The Super Bowl is over (these don’t always get posted right away since there’s a bit of a backlog) and we’re finally officially into draft season! The draft order is set and boards are being updated. After doing 20 of these, I did a retrospective titled What I Learned After Running 20 Mock Drafts to review the themes I saw emerge. It should be interesting to see what changes or stays the same as the draft approaches.
Since we are now in full draft prep mode, mocks will be a full 7 rounds now.
Here are the results of our first full mock:
Montez Sweat (Edge) Four of the top five picks were Edge rushers, and there aren’t a lot of players I like more than the top five Edge rushers, so I went with the last remaining top-tier guy: Montez Sweat. With an 85″ wingspan, he’s tough to contain. He has a killer first step, which, with arms like that, makes him a threat to the QB every down. If he’d been gone, I probably would have went with Cornerback DeAndre Baker.
Zach Allen (Edge) At 30, I had my pick of all the Tight Ends and Safeties on the board, but I went with Zach Allen to double up at Edge. Yes, I think their second Edge is a bigger priority than Safety or Tight End. The thing I like about Allen is that he’s a good complement to Sweat. Sweat is more of a pass rush specialist, whereas Allen is a complete defender that can set the edge and still rush the passer. Allen doesn’t have Sweat’s freakish pass rush skills, but he is a more complete player. I think a tandem like this would be a big boost to the defense.
Dalton Risner (C/G/RT) In the second, I could have got a top Running Back or Safety, but I went with Offensive Line and grabbed Dalton Risner. I Really like him for his a nasty temperament and the ability to play four spots along the line. I think he’s the best non-Left Tackle prospect in the draft. It’s tempting to stick with the defense here, but I’m hoping the Edge tandem from round 1 carries the D.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S) In the 3rd, I was lucky enough to match value with need and address the need at Safety with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. His play may be a little inconsistent, but he has great range and improved his tackling, making him a valuable cog in a rebuilding defense.
I like the value I got here, but the amount of high value players that drop off the board between the Packers 2nd round pick and 3rd pick shows what a huge drop off there is around 50 or 55.
Jarrett Stidham (QB) In the 4th, since most top needs were addressed and we have an extra pick, I went with an unpopular choice in Jarrett Stidham. The big knock is that he can hesitate through his progressions. However, he has good arm strength, a quick release, and can make all the throws (though his deep sideline balls may drift in a little). At 6’2 215, he had a good week of Senior Bowl practice and showed he all the tools to be a solid Quarterback at the next level if he can be eased into the pros with a good Quarterback coach. The Packers may be his best chance and I think he could become an upgrade at backup QB… at the very least, he might be able to play a whole quarter without throwing a pick 6.
Alize Mack (TE) With the second 4th round pick, I took Alize Mack to fill out the Tight End position. If Jimmy Graham is going to stick around, they won’t need an immediate starter and a guy like Mack could be a good pickup. He’s a smooth route runner with good speed and phenomenal at contested catches. He’s an adequate blocker, but his biggest question with Mack is work ethic – hopefully playing in a pro offense with the best QB in the history of the world will light a fire under him because he has the tools.
Trayveon Williams (RB) There was a huge cliff here this time. Usually interior lineman and wide receivers are in ample supply, but not this time – both positions were heavily picked over. I went with Trayveon Williams, a small scat back. At 5’9 200, he has good moves, speed, and quickness, but he’s not gonna show a lot of power. An intriguing pick as a complementary back in a zone blocking system.
Mike Edwards (S) In the 6th, I took Mike Edwards. A strong downhill hitter that showed solid cover skills at the Senior Bowl, I think he’d be a great strong safety complement to the rangy Gardner-Johnson, building a new backfield for Mike Pettine’s defense.
Isaiah Prince (G/RT) With the second pick it he 6th, I took Isaiah Prince to help more with the OL. He has good size and length and knows how to use his hands. He’s mobile, but still needs to improve his footwork and hip balance. One of the knocks against him is lack of aggression, which has led some to give him a boom or bust label – I think the boom can come if he’s used for zone blocking and the bust would come if someone wanted the 6’6 tackle to play like a road grader. Good for us.
Corey Ballantine (CB) In the 7th I took Corey Ballantine. I’m not gonna lie, I love this pick and hope the Packers snatch him in the 7th. He won the Cliff Harris award as the best small school defensive player and then really shined at Senior Bowl as one of the 3 Division II players to be invited. A track star, who owns 8 of the 10 fastest 100m times in school history, he was a stud on special teams. He returned kicks, blocked kicks, and was a killer punt gunner. He’s a guy I want on our team, where depth at corner is necessary and special teams could use a huge boost.
- As boards are updated more now that we are past the Super Bowl, I’ve noticed a huge jump in how few players are slipping now
- Four of the five first picks were Edge, so that hasn’t changed
If the Packers are gonna double up at Edge, I don’t think it’ll get much better than the duo of Sweat and Allen. They aren’t blue chip sure-fire Pro Bowlers, but they are a very talented and gifted tandem that can be the point of attack for a defense. Adding Gardner-Johnson and Edwards on the back end will make them even more effective. Adding a new Edge tandem and Safety tandem could easily launch this defense into Top 10 territory.
Riser and Prince add immediate relief to a very thin line and Stidham, while not filling an immediate need, could be the best backup they’ve had since Matt Flynn, maybe since Matt Hasselbeck.
Mack helps at Tight End, but he’s not the full answer and a free agent would probably be needed to run the offense I think LaFleur is envisioning. Williams should be enough to keep the Running Back stable full, though. The Packers might also consider adding mid-tier free agents at Wide Receiver and Inside Linebacker for competition (even if those guys are Geronimo Allison and Jake Ryan).
Check out our PFTW 2019 Mock Draft Archive to see how other scenarios played out!
Check out Packers Draft Central for all our 2019 NFL Draft coverage!