It seemed as if the seventh round of the NFL Draft was owned by the Green Bay Packers as they had three picks in the final round of the 2018 draft. The franchise looked to gain some depth in the defensive front seven along with an uncommon pick for special teams with a long snapper.
James Looney, DL, California
James Looney’s physical measurements are solid at 6’3″, 285 pounds. His combine numbers demonstrate athleticism with a 4.89 second 40 time, 7.32 second 3-Cone Drill, and an impressive 35.5 inch vertical jump. These skills will help provide the Packers with an option in the pass rush game as he will pair the athleticism with 28 reps on the bench press. Looney comes from a football family as his father was a Division I linebacker at Louisville and his brother is a current offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys.
A pedigree does not always guarantee production. Looney had a dropoff in play from his 2016 season to his 2017 campaign while at California. He had 10 fewer tackles and according to NFL.com, a scout from the NFC noted, “Really disappointed by what I saw this year when I went in. I know we talked this summer about how teams would try and find a role for him because of his talent, but he just didn’t play as well. He was light last year and even lighter this year.”
Fit on the Packers:
From the looks of it, James Looney does not fit the mold California tried to place him in when they utilized him on the interior of the line. Instead, his athletic ability paired with the comments by the scout of him being lighter could find him a fit as an edge player in Pettine’s scheme. He could be utilized as a pass rush specialist as he would not have to worry about taking on big linemen head on. His athleticism would make the transition to the outside pretty smooth.
Hunter Bradley, LS, Mississippi State
It is hard to evaluate a long snapper since there is not a lot of film or write-ups about them, but Hunter Bradley’s tenacity and grit stand out. Bradley came into Mississippi State as a tight end, but three torn ACLs took him out of the position. He had the ability to long snap and was given a shot in his junior season.
Injuries. As stated before, Bradley has torn ACLs three times which is a major concern. He would tear them immediately after returning from a prior knee injury as well.
Fit on the Packers:
The long snapper position for the 2017 Packers was volatile as they were not able to have a consistent player at the position. After long-time snapper, Brett Goode was released by the team, the Packers went with two other snappers before resigning him for the remainder of the year. Hopefully drafting Bradley is the start of another long-term long snapper for the Green Bay Packers as he will be able to grow with rookie punter, JK Scott.
Kendall Donnerson, LB, Southeast Missouri State
Kendall Donnerson is a big dude. He is 6’2″, 250 pounds, and is one of the most athletic players in this draft. Donnerson did not attend the combine, but his pro day numbers were thoroughly impressive. Donnerson boasts a 4.48 40 time, 40 inch vertical, 10′ 11″ broad jump, and a 7.03 3-Cone time which is jaw-dropping at 250 pounds.
Donnerson is as raw as they come. If there were awards for testing times and measurements, he would be in the running for MVP, but his athleticism has not yet translated onto the field. Though he is an outside backer, he struggles to set an edge and tackle in space which is necessary to stop the run. He also has a lack of technique to complement his athleticism and could cause him to get figured out by tackles very quickly in the NFL.
Fit on the Packers:
Donnerson should find himself on the practice squad to start his career unless there are drastic improvements to his football-specific abilities. If he and the Packers work together to pair up his athleticism with football movements and decision making, Kendall Donnerson could be an absolute force for Green Bay in the future.