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June 23, 2017

Production Rules On Day 3

It took about 40 hours and three rounds, but GM Ted Thompson finally drafted players who produced better in pads than they did in shorts. Vince Biegel and Jamaal Williams won’t win any beauty contests, but they’ll help the Packers win games.

In my opinion, Biegel’s tape is very similar to T.J. Watt’s, who went 30th overall to the Steelers. The biggest difference is – pardon the pun – size. Watt is a few inches taller and has the frame to be 10 pounds heavier by this time next year. But as far as productivity is concerned, there’s not much separating the two.

Speaking of tape, Biegel’s is actually better than Kyler Fackrell’s, who was drafted by the Packers in the third round in 2016. Biegel is stronger vs. the run and a bit more explosive off the edge. The only thing he doesn’t do as well as Fackrell is play in space. Like so many of the linebackers drafted by Thompson over the years, Biegel is a bit rigid and mechanical in his movement. But he’s no more rigid and mechanical than Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez, and that’s why I could see him being moved inside at some point in the future.

Biegel could work inside on early downs and then rush off the edge in the dime package. He could also be effective blitzing up the middle thanks to his outstanding instincts, good balance and knack for slipping blocks.

Thompson finally got around to the offense at the end of round 4. Running back Jamaal Williams adds depth to a position that was perilously thin heading into Saturday.

The leading rusher in BYU history, Williams is a slightly smaller and slightly slower version of James Starks, whom Thompson drafted in the sixth round out of Buffalo in 2010 and who enjoyed a long career as a dependable second banana in Green Bay. That’s probably what should realistically be expected from Williams.

I don’t see anything overly exciting on tape, but Williams runs really hard between the tackles, protects the ball and is a plus in the passing game. He does a pretty decent job in protection and has a knack for finding open spaces when his quarterback extends a play – a trait that should be quite useful in Green Bay.

The 212-pound Williams, who sat out the entire 2015 season for personal reasons, ran 4.59 at the Combine, and he plays to that speed. That’s why turning the corner in the NFL will be a challenge. Still, he always keeps his legs churning and takes what the defense gives. And that’s a good thing for a player whose main job will be to find ways to keep the chains moving and to keep the best QB in the league on the field.


WR DEANGELO YANCEYHe visited with the Packers prior to the draft, so there was obviously significant interest in the former Purdue star. He’s big (6’2, 205) and runs well enough (4.53), but lacks quickness and drops too many passes. The former could make getting open against NFL corners a problem and the latter could get him a ticket out of town. But give the young man credit for putting up impressive numbers in an awful system and without a decent quarterback. He’s more than capable of challenging Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis for the No. 4 job behind Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb.

RB AARON JONESFor a player his size (5’9, 208), the former UTEP star is surprisingly difficult to bring down. And while he lacks great speed (4.56), he has an explosive first step that allows him to beat defenders to the corner. Jones also understands how to run routes and screen defenders away from the ball. He’s a more than willing pass protector, but he’ll need to work on his technique. I fully expect Jones to be part the final 53-man roster and provide the offense with the type of change of pace back it hasn’t had since Johnathan Franklin in 2013.


OL KOFI AMICHIAIt certainly won’t happen overnight, but the former South Florida star has a chance to be a pretty good player down the road. He just needs time to add size and strength. He’s already a good athlete and a tough competitor who battles, scraps and fights for positioning, and since he was only a two-year starter in college, he’s nowhere close to reaching his potential. Offensive line coach James Campen has done more with a lot less over the years.


RB DEVANTE MAYSThompson used his penultimate pick on yet another running back. This one missed most of last season with a leg injury and will probably spend next season on the practice squad. Mays has obvious talent as a runner – he’s blessed with a powerful lower body and a nice burst – but he has a ways to go to be a three-down back. He was used very little in the passing game at Utah State. The practice squad was invented for young players just like this.


WR MALACHI DUPREOf the 17 players drafted in the seventh round by Thompson, the former LSU star is far and away the most talented. While Dupre didn’t run a great 40 at the Combine (4.52), he’s nevertheless a legitimate deep threat. That’s because he has good functional playing speed, adjusts well to the ball in the air and uses his size (6’2 1/2) to make catches outside his frame. He’ll need to work on his route running, but that part of his game should improve with experience and quality coaching. It’s rare to feel confident about the chances of a player drafted so late making the final roster, but this ain’t a typical late-round pick.

OVERALL ANALYSIS: Thompson valued measurables and potential on day 2 of the draft, but day 3 was all about production. From his initial choice of Biegel to his final choice of Dupre, he targeted players who excelled on the football field – even if their work in the underwear Olympics wasn’t worthy of a gold medal.

My first impression is that this is far and away the best group of day 3 players Thompson has ever drafted. I can see at least five or six of them making the final 53-man roster, and more importantly, I can see a few of them becoming above average long-term starters. That would be quite an accomplishment since only nine of the 63 players picked by Thompson on day 3 have enjoyed that type of career in Green Bay.

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20 Responses “Production Rules On Day 3”

  1. GT3
    April 30, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Awesome summary, I agree with most everything you said. Honestly, my least favorite pick on Day 3 was Yancy, and we sort of made up for that miraculously in Round 7 with Dupre. I’ve never gone into camp fully expecting a seventh to totally outwork a five at the same position. Truly was one of TT’s best drafts (on paper, before the season), if not the best. I was surprised by the NC St. S being our second pick, but really if that kid can learn a pinch of patience and reel it back a notch, he could be incredible as a dime backer. Great work Michael, thanks again.

  2. NP40
    April 30, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Michael, thanks for putting in your time over draft weekend and in general.

    The NFL Network crew devolved into four guys sitting around a bar discussing football in the last two hours. Think they were seriously played out.

    Put together a semi-reliable run game and maintain some semblance of health, this offense may be one of the best we’ve ever seen here. The only thing that could hold them back is McCarthy. McCarthy is still adamant that Ty is the starting RB but I’m wondering if he’s going to play some WR too ? At the very least, send him in motion out wide of the backfield in a two-back set. With the 3 drafted RB’s and Michael, the D still has to respect the run.

    I like Biegel but have they done enough ? The secondary and the middle of the field coverage is what kills this D. If they’re still relying on their ILB’s for a fair share of coverage then I doubt this D will improve at all. It’s not like Ryan and Martinez have a much greater ceiling to attain. They are what they are. Maybe they move Biegel inside once in a while ? Thompson keeps talking about modern day players but uses throwbacks in the middle of the field.

    I lay into Thompson on a fairly regular basis for his conservatism but parlaying pick #29 into King and Biegel was a dandy move. Some scouts {including non-scout Mel} thought Biegel and Watt were very close in ability.

    I like the Amichia pick, certainly has some tools to work with. He ran a sub 5 sec forty. The big question is…. will he be able to compete with Barclay’s athleticism ? Yancey and/or Dupree may signal the end of the line for Geronimo. I was all set to boo and hiss the RB’s but then Mel Kiper kinda’ liked them so I settled down. Who’s going to return punts ?

    I still think the play was to get a solid vet CB in FA so one side of the field is taken care of. If Rodgers was 26 maybe you can wait a season or two to see if four highly drafted corners pan out but when Rodgers is going on age 34 it’s foolish to go into the season without anything in the secondary being settled when you had over $30 mill in cap space.

    New England essentially traded their draft for Brandin Cooks, Duane Allen, Stephen Gilmore, Mike Gillislee and Kony Ealy. Absolute genius on Belichick’s part. Wish we would have done it.

    Jamaal Williams violated the Honor Code at BYU by having a girl in his room. The odds of me adhering to BYU’s honor code for more than a couple hours at age 19 would be Nine-Hundred Kagillion Zillion to one. The odds of me actually attending a school with a “no girl in the room” policy at age 19 would be even worse.

  3. JK60
    April 30, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Excellent, insightful, and balanced analysis as usual. Keep up the great work. It is truly appreciated. Ignore the negative homers if you can.

  4. Saguaro
    April 30, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    There’s lots still to see this season, but you made the case for there being lots to hope for too. I can’t wait to see the competition these draft picks and UFAs bring to camp (the group of UFAs seems to have some very intriguing prospects as well). I too am really pleased with the promise of Amichia and the King/Biegel for Watt trade-off.

  5. Thorny
    April 30, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Interesting draft dichotomy. Don’t you usually want to gamble on players with greater measurables on Day 3 and look more at production on Days 1 and 2? This draft was backward.

    Jones Jones and Dupre are the 3 most exciting players. Not sure what to make of Yancey. I’ve read a lot of conflicting things on his speed. As low as high 4.3s to mid 4.5s. If he’s closer to 4.3 then this pick is more palatable. He sure has size and strength. Ted deserves benefit of doubt on a WR pick.

    Still, I don’t understand 3 RBs and 2 WRs. Seems to be an ad hoc mentality to this draft. Up top it was a focused measurables/need thing. Again, amazed how universe just BPAs all of our exact needs.

    Lastly, negative homer is an oxymoron. No such thing. Sad to see the bashing MR takes on Twitter for giving his honest opinion that is harshly labeled negative.

    Sure there’s reason for optimism with some of these guys. I won’t get all riled up if most of these guys make the roster. Doesn’t indicate a great draft. Just as easily indicates a very poor and shaky pre draft roster but understand how the real homers will spin it. 🙂

  6. Nerd
    April 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    I like Aaron Jones, but I had him off my board because of his size. Jamaal is gonna be the solid TT guy. Low risk, high floor.

    These other guys could flash.

  7. Thorny
    April 30, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    That’s really strange, Nerd. You absolutely loved Johnathan Franklin. Also, you are in love with Don Jackson, too. Both Franklin and Jackson were listed at 5’10 and Aaron Jones has, also, with his exact measurement 5’9 and 1/8. All three weighed within a few lbs of each other with Jones being the heaviest. Not sure why Aaron Jones was “off your board” for 7/8 of an inch?

    In watching all of these guys, it looks like they wanted to recapture Starks with Williams, Lacy with Mays, and Franklin with Jones. Aaron Jones is just one of those guys that gives you a premonition of good things to come. I read he probably can’t be a lead back due to size? You hear the same thing about Montgomery and he’s 6’2 215. The NFL’s all time YPC leader, Jamaal Charles, is 5’11 199. Nonsense that Jones or Montgomery, in theory, aren’t big enough to be a full time back due to not being able to stand the pounding.

    Jones does just slingshot through creases. He may have a pedestrian 40 time, but his 10 yard split has to be up there, at least on the field vs. shorts. Aaron scored 3rd highest in SPARQ rating, I believe, for all RB’s. Matt Breida scored the highest so there’s a caution.

    Aaron handing to Aaron sounds great to me and he did run it from the pistol in college.

    This is a good watch on Jones:


  8. Nerd
    April 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I didn’t think Ted would take him, being that short. It could make him harder to get ahold of, if he runs low and a fire plug in pass pro.

    Smaller target for Aaron, though. Btw. 4.5 isn’t pedestrian, imo. Might even be two fast for Mike’s preference.

  9. Thorny
    May 1, 2017 at 2:06 am

    @Nerd…What does too fast for Mike’s preference mean? You’ve said the same of Don Jackson, which is interesting because neither has close to top end speed. We want slow guys at the RB position because MM prefers it? I’ve ran that through my gourd over and over and can’t come close to understanding what you’re saying.

  10. Kevin
    May 1, 2017 at 10:33 am

    The only thing I didn’t like about the draft was waiting until day 3 to take a running back and an outside linebacker. Really have to hope Ty, Clay and Nick stay healthy.

  11. NP40
    May 1, 2017 at 11:44 am
  12. Thorny
    May 1, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    The Mike Freeman piece is incredible on Bleacher Report link. Thanks, NP40.

    I knew I wasn’t crazy hammering Ted all these years. He’s been an embarrassment amongst his peers all the while deified among PackersNation.

    He changed? I don’t think so. I think he lost too many of his guys and that sent him into a tizzy. My money is on him being the same dinosaur next offseason.

    Wishing every Ted acolyte reads the Freeman piece. He literally held this team back just like a small contingent of our fanbase believed for so long. Nice to get some underpinning after all the things said about us being too hard on Ted because he’s one of the best. He was considered a joke to his peers. Hopefully, the Ted koolaid talk can finally die but I doubt it will.

    • Michael Rodney
      May 1, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Thorny- Please stop making the same argument over and over. No matter the topic of the post, you turn it into a Ted-bashing. We all know how you feel. Move on.

      As for the Freeman story, talk about reading way too much into something. I don’t see either the offseason or the just completed draft as all that unusual for Ted. He needed to add some vets after watching so many leave and he drafted a couple of fast DBs. He’s done that before.

  13. Thorny
    May 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I’ll steal a line from you… You don’t need to worry about it anymore. No more page hits from me.

    I reacted to a piece from a well respected NFL journalist that underscores everything I’ve been saying for years. It flies in the face of your opinion so I need to stop?

    One final line steal… I’m tired of the know nothings would defend Ted that are completely clueless that hammer me.

    Enjoyed my time here. Sorry, this isn’t an open forum. Ted love would never be censored.

  14. GT3
    May 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    If Ted had resigned Cook and not inked Bennett, I feel we would not be having this conversation. It would have been a prototype Ted off-season. My opinion, of course.

    But does that one great FA signing suddenly change Ted’s whole philosophy now and going forward? Doubt it. Same old Ted. I am a TT fan, but to say he’s a new man is a bit of a reach.

  15. D Cooke
    May 1, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    This is a draft where in the top half TT made team speed a priority and I fully agree it was a prudent move but it is a move predicated by a previous philosophy of valuing production over measurable, again that is a philosophical issue not a matter of right or wrong! The issue becomes when you have too many “productive players” and not enough athlete’s you get exposed and this is what happened to GB’s defense. The other end of the equation is betting on the potential of “athletes” (think Derek Sherrard, Thorton et al) and you can see you can lose with that philosophy just as easily. You always hope that teams are able to balance this equation out but the longer you are successful the more difficult it becomes as the prime athletes with the fewest holes in their game are usually selected long before the better teams pick!

  16. TJV
    May 1, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    None so blind as those who will not see (or read and comprehend). Anyone who has visited this site for any amount of time knows Michael and the majority of posters are not Thompson apologists. One of the great things about this site is Michael criticizes and praises Thompson as he deems appropriate.

    I think it was McGinn who made the point that three of the Packers’ draftees weren’t invited to the combine and no other team drafted more than one such player. Does anyone know what criteria is used to invite players to the combine?

    • Michael Rodney
      May 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      The criteria are based on the likelihood of getting drafted. It is unusual to draft three players who didn’t get invites, but you’d like to think Green Bay’s highly-paid front office knows more than the people handing out the invitations. We shall see.

  17. Nerd
    May 1, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    We didn’t lose the NFCCG last year because we lacked athletes. We lost because as usual, we can’t keep our guys healthy.

  18. Deepsky
    May 2, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Jamaal Williams might be slow but he has to be faster than fat Lacy. What I liked about Williams is the ability to see the cut back lanes. The Packers are good zone blockers, the lanes were there but most of the Packers running backs didn’t have the vision to pick them

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