The Packers are less than 20 days away from the 2023 draft. Their needs are plenty and the three extra draft picks in the seventh round are unlikely to patch up all the holes.
If you are a fan who likes to “play GM” and try to predict Packer draft selections, you are particularly frustrated this year by our favorite Ex-MVP and potential future Jet, Aaron Rodgers and his new GM, Joe Douglas.
Green Bay Packers 2023 NFL Draft Strategies
Will the Packers get a second-round pick? Multiple picks? Will the picks be in 2023 or will they do the GM dance until June and the picks land in 2024? If the Jets are signing Tim Boyles, could they possibly include Zack Wilson in this trade? The head spinning and crazy scenarios are spinning out of my brain like rain gutter water on a stormy day.
Regardless of the number of times I revert back and check my phone for a headline, the best I can do at this point is guess at the compensation that will be finalized. Let’s just hope the Packers get a second-round pick since the Jets traded their third-round pick, probably just to save Gutekunst from himself and his third round shortcomings.
So, hypothetically, if the Packers end up with one extra second-round pick what is their strategy? Let’s discuss options.
Trading Up/Back/No Trades
Trading up only makes sense when a team is a player or two away from a championship contender and there are only one or two top players at your position of need. The Packers have needs at Tight End, Edge, Safety, Wide Receiver, Offensive and Defensive Tackle.
They could use depth at inside linebacker and backup quarterback. Drafting two tight ends and two safeties makes sense. Two wideouts would not raise an eyebrow either.
Trading up and losing a valuable pick makes little sense when you have as many needs as Green Bay. It also doesn’t make sense with the Packer’s needs and the options available at pick 15.
Draft pundits are, as usual, inconsistent in their predictions of who will be picked 1-14, but all of them have quality options at tight end, wide receiver, tackle and safety available at 15. Only edge rusher is predicted to be over drafted by pick 15 if the pundits turn out to have any accuracy, which is always suspect.
But while edge rusher doesn’t have that ultra dominant player that could go as the first pick, the 2023 draft has depth at the position with multiple players with decent potential.
While trading back could be an option since the team has many holes in the lineup, the teams with additional picks to package, the Bears, Lions and Seahawks aren’t the usual trading partners for the Packers. Pittsburgh has multiple second round picks but they already have the 17th pick and would probably only trade a 4th rounder to move up two spots.
The Packers could trade down to get an additional third-round pick, which would tear open the ulcers in every stomach who cheers for the Green and Gold, but that would probably involve their second-round pick, not number 15.
Keep Pick #15
So, potentially who might be available at 15? Three tight ends have been mocked from 15 to 30. They include Michael Mayer (Notre Dame), Darnell Washington (Georgia) and Luke Musgrave (Oregon State). One website even mocks TE Dalton Kincaid (Utah) as the 15th best player. (Pro Football Focus) There are also a number of edge rushers slotted in the lower half of the first round and beginning of the second including, Will McDonald (Iowa State), Keion White (Georgia Tech), Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Kansas State) and A. Adebawore (Northwestern). It is also possible both safeties, Brian Branch (Alabama) and Antonio Johnson (Texas A&M), the topped ranked safeties, will be available.
The Critical Second Round
Obviously the second round picks will be dependent on The GM’s first round selection. If safety Brian Branch is available at 15, Gutekunst should lock him up and go tight end in round two. If Gutekunst can trade his 2nd & 3rd round pick to move up for Mayer and grab Darnell Washington with the Aaron Rodgers trade pick, that could solve a huge hole for the offense.
Both of those tight ends block and catch and would cause defensive matchup problems for opposing defenses. They could also reduce the need for another wide receiver. But there are tight ends in later rounds and an edge rusher that can start would plug another huge hole early.
Safety, tight end and edge, not necessarily in that order, makes logical sense in rounds one and two, if the Packers get a high pick for Rodgers. If the trade fails to materialize prior to the draft, fans will have to hope round three finally produces a quality pick.
The beauty of “playing GM” is all or none of the above may occur on draft day. You never really know what other teams will do or what medical reports are on players.
The beauty of “playing GM” is all or none of the above may occur on draft day. You never really know what other teams will do or what medical reports are on players. If there is a special wide receiver or left tackle or corner, the Packers would be foolish to pass on a future All-Pro, to “fill a need”.
All we know for certain is at the end of the draft, the Packers will have 10 or more new players and their potential will need to turn into production early and often for the 2023 Packers to be successful. From a GM’s perspective, the NFL draft is part skill, part luck, and part showmanship.
It’s as close to Poker as you can get as a Packer GM, unless you’re trying to swing a trade with Joe Douglas. The Rodgers trade and the draft are tied together in 2023 for Packer fans. And it’s time for the games to begin…