Green Bay Packers: Walking through draft scenarios

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: The Green Bay Packers logo is seen on a video board during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: The Green Bay Packers logo is seen on a video board during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT /

The draft may not fix everything for the Green Bay Packers. Here are a couple of draft scenarios and how the team might navigate the different avenues.

The Green Bay Packers have 10 picks in this year’s NFL Draft. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to use all 10 picks. General manager Brian Gutekunst has shown he isn’t afraid to trade and get creative. That also doesn’t mean that every single pick this year is going to make an immediate impact on this football team. I’m going to give a couple of simple scenarios which may put the Packers in position for success, but in the same breath, still leave a couple of glaring needs that would still require attention at some point during the offseason.

Scenario 1

If Green Bay goes defense heavy (which isn’t out of the norm) in the majority of this year’s draft, I don’t think they’d focus on edge rusher in the first couple rounds. They just signed Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, along with the continued development of Kyler Fackrell. I give props to Fackrell for having a 10+ sack season last year, but he was wildly inconsistent.

If Gutekunst wants to add more pieces to the defense, it will likely go in the direction of inside linebacker or safety. Plug and play starters at ILB like Devin Bush or Devin White would only last until the Packers 12th overall pick if they decided to invest. However, there aren’t too many safeties projected to go in the first round so the Packers could very much snag a guy like Jonathan Abram or Taylor Rapp in the second round. Theoretically, Green Bay goes defense in the first three rounds and add a receiver or lineman as Day three progresses.

Chances are, in this scenario, none of their receivers or lineman they draft on Day three can be plugged in immediately unless there is some freak injury to Davante Adams. Even if that were to happen (God forbid), I just don’t see any mid to late round rookies coming in and filling the void adequately.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown did an average job at best last season when thrown into the mix. However, Valdes-Scantling would have a 100-yard game then disappear for three weeks. St. Brown’s best game was five catches for 94 yards in a meaningless game against the Jets (although I do give St. Brown credit in the Monday Night game against San Francisco for making a spectacular catch on the sideline to put the Packers in field goal range). Regardless of all that, I still like all those guys and genuinely believe they can blossom into good pass-catchers in Matt LaFleur’s scheme. However, if the Packers do decide to address defense with most of their picks, then that leaves not only lack of depth, but lack of playmaking at positions like wide receiver, tight end, and on the offensive line.

Scenario 2

In this scenario, we’ll assume Gutekunst wants to focus entirely on offense and add a couple of defensive pieces in the later days of the draft. While the Packers made the unusual splash in free agency, none of it addressed any needs on the offensive side of the ball except for the addition of Billy Turner. I think Turner was a great depth signing since the right guard position was a disaster last season, and right tackle will suddenly become a need when Bryan Bulaga inevitably leaves at the end of this season.

As for the draft, there are definitely playmakers in the first two rounds that can be plugged immediately as starters into Green Bay’s offense.

There’s been a lot of buzz around Iowa tight end TJ Hockenson, and I wouldn’t be opposed to Gutekunst using the 12th pick on him and secure this talent for the remainder of Aaron Rodgers’ prime.

Wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Parris Campbell are also intriguing, but if the Packers do invest in them it would likely be with the 30th pick IF they’re lucky. Guys like Jawan Taylor, Greg Little, and Cody Ford would also add significant depth to the Packers o-line, but I feel this team could get away without addressing it too much in the draft this year. Only one Packer on the starting O-line is a first round pick (Bulaga) so their scouting department can definitely sniff out a stud in the mid rounds.

Similar to scenario one, focusing too much on offense would leave needs open on defense. If the Packers wait till the end of Day two or all of Day 3 to address the secondary (especially safety), they won’t have a reliable guy lined up opposite Adrian Amos in case Josh Jones goes down or gets benched.

There’s still a lot of questions at corner behind Kevin King and Jaire Alexander; Tramon Williams is a shell of his former self but still plays hard, and Josh Jackson may not make that year two jump we are all expecting. Plus at inside linebacker, Mike Pettine showed that Oren Burks hasn’t earned his trust yet, so who would be lining up next to Blake Martinez?

Overall, no matter which way you look at it, the Packers are going to draft a couple of studs in the early rounds of this draft and address whatever needs that Gutekunst sees as the most glaring. These guys will likely be Day one starters and anyone in the coming rounds after that will likely be for depth or guys they’re looking to develop over the next couple years.

Next. Packers: Seven round mock draft. dark

I think the Packers should go Devin Bush or White with no. 12 and either Noah Fant, Parris Campbell, or Hollywood Brown at no. 30 pending no trade ups or downs. I know tight end is a glaring need but if they don’t land Hockenson or Fant in the first round, Irv Smith out of Alabama should definitely be available for them in the second round. It will be interesting to see how things turn out in three weeks, and it feels good to know we’re that much closer to football.