I’ve analyzed a lot of mocks. More recently, I’ve looked at extreme cases of trading up and down. When analyzing what the Packers could get for moving down, a less extreme, but still aggressive option came to mind: just move down a little bit with the first two picks.
The Packers have a lot of needs, so in previous mocks, I’d been racking up picks in the middle rounds. This time, I just targeted two small moves to get extra picks in the talent-heavy second round.
First, at 12, I looked at the smallest move down to get another 2nd round pick. That was moving down 18 with the Vikings (I understand that division deals are tougher to pull off, but they aren’t unprecedented). Then, at 30, I targeted a team with two picks at the end of the 2nd round in the Patriots.
This still left the Packers with a pick in the middle of the first round (at a slot they haven’t picked higher than since they took BJ Raji), but also left them with FOUR picks in the 2nd round.
I truly think this is the best way for the Packers to maximize this draft class, given a higher-than-normal first pick, plus a bonus first pick from last year.
Here’s the results:
I’m very glad that I moved out of 12, because all the primary targets were gone (Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Brian Burns, Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Devin White, and TJ Hockenson all went top 10 – something that would not surprise me at all come Thursday). At 18, I had my choice between Clelin Ferrell, Jerry Tillery, and Montez Sweat – all the guys I would have been looking at with the 12 pick. This worked out great.
Clelin Ferrell (Edge) With the 18th overall pick (ironically the same slot the Packers grabbed Jaire Alexander in last year), I selected Clelin Ferrell. He’s not a flashy pick, but he is very polished with a low basement and will bring much-needed skills to the Edge position. Killer hand moves, gap discipline, run instincts, burst – Ferrell is a true 3 down player on the outside. He could allow the Packers to move Za’Darius Smith to the defensive line and give Mike Pettine all sorts of sub package options.
This is where things get fun. I just plugged a prime player into a premium position and now I get into a rich 2nd round where I have picks 12, 18, 24, and 32. Honestly, I’m giddy – this is where we exercise the demons of the 2015 draft and launch the Packers team talent to the next level.
Nasir Adderley (S) The best safety in the draft, Nasir Adderley does as much as anyone else at the position in this class. A rangy free safety, he’s a playmaker that can cover like a corner. He showed his skills all season long and put a stamp on it with great Senior Bowl practices. He also returned 5 kickoffs last year for a 30 yard average and a score. Honestly, I’d be thrilled if the Packers came out of the 2nd round with just Nasir Adderley. The fact that I still have 3 more picks in the round has me totally stoked.
N’Keal Harry (WR) There’s a lot of talk about who the best receiver in this very deep class is, but N’Keal Harry is absolutely in the discussion. At 6’3 215, he’s physically imposing and his 4.5 speed is fast enough (same as Davante). A physical route runner, he has the best hands in this class and excels at contested balls (splitting him opposite Davante in the red zone might break the game). He gets yards after the catch and can block. LaFleur favors big receivers and Harry is the prototype.
Chris Lindstrom (G) I was a little torn on this pick because I think zone blocking is not the true calling of Chris Lindstrom. That being said, he looks like he can be a very strong zone blocker. I think there’s a lot of value for zone blocking interior lineman in the 4th round, but looking at the way things have played out, he just sticks out as the best player on the board by a fair margin. He’s technically proficient and athletic. As much as I don’t value Guard as a 2nd round position, having extra picks and knowing his talent makes it too hard for me to avoid.
Josh Jacobs (RB) Ok, now it’s getting silly. After securing a top Edge rusher and then grabbing potentially the best Safety, Wide Receiver, and Guard in this draft class, the best Running Back is just hanging around twiddling his thumbs at 64. Of course I took Josh Jacobs. He’s another great player at an undervalued position, but LaFleur wants to establish the run and the Packers need another rotational back. Jacobs is all that and more. A compact, powerful runner, he didn’t show elite speed in testing, but played fast enough to average 5.3 yards per carry. He has great vision and patience, which will serve him well in zone blocking, and he’s top-notch in blitz pickup, tough to bring down, and hardly ever fumbles. He’s a complete back.
Irv Smith (TE) I keep telling myself that the team needs more defense, but here I am grabbing my 4th offensive player in a row. I can’t help it, the talent and skills that Irv Smith brings to the table are too much to pass up. He’s the best blocker in the class (even at an “undersized” 6’2), runs great routes and has soft hands. He lacks breakaway speed, but has everything Green Bay needs in a Tight End. In this scenario, I’m sticking to value and it’s really paying dividends.
Mack Wilson (ILB) The Packers could use help at inside linebacker, for depth if nothing else, and Mack Wilson is as good as anyone outside the 1st round. The fact that he’s hanging around in the 4th is actually a little surprising. He has just enough speed and quickness to cover sideline to sideline, Matt Miller calls him the best run stopper in the class, and his coverage ability makes him a true every down player.
Isaiah Prince (OT) I was really getting to the point where Jachai Polite was looking tempting, but he went two picks before this slot, so I avoided the conundrum. This may the first pick in the draft that could be a bit of a reach, depending on who you ask. After using my first OL pick on a Guard, I wanted to come away from this draft with a future Tackle and Isaiah Prince, at 6’6 305, definitely has the tools. He has all the power and mobility he’ll need, but he also has some technique and balance issues to work on. With a year under Adam Stenavich, I think he could be a very good zone blocking Right Tackle in 2020.
Renell Wren (DL) Rounding out the defense, I got an exciting Defensive Line prospect in Renell Wren. An energetic lineman who can win with speed or power, Wren dominated Senior Bowl practices. He has a great first step, but needs to work on counters to take his game to the next level.
Jalen Jelks (Edge) A raw prospect to groom in the Edge room, Jalen Jelks shows enticing athleticism. He has the ability to penetrate off the snap with a bull rush or spring around the outside. He plays smart and block a lot of passes, but needs to work on developing his moves instead of relying solely on instinct and ability.
Mark Fields (CB) The Packers could use more help at Cornerback and Mark Fields is another raw prospect that could be a good long-term investment. He joined Clemson as a top 100 recruit, but only ended up with 6 starts despite his talents (which may or may not have something to do with a one-game suspension for violating team rules last year). When he played, he was spectacular, looking great in the national championship game and the Senior Bowl. Running a 4.37 at the Combine has continued to boost his stock late in the process. Lots of potential for the fast, physical DB who is quickly becoming one of my late process draft crushes. If he were taller than 5’10, he might be a Day 2 pick.
Mitch Hyatt (OT) At this point in the draft, we’re looking for developmental prospects and offensive line is a great place to load up. Mitch Hyatt was an All American (and 4 time All ACC) Left Tackle. He was a grinder who had the frame (6’5 305) but never showed the amazing athleticism of the guys who went on Days 1 and 2. Still, that kind of experience and staying power go a long way in building a future in the NFL.
This is nuts.
This is crazy value.
On offense, Harry, Lindstrom, Jacobs, and Smith can all come into immediate starter-level roles. All of them are top-tier talents that could launch this offense to the next level. Prince and Hyatt are nice long-term investments for the line on Day 3.
On defense, Ferrell and Adderley are premium starters for week 1 and Wilson could join them as well. Wren, Jelks, and Fields are all physical phenoms with the tools to be immediate contributors.
The Packers are in a unique position given their draft capital, draft position, and potential partners in a year when the talent levels are conducive to such moves. Everything is lined up. Pulling off a class like this could make for a legendary draft that moves Gutey to folklore status and puts the Packers back in the Super Bowl.
Per TheDraftNetwork, this class has 6 of the top 33 players – that’s basically SIX 1st rounders! This is the kind of take I’d love to see.
Also note: the Packers could squeeze this into their cap pretty easily given the rookie wage scale and the Top 51 offseason roster exemption.
- I was offered a lot of trades in the 3rd and 4th where I could have moved 6 to 8 spots and picked up another pick. I would have done it in real life, but for this simulation, I wanted to focus on the moves just in the first two rounds.
- Darnell Savage (aka: my guy) was the first safety off the board
- It was really hard to pass on Jachai Polite’s talent in the 4th round, but I don’t trust his mindset to last in the NFL. He might make it, but I don’t want to take the chance.
- Offensive Linemen went faster in this draft than pretty much any mock I’ve done so far.
- Christin Miller and Jalyon Ferguson – two nice Edge options – slipped to the 4th, possibly a by-product of heavy OL drafting.
- The Vikings took Cody Ford with the 12th pick – filling a definite need for them and making this a plausible scenario (but I’d still rather have Clelin Ferrell and N’Keal Harry).
- The Patriots took Noah Fant at 30 to replace Rob Gronkowski – also filling a huge need for them and making this a plausible scenario (but I’d still rather have Chris Lindstrom and Josh Jacobs).
Check out our PFTW 2019 Mock Draft Archive to see how other scenarios played out!
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