As I type this, the draft is still going on. We’re well into round six, in fact.
But with the Green Bay Packers having so many picks – 10 in all at the start – on the final day of the draft, it seemed like a good time to check in with an early report on the first part of their day.
With their first four selections on day three, the Packers have continued their image overhaul, aiming for improvements on the ground, in the trenches and in terms of measurables.
The highlight of these first four picks, obviously, came when Green Bay packaged fifth-and-sixth round selections to gain a fourth rounder (pick 28 of the round, 125th overall), which it used to select UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin. I had a feeling last night – and wrote as much – that Green Bay would use some of its considerable late-round ammo to gain a third fourth round pick. I had no idea that pick would be used on a running back.
Franklin, 5-feet, 10-inches and 205 pounds, racked up 1,734 yards on 282 carries (6.1 YPC) and scored 13 touchdowns in 2012. He also caught 33 balls for 323 yards and two scores. He loves to get outside and, with his top-end speed, can leave defenders in his wake when he turns on the jets. He’s a durable back who is also quite good in pass protection, something you need if you just gave your quarterback an $110 million extension. If you’re thinking he’ll play lightening to second-round pick Eddie Lacy’s thunder, you aren’t alone.
Franklin, a player some had listed as the second-best back in the draft, provides great value at that spot. He also leaves the backfield situation, seemingly cleared up last night, murkier as of now. If you figure, as I do, that Franklin, Lacy, DuJuan Harris and Alex Green comprise the backs who could be on the roster, well, that’s probably one back too many right? And at this point, Harris is a better bet than Green is if you only keep three. But would they really give up on Green so soon? Remember, he was a third round pick just two years ago. Cutting him so soon goes against the entire organizational philosophy.
The smarter approach would be to cut fan-favorite John Kuhn. Kuhn is a short-yardage back who does well in pass-protection. Don’t Lacy and Franklin, combining their skill sets, make him obsolete? Could you turn, say Ryan Taylor, into an H-back type (OBOD’s Adam Somers made the Jim Kleinsasser comparison here, which really works)? That way you’d keep all four backs and have some real firepower there. Just something to consider.
Green Bay’s other two fourth round picks were spent on the offensive line. With the first of those, the Packers snagged Colorado tackle David Bakhtiari (109th pick overall, 12th pick of the round). Standing 6-feet, 4-inches and 295 pounds, he began his career on the right side before moving over to the left tackle spot for his final two years, where he played well. He’s got a nasty disposition and strong hands but can struggle with edge rushers, causing some to think he’ll move inside to guard. Either way, he’ll be a versatile player who should be expected to man a top backup spot somewhere right away.
The other offensive lineman taken in round four comes from the Ivy League as Green Bay tabbed Cornell tackle J.C. Tretter with the 25th pick of the round (122nd overall). At 6-feet, 4-inches, 302 pounds, Tretter has good feet, a good jump off the snap and a high-level of intelligence (obviously). His size and lack of arm length likely mean a move inside in the pros, possibly to guard but more likely to center. With Evan Dietrich-Smith on just a one-year deal, the best guess here is that Tretter will be groomed to be the center of the future for the Packers. If that’s the case, there’s a lot to like about this pick. You want a guy like this as your center
The last of the picks, for this wrap-up anyways, came in the fifth round when Green Bay selected Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde (159th overall, 26th pick of the round). Hyde provides great size for the corner position, standing 6-feet and 196 pounds. Hyde had 44 tackles (four for loss), 15 passes defended and one interception in his senior year last season. For his career, he picked off seven passes and defended 36.
Hyde possesses many of the traits Green Bay looks for in its defensive backs, namely he has very good ball skills. He also has great football smarts and awareness and is a really good tackler (something the Packers current DBs don’t always do well). He doesn’t have top-end speed, though, leading some to think he’ll be moved back to safety. That could happen eventually, but with his size, it’d be good to at least give him an early look at corner.
Okay, that wraps up those four picks. Unless Ted makes some more moves, there are five more picks to break down and we’ll do so shortly after the draft wraps up.