Three Dairyland Express writers sit down and share the best parts, players and outcomes of the Green Bay Packers 2018 NFL Draft.
Dairyland Express is going to be releasing a weekly roundtable where three writers who cover the Green Bay Packers sit down and answer three questions. This week we focus on the positives from the 2018 NFL Draft.
Which draft pick do you think will have the biggest immediate impact in Year 1?
Brandon Carwile (@PackerScribe): Fifth-rounder Cole Madison has a golden opportunity to earn immediate playing time in Green Bay. Judging by their current status, the Packers depth chart for right guard and right tackle are wide open. Obviously, Bryan Bulaga is their regular right tackle, but he will likely start the 2018 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he recovers from his second ACL tear.
That means Madison will be competing with Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy, and Justin McCray for the starting spot. Spriggs and Murphy are also coming off season-ending injuries further tilting the table in Madison’s favor. However, even if Madison can’t smoothly transition to the position where he was a bookend at Washington State that still leaves right guard as an option.
Jahri Evans started 14 games there for Green Bay last season, but 34 years of age appeared to catch up to him in the latter part. Evans has still not been re-signed by the Packers, indicating they may be ready to move on.
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Some scouts believe Madison may be better suited to play guard on the next level. This likely intrigued general manager Brian Gutekunst as the Packers like to have offensive lineman that can play multiple positions.
It’s also worth mentioning Madison has a very similar build and comparable athleticism to former All-Pro Josh Sitton. He has a long way to go to meet that comparison, but his tangibles are a good start.
Mike Wendlandt (@MikeWendlandt): Most franchises expect their first-round pick to be their biggest immediate impact player and I’m no different. Alexander will be in the starting lineup immediately and is arguably the most NFL-ready player in this class. He’s competitive, mature, and most of all, confident, traits that will transfer onto the gridiron starting next week when rookie orientation begins and team workouts start.
I gave consideration to Josh Jackson as well, but he needs a lot of technical refinement to be a good man corner. Cole Madison and J’Mon Moore are other names to keep an eye on as they could see a lot of playing time early, but Alexander is a guy who I projected to be named to the All-Rookie team. He’s as complete a package as the Packers have drafted since Randall Cobb and will shine in Mike Pettine’s defense.
Brian Sampson (@BrianSampsonNBA): I’m also going with Jaire Alexander on this one. He’s going to immediately be thrust into the slot and asked to defend some pretty tough receivers right off the bat. Especially given the way the NFC North is stacking up.
He played some pretty good competition in the ACC and is certainly battle-tested. He’ll also have every opportunity to earn immediate playing time which is a best-case scenario for a rookie. His competitive nature has been well-documented and will help him quickly figure out the NFL landscape. I’m excited for what lies ahead.