The final mock drafts are rolling in and there’s a disturbing similarity. Many of the players that the Green Bay Packers seem to want the most are penciled in to go in the four or five picks just before the Packers are scheduled to choose at No. 14. If that happens, the remaining players the Packers have been linked to are mostly near the end of the first round.
That’s not an optimal setup. The Packers could end up having to take a player at No. 14 who is really more of a late first round talent. That would yield the same result as in most of the past decade. The Packers picked 27th in 2016, 30th in 2015, 21st in 2014, 26th in 2013, 28th in 2012, 32nd in 2011, and 23rd in 2010.
Those seven picks didn’t pan out very well. They include Damarious Randall (2015), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (2014), Datone Jones (2013), and Derek Sherrod (2011). The best of the seven might turn out to be either Kenny Clark or Nick Perry.
I’m not a big follower of draft prospects, but the positions I keep hearing about for the Packers are cornerback/safety, edge rusher and back a ways, wide receiver. Though the Packers’ defensive backfield need appears to be for a cornerback, two safeties are getting as much attention by the forecasters as are the CBs.
The defensive backs, in abundance this season, include:
- CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State 5’11”, 183
- CB Josh Jackson, Iowa, 6’1”, 192
- CB Mike Hughes, UCF, 5’10”, 189
- S Derwin James, 6’2”, 215
- S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama, 6’, 204
The edge rushers being bandied about include:
- EDGE Marcus Davenport, UTSA, 6’6”, 264
- DE Bradley Chubb, NC State, 6’4”, 269
- DE Harold Landry, Boston College, 6’3”, 252
There’s less agreement on receivers, but some of the top names mentioned for Green Bay are:
- Courtland Sutton, SMU, 6’3”, 218
- Calvin Ridley, Alabama, 6’, 189
- D.J. Moore, Maryland, 6’, 210
Here’s a look at some of the projections.
After the first five picks (at positions the Packers aren’t seeking), here’s six through 10: Ward, James, Davenport, Jackson and Fitzpatrick. The hopeful news here is that these guys have the Packers getting Bradley Chubb, who was thought to be gone long before pick number 14, though his stock is suddenly falling. The bad news is that in the 19-27 slots are Sutton, Moore, Ridley, Landry and Hughes – not great values if chosen at 14.
The first six are of little interest here, except MMQB has Fitzpatrick at number seven. A group of CBs come in at 13-16: Ward, Jackson (the Green Bay pick), James and Hughes. Davenport is at 18, Moore at 19, Ridley at 24 and Landry at 25.
Pro Football Focus
After their top five, PFF has at picks six to nine: Jackson, James, Landry,and Chubb, who all come before acclaimed running back Saquon Barcley. Ward is at 11 and Fitzpatrick at 13, followed by Green Bay choosing cornerback Jaire Alexander out of Louisville at 14. Ridley is at 19, Davenport at 25, Moore at 29 and Hughes at 31.
I should add that Louisville’s Alexander has only recently come into the conversation as a first-round pick. He’s 5’10” and 196 pounds – though small cornerbacks have been injury-prone in Green Bay, there just aren’t a lot of 200-pound cornerbacks out there.
It has the usual suspects from one to six, other than Bradley Chubb at number four. Then come the defensive backs: James at seven, Ward at 10 and Fitzpatrick at 11. Landry is at 14, Davenport at 18, Ridley at 19, Moore at 23 and Jackson at 24.
This source has eight prognosticators taking a shot at the first-round picks. Three of them chose Marcus Davenport as Green Bay’s 14th pick, two went with Fitzpatrick and two with Hughes. The final choice was defensive lineman Vita Vea. Five of the eight had Derwin James being taken well before the Packers are set to choose.
I don’t see the Packers trading up, as it would likely cost them their first and second-round picks. An investment of that size is only justified when going after a franchise QB. Speaking of that, the two teams most likely to trade up with the Packers appear to be QB-needy New England and Jacksonville, who currently sit in the 31st and 29th spots, respectively.
While listing 11 names is hardly nailing down who the Packers’ top pick will be, it will probably be one of these players, whether the Packers trade up, trade down or stay at number 14.
That’s unless general manager Brian Gutekunst takes a flyer on Washington’s massive nose tackle Vita Vea. If he does, it would be two years in a row the Packers picked a Husky with their first pick.
If there is a trade, I suspect it will happen while the Packers are on the clock, though it will have been tentatively pre-arranged depending on how the first 13 picks go. Should Bradley Chubb or Derwin James (or possibly Minkah Fitzpatrick) somehow make it to 14, drop the trade talk. Otherwise, I’d entertain trading down.
The Packers scouting team has been very tight-lipped under Gutekunst’s leadership. Usually by this time it has at least slipped out which position the Packers are most intent on filling and it’s down to two or three likely choices.
I predict this year’s televised draft show will have record viewership, as there is such a high amount of uncertainty and intrigue all around the league.