Packers XLV

Draft Recap: Packers' Offense Adds Thunder and Lightning

Posted April 28th, 2013 @ 03:04pm

For those of you who were crestfallen when the Packers missed out on free agent Steven Jackson, I hope you're feeling a lot better now. The story of this draft for the Packers is the acquisition of two of the top five running backs and what it means for the offense.

We all know the offense has been one dimensional the past two seasons. We got a glimpse of what a legitimate running game could mean in that magical January run in 2011, when James Starks caught lightning in a bottle and the Packs steamrolled to the Super Bowl.

Two years later the team will be waving good-bye to Starks and Alex Green, as the position gets a make-over, with a pair of legit starters with loads of upside. When Eddie Lacy was passed over three times in the second round (by the Bengals, Steelers and Broncos) he fell into the Packers' lap at #61 and the team pounced. He was regarded by most as the best back in the draft, but lingering injury concerns scared some teams (as did the fact that his o-line at 'Bama was filled with NFL talent).

But no one can deny the talent Lacy has when healthy. He's big, tough and will be a punishing runner between the tackles. He's also got quick feet for a guy his size and has shown he has a burst. His signature spin move may need to be toned down a bit, or he's likely to get leveled by someone.

So, when the Pack traded out of the third round on Friday night, we headed into Saturday knowing the team had added a big, tough, pass rushing defensive end and the top back in the draft. Armed with ten picks on Saturday, you figured Ted Thompson would use them to move up if he saw a guy he couldn't pass up.

He used his two fourth rounders on offensive linemen. Colorado's David Bakhtiari sounds like a guy who could be in the mix for one of the tackle spots, if not this season in the near future. Cornell's JC Tretter could eventually land at any of the interior spots. A maligned position added some depth and will increase the competition among the group.

Then Thompson found a reason to move up, trading a fifth and sixth rounder to move back into the fourth to grab a player to whom they had given a second round grade. That guy was Johnathan Franklin, the dynamic UCLA running back, who reminds many of Warrick Dunn. Go watch his highlights on you tube. This kid is exciting and he's the whole package: besides being a tough, nifty runner, he's a good receiver out of the backfield and handles pass protection well.

Can you say thunder and lightning?

Now the team has protection if Lacy gets nicked up. Now the Packers have two legitimate blue chip running backs and now the Packers offense is ready to move to another level. Teams can no longer drop their safeties 10-15 yards behind the line of scrimmage and dare the team to run. No longer will we be forced to watch the hand off to John Kuhn on fourth and one. This team will be able to run the ball and it will make the passing attack even deadlier. Why, the Pack may even be able to legitimately run play action pass plays.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what these two backs bring to the table. The picks in round five through seven are for the most part works in progress. Most will need to show they can play special teams if they want to stick. Iowa's Micah Hyde was the Big Ten's defensive back of the year. There are questions as to whether he has the speed to play corner in the NFL--he may get a look at safety.

That's my one disappointment about this draft: the team didn't add a big-hitting safety to compete with MD Jennings and Jerrion McMillain. The latter was a fourth rounder last year and maybe they expect him to make a jump in year two. Maybe they will watch as teams waive veterans and they'll pick one up this summer. I still believe this team needs a talent infusion at free safety and we didn't see them go that route over the weekend.

The three other day-three defenders are defensive tackle Josh Boyd out of Mississippi State who is more of a run stopper than a pass rusher, and two outside linebacker prospects: Nate Palmer from Illinois State and Sam Barrington from South Florida. With Walden and Zombo moving on, one or both will have a chance to earn a roster spot if they show something in training camp.

The last two picks were wide receivers, another position I thought the team would address earlier, but have no issues because of the way the draft board fell. Charles Johnson is the more intriguing prospect: a journeyman who spent six years moving from school to school, he ran a sub 4.4 40 at his pro day and has size and a lot of speed. He may have a chance to turn heads. Maryland's Kevin Dorsey put up no numbers because his offense was so wretched, but earned a look because scouts like his measurables.

As of now the team has brought in ten undrafted guys, including former Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner, who could compete for the Crabtree spot. The team also added QB Matt Brown from Illinois State.

The takeaway from this draft: Datone Jones will step right in and have a chance to make an instant impact on the defense at a spot that desperately needs it. The team has lacked a pass rushing defensive lineman since Cullen Jenkins left and Jones fits the bill. The additions at offensive line should add depth and competition to a unit that needs it.

But what everyone around the league will be talking about is the Packers' brand new backfield toys. Lacy and Franklin. Thunder and lightning. Aaron Rodgers is smiling, and not just because he keeps staring at his new contract. This team will be able to run the ball now. That will make the offensive line look better, that will keep Rodgers from running for his life so much. And that will make the Packers offense even more deadly.

You say the Super Bowl will be played in New York next year, outdoors in the cold? Suddenly the Packers' offense seems ready for that. What we'll find out next season is whether the defense is too.

 

 

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Comments (12):

Finding Franklin still on the board that late was a fortuitous opportunity and kudos to Ted Thompson for moving to grab him. Otherwise this was a vintage Thompson draft: looking to build depth before reaching for the more highly publicized prospects. What the Packers didn't do, though, speaks loudest. In a draft that was strong in the offensive tackle position they didn't take anyone who projects as an early or immedite starter, if ever. That suggests they are getting good reports on the injury prognoses for Bulaga and Sherrod. No move either on the center position. They're comfortable with EDS there. But for depth and the future? I agree the Packers will be on the lookout for reinforcement at safety during the preseason and will be keen on the waiver wire for defensive line and linebacker as well. As for "thunder and lightning" out of the backfield, let's wait and see before we start sounding like Paul Allen here. We have reason to hope but nothing's been delivered yet.

on April 28th, 2013 at 05:46pm

McMillian is their hard-hitting Saftey. None of his issues were physical. He is very, physically gifted. He made a bunch of athletic plays last year, including a diving interception that was falsely taken away because of a phantom Walden personal foul. All of the issues have been mental. He has spent the entire off-season in GB. There is hardly anyone, short of a first round selection that could come in and learn the job as a rookie. I expect great things from him this year. -- On paper, the running game looks better, but that's not saying much. I was excited just to have Harris for the entire year. Franklin has me excited. I was not much of a Lacy fan. Anyway, surprised we didn't address WR earlier but all in all, it seemed like a decent draft. -- The addition of Jones and the healthy return of Perry, Bishop should bolster the D. GoPack!

on April 28th, 2013 at 06:39pm

Davey, Sweet draft! I agree totally that the additions of the new backs "Thunder and Lightning" and the infusions of lineman (competition!) picked will put us back on track! This makes Mr. Rodgers so much more dangerous!!! Go Pack!!!

on April 28th, 2013 at 08:57pm

well davey, it was good to see u giving me credit for franklin. thanks, ha! ha! it was nice to see we got him. I still don't like lacy. he is always hurt. I hope he proves me wrong. I am worried we didn't get a better olb though. and did anyone notice as much as we applaud TT, what was he thinking? he picks the guard tretter, at 122, then he loses 2 picks to move up and get franklin at 125. why not just take him at 122? tretter was rated a 6th round pick on most boards. he better be good. we could have had our man davey, simon from O.S. too. we took some guy I never heard of then baltimore gets him. I love Jones and franklin, we'll see. I think the vikes gave up to much to get patterson, but floyd is going to be great. how do theses guys always slide to them? Go pack.

on April 28th, 2013 at 10:24pm

Sweet, you drafted guys who will get as much PT as your water boys. You probably should have drafted an alcoholics anonymous program for your fans instead

on April 29th, 2013 at 01:03pm

Good luck trying to run the ball with Jim Brown in the backfield with that offensive line that has more holes than one of those cheeseheads you drunks like to wear. Drafting the reincarnation of Tony Moll and Junius Coston won't fix that crap.

on April 29th, 2013 at 01:20pm

Shouldn't be too much problem rushing against that old folks home D-line wearing the purple panties, no MLB and a suspect D-backfield. Good luck with that.

on April 29th, 2013 at 02:43pm

Cane....the holes in the Packer defense will never surpass the holes in your head . Packer draft grade..A-.....Cane blog grade F---!! GO PACK GO !!

on April 29th, 2013 at 03:31pm

I do not have enough fingers and toes on my wife, myself, my two dogs, and three cats to count the number of times in the Rodgers era we have been 3rd and 1 or 3rd and two and end up 4th and 1 or 4th and more. I was upset about not getting Stephen Jackson but to get Lacy and Franklin is fab. Lacy is not injury prone....check his history...but had that Packer injury last year....the hamstring....renamed the Packerstring for all our string injuries. Franklin had almost 1800 yards last year and will be a great addition. Wish we could have got my man Barett Jones but he went to St. Louis in the third and TT traded ours for the Franklin move which I can not argue. Jones will be better than Cullen Jenkins and was a great pick. We still need LB help and should consider Urlacker for one year.....you know he wants to come here or to the Vikes to get a crack at the Bears twice a season. The experts have said this was TT's best draft of his era with the Pack. Time will tell. Consider that our last three number one draft choices...Buluga, Sherrod, and Perry were out for most or all of last year and its like adding them to this class. GO PACK GO !!

on April 29th, 2013 at 11:44am

Absolutely hilarious you believe that adding ONE defensive end is going to to "fix" you historically bad defense. Your defense had holes at nearly every position. Good thing you took a bunch of Running Backs to play for a Head Coach who refuses to run the ball. That won't be any different. D+ draft.

on April 29th, 2013 at 12:15pm

Hey Cane (et al your cronies...), you guys might serve yourselves better cred if you could actually back up your wild statements with something substantial. The Packers' defense from '11 to '12 improved from, what, about #30 to around #12...something like that? Pretty good improvement, wouldn't you say? But of course you'll bring up how the 49ers torched them in the playoff game...fair enough. The first step in correcting that was addition by subtraction; in other words, letting Walden go in FA to the Colts who were foolish enough to hand him $4M. Then there were TWO D-linemen drafted, not just one (oh yes, Cane doesn't think anyone's worth anything after the 2nd round...sorry, I forgot about that). And as far as MM not wanting to run the ball previously, he didn't have too much in the way of options before. Now that he has some...DUH?!? Doesn't take a genius, does it? But of course AP will run for 2500 this season...and frankly, I hope he gets it, because that's the only way the Vikings will have any offense, because the Vikes have a HISTORICALLY (there's that word again) bad passing offense...at least as long as CP is still around. And believe me, signing Jennings and drafting Patterson ain't gonna help. Not to mention blowing 4 picks to get Patterson and still not picking up a MLB, that's really rolling the dice. You better hope the kid pans out, or it could be Troy Williamson 2.0.

on April 30th, 2013 at 08:46am

Hi Dave., so glad I found this page. Thanks a ton buddy. Keep reading to keep updated, great read here.

on June 17th, 2013 at 03:42am

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