Many prognosticators gave Green Bay high marks for their most recent draft selections. For the most part, the performances of these players have shown they belong in the big leagues.
The first second-round pick, cornerback Kevin King, in playing 58 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, has 24 tackles and four passes defended. His tackling has been uneven, with some aggressively hard hits, but also with some sloppy high mishits. He has yet to show any signs of being a playmaker, however – it’s time he tries to jump a route.
Josh Jones, the late second-round pick, has been more solid and consistent than has King. He’s been in on 66 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. He’s proven to be a sure tackler, with 40 tackles on the year, including two sacks. He’s had only one dominant game — 12 tackles including those two sacks against the Bengals — but this gave a peek at what the future might hold for him. The athletic player is being groomed to play a hybrid role (safety/linebacker) for the Packers.
You probably can’t name the Packers third-round pick, but defensive tackle Montravious Adams got some playing time in the last two games. Though he is statless, the Packers want to get a good look at what he can do.
Both of the Packers’ fourth-round picks have shown promise. Finally recovered from preseason foot surgery, linebacker Vince Biegel has recorded five tackles in the last two games, and he’s been nearly as active all over the field as he was at Wisconsin.
Jamaal Williams, the other fourth rounder, got his chance against the Bears on account of injuries, and he responded with a hard-fought 67 yards on 20 carries. He’s a rugged runner, and he looked like he belonged out there against the Bears. It looks like the Packers have three capable rushers, but will that be enough given the team’s injury jinx?
The most impactful Packers’ draft choice of 2017 has probably been fifth-round choice Aaron Jones. The 5’9” running back out of second-tier UTEP has been the surprise story of the year, at least prior to hurting his knee in the Bears’ game. He’s had two games of 125 or more yards rushing, and he’s averaged 5.3 yards per carry.
The remaining draft picks? Receiver Deangelo Yancey (round 5) and offensive lineman Kofi Amichia (round 6) are on the team’s practice squad.
That leaves two seventh-round choices. Running back Devante Mays is on the active roster, but has yet to see any action on the year other than a few special teams snaps. Receiver Malachi Dupre was waived by the Packers when they made their final roster cuts. He is now on the Buffalo Bills practice squad.
Of the 10 picks, four have proven themselves to belong in the NFL – two defensive backs and two running backs. It’s obvious the Packers have hopes that Vince Biegel will develop into a Clay Matthews-style pass rusher. These five have considerable potential for having long and successful pro careers.
It’s too early to say regarding defensive tackle Montravious Adams, but the team has shown an eagerness to take a look at him.
Six out of 10 choices with good prospects is a fine percentage. In fact, none of the 10 is yet out of the league.
As I speculated in May, because this group is so much more athletic than previous draft groups, I believe the selections were more of a group effort by the team’s personnel and scouting guys than solely Ted Thompson’s choices.
Whoever deserves the credit, it’s shaping up to have been a fine draft. Even without a first round choice, a half-dozen or more of these players might well be wearing the green and gold for a half-dozen or more years.
Looking further ahead, with a bounty of draft choices coming up in six months, I foresee the 2017 and 2018 draft picks as forming the nucleus of the team’s roster for the next 10 years.