Every year, I spend too much time studying the draft.
I don’t look at all the players or all the teams, I only look at the Packers and prospects that are relevant to them. I run hundreds of mock drafts and write up a full analysis on a small portion of them (see PFTW 2023 Mock Draft Archive) after far too many hours of watching film and reading scouting reports.
Then I get ready for the big event with my list of players.
After all that, here are the guys I would most like to see the Packers get this year:
Don’t forget to check out Packers Draft Central 2023 for all our 2023 NFL Draft coverage!
Jaxon Smith-Njigba – Wide Receiver
I don’t like the idea of using a 1st round pick on a wide receiver (in large part because that’s not how champions draft), but this is the rare year where I might be ok with it. The Packers have some promising young receivers, but JSN brings a unique skillset that would be the perfect complement to this offense. A 6’1 receiver, who plays almost exclusively in the slot, would allow Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to stay outside where they are most effective and let JSN do what he does best: work the field from the slot. He runs great routes to get separation and has fantastic hands. He’s the best receiver in this draft and the best fit for the Packers.
Paris Johnson – Offensive Tackle
Big and athletic, he’s a dominant blocker who finishes with an exclamation point. The Packers have options at left tackle, but also question marks. How much longer can David Bakhtiari play? Can they even keep his enormous cap hit next year (which, at over $40M, is a bigger cap hit than any player has ever had in NFL history)? Is Zach Tom or Yosh Nijman the long-term left tackle? Why wonder when you can wrap up a blue chip prospect right now?
Myles Murphy – Edge
Good size and plays with energy. He can win on power, with quickness, or separate with hand moves. He can hold up against the run or drop back into pass coverage (a must in a Joe Barry defense!). He’s really a do-it-all prospect at a premium position. With Rashan Gary injured and Preston Smith getting older, the Packers could use help at this position.
There are some other guys that I would’t mind them taking at 13 (Broderick Jones, Devon Witherspoon, Bijan Robinson), but I wouldn’t really say I have a crush on any of them. I’m almost never opposed to trading down. While the Packers have a lot of good players, they do not have a championship roster. Getting an extra 2nd round pick could help them build out the foundation on a roster that has suffered from years of overly-aggressive cap management.
What players might be targets if they trade down? Well, I’m glad you asked, we have that right here!
Keion White – Edge
Long-framed and athletic, White has the power to drive through tackles and hold the edge. He can also bend the corner and win on quickness. He’s still learning some hand moves, but his base skills are making him a late riser who might be a steal if he lasts until Day 2.
Jordan Battle – Safety
Versatile and rangy, Battle can play anywhere in the defensive backfield. He’s a strong box safety who can cover the back end in zone or come down and man up in the slot.
Rashee Rice – Wide Receiver
I really like how smooth he catches the ball and picks up extra yards effortlessly. Also tough with contested catches and when blocking.
Trey Palmer – Wide Receiver
A big play waiting to happen, Palmer blew past the competition at Senior Bowl practices. He accelerates quick out of the slot and (like Rice) has a smooth catch and run motion that helps him pick up yards after the catch.
Tyjae Spears – Running Back
While he’s too small to be an every down back, Spears his a jolt for a committee backfield. He’s quick and fast and shows the ability to naturally feel holes as they open in zone blocking. He was the best back at Senior Bowl practices, where he showed that he can catch out of the backfield, even though he didn’t do it much in college.
JL Skinner – Safety
Physically imposing with rangy athleticism. Plays with high energy and throws his body around. More of a strong safety with limited coverage skills, but is a guy teammates rally behind.
Jammie Robinson – Safety
Smaller defensive back, but plays smart and reads the quarterback as well as route combinations. Plays all over the field and flies to the ball,
Chandler Zavala – Offensive Guard
With a 6’3, 315 frame, Zavala is big and strong. He generates movement off the snap, and has rare mobility for his size – more than enough to pull in the Packers zone blocking scheme. His arms are a little short and he had a back injury that will be critical to where (or if) he’s selected.
Luke Schoonmaker – Tight End
Good size, good release, and can stretch the seam. Doesn’t do much with the ball in his hands, but is a well-rounded tight end and a solid blocker.
Noah Gindorff – Tight End
He has size, route-running ability, and solid blocking skills. His biggest question mark is around the competition he faced at NDSU (with teammate Christian Watson).
Moro Ojomo – Defensive Line/Edge
Quick and disruptive with the widest wingspan in the class. He would be an immediate contributor on the defensive line or edge rotation.
Puka Nacua – Wide Receiver
A big target who manhandles smaller corners and gets tough yards with quick passes, he’s also a valuable blocker and would fill the role that the Packers have vacant with Allen Lazard out of town.
RaJae Johnson-Sanders – Wide Receiver
A big receiver (6’4, 220) from a small school (Troy) who can grab jump balls and control his body; doesn’t go down easy.
Ameer Speed – Cornerback
With 6’3, 210 size and 4.33 speed, Speed has incredibly rare physical gifts. He played very little in his 5 years at Georgia, where he graduated with a sociology degree, before transferring to Michigan for his final year of eligibility. Fast and explosive with good ball skills, he struggles with recognition, and is an intriguing athlete to try on Day 3. More than a catchy name, Speed is a rare blend of speed and size. He’s still a little raw, but could be a special teams dynamo with the ability to develop into a consistent defensive contributor.
Jake Haener – Quarterback
Another undersized player. If Haener was a few inches taller, he’d be drafted in the top half of the 1st round. He read defenses quick and throws with zip, showing the ability to find passing lanes and drop in touch passes. Plus, he has the ability to manipulate the pass rush from the pocket. His height and strength will limit him, but he looks like a great long-term backup quaterback.
Jake Moody – Kicker
Maybe the best kicker in the class, Moody has striking range on kickoffs and experience in cold weather. If the Packers are looking for Crosby’s replacement, Moody would be a nice investment with one of the Packers four 7th round picks.
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