The Green Bay Packers’ draft needs are well documented: outside cornerback, pass rusher, running back. Can they address all of those needs in the NFL Draft?
Maybe, maybe not, but they don’t necessarily need to.
Just like when they signed guard Jahri Evans on Wednesday, there are still some free agents that could potentially help the Packers, even if only for this season.
Here’s a look at who is still available, why and how they can help.
Jason McCourty, cornerback
Frankly, I don’t know why the Packers haven’t signed this guy already. McCourty was released by the Titans on April 13 in a cost-cutting move.
He plays the outside, he’s a solid tackler and he’ll turn 30 this summer, so he likely has a couple good years left. Pro Football Focus graded him at 74.1 in 2016, a number that blows away any cornerback on the Packers’ roster. He was above 80 every year from 2010-13.
Maybe McCourty wants too much money — he was set to earn $7 million this year, but here’s a guy who can help the Packers.
Jamaal Charles, running back
Charles has been connected to the Packers all offseason. The Chiefs released him back in February and there has been little interest in his services.
Injuries are the story here. Charles has been available for just eight games over the past two seasons because of a knee injury. It also doesn’t help that Charles is 30, the age when running backs hit the proverbial wall.
That said, here’s a guy who, when he’s played at least 15 games, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards each season. That’s happened five times.
Look, the Packers wouldn’t be asking Charles to carry any rushing load. In fact, we’re always surprised when they run the ball 20 times in a game.
Charles makes sense — probably for only one season — because he fits the Packers’ offense. He runs well out of the shotgun, he can pass block and he’s a really good receiver.
LeGarrette Blount, running back
Here’s another guy who’s 30, but that’s about all he has going against him.
Blount rushed for 1,161 yards for the Patriots in 2016, which was the eighth best total in the league. He led the league with 18 rushing touchdowns. Unlike Charles, who is pretty similar to the top back on the Packers’ roster, Ty Montgomery, Blount would be a complementary player.
At 6’0″, 250 he’s a bruiser, somewhat similar to Eddie Lacy. Despite his age, Blount doesn’t have a lot of mileage on the odometer. The 299 carries he had in 2016 were the most in a season in his career by a long shot. The only other season he surpassed 200 carries was 2010 (201).
Still, Charles is probably a more likely signing because he’s technically a street free agent and Blount is unrestricted. Thus, Blount would count against the Packers’ compensatory draft pick formula.
The one position the Packers most need to hit in the draft is a pass rusher. Unless someone gets released post-draft, the free agent market is bare for pass rushers.
The best available is Elvis Dumervil. He’s 33 and on the downside of his career. Dumervil played in eight games for Baltimore in 2016 and recorded three sacks. Starting all 16 in 2015, Dumervil had six sacks.
It’s certainly possible the Packers could put Dumervil in a limited pass-rush role like they did with Julius Peppers in 2016 and see some sack production. However, they can probably run Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott out there and get the same thing.
Outside linebacker is a depth issue for the Packers. They need more bodies and ones that can also play the run. After all, you know both Clay Matthews and Nick Perry will be getting injured at some point in 2017.