It was a typical draft for the Green Bay Packers, last year not withstanding. They locked onto some players they wanted like Datone Jones and Micah Hyde.
Ted Thompson also snatched up some bargains in guys like Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.
The draft concluded with some gambles on small school players like Charles Johnson and Nate Palmer.
If you have been paying attention to how the Packers have drafted since general manager Thompson took over, this is a pretty steady theme.
Targets, players the Packers like. Slippers, players that have slipped past their designated draft spot on the draft board. Sleepers or projects, the players that are generally taken later in drafts but not always.
You might be thinking, this is how every team drafts, but I could argue they do not. Certainly few, if any teams, have had the success Green Bay has drafting players. Nearly every starter is a draft pick. Heck almost the entire roster is made up of draft picks.
One of the things Green Bay does, again last year not withstanding, draft the best player available regardless of position. Last season the Packers drafted six straight defensive players. Clearly trying to address a need. That was the exception, not the rule for Packers drafts. Drafting best player available has landed Green Bay it's most talented players like Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Bryan Bulaga, etc., etc., etc.
With these themes in mind we take a look back at the 2013 draft class.
Round 1, pick 26 was Datone Jones. Jones was projected as high as the 24th pick, but most experts placed him in the second round and some even as late as the third.
This was a guy the Packers wanted. A seemingly perfect fit for the Green Bay 3-4 scheme. Jones looks like another pass rusher for the Packers. He appears to lack the speed for the read-option and quicker quarterbacks that frustrated Green Bay a year ago.
Eddie Lacy was the Packers' 2nd round pick at No. 61. A player projected to go as high as round 1 to this very team, Lacy fell all the way to pick No. 61 in the second round and Green Bay pounced. A bruising downhill runner he gives Green Bay the punch they have lacked since perhaps Ahman Green on short yardage.
Lacy showeed up at camp looking like the younger sibling of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Monster. Grossly overweight, he appears to have quickly dropped the weight and looks like an NFL player again. His season debut showed all the potential. A steal at pick 61, if he can maintain some work ethic.
With no 3rd round selection Green Bay found a big gem sitting there for them in round four in David Bakhitari with pick No. 109. Green Bay had a superb draft and Bakhitari is one of the reasons.
While the name may be hard to say, (and type), it is not hard to see why the Packers like him. A big 6'4” with the athletic ability to play tackle at the NFL level Bakhitari is the second bargain in a row projecting as high as middle second round. Bakhitari has impressed in training camp which has been a welcome sight to see with Bulaga sidelined with injury.
J.C. Tretter was the second of three 4th round selections and drafted about where he was projected.
A tight end that transitioned to tackle for his senior season, Tretter projects as a guard or center at the NFL level.
A supremely smart player form Cornell, Tretter is going to find himself in a second-string role at best in 2013 because of the strong interior line Green Bay already possesses.
Green Bay traded up to gain a third 4th round selection because running back Johnathan Franklin was sitting on the board.
Despite having plucked Lacy earlier in the draft, Franklin was too enticing to pass up at pick 125, at least two rounds later than projected. Green Bay must have liked Tretter an awful lot to pass on Franklin just three picks earlier.
Franklin appears to have all the tools. He can run inside, although he prefers outside. He can catch the ball and has the necessary speed to be successful. I understand why Lacy fell, but not why Franklin did.
The backfield will be interesting all season long in Green Bay. It will be fun to watch how head coach Mike McCarthy will rotate the backfield, and who makes the roster with incumbents Alex Green, James Starks, and DuJuan Harris a part of the mix as well.
The Big Ten defensive back of the year was a target for Green Bay, in round five and rightfully so. Micah Hyde is not the biggest or fastest player on the field, but is undoubtedly one of the smartest. He isn't slow or undersized, he just isn't flashy. What he is, is good with potential for more.
A three-year starter at Iowa he can also return punts. I watch a lot of Iowa football and would be surprised if Hyde isn't the nickel back by mid-season. That is saying a lot, because I am a big fan of incumbents Casey Hayward and to a lesser extent Davon House.
He is great insurance as a backup returner to Randall Cobb if he gets injured or Green Bay decides to limit his exposure and remove Cobb from his returner role. Hyde has just enough patientce to see the crease and just enough burst to get through it.
Josh Boyd was the second 5th rounder form Mississippi State and joins a crowded defensive line in Green Bay. Tagged as a hard worker with good technique Boyd is going to find it difficult to crack the roster because of the plethora of defensive line talent in Green Bay.
Nate Palmer in the 6th round is the first of those four drafted. A defensive end in college he will try to make the transition to outside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4. I like this pick.
He has all kinds of athletic talent exhibited on his pro day workout with 4.72, 40-yard dash speed and 35 ½ foot vertical leap. He could be a valuable special teamer if he can make the roster. But I actually like the Packers last pick to make the team over Palmer.
Charles Johnson was a 7th round selection. A 6'2” wide receiver who put up impressive pro day numbers with a 4.4 40-yard dash and a 39 ½ vertical leap. That kind of speed and leaping ability on a 6'2” frame are what attracted Green Bay to this Grand Valley State standout.
Kevin Dorsey was another 7th round wide receiver selection who posses a ton of intelligence. He looks the part at 6'1” and 207 pounds, but wasn't overly impressive at Maryland.
Sam Barrington is another intelligent and athletically gifted player. The final 7th round and Packer draft pick played all three linebacker positions as a senior at South Florida. Questions surrounding his work ethic and decision making, despite the intelligence level, nearly dropped him off the draft board completely.
There is no doubt he has the talent, and game day motor. I like his chances to make the roster and contribute on special teams.
This was a dynamite draft for Green Bay I see at least four starters out of this draft by the end of the year and several more contributors. I am looking forward to 2013 and their impacts. Who are you most looking forward to see in Green and Gold?