Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (4) reaches for a pass during the game against the Brigham Young Cougars at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 27-17. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Packers 2014 draft class brings fresh legs, outlook

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the newest first round selection by the Green Bay Packers and is the head of a Packers draft class considered one of the best in the league.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the newest first round selection by the Green Bay Packers and is the head of a Packers draft class considered one of the best in the league.

Looking back at the 2014 NFL draft for the Green Bay Packers, Ted Thompson addressed need as well as stuck to his draft strategy of the best player available.

We can look further into this draft by examining the Packers scheme on offense and defense while gluing in the draftees as to how they would fit those schemes.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S

This was an excellent pick that matched need with value. Clinton-Dix can do it all. He can tackle, cover, defend passes, and catch. The Packers like to disguise their plays on defense with their safeties. This means that both safeties will play at the line of scrimmage, and drop back into the deep zone for coverage depending on the play called. There is no true SS or FS. Expect to see Clinton-Dix used like Charles Woodson was used in his last year with the Packers when he moved to safety.

Davante Adams, WR

Adams could turn out to be the best pick of the draft. His stats from last year speak for themselves. He finished the season with 131 receptions, 1,780 yards, and 24 TDs. He has excellent hands and athleticism along with a 40-inch vertical that helps him dominate cornerbacks on jump balls. With that in mind and the loss of James Jones, this pick easily makes sense. The Packers struggled mightily last year in touchdown red zone efficiency, finishing 26th in the league. Look for that to transcend upward with Adams becoming a matchup nightmare in the red zone.

Khyri Thornton, DT

Thornton plays with an extremely high motor. He comes off the ball quickly and is extremely disruptive in the run game, which is why the Packers drafted him. The Packers like their DT to eat up linemen to allow the linebackers to make plays. Thornton will excel at eating up blocks with his aggressiveness and strength. Green Bay needs him to just that after yielding 125 rushing yards per game last year, finishing 25th in the league. With the unknown future of Johnny Jolly, Thornton should come in right away and see a decent amount of playing time.

Richard Rodgers, TE

This pick solidifies depth to the tight end position. Behind Andrew Quarless, the Packers have no receiving threat at TE. Rodgers provides insurance. He has good hands and can run routes well across the middle of the field. He is also a decent blocker. The Packers like their tight ends to have versatility in the run and pass game, and that’s what Rodgers brings. With a little polish, he could end up with a long, productive career in Green Bay.

Carl Bradford, LB

Bradford could be one of the steals of this draft for the Packers. The only reason he fell to the Packers in the fourth round was because of his size at 6-1. The former Sun Devil had 21.5 sacks the last two seasons with Arizona State. He’s a very upbeat player with a high motor like Thornton. He played a bit of inside linebacker as well, and while the Packers coaches have reiterated that he is an outside linebacker, his versatility could allow him to switch to the inside for the Packers sometime in his career. However, it looks like he will play outside to start. With the injury issues last year, he could very well end up seeing the field if the bug were to bite the Packers again.

Corey Linsley, C

The scouting reports on Linsley say the he is a strong, smart player, but lacks athleticism. Most centers lack athleticism. He was the lineman responsible for calling all the audibles on the line in pass and run protection. You can see how well that worked out for former Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde. He will provide competition at center for the starting job and could possibly beat out J.C. Tretter. This is a great pick because it adds competition to the center position.

Jared Abbrederis, WR

The Packers got another steal here, that is if Abbrederis stays healthy. The reason he fell to the Packers in the fifth round was due to injury concerns. Abbrederis has had a history of concussions in the past. Other than that, he is very skilled. He has great hands and is a superb route runner. If you watch him tear up Bradley Roby in the Ohio State game, you’ll see his potential. He should make the Packers roster and help special teams out immediately as a punt and kickoff returner. Don’t expect him to post great numbers being fifth on the WR depth chart behind Nelson, Cobb, Boykins, and Adams.

Demetri Goodson, CB

Goodson only has one year of experience in NCAA football due to being part of the Gonzaga basketball team for most of his collegiate career. He is a good athlete, being a homer point guard. He needs a lot of developmental work. His natural ability in changing directions is evident, and he could ending up being a solid corner in the NFL if he learns how to play the position correctly.

Jeff Janis, WR

Coming from a smaller school, he is a relative unknown. Yet his ability to run routes well, along with his combined height at 6-3 and speed with a 4.42 forty gives him a solid chance at making the roster. It might be difficult for him to adjust to the speed and strength of cornerbacks in the NFL, but if he does, he could ending up being an excellent WR for Aaron Rodgers in the future.

 

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