Packers Make Strange Trade Up for Crazy Reach in 4th Round

The Packers traded up to draft Oregon safety Evan Williams at pick No. 111.
The Packers traded up to draft Oregon safety Evan Williams at pick No. 111. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers made a confusing selection to kick off the fourth round of the NFL Draft, picking Oregon safety Evan Williams at 111. Williams is the second safety Green Bay has taken thus far after Javon Bullard, though this choice is a more confounding one than Bullard was.

A Second-Team All-Pac 12 selection, Williams was typically mocked in the seventh round with an average draft choice of 225. Brian Gutekunst clearly saw something he liked in the Oregon Duck but likely paid a higher price than what was necessary.

Williams is an energetic safety with special teams experience but probably isn't anything more than a backup long-term.

Packers Draft Oregon S Evan Williams With Surprising Fourth-Round Reach

While he struggles in coverage, having allowed a 99.1 passer rating when targeted this year, Williams is a versatile pass rusher. He compiled five sacks in 2023 with eight pressures, so the Packers can disguise defenses and deploy him in a variety of ways off the edge.

Green Bay has a whopping seven picks remaining, giving the front office some wiggle room to reach for players like Williams if they believe there's a clear way for him to contribute. The Packers traded picks No. 126 and 190 to the New York Jets for No. 111, though Williams may have been available at 126 regardless.

It's virtually impossible for every player taken in this draft to ultimately make the 53-man roster, so it makes sense to identify a prospect that you believe can make an impact on special teams. If Williams were one of the Packers' only picks left, this pick would be much more confusing.

Nonetheless, Williams represents a reach purely based on pre-draft analysis about his value.

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