There have probably been a million articles written about this; everyone is putting out their ‘final’ mock draft. I think most of us are tired of mock drafts, and just want to draft to start.
But I would be remiss if I did not put this out there. Since a lot of people in the draft community seem to be ‘plugged in’, they don’t know jack about how the Packers run their front office.
We have seen countless mock drafts where they have the Packers drafting positions in the 1st round that they do not prioritize. Namely Linebacker, Wide Receiver, and the Interior Offensive Line. Now anyone who is actually plugged into the Packers knows this.
Now, it’s all good if you would like them to draft a certain wide receiver or linebacker. That’s your prerogative, but do not get your wishes confused with how the Packers actually operate as an organization. The Packers always draft certain positions in the first round: quarterback, offensive tackle, cornerback, edge rusher, and to a lesser extent, safety, and interior defensive line. The one caveat with those two is they have to affect the passing game.
The safety has to be a free safety type, i.e have good coverage skills. The defensive lineman has to be able to get after the passer; he doesn’t have to be elite, but as I said, he needs to affect the passing game. So now, let’s whittle those positions down to what positions the Packers are highly likely to draft in the 1st:
Obviously not with Love and Rodgers here for the foreseeable future. Neither is going anywhere, so take that off.
Oh yeah, for sure. They have Bakhtiari, who is coming off an ACL tear, Billy Turner who is best at right tackle, and Yosh Neijman, who has all of 15 career snaps in the NFL and all in kneel-down or mop-up situations. Turners’ contact is up after 2022 as well, and they may not want to resign him.
The same, a big yes. After this season the only cornerbacks under contract will be Alexander and Hollman. We all know how King and Sullivan struggled last year, so there is a need for a future outside corner opposite Alexander and also someone to compete with Sullivan.
Yes and no. In the 1st? Probably not. They are set this year with a top three of the Smith bros and Gary. Preston will probably get cut next offseason, so that leaves an opening for the #3 rusher, and you can never have enough edge rushers.
With that being said though, Z is expected to get an extension, so this 1st round edge rusher will never be more than the #3 for the first four seasons of his career. The Packers need depth, but it can wait till day two or three. If they did take an edge in the first though, it would be very telling how they see both Preston and Z. I don’t see it happening.
It’s possible but unlikely. If they did, they would have to be planning to move Savage to the slot and put the rookie at free safety. I think they like to move Savage around. The safety class isn’t great. Moehrig is the top guy, but they could probably still get him in a trade down.
Interior Defensive Line?
Similar to edge rusher but for different reasons. Kenny Clark needs help badly, but the class this year is not good at all. Barmore is the only one worth a 1st. He’s the top IDL, so he will probably be gone by 29, and none of the other guys are worth the pick at 29. So unless Barmore falls, scratch the defensive line.
Now… Offensive Tackle or Corner?
So now that leaves us with offensive tackle and cornerback. The Packers do have a type. They like young guys that are highly athletic from power five conferences. They like offensive linemen who can play different positions, and they like their cornerbacks 5’10+. Let’s first remove the guys that are guaranteed not to be there. No Sewell, Slater, Darrisaw, and I think that Jenkins will go in the early to mid-’20s, so Jenkins too.
Radunz and Eichenberg are both 23, so they are probably off the Packers 1st round board. Mayfield tested so bad he’s more than likely off their board completely. That leaves you with Samuel Cosmi and Alex Leatherwood as guys who could be worth the pick at 29 and fit the Packers profile.
Now with cornerback, we will do the same. Surtain and Horn are gone for sure. With Farley’s injury, Newsome more than likely jumps him for that #3 cornerback spot, and he’s really good, so he’s gone before 29 as well. Green Bays’ medical staff is well known to be very conservative with players and injuries (especially ones that are coming off surgeries), so I don’t think they will sign off on Farley; he’s gone. You are left with Asante Samuel Jr, Eric Stokes, and Ifeatu Melifonwu as guys on their board that fit their profile.
So where does that leave us with the pick at 29?
With Stokes and Melifonwu you could easily trade down and still get them, so take them off. That leaves you with three players. Cosmi, Leatherwood, and Samuel Jr. So, more than likely, the Packers pick if they stay at 29 will be one of these three players. I feel Cosmi is the best bet with Leatherwood and Samuel Jr 2a and 2b. Gutey loves to take shots at highly athletic, young guys who hold a load of potential, and Cosmi is that.