In Ted Thompson's 10th draft as General Manager of the Green Bay Packers, a couple of things happened for the first time. One, Thompson may lose the nickname Trader Ted. After making a name for himself by wheeling and dealing up or down in the draft annually, Thompson sat pat for each of his nine choices. Ted said he was on the phone often but circumstances never quite worked out. Secondly, Thompson looked to the state capital for the first time, selecting Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis in the 5th round. When asked if he held a bias toward the Wisconsin program, Ted said no. There were several times over the years they had their eye on a Badger but again, it just didn't fall right. Over the span of nearly 48 hours covering seven rounds, the 2014 Green Bay Packers draft class is complete. Pick by pick, here's a summary and analysis.
Round 1 (21st overall) Ha Ha Clinton Dix. Safety. Alabama.
Arguably the team's greatest need was addressed with the number one pick. Zero interceptions from the entire safety group in 2013 is hard to believe. Ha Ha is almost a lock to start alongside Morgan Burnett this fall. He quarterbacked a national championship secondary with the Crimson Tide, playing free safety in 2012 and more of a strong safety last fall, jumping into the box, making calls and checks and most importantly, making plays.
Round 2 (53rd overall) Davante Adams. Wide Receiver. Fresno State.
No one in major college football caught more balls last season than Adams, a sturdy 6-1, 212 pound receiver with the Bulldogs. 131 receptions in 13 games, 233 in two seasons as a starter in the high octane, spread offense, quarterbacked by Derek Carr, the second round pick of the Oakland Raiders. Adams enters the NFL at the age of 21. He should instantly join the multiple receiver formations favored by Aaron Rodgers who has had to deal with injury absences of Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings each of the past couple of seasons. Receiver coach Edgar Bennett says Adams is an excellent fighter for the ball and his numbers, 3030 yards and 38 touchdowns speak for themselves.
Round 3A (85th overall) Khyri Thornton. Defensive Tackle. Southern Mississippi.
The big body transformation on the defensive line continues with an interesting pick for round 3. Thornton moves suprisingly well at 6-3 and 3-4 pounds, clocking his 40 yard dash under 5 seconds. He never quite on a team that went 1-22 over his final two years. He didn't offer much in the way of a pass rush but can tie up blockers and find running backs between the tackles. Thornton is the 4th DL draft pick in the last three years, joining Jerel Worthy, Mike Daniels and Josh Boyd. The veterans like Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly are being pushed to pasture with this youth movement.
Round 3B (98th overall) Richard Rodgers. Tight End. California.
The 5th tight end taken overall in the draft played the least of those top five, starting only 11 games in his last two years with the Golden Bears. Packers scouts believe he has the best hands of the bunch however. Rodgers bulked up to play an in-line tight end in 2012 and then was asked to drop 30 pounds to run routes out of the slot last year. A cerebral player, he shouldn't have difficulty learning the multiple responsibilities placed on the position by Mike McCarthy. The best note on Rodgers....his father delivered the final lateral in "The Play", the famous end of game kickoff return in the 1982 Cal-Stanford game that finished with an incredible touchdown in the midst of the Stanford band.
Round 4 (121st overall) Carl Bradford. Linebacker. Arizona State.
This short, but strong Sun Devil was asked to do one thing, torment Pac 12 quarterbacks. The 6 foot, 250 linebacker, who will be asked to play outside in Green Bay's 3-4, was an on the ground edge rusher for Arizona State. He recorded 21 sacks in his career, 8 and a half last season. While short on stature, he's long in the weight room with some eye opening numbers, like a 545 pound squat. He's also speedy enough to track down running backs, with more than 40 tackles for losses during his career. Nick Perry, Mike Neal and Andy Mulumba had better be ready to bring it this summer, because Bradford does.
Round 5A (161st overall) Corey Linsley. Center. Ohio State.
It's not far fetched to think the Packers will have their second rookie starter with this choice. Linsley was the first team All Big 10 Center for the Buckeyes last year. An extremely strong 296 pounds on his 6-2 frame. Packers offensive line coach James Campen was thrilled to draft an offensive lineman that actually played his old position before his arrival to town. J.C. Tretter, drafted as a tackle, only started delivering snaps when he came off the physically unable to perform list last fall. He was considered the heir apparent to Even Dietrich-Smith over the off-season but he's going to have to be a very quick study to hold off the challenge of Linsley.
Round 5B (176th overall) Jared Abbrederis. Wide Receiver. Wisconsin.
This pick had the whole state buzzing, with good reason. It's such a good story. A Wautoma High School, state championship winning quarterback who walked on in Madison, gets drafted by his favorite team after a very productive Badger career. Abbrederis lasted this long because he's short, not very strong and far from a burner. All he does is make plays and he's willing to do anything. His experience as a return man will help him in what should be a very competitive roster battle this summer.
Round 6 (197th overall) Demetri Goodson. Defensive Back. Baylor.
The grand old man of the draft class. Goodson will be 25 by the time training camp arrives after what amounted to two college careers. The first was playing basketball at Gonzaga, helping the Bulldogs take down Kentucky with a game winning layup to get his team to the Sweet 16 in 2009. He put his dream of the NBA to bed knowing 6 foot, 200 pound guards have to be really special. He transferred to Baylor and overcame hardships to finish his career as an all Big 12 corner. He had a nasty ankle surgery in 2011 and a broken arm in 2012. His father is doing a long prison sentence for a 12 million dollar mortgage fraud conviction. He's learned how to fend for himself, on the field too and will have to work hard to crack a now very deep secondary corps.
Round 7 (236th overall) Jeff Janis. Wide Receiver. Saginaw Valley State.
The biggest of the three amigos Thompson drafted at receiver, Janis (6-3, 216) tore up the Great Lakes Athletic Conference. He had 106 catches as a junior, 83 more as a senior and 46 touchdown grabs for his career. Janis believes he can make the jump from Division II competition to the NFL after getting invited to the Senior Bowl and more than holding his own against top flight, Division I talent.