Grading the Draft: Green Bay Packers

Grading the Draft: Green Bay Packers

Brett Favre may have said it best after the Packers were clobbered by the Jets during the seasons final contest; for a team with the second best record in the NFC the Pack was not a very good. They had major holes to fill, yet a limited number of early round picks to fill them with.

Round Pick Overall Player Pos College Notes
1 29 29 Nick Barnett OLB Oregon St  
3 15 79 Kenny Peterson DE Ohio St  
5 12 147 James Lee DT Oregon St  
5 31 166 Hunter Hillenmeyer OLB Vanderbilt  
6 39 212 Brennan Curtin OT Notre Dame Compensatory Selection
7 31 245 Chris Johnson S Louisville  
7 39 253 DeAndrew Rubin WR South Florida Compensatory Selection
7 42 256 Carl Ford WR Toledo Compensatory Selection
7 43 257 Steve Josue LB Carson-Nemwan Compensatory Selection

UDFA of Note: Shantee Orr /DE/Michigan, Matt Huebner /TE/St Cloud St, Jamil Soriano /G/Harvard, David Porter /T/Iowa, Rob Doane /T/Texas, JR Taylor /RB/Eastern Illinois, Keith Burnell /RB/Delaware

Green Bay was not very active the first day of the draft and possessed only two picks; the 29th selection and 94th.  So it was a little surprising when they tabbed Nick Barnett with their first choice.  While we knew the Pack were interested in the Oregon State linebacker, bypassing Boss Bailey to make Barnett the first linebacker drafted was peculiar.

Barnett fits a gaping hole on the weak side and thus may be force fed into the line-up immediately.  He has the tenacity, brains and speed to make it.  Size is a concern but the usual 218-pound linebacker checked into the combine weighing 236 and ran a 4.55, which moved him up boards.

The fact that Kenny Peterson amazingly fell to Green Bay's pick in round three makes the Barnett selection look more palatable.  Even after a solid senior campaign and good performance at the Senior Bowl, the Ohio State product fell much lower than anticipated.  Why?  Many were afraid he's a one year wonder and the inability to workout prior to the draft because of a leg injury did not help the situation.  Peterson could eventually grow into a solid replacement for Vonnie Holliday.

James Lee was worth the risk of a fifth round pick because many fell in love with the minimally productive Oregon State lineman after watching his workout at the combine.  Lee needs a lot of work on his overall game and more than anything, requires a lot of repetition on the field.  Remember, this is a franchise that has developed the likes of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Cletius Hunt.

Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer had a career season as a senior after moving to the middle, but most think he would've been better suited in a three-four alignment.  That said, the Vandy graduate will compete on the inside or even at strong side linebacker.

Tackle Brennan Curtin is a massive lineman who could eventually develop into a starting right tackle.  With the injuries Green Bay suffered at both tackle spots last season, we would be surprised if Curtin does not make the team.

The four picks in the final frame were used to upgrade special teams. Steve Josue adds depth at linebacker but can play special teams while DeAndrew Rubin is a mediocre receiver but explosive return specialist.  Carl Ford is a developmental prospect at receiver, and a good one at that.  The usually sure-handed pass catcher ran exceedingly well prior to the draft.  Chris Johnson was a major surprise and a reach as compared to some of his Louisville teammates who were later signed as undrafted free agents.

Green Bay did not really make a splash after the draft.  In fact, two of the players originally singed, Matt Huebner and JR Taylor, have since been cut (Huebner was signed by the Vikings).  Jamil Soriano and Rob Doane merely have practice squad potential.

Analysis: The Pack filled some needs with their selections on the first day and later acquired several developmental prospects but for a team that seems to be on the decline, and a franchise seemingly relying on the arm of Brett Favre (an arm that could be retiring soon) overall it was a mediocre collection of players.

Tony Pauline
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