Ted Thompson is one of the best general managers in all of professional sports, and he fo..."/> Ted Thompson is one of the best general managers in all of professional sports, and he fo..."/>

Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Draft Grades


Ted Thompson is one of the best general managers in all of professional sports, and he followed up a Super Bowl victory with yet another excellent draft. Even though Green Bay had a fantastic run to end the season, they still had some areas that needed to really be addressed in the draft. They had a ton of key players go down with injury last year, and they still have some depth issues at certain positions, but this is a team that is built to win another title this year in one of the toughest divisions in football, and as I said after they won the title, this young team is built to dominate this league for a half-decade or longer.

1. First Round, 32nd overall: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

One year after selecting Iowa’s Bryan Bulaga in the first round, the Packers have found their bookend in Derek Sherrod. Whichever one plays left tackle is almost irrelevant, because both guys are good athletes. Sherrod has great feet, and he could easily be the starting right or left tackle this year. My guess is that Bulaga will play left tackle, and Sherrod will play on the right, though that’s basically the equivalent to trying to call a coin toss. This was a good pick by Green Bay because Sherrod was the best OL available at the time, and they also get another very talented kid to protect their franchise quarterback.

Pick Grade: A

2. Second Round, 64th overall: Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky

Another excellent selection by Green Bay here, getting a playmaker at the receiver position who was clearly the best athlete at Kentucky the last few years. He could contribute as a slot receiver or as a return man for the Packers, even if they choose to run some wildcat, he could do that as well. Cobb has good speed and while he’s not the biggest receiver, he could really be a factor for the Packers going forward.

Pick Grade: A

3. Third Round, 96th overall: Alex Green RB, Hawaii

The Packers clearly were not pleased with the overall depth of their running back position last year after Ryan Grant went down, so they went out and stole Alex Green from the rest of the league with the last non-compensatory pick in the third round. Green has speed and vision, and great size. I think he is one of the better backs available at this point, despite what some others may say. He was vastly underrated heading into the process, and he could be a real factor in this running back by committee scheme in Green Bay. A rotation including a healthy Grant, James Starks, Brandon Jackson, and Green sounds pretty fantastic.

Pick Grade: B+

4. Fourth Round, 131st overall: Davon House, CB, New Mexico State

When I saw this pick flash across the screen, I actually started clapping. House could have easily gone much earlier than this, and his size, speed, and overall measurables make him an outstanding fit for the bump coverage the Packers like to utilize. They have a great secondary coaching staff and a great scheme overall for defensive backs to make plays.

Pick Grade: A

5. Fifth Round, 141st overall: D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas

At some point, you have to start asking whether or not this is fair. The Packers already have Jermichael Finley coming back from injury, and now they take D.J. Williams? Williams is arguably the best pass receiving tight end in the draft, and one with very high character. This was a huge steal, and if Finley struggles with injuries again, Williams could see significant time and make a huge impact.

Pick Grade: A

6. Sixth Round, 179th overall: Caleb Shlauderaff, OL, Utah

Tough, hard working offensive line prospect who adds depth to the Green Bay front. He is a gritty player who isn’t an excellent athlete, but he is the type of guy that plays to the whistle, and he will work hard to make the Green Bay roster as a backup guard.

Pick Grade: B

7. Sixth Round, 186th overall: D.J. Smith, LB, Appalachian State

Smith is a tackling machine and the type of player that the Packers could develop into a starting inside linebacker or key special teams ace. He had the most active tackles of any player in FBS or FCS last year at 525, and he has some potential in this defense.

Pick Grade: B

8. Sixth Round, 197th overall: Ricky Elmore, DE/OLB, Arizona

Big outside linebacker prospect who was a fine pass rusher at Arizona. He’s an overachiever and a hard worker and not a great athlete, but he has a knack for making plays in the backfield. In the sixth round, the Packers got two hard-working linebacker prospects who had good college careers, and hopefully bright NFL futures.

Pick Grade: B+

9. Seventh Round, 218th overall: Ryan Taylor, TE/FB, North Carolina

Taylor has potential to be a fullback or H-back in the Packers’ offense, and he could contribute as a blocker in goal-line situations. Set the North Carolina record for receptions by a TE in a season with 36 last year, and is also a very good special teams player. He has also contributed as a linebacker, and could be an excellent value in the 7th round.

Pick Grade: B

10. Seventh Round, 233rd overall: Lawrence Guy, DL, Arizona State

Guy has the requisite size and potential you look for in an NFL prospect, but he wasn’t overly productive after a great freshman season. He is a fantastic athlete though, who could be one of the bigger steals of the seventh round. This was excellent value for the Packers with their 10th and final selection.

Pick Grade: A

Overall draft grade: A

The Packers did a fantastic job with this draft, and got great value and athletes to help them defend their Super Bowl title. An excellent draft class on paper.