Sunday, August 21, 2011

Checking up on the 2011 draft class

As we approach the third week of preseason and impending cuts, let's take a look at how the Packers 2011 draft picks have faired thus far-- and what the future may have in store for them.

Derek Sherrod - OT - Round 1 (32)
Sherrod has struggled. There's really no other way to put it. After starting 36 games at left tackle for the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, the Packers tried to mold Sherrod into a guard, a position he's never played. The experiment didn't work, and he looked out of place and a step behind. The rookie hasn't fared much better at tackle either, as he turned in a poor performance in last week's preseason match-up against the Cardinals.

Prognosis: It's obviously way too early to be disappointed in Sherrod, let alone label him a bust. The Packers should quit with the gimmicks and groom him to be what they drafted him to be-- Chad Clifton's replacement. A season backing up and learning from the 11 year veteran is exactly what Sherrod needs.

Randall Cobb - WR - Round 2 (64)
Alas, apparently Cobb is mortal. After a scintillating start to training camp and the preseason, he had a so-so showing against Arizona and left the game with a bruised leg. Still, let's not forget his dynamic athleticism, solid hands, and sky high football IQ. There's reason to be excited about him.

Prognosis: Cobb will contribute immediately as the most dangerous return man the Packers have had since Allen Rossum. As long as he continues to hone his route running, there's no reason to think he won't get a few snaps per game as a slot receiver as well.

Alex Green - HB - Round 3 (96)
We had to wait a little while to see what Green could do, but he didn't disappoint in his first game action of the preseason. He showed good hands and solid running ability. And although he whiffed on a blitz pick-up, that's something he's done very well at in practice.

Prognosis: As long as Green can convince the coaches he can protect the QB, he'll get reps in the regular season as a 3rd down back.

Davon House - CB - Round 4 (131)
House was a scratch from the latest preseason contest, but he performed very well in the preceding weeks. As advertised, he's got good athleticism and size, and appears capable in a variety of coverage types.

Prognosis: House will see a healthy serving of the field this year as member of some special teams units, and he could possibly edge out Jarrett Bush for the dime back position.

DJ Williams - TE - Round 5 (141)
With the veteran TEs out with injuries in the first weeks of camp, Williams stepped in and performed admirably. He's a good receiver who's been described as a poor man's Jermicahel Finley. He's cooled off in the past few practices, but he's still showed a lot of promise.

Prognosis: Depending on what happens to Andrew Quarless, Williams could be as high as TE2 on the depth chart. Even if Quarless remains, Williams will see some action in some of the Packers multi-TE sets, and he may be able to contribute on special teams.

Caleb Schlauderaff - OG - Round 6 (179)
It's hard to get a read on this Utah product. He's performed well at times (7-1 in 1v1 drills this past week), but poorly at others (bad showing in first preseason game against Cleveland). Like Sherrod, he may be a talented offensive lineman who just isn't ready to step in and contribute at a high level.

Prognosis:  Schlauderaff is on the bubble right now for a spot on the 53 man roster. Nick McDonald is a better guard than him, and Marhsall Newhouse and Evan Dietrich may also be graded higher. At this point, he may be a candidate for the practice squad.

DJ Smith - ILB - Round 6 (186)
It's been a quiet, steady preseason for DJ Smith. There's been nothing bad said about him, and while he hasn't stood out with any sensational plays, he's described as always being around the ball. Sounds like AJ Hawk. The Packers must have known what they were getting with Smith when they cut both Barnett and Chillar.

Prognosis: Smith will make the 53 man roster, but will probably be last on the depth chart for ILBs behind Hawk, Desmond Bishop, and Robert Francois. Still, he could make valuable contributions as a special teamer.

Ricky Elmore - OLB - Round 6 (197)
Elmore's been a flop. He was a productive DE in college, but that hasn't translated well in Green Bay, where he's trying to fit in as an OLB in the Packers' 3-4 scheme. His game has been described as soft.

Prognosis: Elmore will be cut and I doubt he makes the practice squad.

Ryan Taylor - TE - Round 7 (218)
Like Williams, Taylor also got the chance to show of his skills in the first couple weeks of practice, and he turned a few heads. While definitely not in the mold of a Jermichael Finley, he proved to be a competent receiver and picked up the offense quickly. But he's really made his mark on special teams, as he's a member of nearly every starting ST unit.

Prognosis: Another nice late round pick-up by the Packers, Taylor will fill the role of Spencer Havner as a special teams ace and capable fill in at TE.

Lawrence Guy - DE - Round 7 (233)
Guy is a big end with excellent athleticism, but he hasn't gotten the chance to show much this preseason. A concussion and its nagging symptoms have prevented him from practicing and kept him out of last week's preseason game.

Prognosis: It's hard to get an indication of what Guy's capable of doing. He has the measurables, but hasn't really had a chance to demonstrate his ability. He's got practice squad written all over him.


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  2. Glad to see that you've brought the blog back. I think the video posts combined with your regular posts will be a great improvement to JonBob's. Its disappointing to hear about Schlauderaff and Elmore, but hopefully we'll find better players to replace them. I'm excited to see how our return game will fare this season with Cobb back there