2012 marked Ted Thompson’s eighth draft with the Green Bay Packers. And at this point it looks to be very reminiscent of the 2010 draft. A year in which Thompson and the Packers didn’t necessarily select any individual stars, but did bring on board a number of guys who can play valuable downs for the team.
With their first round pick and 28th overall the Packers took a collegiate defensive end from USC, Nick Perry. The Packers drafted Perry, who at 6’3” and 265 pounds, was a little undersized to play defensive end, but they believe he can fill the void at outside linebacker in their 3-4 defensive scheme opposite Clay Matthews III. In 2012 the Packers gave Perry a chance to start right from the onset of training camp.
Unfortunately for Perry and the Packers, 2012 was an injury-riddled season for the rookie outside linebacker. Perry injured his wrist in the opening game of the season versus the 49ers. He continued to play with a brace. He then injured his knee in the Oct. 14 game against the Houston Texans. While out with the injured knee he got a second opinion on his injured wrist and it was determined it was in his best interest to have surgery. Perry finished the season with 18 tackles and 2 sacks.
Provided Perry can stay healthy the Packers should get a better understanding of Perry’s ability to counterbalance the pass rush opposite fellow USC alum Matthews. Perry did show some promise in 2012, but there are inklings that he is not a high effort guy. Packers fans hope that 2013 is a breakout season for Perry.
In the second round the Packers had two selections. Thompson traded the number 54 selection and the number 123 pick for pick 51 in the draft. With the fifty-first selection they took a defensive end from Michigan State – Jerel Worthy. Many experts thought Worthy would go in the first round, it was apparent that Thompson thought Worthy was a steal at the 51 spot and worked his magic to trade up for the defensive lineman.
Worthy finished the 2012 season with 14 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He played well in spurts as a rotational player in the Packers defense. Like most rookies he improved over the course of the season. In the last game of the year against the Minnesota Vikings Worthy tore his ACL. He will be challenged to begin the 2013 season on the active roster.
The second selection in the second round proved to be the best selection by the Packers in the 2012 draft. With this pick the Packer brought on board a cornerback from Vanderbilt, Casey Hayward. With veteran Charles Woodson’s 2012 collar bone injury Hayward was a welcomed addition to the Packers’ secondary. Hayward recorded 53 tackles and six interceptions. In October 2012, he was named rookie of the month.
Most impressive was opposing quarterbacks had a 31.1 passer rating against him. Much is expected of Hayward in 2013.
|Jerrel Worthy||Defensive end||Michigan State|
|Mike Daniels||Defensive end||Iowa|
|Terrel Manning||Linebacker||North Carolina State|
|Andrew Datko||Offensive Tackle||Florida State|
The Packers did not have any selections in the third round, but they had two picks in the fourth. With the first of those two picks they selected an undersized defensive lineman who made up for his lack of stature with desire and the proverbial motor - Mike Daniels from Iowa. Daniel’s biggest contribution of the year came on Dec. 9, against the Lions when he recovered a Matthew Stafford fumble and ran it in for a touchdown.
With the second selection in the fourth round the Packers selected a hard-hitting safety from Maine – Jerron McMillan. The Packers trusted the rookie enough to play him in nickel and dime packages in 2012. The 2013 draft will hint at the faith the Packers have that McMillan will blossom into a contributing player for their defense. If they draft a safety relatively high, it can be assumed they are not overly impressed with the young safety from Maine.
In the fifth round, Ted Thompson traded up to select Terrell Manning, an inside linebacker from North Carolina State. The fact that Thompson traded a sixth and seventh round pick to select Manning gives some indication that they expect a lot from him. However, Manning’s rookie season got off on the wrong foot and 2013 should be a better representation of his ability. Manning dealt with an unknown stomach virus in training camp that caused him to lose 15 pound while battling to make the team. He eventually discovered that it was a parasite that caused colitis, which leads to a swelling of the large intestine and constant diarrhea.
For the third time in the 2012 draft the Packers had multiple picks in a given round. The seventh round brought the Packers an offensive tackle from Florida State, Andrew Datko, and a quarterback from Tennessee-Chattanooga, B.J. Coleman.
Datko is an interesting case. He was highly regarded offensive tackle in college, but shoulder injuries knocked him out of his senior season at Florida State. This caused his draft stock to fall and slowed his progress with the Packers. He was released by Green Bay during final cuts and signed to their practice squad. If healthy, Datko could have the potential to be a 2012 draft surprise.
Coleman also landed on the practice squad in 2012. He is a bit of a project, but said to have a big arm. With a full off season it is possible that Coleman could challenge incumbent Graham Harrell for the backup quarterback spot.
Of the Packers’ first eight selections five of them played a significant amount of time for the Packers in 2012. Year two is often when guys make the biggest strides in their development. It will be interesting to see who from the 2012 class rises to the top. Certainly the Packers hope Nick Perry becomes an impact player in the coming season. Casey Hayward will most certainly challenge for a starting role in 2013.