Packers: Re-grading the 2016 draft class five years on

Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers entered the 2016 offseason coming off the back of an odd season.

Only a year removed from reaching the NFC title game as one of the best teams in football, expectations were high as the Packers looked to run it back.

A preseason injury to Jordy Nelson set them back, but the team still rolled to a 6-0 start with James Jones re-signed prior to Week 1. But then the wheels fell off, with the Packers stumbling into the playoffs with a 4-6 record down the stretch before falling to the Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round.

Work needed to be done in the offseason and it started with fixing the defensive line in the draft.

Packers 2016 draft class

  • Round 1 (27): Kenny Clark, DT
  • Round 2 (48): Jason Spriggs, T
  • Round 3 (88): Kyler Fackrell, LB
  • Round 4 (131): Blake Martinez, LB
  • Round 4 (137): Dean Lowry, DE
  • Round 5 (163): Trevor Davis, WR
  • Round 6 (200): Kyle Murphy, T

Final grade: B

Overall, it’s hard to argue this was a good draft class. No GM will ever hit with every pick. The best you can hope for in a draft class is to possibly land a couple of star players, or at worst, a few starters.

The Packers achieved this in 2016. Kenny Clark would become the star defensive tackle they desperately needed. A Pro Bowler in 2019 and one of the best at his position, Clark continues to be an important part of Green Bay’s defense.

Blake Martinez started 57 games for the Packers and made 512 tackles. He was a solid player and a valuable part of the defense before leaving in free agency. Similarly, Dean Lowry has started 51 games in Green Bay. To get both players in the fourth round was excellent value.

Unfortunately, that’s about where the good parts of this class come to an end.

Kyler Fackrell had one impressive season when he made 10.5 sacks, but made only six in his other three seasons combined. The Packers traded up for Jason Spriggs but he never became the starting tackle they hoped.

Still, the Packers found a star player in the first round with Clark, while also landing two long-term starters on defense with Martinez and Lowry. For that reason, the class gets a solid grade.