One of the keys to being a good talent evaluator is being honest with yourself. It’s important post-draft to do a self-evaluation every year to see where you were right and where you were wrong. You can then evaluate that and determine why you were wrong and if it’s a trend or was it just a one-off type of thing so you can do better in the future.
This will be mostly Packers-centric but will cover the draft as a whole. This will be about trends, specific players, positions, etc…On to the fun!
- Jaycee Horn going before Pat Surtain: Although it was only one spot, Horn did end up being the first CB off the board. I liked Horn a lot. I just didn’t think he would go before Surtain. I think it was just a situation of Carolina liking Horn’s upside more than Surtain’s. The upside is king in the NFL.
- Justin Fields dropping to 11: I don’t think many saw this happening. I didn’t. The 2nd best QB in the draft ending up being the 4th QB taken didn’t make sense. Why fields dropped so far, I’m not sure, and I hate that he went to Chicago. Maybe those ‘one read QB’ rumors were really going around the NFL?
- Alex Leatherwood going at 17: Leave it up to the Raiders to always reach for a player. I felt he was probably on the Packers board at 29. And felt he was a late 1st early 2nd round pick. I think it was just the Raiders being the Raiders. Nothing really to learn here. Except to always remember tackles go higher than you sometimes think.
- Greg Newsome’s ‘slide’: I had Newsome as a top 20 pick, but he went a little later than I thought. I think what probably kept him from going higher was his injury history/lack of playing time. Even if injuries are minor, if it keeps a player out for while, NFL teams will count it against them.
- Stokes going at 29: Going into the draft I had Stokes as an early-mid 2nd rounder. I felt although his stats were really good, he had some major flaws to his game that could really hurt his potential at the NFL level. His 4.3 speed and 4 INT’s as a junior are what got him drafted in the 1st. The speed at skill positions still really matters in the NFL.
- Green Bay taking a corner at 29: Although I had CB and OT as the two positions I felt the Packers would take at 29, I thought the way the board was looking to fall that they would end up with a tackle at 29. What to remember here is the Packers are already set at LT but after this season has no one under contract except Jaire at CB. They probably valued a potential starter at CB over a potential right tackle.
- Christian Barmore slipping to 38: I had Barmore as a top 20 pick. Why did he slip to 38? I’m not totally sure. Maybe his lack of starting experience? Or bad agility testing?
- Teven Jenkins slipping to 39: Another player that I had as a 1st round pick. His film was great, and his workout was better than expected. He also has guard versatility. So why did he slip? I think because he did have the back issue that caused him to miss some of his senior year, his pass blocking being a little behind his run blocking, and on film, he didn’t look as athletic as he tested. Lesson learned again keep an eye on injuries and it also shows how important the passing game is.
- Samuel Cosmi dropping to 51: This one I still don’t really get. Lots of starting experience, great athlete, loads of upside. Cosmi could play LT at the next level. He has some technical stuff that needs work, but for example, you see Horn go before Surtain, a somewhat similar situation. There has to be some other reason he dropped.
- Dayo Odeyingbo was taken in the 2nd: Let me say this first: I love Dayo’s film. I think he can become a really good player, BUT he just tore his Achilles in January. The recovery for that is close to a year, so Indy used a 2nd on a guy who won’t play his rookie year, and who knows if he will ever be the same. Lesson learned? Upside is still king.
- Tutu Atwell getting taken on day 2: The guy is tiny. I mean people talked about Davonta Smith being small? Atwell is 5’9 150 pounds. I don’t see how his body will hold up in the NFL. What to learn? Some teams love their fast undersized receivers, and they are trying to get their own Dante Hall.
- Packers taking a Center in the 2nd round: I always thought they would take a center in the draft, I just figured they would wait until day 3 like they usually do. What did I learn? If there is a player that Gutey likes, he’s going to take him even if it’s a little early.
- Ossai not going until the 3rd: Athletic edge rushers are always in high demand in the NFL. He also started a number of games and has versatility in his game having played some off-ball linebacker. Not sure what happened here.
- The Packers breaking their height threshold for Rodgers: The Packers have generally kept a height threshold of about 6’0 with their receivers. The only players before the 2021 draft were Randall Cobb and Greg Jennings. What this tells me is Gutey targeted Rodgers for a specific role and going forward I highly doubt they draft any more short receivers; unless something happens to Rodgers.
- James Hudson slipping to the 4th: I did not see this one coming. Off my evaluation, I had him as a late 2nd, early 3rd. Why do I think he slipped? Lack of playing time. He only had one year as a starter, his underwhelming combine testing probably also dropped him a bit as well, and the depth at tackle in this class. What to learn from this? Teams hate uncertainty. If teams are not sure what to make of a player it may cause them to be a little skittish on taking them early.
- Jabril Cox dropping out of the top two rounds: Most had him pegged as a late 1st or 2nd round pick. Why he slipped all the way to the 4th? I’m not sure. One of his weaknesses is he is not great against the run. Possibly teams view him as a sub-package LB.
- Kene Nwangwu and Ian Book getting taken in the 4th: Both players most evaluators had as late day 3 prospects. So 6th-7th rounders. Nwangwu had an amazing pro day and has kick return experience, but he also only rushed for 339 yards as a senior, and that was a career-high. He also only has 7 career catches. He did have Breece Hall in front of him who looks to be one of the top backs in the 2022 draft. With Book, he just wasn’t a very good QB, and he did not look very good at the senior bowl. He is also undersized with a sub-par arm. He played a bit of backyard football at ND as well. I don’t think much can be taken from either of these picks. It just seems to be cases of teams reaching for a player because of athletic testing(Nwangwu), and a big positional need(Book).
- Kenneth Gainwell dropping to the 5th round: His 2019 film was really good and he opted out of 2020. I think he fell due to the running back position not being prioritized, only one year of production, and his sub-par pro day workout probably had teams feeling uncertain about him. Seeing a pattern?
- Daviyon Nixon going in the 5th round: Nixon off his film should have gone in the 3rd at the latest. He affects the passing game and he still has the upside to get better, and it was also a weak class that should have pushed some guys up. The only reason I can think of as to why he dropped is his inconsistency against the run and only being a one-year starter in a shortened season. Why he slipped so far I can’t figure out.
- The Packers taking an undersized unathletic cornerback: The pick of Jean-Charles was completely out of left field for their history and the type of DB’s they like. It’s not even the fact that he is the same height as Jaire. He is 10 pounds lighter with a small frame and for a smaller cornerback, he did not test well at all. His agility testing was especially bad, and those are tests the Packers tend to emphasize. What I learned from this is they drafted him to help out of special teams and possibly in nickel and dime packages. He is probably a one-off pick, I don’t see him as a new trend or anything like that.
- Jaylen Twyman dropping to the 6th round: A 2020 opt-out after one year of production and a less than stellar pro day. Again seeing the pattern yet? If it weren’t for Covid he probably would have gone 4th or 5th round.
- Rod Williams being drafted in the 6th: I had him as a 4th or 5th rounder. He has good size and good athleticism. Minimal production as far as INT’s, but he was a solid cover guy who can play in the NFL. He is a little overaged and that is probably why he dropped.
- James Wiggins going in the 7th: Another one I don’t understand. He had a great 2018, then tore his ACL and missed 2019, he suffered a setback while getting ready for 2020 and had a second surgery. He tested out great. It’s probably the two knee injuries to the same knee in a six-month period. He also had somewhat of a down year in 2020. Those are probably reasons why he slipped. Lesson? multiple injuries to the same area will drop you quickly.
So next I will write a LONG article about the things I was right about!