by Adam Fournier, Ourlads’ Intern
The Packers have been one of the better teams in the NFC the past five seasons including a Super Bowl victory in the 2010-11 season. The Packers have what most would consider the best player in the NFL in quarterback Aaron Rodgers and have built a solid all-around team around Rodgers almost entirely through the draft. The Packers have continued this success in recent years finding some solid contributors to their current squad that was so close to another Super Bowl appearance last season.
The Packers have found two Pro Bowl offensive weapons in the past five years in a pair of 2nd round picks Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy. Cobb was a contributor at wide receiver for his first three seasons but had a breakout fourth season in 2014. Cobb played all 16 games for the first time in his career and was selected to the Pro Bowl. Cobb along with Jordy Nelson forms one of the best receiving duos going into the 2015 season. In 2013, the Packers made probably their best selection of the past five years when they drafted Eddie Lacy in the 2nd round. Lacy burst onto the scene winning the AP and PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year Awards and was also selected to the Pro Bowl. Lacy also won the inaugural PFWA Overall Rookie of the Year award. Lacy has been a steal as a 2nd rounder and has been everything his former Alabama teammate Trent Richardson, selected 3rd overall in 2011, was expected to be.
Green Bay has also found three out of their starting offensive linemen in 2015 in the last five drafts. Bryan Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, and Corey Linsley were all drafted in the last five years and are a part of one of the best offensive lines going into 2015. Linsley had a solid rookie year in 2014 starting every game after only being a 5th round pick. Linsley was not the only pick from 2014 to make an immediate impact as a rookie as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Davante Adams made solid contributions at safety and wide receiver respectively. Dix looks a potential star in the making and will start at safety alongside 2010 3rd round pick Morgan Burnett in 2015. Adams will be a great third option at receiver for Rodgers in 2015 to go along with Cobb and Nelson. With Quentin Quarless and Richard Rodgers at TE along with these receivers, the Packers have arguably the best receiving corps in the NFL in 2015. Both tight ends were drafted in the past five years as well.
The Packers have also had quite a few non-factors that were picked in the last few drafts. While the 2010 draft was a huge success as every player made a significant contribution to the team, the 2011 draft was a huge dud. With the exception of Randall Cobb, the rest of the draft did not have any impact most notably 1st rounder Derek Sherrod. Sherrod never made an impact in his four years with the team before being released during 2014 season. Cobb is the only player still on the team from the 2011 draft class. Jerel Worthy, Jerron McMillian, Terrell Manning, and Johnathan Franklin all failed to make an impact in their time with Green Bay and all no longer play with Green Bay with Worthy being the only one still in the league. The most unfortunate of this bunch is Johnathan Franklin. Franklin was forced into early retirement in June of 2014 after a neck injury in November of 2013. Franklin’s career ended just eleven games in.