2013 NFL Offseason: Green Bay Packers
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
Green Bay Packers (Last Year: 11-5)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: A+
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Outside of the running back, center and safety positions, the Packers don't have a glaring need on the roster. They can pretty much sit back and take the best player available, though they need to keep in mind that they have several key players hitting free agency in 2014 like James Jones, Jermichael Finley and Morgan Burnett.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Ted Thompson is one of the best general managers in the NFL, so it's no surprise that the Packers came away with one of the top draft classes this year. They filled needs all while taking players who were great values at each pick.
Datone Jones was a solid first-round selection, as he'll give the Packers a much-needed pass-rushing presence up front. There were even better choices later, as Eddie Lacy inexplicably fell to No. 61 despite being discussed as a first-round option early in the draft process. The Packers also added another running back, Johnathan Franklin, in the fourth round even though he was considered by some to be the top player at his position in this class. Green Bay couldn't run the ball at all last year, and now the team suddenly has a tremendous backfield.
The Packers also made some other solid picks, including David Bakhtiari, who has left tackle potential. Micah Hyde, chosen on the third day (No. 159), played corner at Iowa, but could move to safety to fill a hole at that spot.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
26. Datone Jones, DE/DT, UCLA: A- Grade
Datone Jones has been discussed as high as No. 19 to the Giants, so the Packers are getting good value with Datone Jones. They're also getting a tremendous upgrade on the defensive line. Green Bay was completely obliterated by Colin Kaepernick, so the team needed to find players to help them stop the read option. Jones is a great fit, as Ted Thompson continues to be one of the better drafters in the NFL.
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61. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: A+ Grade
Ted Thompson makes this looks so easy. Not only did he sit and wait for the top running back in the 2013 NFL Draft; he also moved down and still managed to maintain him. Eddie Lacy would have been a first-round pick if it weren't for an injury that he'll quickly recover from. He'll be a tremendous upgrade in the backfield.
109. David Bakhtiari, OT/G, Colorado: A Grade
Ted Thompson loves versatile linemen, and David Bakhtiari definitely fits the bill. He can play both tackle and guard positions, so he'll definitely help somewhere on an offensive line that needed to be upgraded. Baktiari was an early third-round projection, so the value is good.
122. J.C. Tretter, G/OT, Cornell: B- Grade
Another versatile offensive lineman, though J.C. Tretter is more of a guard whereas David Bakhtiari should be at tackle. I'm not as crazy about this pick because I feel like Tretter could have been taken a round later.
125. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: A+ Grade
Wow, what a steal! Johnathan Franklin was viewed as the top running back in this class by some, so it's inexplicable that he fell all the way to the bottom of Round 4. Projected as a player similar to Warrick Dunn, Franklin will form a tremendous one-two punch with Eddie Lacy out of the backfield.
159. Micah Hyde, CB/S, Iowa: B Grade
Micah Hyde played cornerback at Iowa, but he may have to move to safety in the NFL because of speed concerns. Ted Thompson could be fine with that. He likes versatile players and needed help at the safety position. I thought Hyde would go in the middle of the fifth round, so this is the right range for him.
167. Josh Boyd, DE/DT, Mississippi State: B Grade
It's no surprise that the Packers spent two selections on the defensive line because they have some expiring contracts coming up soon. Josh Boyd is a solid selection who fits the range as a fifth-round prospect.
193. Nate Palmer, DE/OLB, Illinois State: C Grade
Nate Palmer wasn't a draftable prospect, but that's not a big deal at the end of the sixth round. What's more surprising is that the Packers waited this long to take a pass-rusher.
216. Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State: B Grade
Wide receiver is another position I thought the Packers would address earlier. Charles Johnson is a seventh-round prospect, so he makes sense at this spot. He might be able to make the team.
224. Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland: C Grade
This is a much more questionable receiver pick. It's the seventh round, but I don't think many would have considered Kevin Dorsey in the old 12-round format.
232. Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida: B Grade
Considered a seventh-round prospect, Sam Barrington should be able to contribute on special teams and provide solid depth.
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
There weren't many teams that suffered more injuries than the Packers this past season, yet they still managed to win the division and advance to the second round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, they ran into a Colin Kaepernick buzzsaw. Aaron Rodgers did what he could, but coordinator Dom Capers inexplicably didn't have his defense prepared for the read option.
- Center: Jeff Saturday was voted to the Pro Bowl despite being benched in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith. The center position desperately needs to be upgraded.
- Running Back: DuJuan Harris had a nice playoff run, but he probably can't be counted on to carry the load. The Packers have to find a true starting back. They can try one in the first round, but there will be plenty of options available in Round 2.
- Wide Receiver: Greg Jennings is a free agent. If he leaves, Aaron Rodgers will still have Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones at his disposal, but none of those guys are No. 1 receivers. General manager Ted Thompson may opt to draft one at the end of the first round.
- Rush Linebacker: Green Bay's front office needs to make sure that Erik Walden isn't on the field very much next year. He is terrible.
- Offensive Tackle: The Packers need to bring in another tackle for depth purposes so Don Barclay doesn't have to see the field next year.
- Tight End: Jermichael Finley may not be back next year because of contractual issues. If so, Green Bay could be looking at Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz this April.
- Safety: Safety depth is needed in the wake of Charles Woodson's released. Morgan Burnett and MD Jennings can start, but the position is now awfully thin.
- Quarterback: The Packers could stand to have a better backup behind Aaron Rodgers. I wouldn't trust Graham Harrell.
- Kicker: Green Bay should find some competition for Mason Crosby, who was second in missed field goals this past season.
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
- Matthew Mulligan, TE, Rams. Age: 28. -- Signed with Packers
Green Bay Packers Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Sam Shields (RFA), Packers. Age: 25.
Tendered by Packers (2nd round)
Sam Shields missed some time with a high ankle sprain but otherwise enjoyed a stellar 2012 campaign in which he became a legitimate shutdown cornerback. If he keeps this up, he'll be rich come Spring 2014 - if not sooner.
Greg Jennings, WR, Packers. Age: 29.
Signed with Vikings
Greg Jennings is a talented receiver, but he may be overvalued because he's always worked with either Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers. Plus, he tends to get banged up quite frequently.
Brad Jones, ILB, Packers. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Packers
Desmond Bishop's season-ending injury was initially thought to be a big deal, but it turned out to be very minor because Brad Jones stepped in and did a great job. Jones played all three downs highly effectively. He deserves a big contract.
Charles Woodson, S/CB, Packers. Age: 36.
Signed with Raiders (1 year)
Charles Woodson was released because of financial reasons, so it's not like the Packers don't think he can't play anymore. While Woodson isn't nearly the elite defensive back he used to be, he can still get the job done as a soon-to-be 37-year-old (in October).
Evan Dietrich-Smith, C/G, Packers. Age: 27.
Tendered by Packers (original)
A capable lineman who's versatile enough to play all three positions on the interior. He was an upgrade over the decrepit Jeff Saturday.
Cedric Benson, RB, Packers. Age: 30.
Slow and sluggish, Cedric Benson averaged 2.9 yards per carry or worse in three of his five starts in 2012. He'll be 31 at the end of the 2013 campaign.
- Erik Walden, DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 28. -- Signed with Colts
- Tom Crabtree (RFA), TE, Packers. Age: 27. -- Signed with Buccaneers
- Ryan Grant, RB, Packers. Age: 30.
- Frank Zombo (RFA), DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 26. -- Signed with Chiefs
- Rob Francois (RFA), ILB, Packers. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Packers
- Donald Driver, WR, Packers. Age: 38.
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 22
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 22
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 21
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 20
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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