The draft is over – and the Green Bay Packers got some studs!
Prior to the 2017 draft, I did some analysis concerning whether Ted Thompson and the Packers were placing sufficient value on the athleticism of their draft picks. My conclusion: the Packers were slowly trending toward acquiring more athletic offensive players, but not so much on the defensive side.
So, how do the newest Packers stack up based on their athleticism?
Kevin King, Cornerback, Washington, Round 2 (33rd)
He’s a fabulous athlete: unparalleled agility, big, fast, and a leaper. His only weakness is his low bench press number, 11 reps (21st percentile). Grade: A+
Josh Jones, Safety, N.C. State, Round 2 (61st)
He’s above average in all the combine stats. His 4.41 dash time beats almost everyone else on the Packers’ roster! Great broad jump (132” – 96th percentile), fine vertical jump (37.5”), good bench reps (20). Grade: A
Montravius Adams, Defensive Tackle, Auburn, Round 3 (93rd)
Most of his scores are average, but not his dash time of 4.87 (91st percentile). His bench presses (22) are the biggest concern. He’s going to need to get his strength up, but he’s only 21 and still developing physically. Despite mediocre combine tests, he’s considered to be quick and explosive. Grade: B-
Vince Biegel, Linebacker, Wisconsin, Round 4 (108th)
His height is only 6’3”, but everything else is phenomenal. For his position his 4.64 dash time is 88th percentile. He’s in the top 10 percentile as to broad jump (124”), 20-yard shuttle (4.0) and bench presses (35). His weight of 271 is ideal for an edge rusher. Grade: A+
Jamaal Williams, Running Back, BYU, Round 4 (134th)
He’s not very athletic across the board, but starting with his 4.59 dash time (40th percentile). Agility and jump numbers are terrible, and his size is also unimpressive. Grade: D
Deangelo Yancey, Wide Receiver, Purdue, Round 5 (175th)
He has very good size (6’1 5/8”, 220 pounds) and his 21 bench press reps rates in the 93rd percentile. Otherwise, his combine scores are average at best. His 40-yard dash time of 4.53 is unimpressive, though better than that of Davante Adams (4.56) or Geronimo Allison (4.67). Grade: C-
Aaron Jones, Running Back, UTEP, Round 5 (182nd)
His 4.56 speed is too slow for my taste. He does have great leaping ability and good agility, but his strength is so-so. At only 5’9” he’s got the losing combination of being both slow and way undersized. Grade: D
Kofi Amichia, Offensive Line, South Florida, Round 6 (212th)
Kofi participated in pro day testing, rather than the NFL combine and he also worked out for the Packers in April. At 6’3 5/8” and 305 pounds, his 40-yard dash time was 4.99 seconds, he posted a 33.5” vertical jump, a 9’ 6” broad jump and he did 32 bench presses. Because he wasn’t in the NFL combine, I had to do some extrapolating to get percentiles for his scores. For offensive linemen, he’s in the upper 90s as to jumping ability and speed, and he’s near the 90 mark as to bench presses. I then compared him to all other o-line draftees in rounds 1 through 3. With the exception of his medium size, he blew away the field as to athleticism. Kofi might be a real sleeper selection! Grade: A
Devante Mays, Running Back, Utah State, Round 7 (247th)
At 5’11’ and 230 pounds, he’s built like a truck – or Eddie Lacy minus the spare tire. At a pro day event on March 31, he turned in a surprisingly quick 4.52 dash time (Lacy had a 4.64), did 22 bench reps (expected), had uninspiring agility scores (expected), but also had simply astonishing broad (10’9”) and vertical (40.5”) jumps. He’s captured my attention. Grade: A-
Malachi Dupre, Wide Receiver. LSU, Round 7 (238th)
He entered the draft at age 21 after his junior year. At 6’3” and 190 pounds, he’s built like a cross between Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis. At 4.52, his dash speed is below average. His jumping ability is as outstanding as his agility and bench press numbers are abysmal. Grade: D
Summary and Projections
In the early rounds — where it really counts — the Packers selected three terrific athletes – cornerback Kevin King and linebacker Vince Biegel have off-the-charts athleticism.
At the tail ends of rounds 4, 5, and 7, Ted Thompson went with running backs – striking out on the first two, who are each slow, undersized and without notable strength or agility. The team’s final pick, however, burly rusher Devante Mays, has some intriguing athletic abilities.
The two late-round wide receiver picks are disappointingly non-athletic.
The two running backs and two receivers aside, this is a stunning turnaround in strategy for the Packers’ draft team, who previously seemed to place little value in athleticism.
The Packers added four fine athletes with their top four picks, all defensive players.
Kevin King should compete for starting outside cornerback with Damarious Randall — by mid-season if not sooner. You won’t be surprised, will you, if he clearly outplays Randall at camp and in preseason games, but starts out on the bench?
Vince Biegel is an equally exciting prospect as an edge rusher. Though I defer to Wisconsin residents on how he looked in college, it’s said he’s intense, emotional and a leader. As he gains more bulk and power, he should out-develop the several other edge-rush draftees who have failed to step up in recent years.
Though I don’t see Josh Jones contributing much in 2017, barring a rash of injuries to the returning safeties, he too is an athlete with great potential in years to come.
In the latter rounds, they went with six offensive players, notable only for the athleticism of Kofi Amichia and Devante Mays. I think Amichia might surprise people in a year or two as an offensive lineman – people are forecasting he’ll switch to guard, but with his kind of maneuverability I’m thinking he’ll be Brian Bulaga’s successor. As for Mays, imagine a road grader like Lacy, but with the speed and agility of Ty Montgomery – faster actually, if we can trust the pro day time.
Coincidentally, the most athletic player the Packers have chosen – and squandered – in the last several decades is in the news. On April 26, Jeff and Alyssa Janis welcomed Carter James Janis into the family – congratulations!