Pre-Draft Needs: OLB, DE, SS, CB, C
Round 1-Nick Perry/LB
Round 2-Jerel Worthy/DT
Round 2-Casey Hayward/CB
Round 4-Mike Daniels/DT
Round 4-Jerron McMillian/S
Round 5-Terrell Manning/LB
Round 7-Andrew Datko/OT
Round 7-B.J. Coleman/QB
DE (veteran), C
For most teams, an appearance in the second round of the playoffs (divisional round), no matter what the results turn out to be in the end, is a pretty good achievement. However, for the Packers, who many picked to win the Super Bowl last year, ended well short of their goal of taking home a second straight ring. And you could point to the defense as for the biggest reason why that didn’t happen.
Executive V.P., General Manager/Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson knew he had to address the front-7, and to do that, he selected Nick Perry with the team’s first-round pick. Perry, who played DE at USC, will move to OLB in the Packers’ 3-4 defensive scheme. The Packers have been looking for someone to take over opposite fourth-year OLB Clay Matthews, and it’s clear the team thinks Perry is that guy. With Perry in the fold, rotational OLBs such as Frank Zombo, Brad Jones and Erik Walden can provide depth instead of being counted on for increased snaps.
Second-round pick Jerel Worthy, like Perry, will be making a position change. Worthy is a decent pass rusher, but is very good against the run. Most 3-4 defensive ends are run stoppers, and Worthy likely isn’t going to be much different in that aspect—at least initially. But what he has is a good first step for a lineman of his size. And with the suspensions to DLs Tony Hargrove (8 games) and Mike Neal (4 games), Worthy may have to play earlier than first thought.
Fellow second-round pick Casey Hayward, if he progresses nicely this season, could be the eventual replacement at cornerback for veteran Charles Woodson. Hayward figures to challenge for a role in dime situations this season. Third-year CB Sam Shields is best playing inside, which is why Hayward projects to start on the outside down the line. However, Hayward carries a thin frame, so he may have to bulk up a bit for the long haul.
Fourth-round pick Mike Daniels, despite his lack of size, will play end in the Packers’ defensive scheme. Many teams saw him as a 4-3 tackle, but he has rare speed in a short area and explosion for a defensive lineman. Once Daniels (shoulder) is fully healthy, he could get into the rotation fairly early because of the lack of depth at end.
The second of their fourth-rounders, S Jerron McMillian, is known in scouting circles for his physical play. Because of his style of play and size, he could eventually be the long-term replacement for Nick Collins, who was recently released. However, his lack of speed was also a concern in scouting circles.
Fifth-round pick OLB Terrell Manning is an undersized speed rusher. Manning is also known for making splash plays from time to time, but his tape, according to a personnel source, shows an inconsistent nature, and speaks to why he was drafted late.
Seventh-round picks OT Andrew Datko and QB B.J. Coleman are considered long-shots to make the roster coming out of preseason. However, in Datko’s case, because of his size and decent athleticism for the position, could warrant a closer look in training camp. And for Coleman, the other two backup quarterbacks weren't drafted, so it's completely not out of the question that he winds up winning the No. 3 role.
Overall, Thompson, as expected, addressed the defense early in the draft. And Tthe Packers should get at least two starters out of this draft and likely more by year two or three.