The Green Bay Packers went into the NFL Draft with 9 selections and when the dust settled, came out with 10-players. At least two of those players should make an immediate impact.
Offensive tackle Derek Sherrod with the first round pick and wide receiver/return specialist Randall Cobb should jump right in and help the Packers.
The Packers will likely find a spot on the offensive line for Sherrod. He’s the left tackle of the future, but with Chad Clifton likely to play one more season there, Sherrod could get moved to the right side with Bryan Bulaga moving to left guard for a year.
With Cobb, the Packers finally have a return specialist, something they’ve been missing for the past couple of years. Cobb should provide immediate dividends on returns, but will also likely blend in at wide receiver as well.
James Jones may not return when free agency opens up in the future and Donald Driver will likely see his play continue to decline. Those two things will open the door for Cobb, and his skills should allow him to step in and contribute soon.
As for the remainder, running back Alex Green (3rd round) has good size and speed, but he also has a fumbling problem that if not corrected, will end his career before it even begins.
The Packers picked two more tightends, a position where they’re already strong. That will make for some good competition in training camp when rookies D.J. Williams of Arkansas and Ryan Taylor of North Carolina join the mix. Taylor will have a shot at hanging on because of his excellent special teams play.
The Packers say they like the cover skills of cornerback Davon House (New Mexico State) who they selected in the fourth round. We’ll see if he’s better than what they already have.
With Cullen Jenkins likely on his way out, the Packers could have used some defensive line help. They didn’t get a player at that position until the final round, selecting Arizona State’s Lawrence Guy. The players the Packers had targeted there had fallen off the board before the Packers’ pick came up. Don’t be surprised if the Packers look to bolster that position in free agency whenever that period opens up.
Analyzing a draft shouldn’t really happen until at least two years down the road. And I’m not a big fan of grading a teams draft. But I do think the Packers are going to get some contributions from some of these players, especially the top two picks (Sherrod & Cobb), which makes the 2011 NFL Draft a good one for the Packers.