Green Bay Packers 2011 Draft Review

Ted Thompson addressed every position on the team except quarterback and kicker during the draft. The defensive line, linebackers, offensive line, running backs, wide receiver, tight end, and defensive back all were infused with young talent to add competition to a talented roster. A kicker was not selected, but special teams return and coverage units will both benefit from the draft class of 2011. Green Bay entered the draft with nine picks and through a series of trades they finished up with ten. First round pick Derek Sherrod was a value pick at 32 and Randall Cobb may have the opportunity to make the best rookie impression on the Packer fans. Derek Sherrod will have the opportunity to bookend last year’s first round tackle Bryan Bulaga. Either Sherrod or Bulaga will replace Chad Clifton in the future at left tackle. The rangy Mississippi State left tackle may get a shot at left guard while he is learning the tackle position. He has good agility and body control for a pro offensive lineman. He moves his feet with flexibility and balance. He plays with a good base and knee bend, has quick reactions, and the ability to recover. Randall Cobb will be given every chance to return kickoffs and punts – an area of concern for the defending Super Bowl Champions. Cobb fills an additional need as a slot receiver who can cause mismatches with his quickness and finish speed. Donald Driver is 36-years old and Cobb looks like his heir apparent. The former Kentucky Wildcat is a three-year starter who is a unique and diverse weapon. He scored four different ways in 2010 (receiving, running, passing, and he returned a punt for a touchdown.) He is dangerous in space and has good run after catch ability. In 2010 he caught 84 passes for 1017 yards and 7 touchdowns. Running back Alex Green provides some insurance as a third down back if free agent Brandon Jackson doesn’t return. Ryan Grant and James Starks are the frontrunners for the running back position, but Green has every down ability and provides serious competition. The other major transition for the Hawaii graduate besides the weather will be his ability to block stunts and blitzes from a pro scheme after playing a spread formation. Davon House will compete for the fourth cornerback position behind rising star Tramon Williams. A developmental corner with size and good speed, he plays the best up in press man to man coverage. He has good ball skills, picking off 11 interceptions and returning 3 of them for touchdowns. He will contribute on all special teams coverage units. Tight end DJ Williams is a new wave offensive utility specialist that catches the ball from a variety of alignments. He caught 54 passes as the John Mackey Award winner in 2010. Williams joins Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless as athletic, downfield receiving threats from the tight end position. He can turn a short reception into a long gain and also plays on punt coverage teams. Caleb Schlauderaff will be competing for an interior offensive line position depending on what happens with free agents Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz. The Utah guard started 49 games over four years. He is a reliable developmental zone blocking guard. DJ Smith was a four-year starter at one of the top FCS schools and is a sideline to sideline tackling machine. Outstanding instincts and productivity, he recorded 525 tackles over his career. He is versatile enough to compete at both inside and outside linebacker. He plays with quick hands, feet, and reactions. Ricky Elmore will compete with last year’s free agent find Frank Zombo, Erik Walden, and Brad Jones for the outside linebacker position opposite Clay Matthews. Elmore led the Pac-10 the past two years with 21 ½ total sacks. He played opposite Brooks Reed. He is a try hard guy, but a limited athlete. Ryan Taylor is an H-back, tight end, fullback, and special teams utility man with outstanding hands. He set a school record for tight end receptions with 36 in 2010. His pro day measurables were 6034, 254, 4.73/40, 1.69/10, 21/BP, 34/VJ, 9-10/BJ, 4.47/SS, and 7.09/3 cone. He had a big game catching the ball in the Music City Bowl win over Tennessee. Special teams will be his ticket. Lawrence Guy was a value pick in the seventh round. He has good size and athletic ability for the five technique defensive end position. He gives effort to the ball and has functional strength at the point of attack. He played a 3-technique in a four-man front so he’s a projection at defensive end. He works to the quarterback with a push and spin move. He doesn’t stay blocked in the run game. GRADE: GOOD.

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