Damarious Randall, S/CB, Arizona State – Round 1
The Packers made one of the surprise picks of the first round when they selected a safety for the second-straight year instead of their choice of any inside linebacker. Green Bay has been weak in the middle and yet felt that Randall was a better player than any of the linebacker prospects. The Packers like Randall’s coverage skills as a free safety who also played slot corner. Green Bay will start out Randall at corner, and between the two positions, I think he will emerge as a solid starter.
Randall was a rising prospect during his senior year, through a strong Senior Bowl and in the final weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. He had 101 tackles with three interceptions and eight passes broken up for the Sun Devils in 2014. Randall (5-10, 194) showed real skill as a deep free safety to prevent big plays downfield and match up against receivers in the deep portion of the field. The night of the draft, Packers general manager Ted Thompson said Green Bay’s plan was to start Randall out at cornerback, and sources at other teams were surprised that the Packers were going to go that route. They felt that Randall should stay at safety.
Randall could form a nice safety tandem with HaHa Clinton-Dix if Randall’s position change doesn’t work. Either way, he has the speed, instincts and ball skills to become a solid starter in a NFL secondary.
Most Likely To Bust
Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford – Round 3
There weren’t any picks from Green Bay that I really disliked, and I like Montgomery as a prospect. I think he has an intriguing skill set and a lot of talent to work with. Montgomery (5-11, 221) is fast, strong and a play-maker. The reason why he’s my choice for potential bust is because I think he could get buried on the depth chart and never end up making a big impact as a wide receiver in Green Bay.
The Packers are set with starters Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Davante Adams looks like he is on the verge of breaking out and is firmly the third receiver. Plus, the Packers have a number of other good young competitors at the position like Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis. With Nelson, Cobb and Adams, I think Montgomery is going to have a hard time seeing the field. While Montgomery is fast, he can have issues with dropped passes, and I could see that hurting his chances of earning playing time. After a strong start to his senior year, he slumped down the stretch.
I think Montgomery will be a returner for the Packers, but won’t contribute much as a receiver. As a result, I think the pick used on him could end being viewed as a bust.
Potential Boom Pick
Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami of Ohio – Round 2
Rollins came to football late after playing basketball earlier in college, so he is a boom-or-bust prospect for the NFL. However, Rollins flashed serious potential last year and at the Senior Bowl. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder could develop into an excellent cornerback after he refines his game and gains some experience.
Rollins was the 2014 MAC Defensive Player of the Year with 72 tackles, seven interceptions and nine passes broken up. He is superb at playing the ball and high-pointing it. His basketball background definitely was an asset there. Rollins will need some coaching up in terms of playing off-man, zone and press-man coverage, but he has a skill set that looks intriguing for the NFL.
Green Bay was a great landing spot as Rollins won’t be expected to start right away. Veterans Sam Shields and Casey Hayward are set there. Hayward is in the last year of his contract, and Green Bay may not be able to afford his extension. In a year or two, I think Rollins could be poised to take off and become a special defender for the Packers.
Future Depth Player
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA – Round 5
During the Brett Favre years, Green Bay was very adept at developing backup quarterbacks and trading them for draft picks. They did that with Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck, Aaron Brooks and others. The Packers could rediscover that method for bolstering their roster with Hundley. The 6-foot-3, 226-pounder has a good skill set with a strong arm, great mobility and a strong work ethic. Hundley has to develop his pocket presence and accuracy for the pros though. He could improve as Aaron Rodgers’ backup, and with the injuries that Rodgers has sustained, it makes sense for the Packers to have a talented backup quarterback. Hundley has the skill set to be one of the top backup signal-callers in the NFL.
Walt’s 2015 NFL Draft Grades:
30. Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State: B- Grade
Eric Kendricks and Denzel Perryman fell to the Packers’ lap… and they pass on both for a second-round safety? The Randall love didn’t make much sense to me – he’s athletic, but as Jon Gruden noted, he struggles to tackle. However, I had him pegged as an early second-rounder, so this isn’t a mega reach, or anything. I just think the Packers had better options at their disposal.
Follow @walterfootball for updates.
62. Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami of Ohio: B+ Grade
Quinten Rollins, as you may know by now, is a former basketball player who doesn’t have much football experience. He’s a talented prospect though, and he’s well worth this selection, as I had him pegged as a late second-rounder. He also fills a big need; the Packers lost several cornerbacks this offseason, so they had to address the position. I’m just a bit confused that they would draft a corner under six feet tall.
94. Ty Montgomery, WR/KR, Stanford: B Grade
Ty Montgomery was a Round 3-4 prospect, so the range is right for him. Some may question what the Packers want with yet another receiver, but Montgomery will be able to play special teams as a kick-returner right away. He won’t see many offensive reps unless there are numerous injuries, but he’ll still be able to make an impact because of his special-teams ability.
129. Jake Ryan, ILB, Michigan: B+ Grade
Jake Ryan is the sort of athletic inside linebacker the Packers and their fans have been pining for. Expecting Ryan to start right away is unfair, but he could eventually take over inside, which would allow Clay Matthews to finally be able to move to the exterior.
147. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA: A+ Grade
I love this pick. I wouldn’t have been a fan of any team picking Brett Hundley in the second round because expectations would’ve been too high for him. Hundley has a first-round skill set, but he plays football like a seventh-rounder. He needs time to develop, and he’ll have that in a great environment. At the very worst, Hundley will be a decent option for the Packers if Aaron Rodgers gets hurt again. Best case, the Packers will develop him and flip him for a second-round selection.
205. Aaron Ripkowski, FB, Oklahoma: B- Grade
This makes sense, as Aaron Ripkowski, a seventh-round prospect, can be brought in and learn behind John Kuhn. Ripkowski can take over for the aging Kuhn in a year or two.
210. Christian Ringo, DE/DT, Louisiana-Lafayette: C Grade
I’m not sure about this one. It’s hard to argue with Ted Thompson’s success, but I don’t like Christian Ringo’s fit in the 3-4. He wasn’t in my top 400.
213. Kennard Backman, TE, UAB: C Grade
So much for J.J. Nelson being the last UAB player drafted for a very long time. Make that Kennard Backman, who might address the slight need at tight end the Packers have. As you can probably tell, I didn’t have Backman getting drafted, so I think the Packers could’ve done better than this.
2015 NFL Draft Team Grade: B . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.
Green Bay Packers Season Preview
NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22
2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 21
Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19
NFL Picks - Feb. 12