Green Bay Packers’ recent first round draft picks stressing Wisconsin’s health care system

Datone Jones

Benny Sieu — USA TODAY Sports

If Green Bay Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson wants to make a case for how well his top selections in the NFL Draft have fared, he need look no farther than 2009 first-round draft picks linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive lineman B.J. Raji.

If you’re looking for evidence more recent than five drafts ago, go look in the Packers’ training room. Green Bay’s top draft picks from the 2010 – 2013 drafts are each on the shelf or just returning from a season-ending injury.

Datone Jones
With today’s news that 2013 first-round draft pick Datone Jones left practice early for injury treatment, his status for Friday’s preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks is very much up in the air. He missed last week’s game against the St. Louis Rams and played only one snap in the week one contest against the Arizona Cardinals, where he injured his ankle. Reports from the field indicate he rolled the same ankle injured in the Cardinals game. It is unknown how long it will keep him out.

A continuing injury situation for Jones is not good news for the Packers. In reality, Jones’ injury is not news at all for Green Bay’s recent first-round picks — it’s par for the course.

Nick Perry
2012 first-round selection linebacker Nick Perry had his rookie season cut short due to injuries. Ultimately, he was placed on injured reserve after appearing in only six games. The former USC Trojan suffered a wrist injury that required season-ending surgery. He returned to action for Green Bay but continues to wear a splint on the repaired wrist. The Packers have received a total of 211 snaps from Perry thus far in his career.

Derek Sherrod
2011 first-round draft pick tackle Derek Sherrod has been out of action since suffering a devastating leg injury in December 2011. His rookie season and subsequent remaining professional career have been cut short. As camp opened, it was hoped that Sherrod could return to the field to vie for a starting role at either left or right tackle. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list with no date determined for his return. His future as a member of the Packers is cloudy, at best.

Bryan Bulaga
In Sherrod and Bryan Bulaga, the Packers invested first-round draft picks at the offensive tackle positions in 2011 and 2010. Give them an “A” for effort. Clearly, the Packers felt the need to draft and develop top talent for the bookend positions on the offensive line.

Unfortunately, they have gotten very little return on their investment. 2010 first-round selection Bulaga is out for the 2013 season with a torn ACL. He also missed all but nine games last year due to a season-ending hip injury. All told, the Packers have gotten a total of 39 regular season games out of 80 from their preferred top two tackles. Bulaga will not add to his total this year and Sherrod is unlikely to add any, as well.

For comparison, here is how the Packers’ recent second-round picks are faring:

Eddie Lacey 2013 Returned last week from a hamstring injury.
Jerel Worthy 2012 Out.
Casey Hayward 2012 Out.
Randall Cobb 2011 Out.
Mike Neal 2010 Active, but missed six, nine and 14 regular season games in three years.
Jordy Nelson 2008 Out.

Heavy sigh.

Julian Rogers is an NFL writer for Pro Football Networks. Follow him on Twitter (@mrturophile), or connect with him on LinkedIn and Google+

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julian rogers

Communications Consultant at Juju Eye Communications
Julian Rogers is a freelance writer and communications consultant. Follow him on Twitter (@mrturophile), or connect with him on LinkedIn and Google+.

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