Packers: Re-grading the 2017 draft class four years on

Green Bay Packers, Kevin King - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, Kevin King - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2016 season was almost a reverse of the year prior for the Green Bay Packers.

After starting fast in ’15 but finishing poorly, the Packers got off to a shaky start in ’16, falling to 4-6 and looking set to end their playoff streak. But Aaron Rodgers got in the form of his life, leading his team to six straight regular season wins to take the NFC North crown.

Green Bay then eliminated the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys before being humiliated by the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. One thing was clear: Green Bay needed help at cornerback.

Sound familiar?

Packers 2017 draft class

  • Round 2 (33): Kevin King, CB
  • Round 2 (61): Josh Jones, S
  • Round 3 (93): Montravius Adams, DT
  • Round 4 (108): Vince Biegel, LB
  • Round 4 (134): Jamaal Williams, RB
  • Round 5 (175): DeAngelo Yancey, WR
  • Round 5 (182): Aaron Jones, RB
  • Round 6 (212): Kofi Amichia, C
  • Round 7 (238): Devante Mays, RB
  • Round 7 (247): Malachi Dupre, WR

Final grade: B-

Four years on, we’re still talking about how the Packers passed on the opportunity to draft T.J. Watt and traded down for Kevin King.

Still, King proved to be a good pick. He’s started 36 games for the Packers, making 27 pass defenses and six interceptions. Should they have drafted Watt? Sure, but King has been a good player for the Packers. He’s now back on a one-year deal.

The next two picks didn’t pan out. Josh Jones spent just two seasons in Green Bay, while Montravius Adams only started three games and struggled to consistently make an impact.

Of the seven players drafted from Round 4 onwards, only one is still under contract: Aaron Jones. The good news is that Jones has become a star running back, a Pro Bowler in 2020 and one of the best in the league.

Jamaal Williams was also a good pick. Jones and Williams formed an excellent 1-2 punch at running back, although Williams has now signed with the Detroit Lions.

Without Jones, this would’ve been a poor draft class. King and Williams are both good players, but Jones is the star of the class, especially as he was a fifth-round pick.

It’s hard not to wonder “what if?” in the opening three rounds, though. Imagine the Packers had selected T.J. Watt, Alvin Kamara, and Kenny Golladay with their top three picks.