UCLA Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers Draft: Solidifying the offense

UCLA Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin.
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the fourth round of the NFL 2013 Draft has ended and we’re into the fifth, but for the Green Bay Packers, who had three selections in this round, Ted Thompson addressed the offensive line with two of the three selections and added another dynamic running back to help solidify that area of weakness.

With their first selection of the fourth round, Ted Thompson picked David Bakhtiari, an offensive tackle who might be given the chance to compete for one of the tackles position, but might also be moved inside as he was projected by many once he entered the NFL level.

Colorado Buffaloes offensive linesman David Bakhtiari (59) during the first half of the game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s what Mike Mayock said about the Packers’ pick:

“I don’t know where they’re going to play him. There’s a little bit of an issue at left tackle with the Packers. He’s not as tall as people would like. His arms weren’t as long as you’d like, but I think he can play right tackle — even though he has left tackle feet — or he can play inside because he’s tough.”

Here’s what NFL.com said about Bakhtiari:

STRENGTHS

Consistent low posture and first contact through his hands is there. Strong grip and latch to control when obtained. Frequently limits inside moves and very aware of slowed footwork when opponent is setting up a second move. He drives forward in these situations, specifically with the inside armbar to cut off the shorter path. Flashes a mean attitude to finish off plays, takes opponents down that have lost their balance. Can really get after it, an attacker rather than passive blocker. Brings the club with one hand when wanting to release in space on screen plays. Doesn’t wait on blocks at the second level, on the offensive and seeks out contact. If uncovered he always helps inside in pass protection and delivers a nice punch.

WEAKNESSES

Not an ideal build for an offensive lineman, thin in the arms. Many difficulties arise form pass blocking on an island. Beaten around the edge without slowing the rusher down and can lose face up against stiff contact due to not having the ability to stop backwards momentum. Move to guard is likely in his future. Deep drop steps aren’t natural and stiff contact jolts him mid-stride. Loses on counter moves, thrown to the side when top heavy or leaning too far over, specifically when run blocking. Whiffs on cut blocks.

J.C. Tretter

J.C. Tretter

With the 122nd selection, the Packers stayed with their emphasis on the offensive line by selecting J.C. Tretter out of Cornell. The Ivy Leaguer, according to Mayock,  is “… a gifted kid that’s put some weight on at Cornell. He played left tackle for them. Ultimately, he’ll play inside.”

Clearly, the Packers were targeting the guard and center positions when they brought Tretter in to compete.

Here is what NFL.com said about Tretter:

The Tretter family is well acquainted with Cornell. JC has three uncles who attended Cornell, including David Tretter ‘78, who lettered two times during a four-year football career for the Big Red. JC’s sister, Katherine, also currently attends Cornell. At Akron High School, Tretter was a three-year starter on both offense and defense, and earned captain and MVP honors for the team in his junior and senior season. He was named to the Class C all-state second-team as a senior. Tretter also starred in basketball, graduating as Akron Central’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. A four-year starter and three-time all-league first-team selection, Tretter was named Western New York Player of the Year and to the All-Western New York third team as a senior.

Tretter played tight end in his first two seasons at Cornell, but moved to tackle, and helped the team’s offensive immensely. He started each of his final 20 games at left tackle and is the first offensive lineman to earn All-Ivy League First Team honors since Kevin Boothe in 2005.

Here are his strengths and weaknesses:

STRENGTHS

Athletic build. Possess light feet, and has the athletic ability to mirror pass rushers. Flexible, shows the ability to bend. Moves well laterally. Plays with good balance. Quick off the ball. Recognizes stunts and blitzes well, and has the coordination to execute multiple blocks in these situations.

WEAKNESSES

Limited experience and played against weak competition. Will likely have to move to guard, due to a lack of length. Lacks core strength. While he’s light on his feet, his foot quickness needs to improve.

Johnathan Franklin
And to round out the fourth round, the Packers continued with the focus on offense by continuing to strengthen the running back depth. The selection of Johnathan Franklin out of UCLA will allow the Packers to commit once more to a running game. He’s a strong cutter with speed who will add another dimension to the Packers backfield.
Here’s how Charles Davis saw the Packers’ pick: “I think this is a big-time value pick. Johnathan Franklin plays bigger than what you think. He’s compact, but he’ll run inside the tackles. His problem in the past: Putting the ball on the ground. This season, he had only one fumble. Good locker-room guy.”

Here’s how NFL.com evaluates Franklin:

As a redshirt freshman in 2008, Franklin was one of the team’s Outstanding Scout Team Players on offense. He led the team with 566 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns the following season (mostly coming in the first half of the year), starting eight of 13 games he played. Franklin broke out as a sophomore, starting 10 of 12 contests and earning the team’s MVP award and second-team all-conference accolades after again leading the team with 1,127 yards and getting into the end zone eight times. Though he started all 14 games in 2011, garnering honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors, Franklin couldn’t quite reach the 1,000-yard mark (976, five TDs) as he had significantly fewer carries (166 versus 214 in 2010).

In 2012, as a senior under new head coach Jim Mora, Franklin had his best season yet. Franklin carried the ball 282 times for 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns. Franklin was a driving force behind UCLA’s first-place finish in the Pac-12 South Division. Franklin earned a second-team All-Pac-12 selection.

Here’s his strengths and weaknesses:

STRENGTHS

One cut type of runner, who has impressive foot quickness, and the ability to explode out of his cuts. Presses the line before cutting to the play side and displays good vision and patience to find open running lane. Sees penetrating defenders, cuts after the handoff to avoid them. Vision on the outside and downfield is also good, can weave through traffic and his loose hips and quick feet allow him to cut inside the defensive back into open space. Not contact-shy, will take the A-gap and churn inside if he sees an opening. Runs hard, behind his pads, and displays good balance.

WEAKNESSES

Shows enough speed to get outside at times, though scouts won’t consider him in possession of an elite burst or a pure breakaway threat. Won’t overpower NFL defenders with the leaner build that lets them regularly trip him up on first contact. Ball security has been an issue for him (six fumbles in 2011), lacks great upper-body strength and the ball will come away from his side when trying to get the extra yard. Pass protection skills are not up to snuff; he’ll throw his body into an opponent at times, but his cut-block attempts often come up completely empty.

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Tags: Fourth Round Green Bay Packers NFL Draft

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