Green Bay Packers: Recent mock draft passes on edge rushers

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images /

The NFL Network’s Peter Schrager has released his first mock draft of the year and does not have the Green Bay Packers addressing their top needs in the first round.

As the Green Bay Packers look to conduct this mini-rebuild on the fly, this is an incredibly important offseason for them. This roster as a whole is in need of an infusion of talent and playmakers.

General Manager Brian Gutekunst needs to be active in free agency but perhaps, even more importantly, he needs to have a successful draft. With three picks inside the top 50, the Green Bay Packers are set up well to add some players that can make an immediate impact.

When we think of positions of need, there are a few that come to mind that the Packers need to address within the first round of the draft. First and for most would be an edge rusher, followed by an interior offensive lineman, along with a tight end and a safety. However, the NFL Network’s Peter Schrager does not have Green Bay taking any of these positions and he has them passing on an elite edge rusher, not once but twice.

Pick No. 12: Devin White, ILB – LSU

In what would be considered a surprise by most, LSU linebacker Devin White has fallen to the Green Bay Packers at 12 in Schrager’s scenario. There is no question that the Packers would be getting an impact player that would immediately upgrade their front seven, which is needed, but to do so, they pass on one of the best edge rushers in the draft in Brian Burns from Florida State.

Burns has been able to bulk up and at the combine came in at 249 pounds which greatly helped his draft stock. He is an explosive player that can easily shed blockers and does a fantastic job of finding his way to the quarterback to disrupt the play. Burns would make a major impact from day one at Green Bay’s biggest position of need.

However, as I noted above White would be a factor on this Green Bay Packers defense right away and according to Schrager would be a great fit in Green Bay:

"“White could go in the top five when all is said and done, but I think No. 12 to Green Bay would be a great fit. The Packers feel very strongly about their young defensive backfield, but they could use some more talent in the front seven. An NFL scout told me there’s a chance White could end up being as good out of the gate as Patrick Willis. If that’s the case, sign me up.”"

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During his final season at LSU, White would rack up 123 total tackles, three sacks, six pass deflections and create three forced fumbles. As a result of his fantastic season, White would win the Butkus award which goes to the nation’s top linebacker.

What makes White so effective is his range as a defender. He is able to cover sideline-to-sideline with ease and is a solid tackler, which is something that this Green Bay Packers defense desperately needs. Since he can cover a lot of ground, White can hold his own in coverage as well.

Outside of Blake Martinez who is in the final year of his contract, there are a lot of unknowns with Green Bay’s inside linebacking crew, and selecting White would help that unit and the entire front seven as a whole.

Pick No. 30: Marquise Brown, Wide Receiver – Oklahoma

With the Green Bay Packers next pick, most would assume that the top edge rushers in the draft are off the board at this point. However, in Schrager’s mock draft that is not the case as Brian Burns is still available but once again is passed on. Schrager clearly does not share the same sentiments about Burns as most do since he has him falling all the way to pick 31 when most don’t think he will make it to 12 for Green Bay’s first pick.

Nonetheless, with pick 30 in this mock draft, the Packers decide to take the speedster from Oklahoma, Marquise Brown who would give quarterback Aaron Rodgers another option in addition to Davante Adams.

"The Packers have a new offensive-minded head coach, a new offensive coordinator and a quarterback whose weapons at wide receiver left a little to be desired. My colleague Tom Pelissero reported last week that Brown had Lisfranc surgery, which will keep the wide receiver from participating in drills at the combine and Oklahoma’s pro day. But in an era where everyone is looking for the next Tyreek Hill, a guy with Brown’s speed and playmaking ability should still go in the first round.”"

Brown’s straight-line speed and ability to change directions with ease make him extremely difficult to cover, which would give the Rodgers that deep threat option that can take the top off of opposing defenses. Although Matt LaFleur’s offense does emphasize the run, don’t be mistaken, Green Bay will take their deep shots, especially on play-action and Brown is the type of receiver you want for those plays.

Over the course of Brown’s final year at Oklahoma, we saw his playmaking ability on full display. In 12 games Brown would haul in 75 receptions, averaging a whopping 17.6 yards per catch and bring in ten touchdown catches.

Some concerns with Brown would be that he is having surgery on his foot and won’t be participating in any events at the combine, but an even bigger red flag would be his size. Brown measured in at the combine at 5’9-3/8″ and just 166 pounds. His durability will be worrisome and he will be easily pushed around by defenders while struggling to make contested catches. Given that there are very few players in the NFL at this size, Brown could be dropping on many big boards.

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Although Brown is undersized, he is immensely talented and has the potential to make a big impact wherever he ends up. With that said, I think the Green Bay Packers have more important needs to address in the first round than receiver and if somehow Brian Burns were to fall to pick 30, you take him, no matter what.