Grading the Packer’s offseason signings: Defense and Special Teams



Ricky Jean Francois – defensive line

Ricky Jean Francois, after spending four years with San Francisco, two years with Indianapolis, and another two years with Washington, has found himself in Green Bay on a one-year, $2 million deal. He truly is an experienced veteran at the age of 30. He shows promise on the Packer’s defensive line, recording 3.5 sacks with Washington last season. His downside is his age. He is not as quick as he used to be, which makes it difficult for him to get off of most blocks. With old age, who knows how many snaps he will play or where he will fit into the depth chart. There are a lot of unanswered questions about Jean-Francois. His upside is his ability to bull rush. Although he is not that quick, he shows that he can be a bruiser up front just like BJ Raji used to be. He is talented at plugging holes and filling gaps, and will most likely play the nose tackle position. Aside from football, he also owns 25 Dunkin Donuts (via Bleacher Report).

Grade: B+


Davon House – corner back

Returning to the Packers after a two-year stint with the Jaguars, Davon House signed a one-year, $2.8 million deal with the Packers. House looks to strengthen the Packers’ secondary and give them much needed experience. His downside is that he is not the player that he used to be. In 2014, House played 405 snaps for the Packers, and doubled that number a year later to 1036 snaps with the Jaguars. Last year, he only played 272 snaps on defense. There could be many reasons for his drop in snap count, but injury seemed to be it. His upside is that he brings in veteran experience and a familiar face to the Packers organization. He was switched around a lot in Jacksonville, playing multiple positions. I would look for him to fill in holes on the Packers’ secondary while not being a for sure starter.

Grade: B+


Nick Perry – linebacker

Nick Perry returns to the Packers on a 5-year, $60M deal. Coming off of a career year, Nick Perry finally showed the potential and play we all had been waiting for. After being injured season after season, Nick Perry stayed healthy and got paid. His downside is that we most likely overpaid for him. But what choice did we have? With Clay Matthews dwindling, Datone Jones leaving for Minnesota, and not having any clear rookie replacements, we had to pay him. Nick Perry was in the perfect situation to get paid here. The Packers had no other option, and Nick Perry had one of, if not the best year of his career. This must be the price it took to keep him. My question is, how much longer will he keep up this physical, smart play? His upside is that he provides the Packers with an outside rusher, and most of all, a proven player on defense. With high expectations as a high draft pick, Perry failed to prove himself early on in his career. Coming off of a contract year, he finally broke out, leading the Packers with 11 sacks in 2016.

Grade: C+


Jayrone Elliot – linebacker

After making the Packers’ 53-man roster in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, Jayrone Elliot found his role on special teams. He has now re-signed with the Packers on a one-year, $1.6 million deal. With Datone Jones in Minnesota, Elliot will look to be a backup OLB, as well as an avid special teams player. With 136 defensive snaps in 2016 he should look to up that number, and I predict he may even as much as double it in 2017. The downside to this deal is that Jayrone needs to stay healthy. Dropping 38 total defensive snaps in 2016 from 2015 may not seem like much, but when Elliot is not playing a ton of snaps to begin with, that number should have been increased. Staying healthy and playing consistently should be Jayrone’s first priority this season. The upside to this deal is that Jayrone will be a great fill in at OLB this season. He looks to be the number two or three OLB on the depth chart next season, and I believe that he has potential to play at a high level.

Grade: B


Jordan Tripp – linebacker

After spending seasons with Miami, Jacksonville, and Seattle, Jordan Tripp looks to find a way to fit in on the Packers. He signed a one-year, $690k deal. The downside to this deal is that he doesn’t even have fifteen career tackles, and the majority came with Jacksonville—five. The upside to this pick is that he has great athleticism. He also brings depth to the Packers LB’s, and he is for sure a need on the roster.

Grade: C


Special Teams


Jacob Schum – punter

After being signed by the Cleveland Browns in 2013, Schum joined Tampa Bay for the 2015 season, and then signed with the Packers last season. He has now re-signed with the Packers on a one-year, $615k deal. He averaged 41.9 yards per punt in 2015 with Tampa Bay, and 43.2 yards per punt in 2016 with Green Bay. He should hopefully get his yards per punt up a few yards, closer to 45 yards per punt, and at the least be more consistent with his punting.

Grade: B+


Derek Hart – long snapper

Coming out of James Madison University, Hart has not played a snap in the NFL. He was an undrafted free agent. With Brett Goode being a free agent, I see Derek as someone who could take Brett’s job. Not much to show for himself, we will just have to wait and see. Hart played 43 games in college.

Grade: B



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