James Starks

2010 Draft Grades: Packers

Ted Thompson has built this Packers team through the draft and he impressed on draft day once again this year.

Having Bryan Bulaga fall to No. 23 was a dream scenario for the Packers. They re-signed Mark Trauscher and Chad Clifton this offseason, but both tackles are over the age of 32 and are noticeably declining. Bulaga could be used in a reserve role this year, or potentially at guard, but his future is definitely at left tackle.

I don’t think the Packers reached for Mike Neal nearly as much as some other draft analysts have suggested. He’s an elite athlete for his size and should be able to make a seamless transition to defensive end in the Packers 3-4 defense. If injuries hadn’t slowed his development, its possible he would have been in the mix to come off the board in the 1st round.

Morgan Burnett is a steal in the 3rd round. His ball skills are on par with Eric Berry’s and he has the size to be effective against the run. He’s probably best suited to play free safety early in his career, but with some work he could be an effective strong safety as well. There isn’t a starting job available for him right now, but he should be a starter down the road.

Andrew Quarless is a solid 5th-round pick. He’ll have to fight to make the roster, with Jermichael Finley and Donald Lee likely to earn the top two spots on the depth chart, but his upside makes him worth the pick. He’s an impressive athlete who just never lived up to expectations at Penn State.

I was surprised the Packers didn’t address their interior offensive line earlier in the draft, but they got lucky when Marshall Newhouse fell to them in the 5th round. He played left tackle at TCU and excelled as a run blocker. His athleticism will be an asset, as will his ability to provide depth at both guard and tackle. While he’s penciled in as a backup, don’t be surprised if he earns a starting job by the end of the season.

James Starks is a low risk-high reward pick in the 6th round. He’s coming off a shoulder injury which caused him to miss the entire 2009 season, but he has the potential to develop into a starter. The key to his career will be his ability to bulk up without losing speed. If he puts in the necessary hard work in the weight room, the Packers could have found themselves one of the gems of the draft.

C.J. Wilson is about as good a prospect as you’ll find in the 7th round. He’s a perfect fit for defensive end in the Packers 3-4 defense. He may have a hard time making the roster, considering their depth at the position, but he was well worth the 7th-round pick.

This was a great draft for the Packers from start to finish. They didn’t make any unnecessary reaches and they landed a good mix of players ready to contribute and guys to develop over the next few years. That is the blueprint for a successful draft and Ted Thompson executed it perfectly.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Packers Comments Off

All-Underrated Draft Prospects Team

QB – Sean Canfield, Oregon State
Possesses legitimate NFL size and can make all the throws. Only a full-time starter for one year, but he has plenty of upside.

RB – James Starks, Buffalo
Missed the entire 2009 season with a shoulder injury, but could prove to be a steal if he’s fully recovered.

RB – Lonyae Miller, Fresno State
Played in the shadow Ryan Mathews. A Big, physical downhill runner. Prototypical size and athleticism for a workhorse running back.

WR – Eric Decker, Minnesota
Flying under the radar due to a foot injury. He’ll fall because of durability issues, but could be a steal.

WR – Kerry Meier, Kansas
Converted quarterback became an elite possession receiver over the past two seasons. Limited upside, but has the skills to find a role in an NFL offense.

TE – Colin Peek, Alabama
One of the better blocking tight ends in this year’s class. Nothing special as a receiver, but will make plays from time to time.

OT – Charles Brown, USC
Nearly as athletic as Bruce Campbell, yet for more productive. Could be a steal if the falls to the 2nd round.

OT – Kyle Calloway, Iowa
Doesn’t wow you in anything that he does, but is as solid as they come. Projects as a quality right tackle.

OG – John Jerry, Mississippi
Has Larry Allen-like size and surprising athleticism to go with it. Could potential play right tackle as well.

OG – Zane Beadles, Utah
Versatile enough to play all five positions. May never be a star, but will be a valued backup at the worst.

C – Matt Tennant, Boston College
Maurkice Pouncey is getting all the attention, but Tennant isn’t far behind in terms of talent.

DE – Corey Wootton, Northwestern
Lack of athleticism means he doesn’t get the attention he deserves. Could anchor a 3-4 team at defensive end.

DE – Lindsey Witten, Connecticut
Impressive athlete who could be an instant-impact pass rusher.

DT – Cam Thomas, North Carolina
Perfect fit at nose tackle; rated higher than Terrence Cody in my book.

DT – Tyson Alualu, California
Would be a 1st-round pick in most other years. A three-technique tackle with similar skills to Gerald McCoy.

OLB – Larry Hart, Central Arkansas
Late-round sleeper with huge upside. Lacks ideal height, but has impressive athleticism.

OLB – Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State
Collegiate defensive end replaced Vernon Gholston at Ohio State. Comparisons inevitably hurt his stock.

ILB – Donald Butler, Washington
Impressive athlete didn’t get the attention he deserved on a talent-starved unit in Washington.

CB – Walter Thurmond, Oregon
Athletically gifted corner coming back off an injury. Can make an instant-impact on special teams.

CB – David Pender, Purdue
Workout numbers are off the charts. Undersized, but has the speed and leaping ability to make up for it.

S – Chad Jones, LSU
The differences between him and Taylor Mays are minimal. Better ball skills than Mays.

S – Morgan Burnett , Georgia Tech
Has the size and athleticism to play either safety position.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off