Green & Gold


More homework for Packers' 1st-round pick

Packers first-round draft pick Kenny Clark will have more homework to do as he finishes up classes at UCLA.

The defensive tackle won’t be able to start his new career full-time in Green Bay until classes back in Los Angeles finish up next month. He was just starting to read up on the playbook, too, during the team’s two-day rookie orientation camp last week.

“I think probably the playbook and getting the playbook down and just trying to learn things on the fly,” Clark said about the toughest part of the rookie learning curve.

Not that Clark minds going back to school, either. His goal is to graduate, which the junior estimated will take another year, at least, to accomplish.

Professionally, the goal is to help fill the gap in the middle of the left by the departure of run-stuffer B.J. Raji. The veteran said earlier in the offseason that he was taking a one-year “hiatus” from the game.


Packers’ brawny rookie class arrives

Coach Mike McCarthy got his first look Friday at all the brawny rookies drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

“Yes, they’re as big as we thought they were. It’s confirmed, yes,” McCarthy joked.

But they’re not quite NFL ready. Luckily, Friday was just the first day of the Packers’ rookie orientation camp.

It’s the first time to run through the playbook, the first time to make a good impression on McCarthy while wearing a green and gold uniform. And getting the “wow” moments out of the way, like having a locker in the same room as two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Honestly I wasn’t expecting to have a locker right by everybody else,” offensive tackle Jason Spriggs said.

The second-round selection is one of the bigger draft picks out of the Packers’ seven-player bunch. Listed at 6-foot-6, 301 pounds, Spriggs fits a need to replenish offensive line depth, as well as McCarthy’s desire to add more bulk to the team.


To Packers, ‘16 draft class — here’s to your health

The world of sports can mirror some of life’s firm injunctions, such as getting out what you put in, or that no one is immune to the random slip-up.

In the National Basketball Association, the Golden State Warriors and their fans learned that a wet spot on the floor could end up being the deciding factor in this year’s championship, and whether their historic regular season is reduced to a footnote.

The Warriors’ Steph Curry, the reigning league MVP, slipped on a damp area of the court and injured his knee during his team’s first-round series against Houston, thus hanging a massive question mark over Golden State’s postseason hopes.


Packers focus on bulk in NFL draft

Packers focus on bulk and add inside linebacker in NFL draft
GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Coach Mike McCarthy sought size at the line of scrimmage. General manager Ted Thompson drafted bulk.

Four linemen, two on each side of the ball, taken by the Green Bay Packers in the NFL draft this weekend should satisfy the coach.

"I think first off when you look at the big men that have been drafted, there's definitely, in my opinion, a desire to get bigger. So we've accomplished that," McCarthy said Saturday after the Packers made the last of their seven picks this weekend.

Fittingly, that man was 6-foot-7, 301-pound left tackle Kyle Murphy, who was taken in the sixth round. He joins 6-7, 305-pound Jason Spriggs in the Packers' draft class, a left tackle from Indiana selected in the second round on Friday.


Green Bay trades up, takes offensive tackle

The Packers have added heft up front in the NFL draft.

They beefed up offensive line depth by trading up in the second round Friday to take Jason Spriggs, a 305-pound tackle out of Indiana.

Green Bay moved up nine spots to the 48th overall pick in the draft by dealing three picks to Indianapolis. The Colts received the Packers’ second-rounder, the 57th pick overall, along with selections in the fourth and seventh rounds.

“We thought we had an opportunity to get someone that (we) wouldn’t have if we sat still,” Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst said.

The Packers turned to defense in the third round by taking Utah State outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell with the 88th overall selection. Fackrell led the nation with five fumble recoveries.


Packers draft defensive tackle in 1st round

The Green Bay Packers are counting on UCLA’s Kenny Clark to help fill a big void on the defensive line.

General manager Ted Thompson selected Clark, a junior, with the 27th overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

Clark played three years at UCLA, starting all 13 games in 2015 and making 29 consecutive starts overall. A team captain, Clark had 75 tackles and six sacks for the Bruins last season.

There is a huge void in the middle of the defense with tackle B.J. Raji choosing to take a year off. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Clark will help plug that hole.

“I feel like I’m very versatile. I’ll do whatever they ask me to do,” Clark said in a conference call from his hometown of San Bernardino, California.


NFC North Draft Capsules

Draft capsules for NFC North teams heading into the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday:

11. CHICAGO BEARS (6-10)

LAST SEASON: Finished last in NFC North in first season under general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox. Even though they won just one more game, Bears believe they started to lay strong foundation. QB Jay Cutler posted highest rating of career while cutting interceptions from 18 to 11 in 15 games after Bears waited until March to announce he was their quarterback going forward. Defense tied for 22nd in sacks, had 17 takeaways — fifth fewest in league.



POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama; OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia; DT Jarran Reed, Alabama; CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida.


Thompson offers few clues on draft focus

How the Green Bay Packers proceed with their first-round pick in the NFL draft could be a sign of the team’s comfort level with the young inside linebackers on their roster.

Or not. General manager Ted Thompson has never been one to drop big hints.

Thompson stayed true to form Wednesday. He said picking the best player available is always the preference. He offered few clues about how moving linebacker Clay Matthews back to the outside could impact his decision when the Packers pick 27th overall on April 28.

Mathews spent much of the last two seasons on the inside, helping shore up the run defense. And while he made the Pro Bowl as an inside linebacker last season, Matthews is at his best rushing the passer and wreaking havoc in the backfield.

“Yeah, it’s a coaching decision. We’ve had a little bit of fortune with him playing outside backer, too,” Thompson said wryly.


Packers open season with 2 road games

The Minnesota Vikings will play their first regular-season home game at US Bank Stadium against, naturally, the rival Green Bay Packers.

The NFL unveiled the 2016 schedule Thursday, putting the Packers and Vikings in prime time on Sunday night, Sept. 18. The rematch in Green Bay will be on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

The Packers’ 96th NFL regular-season schedule is highlighted by five prime-time contests (subject to flexible scheduling).

The Packers kick off their season on the road for the fourth consecutive year, the longest streak in team history, opening with two road games for the first time since 1924. Green Bay will travel to Jacksonville, playing on the road against an AFC team in Week 1 for the first time since facing the New England Patriots in 1985.


Cook gets his QB with Packers’ Rodgers

As Jared Cook considered his options in free agency, finding a quarterback to get him the football was first and foremost on his mind.

“It was more than the top priority I was looking for,” the tight end said Tuesday, a day after signing a one-year free-agent contract with the Packers, whose quarterback happens to be two-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers. “It was imperative that I find a person that’s known for getting the job done and is good at what they do. I think that he’s one of the best in the league at doing it, clearly.”

While Cook targeted a team with a proven quarterback, the Packers, who rarely delve into free agency, targeted Cook to give their quarterback an explosive threat at tight end. Last season, Richard Rodgers caught 58 passes, one of four tight ends in franchise history to catch at least 55 in a season. But he averaged only 8.8 yards per reception.


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