montay Crockett, WR, Georgia Southern; Justin Vogel, P, Miami (Fla.); Geoff Gray, OL, Manitoba; David Rivers III, CB, Youngstown State; Johnathan Calvin, Edge, Mississippi State; Taysom Hill, QB, BYU; Kalif Phillips, RB, Charlotte; Thomas Evans, OL, Richmond; Lenzy Pipkins, CB, Oklahoma State

Prior to the draft we knew the Packers would consider either T.J. Watt or the best available cornerback. They pulled off the latter, trading out of the first round with Cleveland in exchange for the first pick of the second frame.

With that choice they selected Kevin King, a player we rated as a potential top-20 pick. King offers size, next-level ball skills and great fundamentals. Speed has always been his biggest concern and, despite running in the 4.4s during the combine, scouts still feel King needs to be coached to play to that speed or he'll be a liability in deep coverage. I fully expect King to move in with the first unit before his rookie season finishes out.

Their second choice in Round 2, Josh Jones, is another player who received first-round consideration. Jones looked like a big-time prospect as a freshman in 2014, took a step back the following season and then played big-time football last year. He offers terrific computer numbers, intimidates ball handlers and comes with ridiculously underrated ball skills.

Montravius Adams offers first-round physical skills but all too often plays like a last-day selection. He's a dominant interior defensive lineman with the strength to hold down the nose tackle spot as well as the athleticism to line up at end in a 3-4. If the Packers get Adams to play to his potential, they will look back fondly at this selection.

In the months before the draft I was quoted as saying Vince Biegel was one of the more underrated linebackers in the draft. While he never received the headlines of teammate Watt and was not as forceful up the field, I believe Biegel was more complete and well-rounded. He's a terrific fit for the Packers scheme but injuries have been an issue and once again reared their ugly head. Biegel had foot surgery last week but hopes to be on the field for the start of camp in late July.

Jamaal Williams in Round 4 was a slight reach in our opinion yet still a solid pick. Williams is a hard-charging interior ball carrier, working runs to pick up yardage after contact. He's also a solid pass catcher out of the backfield and will do well as a rotational back.

I thought the pick of DeAngelo Yancey in the fifth round was well-deserved and should be a selection the organization comes to love. Ridiculously underrated, Yancey was one of the biggest combine snubs of 2017. He had a terrific college career then dominated during Shrine Game practices. He comes with size and natural receiver skills and should flourish as a fifth receiver on Sunday.

The Packers’ other fifth-rounder, junior running back Aaron Jones, is similar in style to Williams. A ball carrier who does not go down without a fight and picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact, Jones’ lack of quickness and speed could make it difficult for him at the next level.

Offensive lineman Kofi Amichia is probably the only head scratcher of all the players the Pack drafted. The sixth-round pick never really stood out to me at USF, despite the fact I watched him for the past two years. His ability to play multiple positions on the offensive line gives him an outside chance.

Devante Mays was highly rated coming into the season before a leg injury early in 2016 sidelined him for most of the year. He's another inside grinder who relies on breaking tackles to pick up yardage.

If seventh-round selection Malachi Dupre ever returns to the form he displayed in 2015, he will be the steal of the draft.

As a sophomore Dupre displayed himself as a dominant, game-breaking receiver who could not be stopped. He regularly made the ordinary catch in the middle of the field or stretched defenses vertically for the big play. He looked like a fraction of himself in 2016, which was as much a result of a terrible LSU offense as his own poor play. Dupre has the innate skills to develop into a No. 2 receiver on Sundays, though the learning curve will be steep.

Three undrafted free agents signed by the Packers intrigue me. Michael Clark is a big-bodied receiver who controls the action. He entered the draft prematurely but offers a big upside and should be kept on the practice squad. Johnathan Calvin is an athletic edge rusher I mentioned often in the lead-up to the draft. He's another who needs work on his game but comes with great upside. David Rivers III entered the season graded as a middle-round pick. He struggled with injuries as a senior but has enough ability to line up in dime packages at the next level.

Analysis: What's not to love about this draft? The Packers got great value with their first two selections with players who can help them immediately. Their third-round pick will be a starter if he turns up the intensity and the first fourth-round selection will start if he stays healthy. They'll get something out of the three running backs they drafted, and Green Bay may have hit a home run with both receivers drafted on the final day. And don't forget -- they signed three developmental prospects after the draft. Most teams won't get the production from three drafts that the Packers are bound to receive from this single effort. Grade: A+