With teams in the full swing of training camp across the National Football League, I continue my look at the potential impact each rookie will have for their respective team this season. Next team on the slate is the Green Bay Packers. The Packers were decimated by health issues last season but still managed to steal the division crown in the end. This team knew it needed to improve its depth up and down the roster heading into the draft process. Each pick’s impact will be graded on a scale of one to ten,one being a little to no impact player this season and a ten being an immediate high impact player. The Green Bay Packers made nine selections in the 2014 NFL draft.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Safety) – 1st round (Pick 21)
This pick was a cinch for the Packers. Ha Ha was one of the more pro ready safeties in the class. He is a strong tackler and a solid play maker. Clinton-Dix has great range on the field and has natural instincts as a free roaming safety. Ha Ha could stand to bulk up some to take on some of the bigger receivers and tight ends. He also needs to learn to be a little less conservative as it can expose him down field. Clinton-Dix is a starting caliber safety with solid pro intangibles and should be putting them on display in week one.
Impact Projection: 8 out of 10
Davante Adams (Wide Receiver) – 2nd round (Pick 53)
Davante is an incredible pick up for the Packers. Adams is a natural ball catcher with great leaping ability and reliable hands. Davante does an incredible job of increasing his catch radius and getting the ball at its best spot while fighting defensive backs. He is still young and developing physically and will only improve with his time in this offense. Adams needs to work on his skills off the line and his cuts in the open field, but he will be a sure-fire impact performer this season.
Impact Projection: 7 out of 10
Khyri Thornton (Defensive Tackle) – 3rd round (Pick 85)
Thornton has been listed as the backup left defensive end on the Packers depth chart. He is big solid anchor on the line and will be rotated in to seal the edge. Thornton flashes the speed and strength needed to be an edge sealer and part-time pass rusher on this defense. However Khyri must improve his pass rushing techniques and his arsenal of moves. Expect him to get rotational snaps but his production may be limited.
Impact Projection: 4 out of 10
Richard Rodgers (Tight End) – 3rd round (Pick 98)
Rodgers has been in football all his life. He is a big bodied tight end, who is a solid short yardage receiver and inline blocker. Richard has struggled with his weight in the past. Rodgers has high upside but he will have to wow people in camp to stay on the active fifty-three man roster. Rodgers is currently listed in the “other” option on the depth chart. If he does make the roster, don’t expect him to contribute much at all this season.
Impact Projection: 2 out of 10
Carl Bradford (Linebacker) – 4th round (Pick 121)
Bradford is an explosive linebacker who has a nose for the ball carrier. He is an incredible athlete for a linebacker and plays well in the blitz as well as coverage. He has shown flashes of ability as a play maker and has natural instincts on the field. Carl is a powerful tackler, but he could stand to improve his strength to take on linemen as a pass rushing option. Bradford will be welcomed depth for Green Bay and should likely see his fair share of snaps on the starting defense and will likely be an immediate special teams contributor.
Impact Projection: 5 out of 10
Corey Linsley (Center) – 5th round (Pick 161)
Linsley is a strong armed interior lineman with solid durability and intelligence. Has all the makings of a starting NFL lineman, he just needs to bulk up and learn to drive his blocks a little better and seal off speed rushers. Linsley has great leadership traits which transfer well into this teams culture. While JC Tretter is still listed first on the depth chart, don’t be shocked to see Linsley get a fair crack at the starting job.
Impact Projection: 4 out of 10
Jared Abbrederis (Wide Receiver) – 5th round (Pick 176)
Jared has solid hands and great intelligence on the football field. He won’t wow anyone with his physical prowess but he gets the job done most of the time and is a solid slot option style receiver. However Abbrederis has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the 2014 season according to NFL.com. Expect the Packers to place him on the PUP list or IR at any time.
Impact Projection: 0 out of 10
Demetri Goodson (Cornerback) – 6th round (Pick 197)
Goodson is a high risk high reward prospect with NFL blood lines(his brother Mike Goodson is an NFL running back). Demetri has great size and athleticism and could physically play up to par in the NFL. However his risk of injury, his age (25), and his overall lack of experience make him tough to project. He may not even make the roster cuts this season but if Demetri does he will likely only see special teams action.
Impact Projection: 2 out of 10
Jeff Janis (Wide Receiver) – 7th round (Pick 236)
Janis has the perfect NFL body (6’3” 219 lbs) and has all the power and athleticism you would expect out of a player that size. Except for solid hands. Janis needs to improve his catching and his reliability to keep the ball in his hands. Word from camp is that he has been playing pretty well and showing flashes of potential. With Abbrederis’ injury he may be able to snag the last receiver spot.
Impact Projection: 3 out of 10
The Packers are a team that are seemingly always in contention for a title year after year. The injury bug has derailed these hopes the last few seasons as the back ups just couldn’t quite get it done. The Packers attacked the 2014 NFL Draft with the selections of two high impact players in Clinton-Dix and Adams. They followed with a flurry of solid foundation players that could make an impact as early as this season in guys like Bradford, Linsley, and Thornton. This is a team that builds its foundation in the draft process and the Green Bay Packers 2014 rookie class is a promising one that should be making plenty of plays come September.
Joe Kleine is also co-host of thefinsradio.com show The Direct Snap, alongside fellow PhinPhanatic and Rant Sports writer Tyler McMullen (also on facebook search Tyler McMullen – Rant Sports). Please check out our facebook at www.facebook.com/theofficialdirectsnap or check us out on Twitter at the handle, @Direct_Snap. Our free to listen show about the NFL is on blogtalkradio.com/finsradio is on this Thursday August 7th at 8:30 PM Eastern time! Check out our show, give us a call, or e-mail us at [email protected]!