That’s weird—this time capsule says “Green Bay Packers 2015 Draft” but it’s brimming with piping hot diarrhea. Oh well, I’m wearing gloves and my vintage Ahmad Carroll jersey so let’s dig in to it!
Round 1 (#30 overall) – Damarious Randall, DB (Arizona St.): By 2015 it was time to identify successors for Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. Those two, starting outside CBs on a Super Bowl-winning defense (possibly the last time I get to write something pleasant here), were undrafted free agents. Ted Thompson was prepared to spend significant draft capital to acquire their replacements. However, it wasn’t clear to fans where Damarious Randall fit into these plans. He played safety in college but GB planned to play him at outside corner, an unusual plan and a foolish one in retrospect. Owing in part to injuries to Shields, Randall started 9 games during his rookie year. The results were… not terrible for a frequently-targeted rookie. Pro Football Focus scored him as the 63rd-highest CB in the NFL. He gave up 738 receiving yards but also snagged three interceptions including a pick-six, and 10 pass breakups. That was some reason for optimism. On the disastrous side, his lack of awareness during a broken play led to their playoff defeat in Arizona.
In 2016, Randall won the starting spot across from Shields to begin the season. Owing to injuries he only appeared on 10 games but notched a playoff INT against the Giants. In 2017, Shields was out of football with a serious neck injury and Randall became GB’s #1 corner (ominous music intensifies). He squabbled with coaches during the Week 4 game against the Bears and reportedly left the stadium at halftime, but the very next week made a great pick-six to help beat the Cowboys. He missed the last few games of the year but fans had thoroughly soured on him due to his frequent errors and didn't miss him.
With Brian Gutekunst now in control as GM, Green Bay traded Randall to Cleveland ahead of the 2018 draft, receiving bust QB DeShone Kizer and a swap of 4th/5th round picks. Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith were now in the Cleveland front office and still saw value in Randall. Those Packer draft picks became WR J’Mon Moore, who needs a miracle to make the roster this year, and OL Cole Madison who sat out of football in 2018 but is in training camp this year. In roughly 1 total game of relief duty Kizer played terribly.
So was Randall a bad pick? He mostly didn’t play well, so I have to conclude that he was. However, he did have 10 INTs in 30 starts for the Packers, including a couple game-saving plays. If they hadn’t insisted on playing him out of position then maybe his career could have been salvaged in GB. They accurately identified a starting-quality defensive back but misused that resource, so I’ll grade it a “D.” As Cleveland’s starting safety in 2018 Randall missed only 2 tackles, grabbed 4 INTs, and earned a solid PFF rating of 72.8. GB could have just drafted Preston Smith, who was selected eight spots later in 2015 and is now a Packer with a lucrative free agent contract. At the time of this writing Randall is negotiating a new deal with Cleveland and seems to like it there.
[Morpheus voice] What if I told you that it’s all downhill from here?
Round 2 (#62 overall) – Quinten Rollins, DB (Miami OH): A number of draft graders saw Rollins as a value pick in the 2nd round, with some speculating that Ted Thompson wouldn’t have drafted Randall at #30 if he knew Rollins would be available a full round later. Rollins was also somewhat new to playing CB. He played four years of college basketball but only one of football, though he won the MAC Defensive Player of the Year award after that single season. He was the #4 corner on GB’s opening day roster and didn’t play much in 2015 but when he did the results were promising: he allowed a passer rating of only 58.1 on 41 targets into his coverage and snagged 2 INTs while allowing zero TDs. He didn’t play enough snaps to qualify for PFF’s full-season rankings but his 78.6 grade was good for a rookie.
In 2016 Rollins was called upon to start 10 games owing to injuries in the secondary, and the results were ugly. He gave up 7 touchdowns and a passer rating of 133.8 and PFF rated him as the second-worst CB in the league. In 2017 Kevin King joined the team as their latest highly-drafted rookie CB, in part a commentary on the failure of Randall and/or Rollins to improve. Rollins played very little and suffered an Achilles injury in October which may effectively be career-ending as he was never a speedy player. He had a chance to play safety and punt returner with GB during the 2018 preseason but was released with an injury settlement. He spent a month on the Cardinals’ practice squad in late 2018. He got a tryout with the Broncos in April 2019 but isn’t signed at the time of this writing. This pick was a hearty “F” all around. One pick later, Seattle selected the 2015 version of Rashan Gary in Frank Clark.
Round 3 (#94 overall) – Ty Montgomery, WR (Stanford): Another surprising luxury pick, as the Packers appeared set at WR going into 2015 (alas, Jordy Nelson’s ACL only had four more months to live). Montgomery slotted in as an upgrade at kick returner with further upside as a gadget player. He appeared in only six games as a rookie, catching 2 TDs. An ankle injury hampered him during the year.
Montgomery played sparingly at the start of 2016 but became the emergency starting RB after Eddie Lacy and James Starks each got hurt. He had a couple of 10-catch games but rarely logged double-digit rushing attempts. He led the 2016 team in rushing with only 457 rushing yards but 5.9 ypc. His 6.7 yards per touch was 7th best in the league. Memorable performances were his career-best 162 rushing yards and 2 TDs against the Bears, and another 2 TDs in the classic playoff win at Dallas. The Packers added three late-round RBs during the 2017 draft but remained bizarrely confident in Montgomery’s ability to retain a starting role. He had double-digit carries in four of the first five games but quickly broke down with rib and wrist injuries, ending the season on IR. He scored 4 TDs while appearing in eight games.
By 2018 Montgomery’s role was once again in limbo as RBs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams had outplayed him the previous season. Likely frustrated by his reduced role, he decided to “make something happen” at the worst possible time as he returned a kickoff out of the end zone against the undefeated Rams in Week 8 and fumbled it away. Less than 48 hours later the disgraced Montgomery found himself traded to Baltimore for a 7th round draft pick in 2020. He played little in Baltimore aside from returning kicks. He signed with the Jets in April of 2019 where again his role on offense is unclear. Perhaps this is the fate he is doomed to endure. How to grade the pick? I could be charitable because Montgomery is a decent player and it’s not his fault he was forced to play out of position. But because he was a Top 100 pick that didn’t fit a need, missed plenty of games due to various injuries, and made a game-losing mistake that cost him his job, I’m skewing cruel here with a “D+.”
Round 4 (#129 overall) – Jake Ryan, LB (Michigan): Now we’re into the part of the draft where you probably don’t remember these dudes unless you’re a Packers fan. That’s rarely a good sign. Jake Ryan, the 15th linebacker selected in 2015, wasn’t a sexy pick (unless you’re thinking of the Sixteen Candles character of the same name) but with AJ Hawk and Brad Jones gone there was great opportunity for a new ILB in Green Bay. Ryan began the year as the #4 ILB but ascended to starter by season’s end.
An opening-day starter in 2016, Ryan received an overall PFF grade of 76.4 and was ranked their third most improved second year player. 2017 brought another respectable improvement as Ryan started 12 games and earned a PFF rating of 82.1, 19th among all qualified linebackers. He was the second most productive inside linebacker against the run in 2017, though he contributed little in pass coverage or rush. In July of 2018 Ryan tore his ACL and missed the season. Green Bay did not attempt to re-sign Ryan after his rookie contract expired. He signed a two-year, $8 million contract with Jacksonville in March of 2019. Ryan was a value pick, playing 1,522 snaps in three seasons, and improved his game every year that he was on the field. On the other hand, ILB is a low-value position in the Packers’ defense and Ryan was essentially a good run stopper with no big-play upside. Reliable yet forgettable; give him a “C” overall, a relative gem of a pick in this garbage heap.
Round 5 (#147 overall) – Brett Hundley, QB (UCLA): Hundley was selected as an upgrade to the backup QB spot, replacing Scott Tolzien in that role after one season. Hundley supposedly had “great mechanics” and the potential to develop into a player worth a high draft pick. Maybe this pick should’ve been spent on a player who could contribute something immediately, hmm? (There weren’t many good players in this stretch of the draft but Jay Ajayi went two picks later.)
Hundley played well each preseason and Packer fans entertained grandiose dreams of trading him for a first- or second-round pick. Then he actually had to play in real games and it all fell apart. With Aaron Rodgers sidelined in 2017, Hundley started nine games and went 3-6 including two shutout losses. He finished 23rd in the NFL in completion percentage (60.8), 31st in yards per attempt (5.8) and 30th in passer rating (70.6). One of those wins was against the Bears, at least. Hundley finished with 1,836 passing yards, 9 passing TDs, 12 INTs, 270 rushing yards, and 2 rushing TDs.
In August of 2018 Hundley was traded to Seattle for a sixth-round pick in 2019, hardly the bounty fans had once dreamed of. That pick became RB Dexter Williams. In March 2019 Hundley signed a one-year deal with Arizona. His brief starting tenure in Green Bay was grim, and his name will make fans shudder for years. This pick is a hard “F.” At least Tolzien had a 300-yard game.
Round 6 (#206 overall) – Aaron Ripkowski, FB (Oklahoma): We're back to players who were bad picks because they rarely played and not because they actively cost the team wins. Hooray. Ripkowski was mostly a special teams player. 2016 was his best season, as he got 43 offensive touches and scored 3 TDs including a rushing touchdown in the playoffs. In 2017 he was back to mostly special teams duties and he was released before the start of the 2018 season. In January 2019 Ripkowski signed a futures contract with Kansas City. We’re in the sixth round at this point though, so what are you expecting? I’ll give this pick a “C-.”
Round 6 (#210 overall) – Christian Ringo, DE (Louisiana): Ringo was released during final cuts but signed to the practice squad. Supposedly at least one other team offered Ringo a contract, but he accepted a raise from the Packers and remained on the practice squad. He appeared in 8 games for the Packers in 2016 but never showed much as a pass rusher. He’s remained a fringe player in the league since then, with Dallas, Detroit and Cincinnati signing him at different times. Should we even be grading these picks? He’s essentially a good undrafted free agent.
Round 6 (#213 overall) – Kennard Backman, TE (Ala-Birmingham): Appeared in 7 games for the Packers during his rookie year, playing special teams. The Packers put him on IR in August 2016. New England and Detroit each had him on their practice squad briefly in 2016-2017. His NFL career appears to be over now. No grade is necessary here but like, he did at least play in the NFL. In a playoff game, even!
Notable undrafted free agents:
Ladarius Gunter, CB (Miami FL) was NOT good but ended up starting 19 games and playing 1,055 snaps in 2016 because of the injury to Sam Shields. Julio Jones rocked his world in the 2016 NFC Championship Game. Gunter still opened 2017 with a starting spot, but reeked in Week 1 and was cut immediately. Carolina claimed him off waivers but Gunter was not a contributor there.
John Crockett, RB (North Dakota St.) was a preseason fan favorite and got a tiny bit of playing time.
And that’s it! That’s as deep as the diarrhea go! Fortunately I own many more vintage Ahmad Carroll jerseys.
Final grade: Press “F” to pay NO respects to this horrible no-good very bad draft.