Grading The Packers Rookies: Week 2 vs. Oakland Raiders

How well did the Packers draft class of 2016 fare against the Oakland Raiders?

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the rookies against the Raiders was that everyone of them was part of either the 1st or 2nd team offense/defense.  While some players like Jason Spriggs and Kyler Fackrell stayed on with the 3rd and 4th team units I can’t think of any other year where every rookie has managed to get significant playing time right out of the back.  If this is any indication of the future, the class of 2016 might shape up to be a great one.

Round 1: Kenny Clark (Grade: C-, Overall: C) – Overall, Clark again was rather invisible on the field; perhaps its just inherently hard to get noticed as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense but Clark generally wasn’t pushed back but also wasn’t pushing past any blockers either.  Clark again showed some good lateral quickness and chasing speed but he was pushed out of his blocking assignment, which lead to a big run play for the Raiders.  Perhaps he needs more time to develop given his age, but he is leaning towards being a liability during the early part of the regular season.

Round 2: Jason Spriggs (Grade: C-, Overall: B-) – A very uneven performance for the rookie who played the vast majority of snaps at left tackle.  On one hand he was schooled by Khalil Mack, but that isn’t terribly surprising given Mack’s status as an All-Pro pass rusher.  When not lining up against Mack, Spriggs was a lot more decisive and played with more power in the running game.  In the end, it’s good for Spriggs to get destroyed in the preseason since now he knows just how much more he needs to do to play in the NFL.

Round 3: Kyler Fackrell (Grade: B, Overall: B-) – Surprisingly, Fackrell played sparingly against the Browns but was started for the 2nd team defense against the Raiders and overall played the entire game at left outside linebacker.  Fackrell built on his good showing last week by displaying great bend and surprising speed.  While he didn’t finish with a sack, he was able to make some key run stops and some good down the field tackles.  If Fackrell continues to see this much playing time, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him as a fixture of the OLB rotation and maybe a pass rush specialist this year

Round 4: Blake Martinez (Grade: B-, Overall: B-) – Again Martinez was given the starter treatment, playing with the 1st team defense and then taking the rest of the night off save for some special teams plays.  Martinez figures to be a big part of the defense as coaches seem comfortable sending him out to defend the perimeter and the slot against tight ends.  He still doesn’t have enough bulk to meet a blocker, shed and then make a tackle but he’s probably fast enough to chase down a running back.  I think it’s essentially a given he will be a starter on defense when the season starts.

Round 4: Dean Lowry (Grade: A-, Overall: A-) – Lowry logged another great showing and is definitely the surprise of the draft.  Lowry was the 2nd down linemen in pass rushing situations next to Kenny Clark and often times got greater penetration and more pressure on the quarterback than Clark did.  Lowry still is interestingly lining up well behind the line of scrimmage, even when he's in a 4 point stance with two blockers in front of him.  Also interesting was the fact that Lowry played only in the 1st quarter, then took the 2nd and 3rd quarters basically off and then logged a couple of snaps at the end of the game.  If anything I would assume this means that Lowry has already solidified his position in the DL rotation and figures to be something of the player that the packer envisioned when the drafted Datone Jones. 

Round 5: Trevor Davis (Grade: D, Overall: D+) – As with a lot of speed receivers, once the pads went on, Davis had a hard time showcasing his talents.  Against the Raiders, Davis’ route running was simply atrocious, he wasn’t crisp in his breaks, his acceleration was poor and he gave up on routes when the quarterback wasn’t looking at him, which is a big no-no when Aaron Rodgers is behind center.  His one redeeming play was a return that he out-angled everyone and almost took to the house.  Davis is probably on the bubble at the moment, but if he does make it will likely be on special teams only.

Round 7: Kyle Murphy (Grade: C+, Overall: C+) – After sitting out in the preseason opener, it was a little surprising to see Murphy come out with the 2nd team offensive line.  Nevertheless Murphy looked solid albeit unspectacular.  Murphy fared a lot better than his fellow rookie linemen, but then again Murphy had to deal with Bruce Irvin (who it should be remembered destroyed Bryan Bulaga) while Spriggs had to work against Mack.  Overall, Murphy also had a solid but unspectacular outing.  He doesn’t have the speed or strength to simply push a defender out of the play but he has enough awareness and technique where he can generally arc a defender out of a tackle or a sack.  It’s a little interesting to see him not playing any other position other than right tackle; obviously the Packers are committed to Spriggs on the left, but it is a little surprising to see the Packers not work on his versatility by playing him at guard.  

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Comments (25)

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Hematite's picture

August 26, 2016 at 12:56 pm

I don't think there is any question Davis makes the 53.
Ted won't admit failure this early.

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SpudRapids's picture

August 26, 2016 at 01:19 pm

It would be impossible to come to the conclusion of failure anyways... the guy has to develop before you label him a failure

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marpag1's picture

August 26, 2016 at 04:34 pm

I see that you have permanently erased the name "Cory Rodgers" from your memory.

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hobbes's picture

August 26, 2016 at 02:17 pm

I agree, but I still think Davis is on the bubble. Special teamer/ returner is probably all anyone can hope for for his rookie season.

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hobbes's picture

August 26, 2016 at 02:38 pm

If I'm not mistaken jermon Meredith was cut as a 5th round pick in 2009. 6th and 7th round picks often don't make it to the 53 but 5th rounders are a little bit more rare

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marpag1's picture

August 26, 2016 at 04:44 pm

Yes, Meredith was cut and placed on the practice squad, later signed away by NYJ

Cory Rodgers (D4) was cut outright and not signed to the PS. Ricky Elmore (D6) spent one year on the PS, then cut. Caleb Sclauderhaff (D6) sucked in camp and was traded to the Jets. Andrew Datko (D7) was cut and signed to the PS for one year. Charles Johnson (D7) was cut and signed to the PS, later signed away by CLE. Carl Bradford (D4) went straight to PS. So did Ringo (D6).

In addition to that, there have been guys who were ... cough, cough... "injured" and placed on IR like Khyri Thornton (D3).

So the idea that all draft picks make the 53 does not hold water at all. Davis is definitely on the bubble, IMO.

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MarkinMadison's picture

August 26, 2016 at 01:25 pm

Honestly, I'd be a little surprised if there were any of these who did not make the 53. I think Murphy has shown enough to warrant a spot, especially with Linsley likely starting the season on the PUP list. I get that Davis isn't where you want him to be as a receiver, but few rookies are day one players at that position. Looking for him to lock down a return job tonight.

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dobber's picture

August 26, 2016 at 01:35 pm

What hurts Murphy, IMO, is Linsley's status. Barclay has been OK this preseason, but now they need someone who can backup at C when Linsley misses the first 8 games or so. Lang can play center, but the question becomes one of whether or not you would rather plug in a C or a G in case your C gets hurt. Linsley missing half the season will likely save Barclay's bacon...assuming he's not atrocious the next two preseason games.

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hobbes's picture

August 26, 2016 at 02:40 pm

As I mentioned I'm a little surprised that they didn't try spriggs at RT given Bulaga's injury history and Murphy at guard given the key backup is probably tretter, who is starting at center. At this point I assume Lane Taylor is backup for both Sitton and Lang

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MarkinMadison's picture

August 26, 2016 at 08:30 pm

I think they both make it while Linsley is on the PUP/IR. Agree that if he hadn't gone down Barclay would be gone.

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hobbes's picture

August 26, 2016 at 02:20 pm

I didn't think spriggs played markedly worse in the 4th quarter, but I will also say that when the packers go to Williams at qb, the offense turns run centric, which is definitely not spriggs forte. But that does help Murphy.

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mrtundra's picture

August 26, 2016 at 04:47 pm

Murphy had a better outing against the Raiders than Spriggs did. I think Spriggs is the better player, overall, but I think Murphy may be more consistent.

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jmac34's picture

August 26, 2016 at 01:37 pm

Dumb nitpick, but Murphy was a 6th rounder. Also Thompson has cut draft picks in the past so Davis isn't a lock, but he still probably makes it

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staffordsneckfat's picture

August 26, 2016 at 02:57 pm

Seems a bit harsh on Davis but I will admit he is not jumping off the screen. Fackrell is starting to become concerning.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 26, 2016 at 03:30 pm

Wut? Why is Fackrell concerning?

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marpag1's picture

August 26, 2016 at 04:37 pm

I agree with Mr. Neck Fat. I'm not much impressed with Fackrell so far. Not saying he's a bust, but he's been pretty uninspiring, IMO.

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mrtundra's picture

August 26, 2016 at 04:41 pm

Fackrell needs to hit the weight room a bit. He has good moves to get to the quarterback, but it looks as if he can get stopped at the line. I think he'll be okay though.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 26, 2016 at 06:29 pm

I wish Fackrell would scrap his bullrush for this season. It won't work his rookie year. Fackrell hasn't stacked up on stats, but he has looked good (at times) when he's been out there. The best thing that could have happened to him was to get drafted by the Packers and sit behind/learn from Matthews and Peppers. His lack of the strength and experience are the only knocks so far, IMO. He definitely belongs though.

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MarkinMadison's picture

August 26, 2016 at 08:32 pm

Agreed. I don't see him as a contributor this year once the regular season starts rolling.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 26, 2016 at 03:32 pm

Thanks for the grades, Thomas. So far they accord well with my pre-draft thoughts. Clark isn't a NT at this stage of his career - he'll have to decide whether to add 20 Lbs or stay versatile. Spriggs needs a year but has a chance to be excellent. Liked Fackrell, but worried he has hit his ceiling. Liked Martinez as a cover/chase ILB. Loved Lowry - expect him to play early in base. This allows Guion to play NT with Daniels at 3 tech, and Clark and Lowry rotating in. Love Murphy - could play by the bye if necessary. Davis is raw and needs a year on the PS.

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holmesmd's picture

August 27, 2016 at 07:34 am

Don't forget Pennel in that rotation in week #5;)

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sonomaca's picture

August 26, 2016 at 03:34 pm

The Packers draft was all about solid rather than spectacular. The idea is that great teams are good everywhere, and exhibit excellent depth. So, if they're all on the roster three years from now, the draft will have been a success.

Spriggs is the one guy who has star potential, but even if he's "only" as good as Bakh, that's good enough.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 26, 2016 at 04:05 pm

"...but even if he's "only" as good as Bakh, that's good enough."

Not according to some here. He's been considered the weak link.

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sonomaca's picture

August 26, 2016 at 06:36 pm

Teams knew he wasn't ready. That's why he fell to round 2.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 26, 2016 at 07:24 pm

I was referring to Bahk. Some here consider him the weakest link of the O-Line.

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