As each day draws nearer to April 25, the more serious I get about that # 12 draft pick. Also, the more excited. And nervous, and anxious.
I’m not feeling the excitement among the fans, however. Don’t you realize how momentous an occasion the 2019 draft will be for the Packers?
According to almost every forecaster, not a single wide receiver will have yet been selected when the Packers go on the clock at the NFL draft at # 12. I don’t exaggerate when I say this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Green Bay Packers. They likely will be able to take the first wide receiver selected in this draft – and that’s without having to do any trading up.
For some reason, wide receivers are seldom taken real early in NFL drafts, especially of late. The first WR taken in 2016 was at # 15; in 2017, it was # 5; in 2018, it wasn’t until # 24.
The Packers have had a wide open (or nearly) field like this maybe twice before. In 1989, choosing second overall, they went with Tony Mandarich, and thereby failed to make the playoffs for the next five years. Troy Aikman went before him. After that, you’d probably have to go back to 1957, when Green Bay selected Paul Hornung with the first overall pick. – I remember it well. These are opportunities not to be wasted.
Let’s acknowledge that, other than a quarterback, the position that offers the most playmaking and game-changing opportunities is wide receiver. GM Brian Gutekunst is no Ted Thompson – I’m trusting him to know that picking the best wide receiver is the only call to make this year at pick # 12.
An Historic Opportunity
Quick quiz: how many wide receivers have been selected with the first overall pick in the NFL draft? I’ll get back to you.
Here are who I view as the most notable first (or as specified) WRs taken in the last 11 years:
- Julio Jones – 6th overall (2nd WR chosen) by Falcons n 2011
- A.J. Green – 4th overall by Bengals in 2011
- Mike Evans – 7th overall (2nd WR chosen) by Bucs in 2014
- Demaryius Thomas – 22nd overall by Broncos in 2010
- Jordy Nelson – 36th overall (3rd WR chosen) by Packers in 2008
- Dez Bryant – 24th overall (2nd WR chosen) by Cowboys in 2010
- Sammy Watkins – 4th overall by Bills in 2014
The first wide receivers drafted in the past three years have yet to make a name for themselves: D.J. Moore, taken 24th by the Panthers in 2018; Corey Davis, taken 5th by the Titans in 2017; and Corey Coleman, taken 15th by the Browns in 2016. Davis, though, quietly turned in a line of 65 catches for 891 yards and 4 TDs last year. Moore showed considerable promise, with in his rookie season, with 55 catches for 781 yards and two TDs. Coleman, who has already been traded once, has only 738 yards of receptions in three years.
Wide receivers taken first overall going back to the 1950s were: Keyshawn Johnson, taken by the Jets in 1996; Irving Fryar, taken by the Pats in 1984; and Dave Parks, taken by the 49ers in 1964. No article about the history of wide receivers should exclude Jerry Rice. He was chosen 16th overall, despite coming out of Mississippi Valley State, by the 49ers, the third WR taken in 1985.
Top WR Choices in 2019
As I’ve previously pointed out, WalterFootball issued its draft forecast for 2019 [https://totalpackers.com/2019/04/packers-draft-day/]. They predict that the first four wide receivers to be selected will be: D.K. Metcalf (Ole Miss) at # 15; Parris Campbell (Ohio State) at 22; A.J Brown (Ole Miss) at 26; and Deebo Samuel (S. Carolina) way down at 38.
NBC Sports predicts the top WR choices will be: D.K. Metcalf at 12 (and going to the Packers); Marquise Brown (Oklahoma) at 26; A.J. Brown at 33; and N’Keal Harry (Arizona State) at 36.
CBS Sports has this order of WRs: Metcalf at 22; Harry at 27; Marquise Brown at 30; and A.J. Brown at 32. They also have team-by-tem draft charts – and there they predict the Packers’ will take Marquise Brown with the 26th pick. They also think the Packers will trade away that twelfth pick.
Drafttek.com has this lineup: A.J. Brown at 21; Metcalf at 22, Harry at 28; and Hakeem Butler (Iowa State) at 22.
Bleacher Report has it this way: Metcalf at 17; Marquise Brown at 20; and A.J. Brown at 22.
Sporting News.com predicts the only wide receivers to be selected in Round 1 will be: Metcalf at 7 and Marquise Brown at 22. This is the one forecaster that thinks another team will select a wide receiver prior to the Packers getting to pick.
Pro Football Focus doesn’t say when they’ll go, but they have the top WR’s in this order: Metcalf, A.J. Brown, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Stanford), Andy Isabella (Massachusetts), and Marquise Brown.
I should add that most of these forecasters have Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson (Iowa) being selected before any wide receiver. I think that’s folly – wide receivers are generally more impactful than are tight ends.
Tomorrow, I’ll present data on the above nine wide receivers, and will try to pick who will be the first WR chosen – I hope by the Packers – on April 25.