The rookies are coming! The rookies are coming! Packers head coach Mike McCarthy welcomes the 2013 draft class, the undrafted free agents and selected players just in for a tryout to the rookie orientation camp this weekend. Most of the time spent will be in administrative meetings, here's where you pick up your mail, park your car, get your gear. That type of thing. Playbooks will be passed out and there will be three on field workouts to give the coaching staff a chance to see the guys run around, catch passes and the like. We in the media will also formulate first impressions by watching the practices. Even before the draft picks take the field, here are some personal first impressions I'm hoping for, comparing this year's picks to draftees of days gone by.
We'll start with number one pick Datone Jones, the defensive end from UCLA. I'd like to see a cross between 1977 top pick Ezra Johnson and the number one pick 4 years later in Bruce Clark. Speed and power from the defensive line although the Pack should not let a reporter take Jones to lunch. Clark was so put off by his dinner in 1980, he never signed with Green Bay.
Second round running back Eddie Lacy of Alabama. Everyone has high hopes for this guy, like another Eddie, Eddie Lee Ivory, the injury cursed number one choice in 1979, without those blown knees, he could have been special, or Brent Fullwood, the fourth overall choice in 1987 from the Tide's rival Auburn, who's brain led to a terrible waste of talent.
4th round pick David Bakhtiari, the offensive tackle from Colorado would do well to follow a fellow Buffalo's career in Green Bay, Mark Koncar, the top pick in 1976, or better yet, the bookend tackles drafted in 2000, Chad Clifton in the second and Mark Tauscher in the 7th round.
JC Tretter of Cornell was the second offensive tackle taken in the round. Two mid to late round offensive tackles who had nice careers in Green Bay were Karl Swanke, a 6th rounder back in 1980 and Earl Dotson, the third round choice in 1993.
The second running back, grabbed in the 4th round, Jonathan Franklin from UCLA, has a really good shot at making the team and becomming productive, not unlike Vince Workman, the 1989 5th rounder or the great mudder, Edgar Bennett, the 4th round pick in 1992.
The first of two picks in round five was defensive back Micah Hyde of Iowa. I'd love to see him develop like a fifth rounder in 1984 who made the NFL All-Rookie team for Green Bay. Remember Tom Flynn? How about a 6th rounder from Louisiana Tech in 1993 who had a big pick in the Super Bowl XXXI victory, Doug Evans?
Defensive tackle Josh Boyd of Mississippi State is next. I'd settle for a cross between Corey Williams, the 2004, 6th round pick and Johnny Jolly, a sixth rounder in 2006, without the penchant for grape flavored codeine.
Nate Palmer is the linebacker from Illinois State chosen in round six. With some coaching, he could become the next Brad Jones, the 7th rounder from 2009 or Keith McKenzie, a seventh round pick in 1996.
The 7th rounders included two wide receivers. First, Charles Johnson from Grand Valley State. Let's see, small school, late round pick, could he be the next Bill Schroeder, a 6th rounder from UW LaCrosse in 1994 or perhaps Donald Driver, the 7th rounder in 1999 from Alcorn State? Kevin Dorsey of Maryland is a bit smaller with longer odds, but Phillip Epps made it as a 12th round pick in 1982 and Brett Swain stuck for a couple of years as a 7th rounder in 2008.
The final pick is linebacker Sam Barrington. He might be asked to fill the role of D.J. Smith, the sixth round pick two years ago who's unfortunate knee injury led to his release from the Pack and a new start in San Diego. Another 7th round linebacker who made a splash was Rich Wingo way back in 1979.
Granted, comparisons like these are a bit unfair for kids who have yet to take a snap in the NFL, but we can dream can't we?