Teams get in trouble when they draft for need (shameless plug: my #1 new release book talks all about it). The Packers have clear needs at wide receiver, offensive tackle, and inside linebacker. Luckily for us, those are pretty deep positions in this draft (receiver and tackle are historically deep and inside linebacker may lack a lot of top end studs, but there’s a lot of solid options in the middle to late rounds).
The Packers can afford to draft for value, taking the best players at key positions early and filling holes later. That’s exactly what happened with our 13th mock draft.
Here are the results
AJ Epenesa – Defensive Line
Profile: Some call him an edge rusher more suited to a 4-3, but at 6’5 275, Epenesa can play defensive end in a 3-4 alignment. A powerful defender with a brutal bull rush, Epenesa also has a polished array of pass rushing moves. He sets a strong edge and is tough against the run, showing the ability to hold two gaps with his lengths, but seems to lack ball awareness. If he had more bend, he could be a 3-4 edge. As it stands, he a solid 5 technique.
Analysis: The Packers need help on the defensive line. Mike Pettine values the pass rush, which leaves the run defense wanting. Epenesa is the kind of well-rounded lineman that could shore up the run D and still provide pressure in passing situations.
Cameron Dantzler – Cornerback
Profile: At 6’2 188, Dantzler is a wiry, frustrating defender. With only 4.64 speed, he relies on explosive quickness and his frame. His press technique is still developing, but he does stick with receivers. Good ball skills and anticipation with the ability to play zone or man.
Analysis: There were a lot of receivers and mid tier linebackers still on the board and no tackles I really liked (though a surprising number of defensive linemen), so I went with cornerback, which is always a need. With Kevin King in a contract year, the Packers could use a taller corner to give them coverage flexibility now and in the future.
Adam Trautman – Tight End
Profile: A dual-sport threat as a basketball player, the 6’5 253 started his college football career as a quarterback and left as his school’s all time leading receiver. His 4.8 speed is solid, but 4.27 shuttle is good and his 6.78 3 cone is phenomenal. He’s an explosive field stretcher with surprisingly nimble moves. He’s still learning the position, particularly blocking, but is tough and shows a willingness to improve. Also a natural at bringing the ball in with soft hands.
Analysis: The Packers just dumped a basketball player who switched to football. Trautman is a football player who also played basketball. That’s a step in the right direction. With his size and motivation, he looks to have a very high ceiling as a complete tight end. Had he played the position in high school and learned it earlier, he might have been a first round pick this year.
Hakeen Adeniji – Offensive Tackle
Profile: Some project him as a guard, but he’s started at left tackle since 2016. At 6’4 302 with a mediocre 24 reps on the bench, he’s not a mauler. However, he’s explosive with vertical and broad jumps that trounce his offensive line peers. That shows up when he’s on on the move and unloads on a blocker. He’s good in space, plays with leverage, and knows how to get the most out of his frame.
Analysis: Is he was a little bigger and stronger, a power blocking team would probably snatch him a round or two sooner. As it stands, in a deep class, he’s the kind of guy that could fall into the Packers lap on Day 3 of the draft and start at right tackle on day 1 of the season.
Cameron Brown – Linebacker
Profile: Brown has a wiry build at 6’5 233 and could stand to add some meat. However, he uses his freakishly long arms to fend off blockers and shows good instincts attacking the run. He’s not a loss in pass coverage and covers ground in run defense.
Analysis: If Brown could put on a little more muscle, he could really become a force on the inside. As it is, he’s a long body who covers ground well.
Joe Reed – Wide Receiver
Profile: Joe Reed has decent speed at 4.47 and a solid frame at 6’1 215, but it’s the unmeasureable things that make him exciting. His hands are just silly, the dude can grab highlight circus catches all day. He can run back-shoulder and win any contested catch. For as strong as he measured though (21 reps), he struggled again press coverage. Still, with great instincts and footwork, he’s dangerous with underneath routes from the slot. Good route-runner, but lack of high end speed hurts his vertical game.
Analysis: This wide receiver class is just so deep. No way a guy like this should be taken this late. It’s not just like he dropped, though – this is where he’s expected to go because there are so many other receivers in this class. I really like this guy as a Day 3 pick.
Javon Leake – Running Back
Profile: Leake is a unique prospect. He’s coming out as a junior despite not having a lot experience. He only carried the ball 145 times in his three years, but he got 17 touchdowns and had a carry of over 60 yards each year. He’s a springy playmaker with quick change of direction. He doesn’t have high end speed, but he hits his top gear in about two steps. Sometimes he has a tendency to want to bounce his plays outside, and he isn’t much of a blocker, but he’s a fearless returner that could carve out a niche role on offense.
Analysis: A guy like Leake might need some training to stay inside on his runs with a zone scheme, but if he can figure that out, his playmaking potential is huge.
James Morgan – Quarterback
Profile: James Morgan can flash amazing accuracy at times and then follow it up with some really bad misses. He’s very good at leading his receivers, though, and really zips the underneath stuff. Really good arm, but needs a wider throwing base to get power on his deep balls. Decision making needs to speeds up, but he stands in the pocket with courage and poise and is absolutely not afraid to take a hit.
Analysis: I hate picking him because he’s from Green Bay and I hate it when draft guys pair teams with players for nonsense reasons like that. However, Morgan is a solid Day 3 developmental backup and the Packers really should be trying out some guys like that. I think he would be a good fit.
Terence Steele – Offensive Tackle
Profile: A 4-year starter, Terence Steele has a good frame for a developmental tackle at 6’6 312. He has thick arms and a powerful upper body, though his leg strength deficiency often leaves him off his mark. Shows patience in his sets and uses hands well, but choppy steps hurt his zone blocking. He appears athletic enough to refine that area of his game, though.
Analysis: If he stops skipping leg days at the gym and works on his feet, he could grow into a solid swing tackle.
Alohi Gilman – Safety
Profile: Undersized at 5’10 201, Gilman is an aggressive hybrid safety. He’s athletic and tough, matches up well in the slot and flies to the ball with reckless abandon. He only has average speed, but plays quick. A solid rotational DB, Gilman’s real value comes on special teams.
Analysis: As with most late picks, the odds of striking it rich are pretty low. I think these picks are better spent on effort guys who can help special teams.
Offensive Tackle Jedrick Willis fell to 23, the longest I’ve seen him last.
Shaquille Quarterman lasted until the 7th round and it was really hard for me to not grab him in the 6th.
Check out our PFTW 2020 Mock Draft Archive to see how other scenarios played out!
Check out Packers Draft Central 2020 for all our 2020 NFL Draft coverage!
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