Expectations, hype, excitement or however you want to tab it — they’re running high for the Green Bay Packers’ 2017 draft class.
There has been much hand-wringing about how the Packers had so many notable holes to fill entering the 2017 draft — cornerback, pass rush, running back… They did something to address all of those areas.
Now we will have to wait and see if they did enough. Or perhaps more accurately, if the draft alone was enough to fill those holes and push the Packers over the top in 2017 after another disappointing NFC Championship loss.
Inside the building, the Packers reportedly see more immediate contributors in this draft class than in most. Matt Miller talked to someone in the team’s scouting department and he noted seven different guys.
… one scout with the team told me it was the best draft they’ve had during his run there. The team landed Kevin King, Josh Jones, Montravius Adams, Vince Biegel, Jamaal Williams, DeAngelo Yancey and Aaron Jones in the first five rounds. All seven players could be serious contributors this year.
We’re not going to speculate on which scout divulged this information. The Packers list 18 members in their player personnel department, some of whom have been there a long time and some just recent additions.
So this scout could have 15-plus years in Green Bay or he could have five.
We do know two things, however.
One, this draft class is going to be expected to contribute — they simply have to. Take running back, for instance. The Packers now have three rookies behind Ty Montgomery. So yes, either Williams or Jones BETTER be serious contributors. The Packers are also thin at outside linebacker and on the defensive line, so Biegel and Adams BETTER be serious contributors.
In short, if this draft class doesn’t produce, the Packers aren’t going to be real contenders. It could be just another year of getting by — and into the playoffs — solely on Aaron Rodgers’ talent.
Two, we’re a long ways away from knowing if and who in this draft class will be serious contributors. Every year, players impress during OTAs and minicamp practices. Then training camp rolls around and the real hitting starts and some of those players disappear. They become non-factors in the regular season, if they even make the team.
Under Mike McCarthy, rookies typically aren’t given a lot of playing time. First-round picks traditionally don’t even start immediately. Perhaps this year will be different out of necessity.
Or perhaps this draft class is just that good. A lot of people seem to think so, but we won’t know for sure until later this year.