Green Bay Packers, NFL Draft Retrospective

Green Bay Packers 2016 NFL Draft Retrospective

The Green Bay Packers have prided themselves on building through the draft — but how is that 2016 class looking today?

The Green Bay Packers entered the 2016 NFL Draft on the back of seven straight playoff appearances, but the Minnesota Vikings had ended their four-year run as NFC North champions. Despite starting the 2015 season 6-0, the loss of Jordy Nelson proved costly, with the Packers going 4-6 the rest of the way to stumble into the playoffs with a wild-card berth. They rallied to win at Washington, but fell short in overtime at Arizona, despite Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary magic. Entering the 2016 draft, the Packers’ biggest needs were defensive tackle and inside linebacker, but they also needed to find upgrades at edge rusher, tight end and along the offensive line. Sound familiar? The Packers entered the draft with nine selections, including three in the fourth round. They owned the No. 27 pick in the opening round.

Original Grade

Sports Illustrated: B

FanSided: C

Draft Class

Round 1 (Pick 27)

Kenny Clark

DT, UCLA

Current Team: Green Bay Packers

The Packers addressed their biggest need in the first round, selecting defensive tackle Kenny Clark. And it proved to be a home run. Clark is one of the most important defensive players on the team entering 2019. Clark continues to improve as an interior pass rusher, setting a career-best six sacks last season, second-most on the team.

He ranked 43rd in Pro Football Focus’ Top 101 players of 2018. The Packers had 97 problems in 2018, but their No. 97 wasn’t one of them. One of the best selections in the entire first round, Clark helped fix the team’s top need in the 2016 draft.

Round 2 (Pick 48)

Jason Spriggs

OT, Indiana

Current Team: Green Bay Packers

Looking to address another need, former GM Ted Thompson traded up nine spots to select tackle Jason Spriggs. This move backfired. Spriggs has just nine starts to his name despite being expected to replace right tackle Bryan Bulaga. Spriggs is still on the current roster, but his future is uncertain.

If he makes the 2019 roster, it’ll be as a backup. The Packers passed up on linebacker Deion Jones, who made the Pro Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017.

Round 3 (Pick 88)

Kyler Fackrell

LB, Utah State

Current Team: Green Bay Packers

Kyler Fackrell was one of the biggest surprises of the 2018 season. After posting a combined five sacks in his first two seasons, Fackrell was excellent in 2018 with a career-best and team-leading 10.5 sacks. It remains to be seen whether he can make the nickname “Sackrell” permanent, but at the very least the third-round pick has secured a spot on the Packers’ pass-rush rotation moving forward.

Round 4 (Pick 131)

Blake Martinez

LB, Stanford

Current Team: Green Bay Packers

It was a surprise the Packers didn’t address inside linebacker until the middle rounds, but Blake Martinez was a fine selection. While he may not regularly make game-changing plays, Martinez offers consistency at the heart of the defense. Coincidentally, Martinez has finished with 144 tackles in each of the past two seasons.

In 2017, he tied for the league-lead. Last season that number was good for second place. Martinez is still a key part of Green Bay’s defense.

Round 4 (Pick 137)

Dean Lowry

DE, Northwestern

Current Team: Green Bay Packers

With depth needed along the defensive line, the Packers selected Dean Lowry in the fourth round. Lowry has 85 tackles, seven sacks and a forced fumble in three seasons. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown. Lowry continues to provide depth along the defensive line. One player the Packers did miss out on was running back Jordan Howard, who was selected just 13 picks later.

Round 5 (Pick 163)

Trevor Davis

WR, California

Current Team: Green Bay Packers

The Packers looked to add much-needed speed to the wide receiver corps with Trevor Davis, but most of his work has come on special teams. Davis has just eight receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown in his career.

Round 6 (Pick 200)

Kyle Murphy

OT, Stanford

Current Team: Free Agent

Kyle Murphy was a backup along the offensive line in Green Bay for three years. After spending most of the 2018 season on injured reserve, the Packers released Murphy before the end of the year. He has since signed with the Los Angeles Rams.

Retrospective Grade

Overall, this was a solid draft class. Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez are both important parts of the Packers defense, and Kyler Fackrell posted double-digit sacks and started seven games in 2018. Clark is the only player in the class playing close to an elite level, but the Packers were able to add depth at positions of need.

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