I’ve previously written about what Gutey could learn from Ted as he enters his second draft as GM under amazingly similar circumstances. The big idea to take away is that the Packers have a lot of thin positions. They did a good job of patching up their biggest holes in free agency but there’s still a stunning lack of depth. Properly navigating this draft, when the Packers have lots of capital, could fix that all in one fell swoop.
In this draft, I wanted to trade around a lot to match value with need and maximize the impact this class could have. I accept that I will overdraft a number of positions, but it will breed competition, fill in depth to guard against injuries, potentially open the door for trades, and, however it shakes out, make the team much stronger as a whole.
Not all of these guys will make the team and I don’t believe that just because a player is drafted earlier than another player at the same position, that they will be better in the pros. This draft is about taking as many swings as possible to see who we can find. Building depth and competition is the key to improving the Packers.
This writeup will focus more on the process than the analysis of the prospects. Most of these guys are ones that I’ve analyzed before, so check out more at the 2019 Mock Draft Archive.
Here’s the results:
21 Brian Burns (Edge)
44 Josh Jacobs (RB)
51 Dalton Risner (G/T/C)
61 Deebo Samuels (WR)
67 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S)
89 Christian Miller (Edge/DL)
90 Jace Sternberger (TE)
103 Dennis Daley (G/T)
104 Corey Ballentine (CB)
121 Maxx Crosby (Edge)
135 Trysten Hill (DL)
148 Gary Johnson (LB)
150 Jimmy Moreland (CB)
156 Brett Rypien (QB)
163 Foster Moreau (TE)
170 Nate Davis (G/T)
171 Shareef Miller (Edge)
174 Joe Giles-Harris (LB)
179 Ugo Amadi (S)
181 Ricky Walker (DL)
185 DeMarkus Lodge (WR)
191 Penny Hart (WR)
194 Alec Ingold (FB)
208 Devine Ozigbo (RB)
When my pick acme up at 12, I had two proposals: The Chiefs wanted #12 for #29, two seconds (61 and 63 overall), and a third (92), while the Titans wanted #30 for a second (51), third (82), fourth (121), and fifth (157).
I took them both, letting Gute act like Ted in his first draft.
According to the trade value chart, I came out a little ahead in each deal, but not to a gross degree. The Chiefs took Devin Bush (ILB is a need in their revamped defense and they go for the Devin’s quite often in the simulations I see) and the Titans took DK Metcalf at 30 (after grabbing Jachai Polite at 19 with their original 1st round pick)
When it got down to pick 21 and Brian Burns was the last of the top Edge rushers, I gave the Seahawks a third round pick to move up from 29 (and 82) and grabbed him.
Brian Burns (Edge) Elite athleticism and bend, Burns answered questions about sie by showing up to the COmbine weighing 249 and showing no loss of explosiveness.
With four second round picks, I knew I had a lot to think about in how to tread. It would be very easy to take guys out of order and miss out on value.
As I went through this round, it felt like the more picks I had, the more stressful it was. Like, when you only have one pick, you jut take the guy you want… but when you have four, you try to figure out how you can get all the guys you want. NFL GM is not an easy job
Josh Jacobs (RB) There’s a lot of guys I liked here. I don’t like taking a back early, but I can’t lay off the talent here. There’s a number of Safeties and Guards that I like on this tier, but there’s only one Running Back in this class. Even with a “meh” 40 time, Josh Jacobs looks like the best. He’s not the biggest need, but he’s the biggest talent. The Packers patches in free agency make it possible to not reach for need.
I had a really hard time deciding on the next pick, but in the end, it became an economics question. This is what you do when you have multiple guys at positions of need that you have at a similar talent level – there’s no such thing as an actual “best player available.” That’s a philosophy, not an actual player. There were a few safeties I liked on this tier, but only one Guard I thought fit, so I went with the Guard
Dalton Risner (G/T) He’s maybe the best Guard in the class and can play Tackle or Center. I’m nervous that he’s close to his ceiling as a 24 year-old rookie, but its a pretty high ceiling.
Now I had two of the next three picks. I couldn’t make up my mind between Deionte Thompson or Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, but I knew at least one would be around at my next pick, so I didn’t go safety. I had a hard time picking between Zach Allen (a versatile defender that could play line or edge), Irv Smith (an undersized tight End with good hands and route-running ability to go with amazing blocking skills), or yet another offensive weapon. Since I already had a front 7 defender early and don’t view Tight End as a premium position, I went with Deebo and really surprised myself by going offense on three of my top four picks.
Deebo Samuels (WR) Pretty much the best slot receiver in the draft – he has a great release and no one could hang with him at the Senior Bowl.
Of course Zach Allen and not a safety, went in the one pick between my two selections. Since I would be happy with either of the two, I played the trading game, moving down one spot with the Patriots (who took QB Daniel Jones), so I could move up two spots in the 3rd (63 and 75 for 64 and 73).
Since the Patriots didn’t take a Safety, either, I figured I would keep racking up value for virtually no cost and traded again, moving down one spot from the end of the second to the top of the third in order to go up 11 spots in the 4th (64 to 65 for 114 to 103). The team I traded with, the Cardinals, of course, didn’t take a Safety, either, selecting Cornerback Trayvon Mullen.
I moved down 2 with the 49ers (65 to 67) to move up 14 spots int he 4th (118 to 104), which meant I now had the first two picks in the 4th. However, it was a bit of a gamble, because my two Safeties could hypothetically go in the next two picks. Seeing that no Safety had been taken in a while, I rolled the dice. The 49ers took Renell Wren and then, mercifully, the Steelers took Deionte Thompson, clearing the way for me to take Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (who I was sort of learning towards anyways.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S) The Packers have a need at safety even after free agency and Chauncey has everything they need. He can play zone, he has good speed, and doesn’t shy away from run support.
I was hoping to pick up Irv Smith, but he went before I could move up from 9. There weren’t a lot of guys that stuck out at 9, so when the Colts offered me two more 4th rounders to drop to 25 (73 to 89 to get 128 and 135), I took it (they grabbed Andy Isabella). When my turn came up, there were two players I wanted and both were at the end of talent plateaus at their respective positions. I didn’t want to miss out on either one, so I maneuvered some more, moving up two slots with the Cowboys in exchange for my 7th round pick (92 and 226 for 90)
Normally, I like the flexibility of taking late round flyers, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to get the two guys I really wanted, especially since I’d accumulated plenty of picks. I then grabbed Christian Miller and Jace Sternberger.
Christian Miller (Edge/DL) He lacks the elite physical traits of the top Edge prospects, but still has a lot to offer including a wide array of moves and the ability to hold the edge in run support.
Jace Sternberger (TE) Without using a premium pick on one of the big three Tight Ends, I think Jace Sternberger is as good as it gets. He’s not a devastating blocker or a runaway deep threat, ut he does everything well. Solid guy.
This was hard. I had the first two picks and I was targeting Darnell Savage and Daylon Mack, but watched them both go to compensatory picks at the end of the third. Ouch. Mack was the last guy that I thought could give them a complementary nose tackle. He went one pick before me. Oh well, this is how drafts go (learn more about how random this can be here).
The offensive line still needed help and there was only one Tackle left that I liked, so I grabbed Dennis Daley, who can also play inside to give depth and options and then Corey Ballentine because the team needs more defensive backfield depth.
Dennis Daley (T/G) Very strong with the mobility for zone blocking. Played Left Tackle, but Senior Bowl showed he may have problems with elite edge rushers at the next level. Should make a fine Guard or Right Tackle.
Corey Ballentine (CB) Good corner but also a top returner and special teams ace that blocked 4 kicks.
Still a lot of prospects I like at positions of need, so I went with the premier position and took the last Edge that I really like in this tier in Maxx Crosby.
Maxx Crosby (Edge) Hustle, technique showed good moves, and then blew up the Combine with his performance.
Even with all these picks, I still felt the need for depth so I traded back with the Falcons (who took Benny Snell) to pick up another 5th rounder (128 for 137 and 172) then moved down with the Cardinals again to pick up a 7th rounder (137 for 139 and 248). With my last pick in the 4th Round, I took Trysten Hill, the last guy who is close to a big bodied IDL to round out the options there.
Trysten Hill (DL) Good burst and quickness with the ability to hold gaps, but needs to develop better awareness. Also has maturity issues and was benched late in the season.
With lots of players I still likes and lots of depth needs, I traded down with the Giants to pick up another 5th (139 for 142 and 171), then traded down again with the Browns to pick up yet another 5th (142 for 144 and 170), and again with the Broncos to pick up, yes, another 5th (144 for 148 and 156), giving me seven (5th rounders. There are positions that desperately need competition and this is where I start getting it.
Gary Johnson (ILB) Fash chase backer (4.43), lots of hustle, can shoot gaps and blitz. Good lateral movement, but can be choppy and overpursue, high energy player should fit well under Pettine.
Jimmy Moreland (CB) An undersized corner with a big chip on his shoulder. Plays aggressive (63 PBUs) and made a name for himself as the only guy who could cover Deebo Samuels at the Senior Bowl. Another special teams guy, he blocked 6 kicks in college.
Brett Rypien (QB) Doesn’t have the size or arm strength teams want in a starter, but the throwing mechanics, accuracy, wits, and intangibles make him a great candidate for a backup QB.
After this pick, still wanting depth, I traded down 1 spot with the Bills to pick up an extra 6th (157 for 158 and 181), traded down with Ravens to pick up an extra 6th (158 for 160 and 191), then traded down again with the Eagles to grab another 6th (160 for 163 and 208).
Foster Moreau (TE) Even with Sternberger, the team needs another Tight End and this one is more of an HBack, giving LaFleur another type of player for sub packages.
Nate Davis (G) Powerful blocker with good anchor, Davis showed the ability to get to the second level and move in space.
Shareef Miller (Edge) Because you can’t have too many pass rushers, I took Miller, who has good bend and a nice first step. More of a specialist that can’t anchor against the run, he is good and getting to the Quarterback.
Before the round was over, I traded one more time, moving down with the Cardinals to turn one of my 7ths into another 6th (172 and 248 for 174 and 179), so I can really round out the depth and set up some intense training camp battles.
This is where I stopped accumulating picks and just started to grab guys to create depth and competition at positions of need.
Joe Giles-Harris (LB) Good thumper role and an able tackler. Not a sideline-to-sideline guy, but very tough on the inside.
Ugo Amadi (S) An all-around complete safety… stuck in a 5’9 body.
Penny Hart (WR) A quick slot guy who showed a lot of wiggle at Senior Bowl practices but timed poorly at Pro Day.
Demarkus Lodge (WR) Great release, but didn’t get a chance to showcase his route skills in college. Also a good blocker, but occasionally struggled with drops.
Alec Ingold (FB) I heard LaFleur likes fullbacks, this is the kind of luxury pick you can make when you have this many selections.
Devine Ozigbo (RB) Big back with the patience and feet to do damage behind zone blocking.
Ricky Walker (DL) Explosive penetrator who lacks the strength for two-gapping.
I had no 7th rounder, as I fully maximized my positions to hit as many of my targeted players as possible.
With the trades in this scenario, every position group is gets an influx of talent to increase competition and depth and drive this team to greater things. I think we focus too much on the starting lineup and overlook how specialists, rotational players, and depth guys can do for a team.
- Quarterback – Brett Rypien gives DeShone Kizer a run for his money at backup. We’re implementing a new offense, so let them battle it out.
- Running Back – Josh Jacobs comes into the team as the most skilled and highly touted talent of all, but Devine Ozigbo is going to make sure that every is worried about their job. Alec Ingold comes in to push for Fullback/H-back role (not even Danny Vitale can rest in this scenario).
- Wide Receiver – There’s already a lot of young bodies here vying for time with Davante Adams, but bringing in Deebo Samuels (a more premium talent than anyone after Davante), DeMarkus Lodge, and Penny Hart to compete with last year’s rookie crop (and vets like Geronimo, Trevor Davis, Allen Lazard, and Jake Kumerow) means that there’s going to be about a 50% cut rate – that’s a lot of guys fighting to prove something in a new offense.
- Tight End – With Graham, Lewis, and Tonyan on the roster, the Packers could, from a numbers perspective, sit tight, but adding Jace Sternberger and Foster Moreau (along with Ingold pushing for H-Back time), means everyone should be sweating.
- Offensive Line – The Packers brought in a free agent to round out their starting lineup and there’s backups like Light, Spriggs, DeBeer, Patrick, and Siragusa all fighting for a spot. With a new blocking scheme, adding Dalton Risner, Dennis Daley, and Nate Davis (who are all skill fits for the new system) is sure to give the group more depth than last year.
- Edge – This was the weakest spot on the defense last year, which is rough since the position is the focal point of a 3-4 alignment. Free agency shored up the position, but now Brian Burns brings a huge boost to the group. Christian Miller can play Edge or Defensive Line, bringing another versatile piece like Za’Darius Smith. Maxx Crosby is an athletic freak, and Shareef Miller is a pass rush specialist that will also increase competition and pressure on the QB.
- Defensive Line – The Packers have a great start with Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels. Lowry is a solid third, but MoWil could still come back. Either way, the position is thin (with Montravious Adams and Tyler Lancaster still largely unproven) and Daniels may not be back after next year. As mentioned above, Za’Darius Smith and Christian Miller already bring some flexibility to the front, but with Trysten Hill and Ricky Walker added to the mix, Mike Pettine will have all kinds of pieces to move around based on the situation.
- Cornerback – The Packers let Bashaud Breeland walk dirt cheap, showing their faith in Alexander, King, Jackson, and Brown, but really, none of those guys have proven much in their short careers. Adding Corey Ballantine and Jimmy Moreland brings talent and athleticism to build depth and competition in a very young, very skilled, very untested group. Plus, both can fill big roles in a terrible special teams unit.
- Safety – Even with Amos and Tramon penciled in as starters, Josh Jones and Raven Greene aren’t much to write home about for depth. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson can jump right into the starting lineup and undersized Ugo Amadi has the ability to knock any of the backups off the roster.
- Inside Linebacker – This is not a premium position and there’s not a lot of premium talent in this class. However, there’s a ton of guys in this class who can come in and contribute in supporting roles. Gary Johnson and Joe Giles-Harris really fit that mold.
In the end, this is a team that needs to challenge their starters and add depth at pretty much every position. If the Packers play their cards right, they can do just that.
It’s not impossible, they’ve actually done it before.
Check out our PFTW 2019 Mock Draft Archive to see how other scenarios played out!
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