The Packers biggest needs are on defense, particularly Edge and Safety. Depending on what happens in the offseason, they could probably also use another cornerback. On offense, they need a Guard, a Tight End, and a Slot Receiver. Wouldn’t it be great if they could all be addressed in one draft?
Well, let’s look at our 15th mock draft and see what happened:
The draft started with five straight Edge defenders and quickly moved on to take my top two defensive linemen as well. Since there’s really only 7 guys I have targeted for the 12th pick, I had to go down to my targets for 30. From that list, I went with the biggest need and took Brian Burns, the last elitely skilled Edge left. He’s a bit light, but has all the athleticism, quickness, bend, and potential in the world. He could blow up and be an All Pro or he could just wash out based on being underweight. If he shows up to the combine at 250, though, he might not make it to 12. I’m nervously optimistic on this pick.
At 30, I was tempted to reach for someone like Jaylon Ferguson from the next tier of Edge rushers (guys without the elite gifts that can be very good players) given that my first pick carried risk. I tried to stick to my board, though, and went with Cornerback Byron Murphy. I think he’s the top corner in the class, despite being a shade under 6’0 and only weighing 180. Everything but his size is perfect – great ball skills, great in man great in zone, great in run support – and last year I learned that corners like that can work out pretty well. Pleasantly surprised to get a talent like this, even if it wasn’t the biggest need.
The clear pick here was Nassir Adderly, my top rated safety to fill a position of need. He was also the top guys left on my board. He’s not a box defender or a man cover specialist, but he can play free range like a champ. Pettine will find a way to take advantage of that. If Burns can give the pass rush just a little help, this will be a tough team to pass on.
Somehow Jaylon Ferguson managed to slip into the 3rd round. I considered reaching for him at the end of the frist and here he is 45 picks later. Man, the draft is funny like that. Ferguson probably can’t be coached into a quicker burst, but he should be able to learn better hand technique, which would round out his game. It’s not like he’s a project, though – he had 17.5 sacks and 26 TFLs in college – I just don’t think he has the same ceiling as the guys ahead of him. Ironically, enough, though, he may have a lower basement than Brian Burns.
There were a lot of interior line and right tackle prospects hanging around here, so I had to choose between Safety Darnell Savage and Tight End Jace Sternberger, who both are the last remaining guys on their tier at a position of need (I think we need two safeties). Since we already got one safety, I went with Jace Sternberger. He can catch, he can block, he’s probably not going to be an All Pro, but he’s a really solid prospect with the potential to be a well-rounded starter.
With the second pick in the round, all my lineman were still there, so I switched gears and went with Penny Hart. He’s a small at 5’8, but he’s running in the 4.3’s. He’s a quick slot receiver who really shined at the Senior Bowl. I think he can be a huge weapon in the new offense.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of Right Tackles with the ability to play Guard. This keeps happening and will probably influence my future drafts. I absolutely love Dalton Risner, but he’s going top 50 for sure and when I can get a solid guy 100 picks later, it gives me the flexibility to address a different position (provided there’s comparable value). In this case, I went with Dennis Daley. Strong and athletic, he looks like a good fit at Right Tackle or either Guard spot in a zone blocking scheme. His Senior Bowl showing wasn’t great, but I won’t let it deter me from all the other positives.
Not doing these yet. Probably going to do a few more at 5 rounds before filling out the bottom of the board and doing full 7 rounders.
This class is loaded with potential. The pass defense should be bolstered considerably, the offense got better. Really, there are potentially seven new starters at what might be the seven biggest holes on the team. This was amazing.
Offense took a back seat, but it worked out. This draft is clearly top-heavy with defensive studs, but I think there’s a big middle on the talent bell curve for offense and they get pushed down even further because of all the defenders going early.
This is as close to a realistic dream draft as I could imagine so far.
- Seeing 5 Edges go off in the beginning with 2 DLs before 12 was a little scary.
Check out our PFTW 2019 Mock Draft Archive to see how other scenarios played out!