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A Closer Look at the Highlights From the Green Bay Packers Spectacular 2014 Draft Class
Green Bay Packers 2014
Adding much needed help in the secondary
The Packers first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, was undoubtedly their best pick of their draft class. The Packers had lacked an impact free safety since Nick Collins was forced into an early retirement due to injury. Collins was coming off three consecutive pro bowl selections, and his career threatening neck injury was a huge blow to the Packers secondary. When they selected Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the free safety from Alabama with the 21st overall pick, the Packers gave themselves a chance to return to the days of dominant pass defense in Green Bay. The Packers continue to field a defense that gets solid contributions from their cornerbacks, but without the dominant free safety play behind them, the Packers secondary was simply not as intimidating as it once was. The selection of Clinton-Dix was not the only highlight of the Packers draft though, and their depth at wide receiver now gives them a chance to return to their championship form from the 2010 season.
Last season the Packers suffered many injuries, and key injuries to wide receivers, made it necessary for them to add depth to this area of the team. The first player they picked at this position was one of many wide receivers in the draft with diverse skill-sets. While Adams may not be the deep threat that James Jones or Randall Cobb are, he is likely to score many touchdowns in the NFL because of his background as a basketball player. He uses his large frame and outstanding leaping ability to out-jump defenders for the ball on throws in the open field as well as the end zone. His excellent agility, precise route running, and large frame make him a very dangerous player in space. Davante Adams provides the Packers with exactly what they were lacking in depth on the outside offensively all throughout last season. His skill-set should work great as a complement to Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jarrett Boykin and Randall Cobb.
In recent years, the Packers have never drafted a player who had always played the center position. They had always drafted offensive line talent and moved them to the center position, rather than drafting a talented player who had plenty of experience playing center before arriving at the NFL level. Linsley stands at six feet and three inches tall, while weighing 299 pounds, and is a very tough player who gives his all in the run game as well as having a great understanding of pass protection. Linsley has experience in every other position along the offensive line, but most of his college experience came as the starting center for Ohio State the past two seasons. As a very strong player with good mobility for a big man, Linsley is more than capable of carrying out any blocking assignment asked of him on an NFL running play. As a smart player, Linsley is likely to excel as the signal caller along the offensive line along with displaying a very consistent shotgun snap. Linsley may not be a glamorous player from the Packers draft class, but he should be a huge part of their offensive success in the near future.
This fifth round pick gives the Packers further depth at the wide receiver position, as well as offering versatility as a passer on trick plays that the Packers may employ. While he is not a finished product at wide receiver, the Packers recognize his talent level and brought him in to help replace free agents at the position who may leave the Packers in the near future. Abbrederis does not possess amazing skills in any one area, but his well rounded game and versatility are what will allow him to become a good wide receiver in the NFL. He is a polished route runner who has a great understanding of where he needs to be in order to create the proper throwing lane for his quarterback. Abbrederis may not play much as a rookie, but the Packers are willing to let him develop his game at the NFL level because of his promising future at a position where the Packers needed depth.
By using a late round pick on cornerback Demetri Goodson from Baylor, the Packers were able to address their most pressing needs as well as adding key depth in the draft. Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams and Corey Linsley were the highlights of the Packers strong draft class, but key additions at defensive end, linebacker and tight end, should help the Packers significantly going into the 2014 season. Every pick that the Packers made in this draft, seemed to get them a player with a very promising future in the NFL. Adding impact talent like this to a team that made the playoffs last season, could make the Packers a serious contender going into the 2014 NFL season.