There has been a lot of talk in Packer Nation this off-season about the linebacker position. Questions still need to be answered about the OLB position, the veterans Clay Matthews and Nick Perry as well as up-and-comers Vince Biegel, Kyler Fackrell and Reggie Gilbert. Inside, Blake Martinez lived up to the name “Machinez” in 2017 and the Packers drafted Oren Burks in the third round who was brought in largely for his upside and ability to cover receivers. But one of the Packers’ linebackers also had a good 2017 and got little credit for it. Let’s talk about the Packers’ “forgotten” linebacker. More
The NFC North looks to be one of the most competitive in the NFC if not the entire NFL this coming season. Everyone in Packer Nation knows the moves the Packers have made and many are likely quite excited. But it is a lot more difficult to keep up with the off-season moves of the other teams in the North so we at GPN decided to do that work for you as the Packers’ success in the Division is largely indicative of their success overall. Let’s take a quick look around the North and check out the competition with a view toward a better understanding of the division as a whole. More
DeShone Kizer had a very lackluster stint with the Cleveland Browns. Was that because the quarterback wasn’t ready for the NFL or was it just because the hype was overinflated? Today we discuss some thoughts on the subject.
Packers’ new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine must have been happy with this year’s off-season. Going into his first year, the team brought in Mo Wilkerson and signed Tramon Williams and Davon House. Then in the draft, the team’s first three picks were defensive players including corners at the two top spots. But the addition of Oren Burks in the third round may be one of the more under-rated of the Packers’ choices this year. Burks is an ILB with a lot of defensive back and hybrid experience. And coming from Vandy, in Pettine’s simpler scheme…he could be part of a very confusing front that is also very new to teams in the NFC North.
Reggie Gilbert got the attention of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy during rookie orientation. Gilbert has flashed real pass-rush potential but on a roster that includes some significant draft picks, he has his work cut out for him. But if Gilbert can continue to shine, he has a realistic chance of passing up draft picks for reps in the 2018 season. The Packers have been looking for a possible pass rush beyond Clay Matthews and if Gilbert can perform he can help the Pack immediately. Here are three ways Gilbert can help Pettine’s new scheme if he comes on this year. More
When coach McCarthy addressed the media last week, he made it clear that getting bigger and faster was a top priority. Now that the draft is in the books, the Packers have several big guys with speed that could be mode effective against tight ends, RB’s out of the backfield but can track and run in the screen game as well.
The question arose this week about what the Packers might do if Josh Rosen, QB from UCLA, were to fall to the 14th pick in the 2018 NFL draft. In this episode of the Quick Slant we discuss Rosen and contemplate what we would do if Rosen were to take the same fall that Aaron Rodgers did in 2005.
Rd. 1 Pick 14 (14
Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB) 6’1” 201 lbs 4.46 40-rd dash [Alabama]
6.30 Grade by NFL.com
Very high intensity player who somehow fell to 14 in my most recent draft and I scooped him right up.
He is the ultimate plug and play backfield player. Experienced at slot cornerback, can also play in a subpackage
as a linebacker and a blitzer and he has played both corner and safety at a very high level
throughout his collegiate career. A walk-on at Alabama as a freshman he started 10 times at the “star”
position earning him Freshman All-American accolades and Freshman All-ACC notice posting 45 tackles,
3 for a loss and 11 pass break ups. Speedy with “sticky hands” he has pick six value as well. Fitz was
moved to safety when Eddie Jackson got injured and he ended up leading the team with 6 interceptions,
186 interception return yards, earning two more pick-sixes setting an Alabama school record. He still has
room for improvement but he is easily one of the best defensive backs in the draft.
Rd. 2 Pick 12 (45)
DJ Moore (WR) 6’0” 200 lbs 4.42 40-yd dash [Maryland]
5.83 Grade by NFL.com
2017 Big 10 Receiver of the Year, first-team All-Conference selection despite catching passes from 4
different quarterbacks in 2017. Started all 12 games of Maryland’s season setting a school record with
80 receptions for 1033 yds and 8 tds. Although the physicals are different Moore is compared to
Stephon Diggs due to their similar playing style and athletic ability. Most likely destined for the slot due
to the lack of height but he also has potential as a punt/kick returner.
Rd. 3 Pick 12 (76)
Isaac Yiadom (CB) 6’1” 190 lbs 4.52 40-yd dash [Boston College]
5.65 Grade by NFL.com
Isaac might be a bit injury prone but in 2016 Yiadom led the Eagles with 10 pass break-ups, starting 8 of
13 games making 26 stops, two for a loss. In 2017 he started all 13 games making 53 tackles, 2
interceptions and 7 more pass break-ups. Can handle press-man as well as zone coverage. His man
coverage still needs a bit of work but he has excellent special teams value. Plays stronger than he looks.
He is a project but he has a lot of potential.
Rd. 4 Pick 1 (101)
Alex Cappa (OT) 6’6” 305 lbs [Humboldt St]
5.42 Grade by NFL.com
I am particularly high on Cappa because I think he has the potential to help the packers O-line depth
immediately. He was a unanimous First-Team All-American in all four seasons he played with the
Lumberjacks. Better at run-blocking than pass protection he could potentially move to guard although
he could also play as a swing tackle. Strong finisher on all snaps “his mean is always on”.
Rd. 4 Pick 33 (133)
Jalyn Holmes (Edge) 6’5” 283 lbs [Ohio State]
5.71 Grade by NFL.com
Holmes received an honorable mention even though he sat behind the likes of Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa,
Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard during his first few years but he was still an important piece of Ohio’s
rotation. Deceptively strong, excellent spin move, length and natural athleticism and power to become
more dominant at the next level.
Rd. 5 Pick 1 (134)
Terrell Edmunds (S) 6’0” 217 lbs 4.47 40-yd dash [Virginia Tech]
5.54 Grade by NFL.com
Older brother of Tremaine Edmunds, son of former pro-bowler TE Ferrell Edmunds. He broke out in
2016 with an honorable mention starting 13 of 14 games, posting 89 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and four
interceptions. He ended his season early to have shoulder surgery but still managed to receive thirdteam
All-ACC recognition while playing though the injury making 59 stops, 2.5 for loss, 2 interceptions
and 2 pass break-ups. Good size and burst with man cover talent against bigger targets. Some
inconsistencies as an open-field tackler but Joe Whitt Jr. should be able to help with that.
Rd. 5 Pick 37 (174)
Auden Tate (WR) 6’5” 225 lbs 4.68 40 yd-dash [FSU]
5.43 Grade by NFL.com
Although Tate was injured in 2017 he still impressed in his junior year. Huge target with outstanding
body control. Leaps in mid-air and adjusts to make the catch using very strong hands. Extremely tough
as he played through a shoulder injury that year. The one major knock on Tate is his speed but coaches
swear he will run better on the field than at the combine. Tate could be another major red-zone threat
Rd. 6 Pick 12 (186)
Brian O’Neill (OT) 6’7
5.71 Grade by NFL.com
Originally started as a tight end Brian was moved to tackle in 2015 playing in all 13 games and starting
the final 12 at both left and right tackle. The following year he earned a second-team ALL-ACC mention.
Injuries on the line moved him to left tackle for his junior season where he started all 12 games and
earned first-team all-American honors. He was also used as an offensive weapon by Pitt as a rusher and
a passer earning him two scores. Classic zone-scheme blocker, also a potential for a move to guard,
O’Neill needs to put on some more mass or swing tackle could be his ceiling.
Rd. 6 Pick 33 (207)
Dorance Armstrong (Edge) 6’4” 246 lbs [Kansas]
5.60 Grade by NFL.com
Armstrong broke out in his sophomore year earning him a first-team Big-12 mention by racking up 10
sacks, 56 tackles, 20 for loss, and 3 forced fumbles. His production dropped in 2017 but he still earned
second-team all-conference honors with 63 tackles, 9 for a loss, 1.5 sacks, four pass break ups and 3
more forced fumbles. More athletic oriented than technique oriented but that could be corrected with
the right coaching and the switch to a 3-4 OLB.
Rd. 7 Pick 14 (232)
Troy Fumagalli (TE) 6’5” 247 lbs [Wisconsin]
5.38 Grade by NFL.com
Some of the best hands in the country—despite only having 9 fingers. Troy was the Cotton Bowl
Offensive MVP of the year in 2017. P.J. Fleck the opposing coach for Western Michigan described Troy
as “incredible”. His blocking showed much improvement this year and he continued to produce
offensively consistently. While crafty in terms of his route running, he is still a pretty raw prospect with
below average athleticism, but he makes up for It with consistency and he still gets it done.
Rd. 7 Pick 21 (239)
Marcus Allen (S) 6’2” 215 lbs. [Penn St]
5.63 Grade by NFL.com
As a true freshman Allen played in all 13 games, starting in the final seven gaining 58 tackles, 2 for a loss,
1 sack and 3 pass break-ups. He was voted as an honorable mention All-Big Ten the following year after
starting 12 games and garnering 81 tackles, 5 for a loss, 1 sack and 2 forced fumbles. In 2016, Allen was
a third-team all-conference selection as he led the Nittany Lions with 110 tackles in 14 starts, also
breaking up 3 passes, recording a forced fumble and a blocked kick. He was a team captain and a locker
room favorite, he can match up with TE’s, and he already plays with an NFL level of aggression. The
Packers need more bangers on defense, and I think with our secondary would benefit from his downhill
speed and coverage abilities. A scout is reported as saying “I think he would be a great fit for the nickel
or dime linebacker position” which if I’m not mistaken is a major position of need now that Burnett is no
longer with the team.