What If They don’t take The Obvious Receiver?
Every Packer Fan is praying for Rodgers to have another weapon in the passing game. The 2020 draft class might be so deep in wide receiver that the Packers could wait to find LaFleur’s new tool. So if the Packers skip on a wide receiver in the first round, who should they target?
1. Jonathan Taylor – Running Back
College: University of Wisconsin
– Over Taylor’s three years in Madison, he ran for over 6,000 yards and averaged almost seven yards per carry. He is one of the fastest running backs in this draft class, clocking a 4.4 40-yard dash time. Taylor is a durable and quick back that can add some juice for the Green Bay backfield coming in when Aaron Jones needs a rest.
What makes him so dangerous?
Taylor would fit in the passing part of Green Bay’s offense on all downs eventually. Even though he only had a little over 400 receiving yards in college, he started to show his true receiving skills in his final year as a Badger. Coach LaFleur will be able to recognize how elusive he is when he gets into the open field and how hard it is to bring him down when the ball is in his hands. I can see the Packers splitting him out as a slot receiver and have him run mesh routes on critical downs. He can also be valuable running smash routes, curls, and screens out of the backfield. Jonathan Taylor could thrive in this offense because Lafleur always keeps his running backs active and Rodgers is always best finding a running back on a checkdown letting them make a play in the open field.
Aaron Jones Factor
Aaron Jones’ rookie contract will expire after this year’s season, as well as Jamaal Williams. Jones will most likely be re-signed after this year’s season proving to be the franchise back. The only question that makes this decision hard is veterans, Kenny Clark, Corey Linsley, and Kevin Kings contracts will expire too.
The Packers could go a different route and re-sign Pro Bowler Kenny Clark and veteran Center Corey Linsley, while also giving the same opportunity to Kevin King(5 INT last season). This would mean that they would have to let Jones walk. Jones will become an expensive target for teams, and if Green Bay doesn’t want to go the expensive route, they have to start looking for the future and heavily consider taking a shot at Jonathan Taylor. Even if Aaron Jones does re-sign long term, Taylor could be a great aspect to the offense opening up new challenges for opposing defenses.
– Wisconsin Alumni already making him a fan favorite
– Able to make a play when the play is already busted (Comparison= Saquon Barkley)
– A bruiser in traffic and slippery in the open field
– Has talent as a receiver and could make a living in the empty set or in the checkdown
– Can become a number one RB if Aaron Jones does not re-sign
2. Patrick Queen – Inside Linebacker
– The inside linebacker out of Baton Rouge recorded 85 tackles with 12 of them being for a loss of yards. He also added three sacks to the Tigers’ historical run and an interception off of Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama QB) in the game of the year. The Packers have never had an inside linebacker that would stick around and Queen could finally fill that gap in Pettine’s defense.
Why Would Queen Stand Out In The Packers Defense?
Defensive MVP of The National Championship, Patrick Queen was able to lead his defense by calling every play. What really opens the Packers eyes is his aggressiveness when there is a ball carrier in sight. Also, Queen plays with a different type of swagger that would fit the Packers defense. His biggest impact on the Tigers defense was how well he covered the tight end in deep routes and mesh routes. He was also able to cover running backs in checkdown situations and blew up most screens in sight. Ex Packers Linebacker Blake Martinez struggled to cover tight ends on seam routes and had trouble picking up receivers over the middle. What would make Queen so special is he would be able to pick up on passing situations easily and has the intelligence to call the defense as a rookie. Also, with offensive lines and quarterbacks already focusing on how to contain the Smith brothers, this will give Queen a chance to make big plays in the backfield. The Packers past linebackers have always struggled against tight ends and picking up receivers on broken plays, so making the addition of Queen to Pettine’s defense will only make them more exciting to watch this season.
Signing of Christian Kirksey
Recently the Packers were able to sign former Browns Linebacker Christian Kirksey, filling Blake Martinez’s spot temporarily. Kirksey is a veteran who brings a lot of knowledge to the Packers defense. Kirksey is also known to be injury prone, playing only nine games for Cleveland last year. If the Packers draft Queen, he will be able to rotate with Kirksey and be able to gain knowledge from the veteran. Eventually Queen would prove himself and push out Christian Kirksey becoming a leader for the Packers young defense.
– Intense hard hitting Linebacker
– Able to cover receiving Running Backs and Tight Ends
– Recognizes the screen well – Plays with the Packers type of Swagger
– Has experience being the Play caller already
– Will have chances to make big plays with opposing teams fearing the Packers front.
3. Erza Cleveland- Offensive Tackle
College: Boise State
– The junior tackle out of Boise is an athletic big man that played every game since 2017 and also ran a 4.93 at the NFL Combine. He is able to move quickly to the block and does the best in pass protection. He does well in the run game when sealing off blocks that open up holes that can provide a spark to the Jones/Williams backfield.
Why Would Cleveland Make The Packers O-Line Better?
Erza Cleveland is a quick guy who produced a lot of open holes for the run game at Boise State. He has quick feet making him able to seal off fast linebackers and defensive ends. In the run protection he is best on stretch plays because of his quickness and his ability to reach for a block. Cleveland also is able to play both left and right tackles which fits with the Packers history of producing versatile linemen. It seems that Cleveland might be a work in progress for
the first year or so because he would need to put some weight and muscle tone on giving him a stockier build giving him an advantage at being able to protect the inside run. Cleveland may be a bridge at first, but has the athletic ability to soon fill for the loss of Bryan Bulaga.
Bryan Bulaga Signing With The Los Angeles Chargers
Recently, the Packers lost long time veteran, Bryan Bulaga, to the Chargers. Bulaga was able to protect Rodgers when All-Pro defensive ends would line up on the other side. He was able to shut down defensive ends Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who were quick players that easily got after the quarterback. Rick Wagner of the Detroit Lions will be replacing Bulaga and will have to fill a big role. Cleveland would be able to prove himself in the preseason by beating out Wagner and becoming that quick lineman that can keep up with all these fast moving defensive ends and outside linebackers. He will also be successful because the Packers like to run toss/stretch plays where it will be easy for him to get out of his stance and go make a block up the field. The same thing applies for when they run screens with Davante Adams and Aaron Jones.
– Quick feet and able to seal blocks to make holes for the running back
– Will thrive in Outside zone runs and screens passes – Quick enough to keep up with fast defensive linemen
– Will have to put more weight on to be able to have a wide base in the Inside Run
– Can be a starter to fill Bulaga’s role