NFL Nation: Andrew Datko


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- General manager Ted Thompson was probably fortunate to find anyone willing take defensive end Jerel Worthy off the Green Bay Packers' hands.

That the New England Patriots on Tuesday were only willing to give up a late-round pick, likely a seventh-rounder, that is conditional on Worthy making their opening-day roster, should serve as condemnation of Thompson's 2012 draft class.

Most believe it takes three years to evaluate a draft class but less than two-and-a-half years later, that class is almost all gone.

In his 10 years as GM, Thompson has relied on the draft to build a perennial NFC contender but his 2012 class has not helped much. He picked eight players that year and only three of them remain on his roster. Just one of them, defensive end Mike Daniels, is penciled in as a starter.

To pick Worthy at No. 51 overall, Thompson traded up, giving a fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up eight spots.

Thompson will speak to the media on Wednesday during his regularly-scheduled training camp press conference, and the decision to trade Worthy and what it says about that draft class will be discussed.

But before that, here's a player-by-player look at how that class turned out:

OLB Nick Perry (first round, No. 28 overall): Tired of waiting for him to be healthy, Thompson brought in veteran pass-rusher Julius Peppers this offseason to play in the spot where Perry started at times in his first two seasons. Multiple injuries limited Perry to just 17 of a possible 32 games in his first two seasons. He has worked as a backup in training camp.

DE Jerel Worthy (second round, No. 51 overall): Played 467 snaps in a part-time role as a rookie before he tore his ACL in the regular-season finale. Then played just 13 snaps last season after coming off the physically unable to perform list in November. He sustained a back injury lifting weights this offseason, which required surgery in April, and never made it back to practice before Tuesday's trade.

CB Casey Hayward (second round, No. 62 overall): Led all rookies with six interceptions in 2012, but played in only three games last season because of a recurring hamstring injury. Likely will return to his role as the slot cornerback in the nickel package this season.

DE Mike Daniels (fourth round, No. 132 overall): An emerging star and leader on the defense, Daniels posted 6.5 sacks last season (second on the team to Clay Matthews) as a backup and figures to have a greater impact as a starter this season. So far, he's been the star of this draft class.

S Jerron McMillian (fourth round, No. 133 overall): Began the 2013 season as the starting strong safety but was released on Dec. 3 after being phased out of the defense because of poor play. He is in camp with the Kansas City Chiefs.

LB Terrell Manning (fifth round, No. 163 overall): Played only sparingly, mostly on special teams, as a rookie and then was released in the final cuts at the end of training camp last year. Since then, he has been with three different teams and is currently in camp with the New York Giants.

T Andrew Datko (seventh round, No. 241 overall): Released in the final cuts at the end of training camp last year. Spent his rookie season on the practice squad and was never on the active roster. He's currently out of the NFL.

QB B.J. Coleman (seventh round, No. 243 overall): Spent his rookie season on the practice squad and then was released before the start of last season. He's currently out of the NFL.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When you're a draft-and-develop team like the Green Bay Packers, hitting on less than half of your draft choices probably isn't good enough.

Joyce
McMillian
But after cutting second-year safety Jerron McMillian on Tuesday, general manager Ted Thompson's percentage from the 2011 and 2012 drafts combined dipped below 50 percent.

"You never want to give up on a young guy," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said shortly after McMillian was released.

But that's exactly what the Packers did with McMillian, a fourth-round pick in 2011, and several others from the 2011 and 2012 drafts.

Of the 18 players Thompson picked in those two years combined, only eight remain with the Packers. And only six of those are on the active roster. Randall Cobb, a second-round pick in 2011, is on injured reserve/designated to return. Casey Hayward, a second-round pick in 2012, is on injured reserve.

Because Thompson believes in the theory that the more swings you have at the plate, the better your chances of finding good players, his percentage might be a little bit lower than a team that simply picks every time their turn comes up rather than trading back to acquire more picks.

But look at Thompson's 2010 draft, for example. He made only seven picks, and all are still with the Packers, although first-round pick Bryan Bulaga is on injured reserve.

Here's a player-by-player look at the 2011 and 2012 drafts:

2011 (Total players selected: 10. Players still with the Packers: 4)
  • T Derek Sherrod (first round, No. 32 overall): Returned to the roster last month after nearly two years on the physically unable to perform list because of a broken leg he sustained Dec. 18, 2011. Played his first snaps on offense since his injury Thursday against the Detroit Lions and likely will compete for a starting job next season.
  • Cobb
  • WR Randall Cobb (second round, No. 64 overall): Budding star who led the Packers in catches (80) and receiving yards (954) last season but sustained on leg injury Oct. 13 and was placed on temporary injured reserve. He is eligible to return Dec. 15 against the Dallas Cowboys but has not been cleared.
  • RB Alex Green (third round, No. 96 overall): Sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament as a rookie and despite coming back to lead the team in rushing with just 464 yards in 2012, he was released in the final cuts after training camp this season.
  • CB Davon House (fourth round, No. 131 overall): A part-time starter for the first time this season but has allowed five touchdown catches this season, according to ProFootballFocus.com
  • TE D.J. Williams (fifth round, No. 141 overall): Caught just nine passes in two seasons before he was released in the final cuts after training camp this season.
  • G Caleb Schlauderaff (sixth round, No. 179 overall): Traded to the New York Jets on Sept. 3, 2011 for a conditional draft choice that ended up being a seventh-round pick in 2012.
  • LB D.J. Smith (sixth round, No. 186 overall): Started the first six games of the 2012 season but tore his ACL and was released this past April.
  • LB Ricky Elmore (sixth round, No. 197 overall): Cut at the end of training camp in 2011.
  • TE Ryan Taylor (seventh round, No. 218 overall): Has become one of the team's core special teams players.
  • DE Lawrence Guy (seventh round, No. 233 overall): Spent all of his rookie season on injured reserve and then was on the practice squad in 2012 until the Indianapolis Colts signed him to their active roster.
2012 (Total players selected: 8. Players still with the Packers: 4)
  • LB Nick Perry (first round, No. 28 overall): Has battled injuries each of his first two seasons but has been a starter when healthy.
  • DE Jerel Worthy (second round, No. 51 overall): Played a part-time role as a rookie before he tore his ACL in the regular-season finale. Came off PUP last month and has played in one game this season.
  • CB Casey Hayward (second round, No. 62 overall): Led all rookies with six interceptions last season but a recurring hamstring injury limited him to just three games this season before going on injured reserve.
  • Daniels
  • DT Mike Daniels (fourth round, No. 132 overall): Perhaps the best player from this draft class. Daniels has become a force as a pass rusher with 5.5 sacks this season, which is second on the team to Clay Matthews.
  • S Jerron McMillian (fourth round, No. 133 overall): Began the season as the starting strong safety but was released Tuesday after being phased out of the defense for poor play.
  • LB Terrell Manning (fifth round, No. 163 overall): Released in the final cuts at the end of training camp this year. Played only sparingly, mostly on special teams, as a rookie.
  • T Andrew Datko (seventh round, No. 241 overall): Released in the final cuts at the end of training camp this year. Spent his rookie season on the practice squad and was never on the active roster.
  • QB B.J. Coleman (seventh round, No. 243 overall): Released in Week 1 after Seneca Wallace was signed to be the backup quarterback. Spent his rookie season on the practice squad.

Green Bay Packers cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
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Most significant move: After the Packers released Graham Harrell on Aug. 24, the backup quarterback job was Vince Young’s to lose. The former first-round draft pick on the Tennessee Titans lost it. After an unimpressive performance in the preseason finale at Kansas City on Thursday, when Young led only two field goal drives in 11 possessions, the Packers released him on Saturday.

Perhaps he was fighting a losing battle from the start, considering he wasn’t signed until Aug. 5. That was 11 days after the Packers opened training camp. He missed the first seven practices and a scrimmage.

It leaves an unsettled situation behind starter Aaron Rodgers. For now, the only other quarterback on the roster is B.J. Coleman, who spent all of last season on the practice squad. Coleman opened training camp as the No. 3 quarterback but slipped to fourth string after Young was signed and before Harrell was released. In the preseason, Coleman completed just 14 of 34 passes (41.2 percent) for 128 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It’s hard to imagine the Packers won’t explore other options over the weekend.

2011 revisited: With running back Alex Green and tight end D.J. Williams among the most surprising cuts on Saturday, it made a strong statement about the 2011 draft class. Packers general manager Ted Thompson drafted 10 players in April of that year. Only three of them – receiver Randall Cobb (second round), cornerback Davon House (fourth round) and tight end Ryan Taylor (seventh round) – remain on the roster. Tackle Derek Sherrod (first round) will start the season on the physically unable to perform list. He still has not returned from the broken leg he sustained on Dec. 18, 2011. Green was a third-round pick, while Williams was taken in the fifth round.

What’s next: Like all teams, the Packers will scour the waiver wire and free-agent lists. Their focus likely will be on the quarterbacks. Even if they find one they like, they might have to use Coleman as the No. 2 early in the season while the newcomer gets acclimated to the offense. The Packers haven’t carried three quarterbacks on their active roster since late in the 2011 season. They also can begin signing players to their eight-man practice squad on Sunday afternoon. Thompson is scheduled to meet with reporters on Sunday afternoon.

Players cut: QB: Vince Young. RB: Alex Green. FB: Jonathan Amosa. TE: Matthew Mulligan, Jake Stoneburner, D.J. Williams. WR: Charles Johnson, Tyrone Walker, Myles White. OL: Andrew Datko, Garth Gerhart, Kevin Hughes, Patrick Lewis. DL: Jordan Miller. LB: Terrell Manning, Dezman Moses, Donte Savage. CB: Loyce Means, Brandon Smith, James Nixon. S: David Fulton, Chaz Powell.

Midafternoon Packers cuts update

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The biggest name among the Green Bay Packers' cuts so far clearly was quarterback Vince Young, who was released on Saturday morning.

But they also have cut a couple of players who saw significant playing time last season in running back Alex Green and tight end D.J. Williams.

Green was their leading rusher last season with 464 yards, and Williams played in 14 of 18 games last season (including playoffs).

With a few hours left before teams have to trim their rosters to 53 players, here’s the latest list of the players who have been released.

Note: This list is a compilation of our own reporting here at ESPN plus reports from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packer Report, ESPNMilwaukee.com and players with verified Twitter accounts. With 18 cuts already confirmed, the Packers will have to make four more roster moves to reach the 53-man limit.

Observation deck: Packers-Chiefs

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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Green Bay Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not play in Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City, meaning his entire preseason consisted of five series and 45 plays. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews and tight end Jermichael Finley also were given the night off.

The Chiefs also rested many of their key players, including starting quarterback Alex Smith.

The Packers lost 30-8 to finish the preseason 1-3.

Here’s a rundown of the rest of the night:
  • Backup quarterbacks Vince Young and B.J. Coleman split playing time. Young started and played the first two series, and then Coleman came in and played the next two series. They alternated that way the rest of the first half. Young played the entire second half and struggled. He lost a fumble on the first possession of the third quarter and then had five straight drives that ended with punts. Young actually fumbled twice in the third quarter, losing one of them when outside linebacker Josh Martin beat tackle Andrew Datko for a strip sack. On the second one, Ridge Wilson beat Datko and knocked the ball away from Young, but the Packers recovered. Young threw behind receivers several times and completed just 14 of 30 passes for 144 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Coleman finished 2-of-7 for 19 yards and an interception. He was picked off by former Packers linebacker Frank Zombo.
  • On his first – and only – play this preseason, cornerback Tramon Williams came up with an interception, picking off Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel on the first play from scrimmage. Williams missed the first three preseason games because of a knee injury he sustained early in training camp but looks like he will be good to go in Week 1 at San Francisco.
  • Rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari also played only one play. He was slow to get up after the Packers’ first play from scrimmage and did not return, but he did not appear to be seriously injured.
  • Receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson made their preseason debuts but played only the first two snaps, both of which were running plays.
  • Kicker Mason Crosby, who earlier on Thursday agreed to take a pay cut, made both of his field goals, from 48 and 45 yards, and likely solidified his hold on the job.
  • Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly played extensively and likely solidified his spot on the team after missing the past three seasons because of a suspension. However, his personal-foul penalty helped the Chiefs to their only touchdown in the first half. Jolly delivered a late hit after linebacker Nate Palmer had a strip sack of quarterback Tyler Bray. Jolly’s penalty wiped out what would have been a 13-yard loss.
  • Cornerback Brandon Smith, a receiver in college at Arizona State, gave up all the Chiefs’ three touchdowns – an 8-yard pass from Bray to Junior Hemingway in the second quarter, a 43-yard pass from Bray to Josh Bellamy in the third quarter and a 9-yarder from Bray to Frankie Hammond in the fourth quarter. Smith did also have an interception of Bray early in the third quarter.
  • Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin got his most extensive playing time of the preseason and had a couple of good gains – a long run of 7 yards and a long reception of 14 yards – but struggled mightily in pass protection. He whiffed on several blocks, including one that may have caused Coleman to rush a throw on his interception.
  • Receiver Jeremy Ross may have helped his chances. He caught three passes for 50 yards.
  • Rookie linebacker Sam Barrington, who likely will make the team as a special-teams player, sacked Bray in the third quarter for a safety.
  • Chris Banjo, trying to make the team as the fourth safety, sacked Bray in the fourth quarter.
  • Rookie Micah Hyde took four punt returns. He had three fair catches and a 12-yard return.
  • Coach Mike McCarthy turned the play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Tom Clements.
  • Tim Masthay punted 28 times during the preseason, including nine against the Chiefs.
  • Receivers Tyrone Walker and Myles White both fumbled in the fourth quarter, hurting their chances to make it as the fifth or sixth receiver.
  • The Packers may make a few cuts on Friday but likely will make the bulk of their roster moves on Saturday, when they have to be down to 53 players.

Green Bay Packers cut-down analysis

September, 1, 2012
9/01/12
12:23
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Most significant move: For weeks, outsiders have called for the Packers to make a trade or look outside of the organization for a backup quarterback. General manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy put all of their faith in Graham Harrell as the backup to Aaron Rodgers. They even raised the stakes by cutting seventh-round choice B.J. Coleman, leaving the Packers with only two quarterbacks on the roster. Harrell doesn’t have a strong arm, but he has been in the system. He finished the preseason with a strong showing. Rodgers has been able to stay healthy, only relying on former backup Matt Flynn to fill in for him for two starts. Many felt the Packers needed to make a move for a Colt McCoy or another veteran who would fit in the West Coast offense. It’s a gamble, but one the Packers were willing to make

Onward and upward: You have to figure the Packers go for offensive line help. They only kept two backups, veteran Evan Dietrich-Smith and Don Barclay. Derek Sherrod went on the physically unable to perform list so he’s unavailable until mid-season. The Packers are solid for starters with Marshall Newhouse and Bryan Bulaga at tackle, T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton at guard and Jeff Saturday at center. It’s not surprising the Packers cut most of the backups they brought to camp. Many were undrafted players from the past couple of years. It was a little surprising they released Andrew Datko, but they could be trying to get the seventh-round choice on the practice squad. The Packers figure to bring some of the released linemen to the practice squad.

What's next: Defensive coordinator Dom Capers ended up with six rookie draft choices and two undrafted rookies, safety Sean Richardson and rookie linebacker Deszman Moses, among the 26 defensive players on the roster. Caper’s mission is getting those eight young players to contribute to a defense that was one of the worst in football last season. The Packers have to feel good about the depth along the defensive line. C.J. Wilson moved into a starting role at defensive end and is backed up by veteran Phillip Merling and second-round choice Jerel Worthy. They also have fourth-round pick Alex Daniels. That’s so much better than a couple years ago when they had to take a veteran or two off the street to fill in at end. Capers has two rookies starting at linebacker, D.J. Smith on the inside and Nick Perry on the outside. Draft choices Casey Hayward and Jerron McMillian offer plenty of skills for the secondary but they aren’t being asked to start, yet.
We noted in our Green Bay Packers Camp Confidential that Marshall Newhouse appeared to have the left tackle position locked down. What we didn't consider, however, was if they had any alternatives.

That question took on some extra gravity Friday when Newhouse departed the Packers' Family Night practice because of an undisclosed injury. It's not clear if he will miss any time, but the mere possibility reminds us that the Packers -- like many teams at left tackle -- aren't stacked with ready-made starters behind him.

Derek Sherrod, the Packers' first-round draft choice in 2011, is listed on the depth chart as their No. 2 left tackle. But Sherrod is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list as he continues recovery from a broken leg suffered last December. Coach Mike McCarthy has tempered any suggestion that Sherrod might soon be ready to begin practicing.

That leaves rookie Andrew Datko, a seventh-round draft pick who hasn't turned many heads in camp. The Packers' strong preference is to leave right tackle Bryan Bulaga at his current position, even though Bulaga played left tackle at Iowa. So let's just say it would be instructive to see who the Packers would use at left tackle if Newhouse misses any time.

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