Hello Packer Nation,
Let's go through the Packers draft picks from Day 3 of the 2019 draft. We will be able to skip 4th round as the Packers 114th and 118th picks were traded to Seattle to move up and draft Darnell Savage Jr. in the first round (#21).
While many fans have voiced discouraging viewpoints regarding this years draft class, this was quite the coup for the Packers. I personally feel there are some sleepers hidden here. We have not seen talent like this in years. The picks need to live up to the hype, that much is certain. Let's go through pick by pick and see why the Packers are high on these new players.
*5th Round #150 - Kingsley Keke DL 6'3" 288 lbs. (Texas A&M). Keke (pronounced Kee-Kee) became a full-time starter at Texas A&M and held that role for two years (2017-2018). In 2017, Keke had 54 tackles, 2.5 for loss and one sack. While it was a pedestrian year, 2018 was a coming out party and showed his talent in big ways. He had 51 tackles, 11 for loss and a team high 7 sacks for his bowl bound team. Remember, Texas A&M plays in the best football conference in the country (SEC). He was going up against NFL drafted lineman such as Jonah Williams, Elgton Jenkins, Jawaan Taylor, Greg Little...just to name a few! He lost around 15-20 pounds before the NFL combine. His footage playing over 300 lbs in college was very good. Watch this clip around the 20 second mark. This spin move is unblockable! Imagine how quick he will be around 290 lbs!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs0mAHNIoe0
Keke started the final 9 games of the 2016 season and had 37 tackles, 7 for loss, 4 sacks and 4 pass breakups in 13 total games. He contributed 8 tackles as a freshman in 2015.
What is impressive is his ability to move and shake off blockers with little effort. He is a fluid athlete with good strength to move blockers. He shows great explosion once he is set to make a tackle or sack off a block. It is that step that sets apart the sack artists from the average Joe's.
He will provide great positional flexibility rushing from anywhere. Pettine has made it very clear he likes defenders who can penetrate gaps and create pressure, whether lining up over the center, 3 technique (between guard and tackle) or on the edge. Keke's potential hasn't been fully reached and should only grow with time. While he needs to improve lower body strength, I would not be surprised if he is a big contributor on the defensive front in 2019. He is a true sleeper and could be a Pro Bowl caliber player in the future.
*6th Round #185 - Ka'Dar Hollman CB 6'0" 190 lbs. (Toledo). Hollman was a three year starter with 29 career pass breakups and 2 INT's. He was not offered a scholarship out of high school and worked odd end jobs in a bread factory to loading trucks for Dunkin' Donuts while contacting colleges to play football. He struggled with his SAT's which limited his college prospects. He was emailing college teams and sent out highlight videos from high school before Toledo recognized his ability and allowed him a chance to walk on. He worked hard as a non-preferred walk-on and found his way into the starting lineup his sophomore year and earned a scholarship.
Hollman ran a 4.37 40 time. He allowed 40% completion rate in 2018. He shows tremendous athletic traits and was a very good cover corner. At this stage he is a development project who needs work refining his ball skills and recognizing routes. His raw skills currently project him as a man cover corner where he can use his competitive skill set to mirror receivers. He is a great "rags to riches" story who had to work hard coming out of high school all the way up to earning a chance in the NFL. It would be wise not to doubt him as he has always overcome obstacles in his life to make a name for himself. The NFL is a league of adversity and he has the determination to make it. Not many players have gone through as much adversity as Ka'Dar.
*6th Round #194 - Dexter Williams RB 5'11" 212 lbs. (Notre Dame). Nicknamed "Juice" for his "outgoing personality" Williams was a nation top 100 recruit coming out of high school. He did not play much at Notre Dame in his early years due to some off field issues. Once he got himself on track, his play started meeting his potential and rushed for 4 TD's in his junior year. As a senior, he only started 8 games due to a suspension for undisclosed reasons. In those games, he showed the talent that made him one of the top recruits coming out of high school. He rushed for 995 yards and scored 12 TD's and had 133 receiving yards with another TD. He had four games with 140 yards or more rushing and averaged a TD run every 12 carries.
The issues Williams had were all off the field and he promises they are behind him. He looks natural running the ball and has a second gear once he gets pass the line of scrimmage. He is patient letting blocks develop and shows great vision finding the hole and running to daylight. Even with his low carry total, he runs with natural skills of a veteran back and is not afraid to take on defenders. He did not have a heavy workload in college (257 total carries) like Bear draft pick David Montgomery (who touched the ball 695 times in three years). Many scouts were concerned with his lack of playing time but were enamored with his natural running skills. He should excel in the Packers new outside zone running scheme as he makes quick and decisive decisions required of running backs. He runs with great balance and seems to always fall forward for positive yards.
He has much to play for. His mother suffers from an incurable muscle disorder and was recently diagnosed with a terminal condition where she has 3-5 years to live. He wants his mother to see him excel at the NFL level and likely only has a short window to make it happen. Dexter is another sleeper who can be really good when given the opportunity. It would not shock me if he is a starter down the road.
*7th Round #226 - Ty Summers LB 6'1" 241 lbs. (TCU). Summers was a two-way player in high school and was recruited to play QB at Rice U before TCU wanted him as a LB. He played right away as a freshman before suffering a season ending injury in the first game. His next year he played in all 13 games and had 86 tackles, 4 for loss and an INT. As a redshirt sophomore he was a tackling machine with 121 tackles, 5 for loss and 1.5 sacks in 10 starts. His junior year he started nine games and had 84 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks and 1 INT and 5 pass breakups. His senior year, despite missing games with various injuries, Summers had 47 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 4 sacks in nine starts. He even played DE when the team was ravaged with injuries his senior year.
Summers ran a 4.51 40 time at the NFL combine and showed he is a fluid athlete. He is a high effort player and great communicator like Blake Martinez who seems to have a nose for the ball. He made all the calls on defense. He came off the field on passing downs at TCU which is a concern in this defense. He shows limited instincts which could limit his ability to seeing the field more than special teams. He also had a tough time staying healthy after suffering labrum injuries in each shoulder. The skills are there to be a good backup ILB with a little coaching but will likely be relegated to special teams during his rookie year.
That is your draft class. While they only came out with 8 picks (GB went into the draft with 10) they seem to have drafted players they truly wanted and filled obvious positional shortcomings. The draft worked well and they didn't overreach for any picks. Some say they did with Darnell Savage Jr. (#21 pick in first round) but there were multiple teams hot for his services, including Baltimore who always want play makers at the position and are great at evaluating talent there. In Savage's case, if the Packers were high on him and had knowledge he would not be around at #30, you do what you can to get him. You do not sit around and twiddle your thumbs. Some say Rashan Gary (#12 pick in first round) was a reach but if used properly he has unique skills to get to the quarterback and has good strength to be effective against the run. I truly hope they do not play him out of position at OLB full time.
OL Elgton Jenkins (pronounced Elton) will be a very good player for years to come. It will be hard to keep him off the field this year. TE Jace Sternberger will be an underrated contributor this year and will be used in plays where his smooth receiving skills can be utilized down field or finding pockets in zones. Overall, the tight end position usage will surprise fans and one position LaFleur will rely on heavily.
The majority of the picks will have integral parts on the team during 2019 season. These players have unique talents the previous regime would have never drafted. Southwest Packer scout Charles Walls had a hand in a few of the higher picks and his scouting prowess seems well respected within the walls of 1265. With solid coaching and proper instruction this draft class could be the best draft class the Packers acquired since 2009. That draft class played an integral part in the Super Bowl victory in 2010. Could this draft class have that ability? It would not be wise to judge until they play!
Go Pack Go!
*Source used for blog - NFL.com Draft & Combine Pre-Draft Prospect Tracker www.nfl.com/draft/tracker/prospects