Sometimes the best drafts are the least expected. Everyone is expecting the Packers to take a receiver early, but would you really take a receiver at 30 if six of them are already gone? Then the 2nd round starts and the first two picks are receivers, making it even harder. Then other talented guys at important positions are available.
I don’t care, I’m not reaching for a wide receiver in this mock. The Packers did surprisingly well with unheralded receivers last year and none of their losses would have been fixed with better receivers.
The beauty of this class is that you can still get a potential starting receiver on Day 3.
Here are the results
Neville Gallimore – Defensive Line
Profile: Neville Gallimore looks and plays like a big bad@ss. Quick first step, good penetration, he’s a pass rushing animal with a stout anchor – a well-rounded lineman for any scheme. He’s twitchy and hustles. He can’t hold the point as a nose tackle, but he was unstoppable in one-on-ones at the Senior Bowl.
Analysis: Run defense was the Packers downfall last year. As much as an upgrade at inside linebacker would help, an upgrade at defensive line would help even more. Gallimore would be an immediate starter and give Kenny Clark a worthy sidekick in trying to stop the run.
Bryce Hall – Cornerback
Profile: A physical corner with good feet and great closing speed, Hall knocks away a lot of balls. He’s a downhill tackler that plays with energy and confidence. Athletic and fluid, he sometimes gets beat quick, waterbug-type receivers. He can play man, but really excels in zone, where his instincts shine.
Analysis: The Packers don’t have a clear starter at nickel corner at this point and they played nickel base a most of the year. Next year, it’s going to be tough to keep Kevin King, given that Bakhtiari and Clark are both due for new contract and both of them (along with maybe Aaron Jones) will be priorities over King. The Packers need a corner in this draft and Hall would be good find.
Jonathan Taylor – Running Back
Profile: One of the most productive backs of all time, Taylor is a complete runner. he can run hard inside, he can bounce it outside, he has cutting ability and speed to spare. On top of it all, he stepped up as a receiver this year, showing he is a complete back. He just needs to fumble less.
Analysis: I wanted a receiver here, but they were getting over-drafted, which let Taylor fall. There was just no way I could pass him up in the 3rd round. The Packers could always use another talented runner, but it’s especially important with their top three rushers all coming up for contract next year. Getting a guy like Taylor to allow Aaron Jones to walk could save their cap.
Joe Reed – Wide Receiver
Profile: A strong receiver with great instincts, Reed has the hands for highlight film grabs and contested catches. He can’t plow through press coverage, but his route and footwork get him separation and he has a smooth back-shoulder catch. Better underneath than vertical, he’d make a nice slot receiver (and a big one at 6’1 215). He’s also a good blocker.
Analysis: Even when receivers are terribly over-drafted, it’s still possible to find a guy like Reed on Day 3. The Packers don’t really need a dynamic game-breaking receiver, as evidenced by how the offense fared in Davante Adams’s absence. Reed could play slot with Adams and Lazard on the outside with Sternberger at tight end and Jones out of the backfield – the Packers would have plenty of weapons.
Ben Bartch – Offensive Tackle
Profile: A converted tight end with only three years of experience on the offensive line, Bartch is building on his impressive tool set. Good kick slide and mirror technique, he needs to build his lower body strength (which is understandable since he put on 75 pounds in one summer to bulk up ro play line). He has a killer instinct on his drive block but is still raw. As a D3 prospect, he’s been moving up boards since holding his own in Senior Bowl practices.
Analysis: The Packers have a tentative starting offensive line, but they don’t have a lot of depth or prospects for the future. Bartch, a developmental tackle with a high-ceiling as a zone blocker, could alleviate that issue.
Bravvion Roy – Defensive Line
Profile: A super strong, 330 pound, athletic freak, Roy eats blockers, but also slips past them with his quickness. He’s not a great pass rusher, but he can shoot gaps and hold the point for run defense.
Analysis: The Packers defensive line was abused in two matchups against the 49ers. Gallimore in the 1st round could help that, but Roy could serve as a run stuffing sub-package option that could really transform the Packers run defense in one draft.
Evan Weaver – Linebacker
Profile: A smart player, the densely built, 6’2 237 pound Weaver reads gaps and fills them. He’s not explosive, but he’s technically sound and efficient. He has a good tackle radius as an early down run defender with a high motor.
Analysis: Packer fans say they want a linebacker like Bobby Wagner or Luke Keuchley. Too bad. Those guys don’t grow on trees. Guys like Evan Weaver (solid, gap-filling inside linebackers), however, can be found on Day 3 (allowing the team to get talent at premium positions in earlier rounds) and are more than good enough to win with.
Isaiah Hodgins – Wide Receiver
Profile: A tall (6’4), sooth receiver who runs good routes. He’s limited by his 4.61 speed, but has good footwork, a great catch radius, and a great ability to catch goal line fades and back shoulder throws.
Analysis: LaFleur favors tall receivers. Hodgins fits the bill. If he shaved a tenth off his 40 time, he’d go 3 rounds earlier. As it stands, he’s a great goal line receiver who adds depth and competition to the receiver room.
Charlie Taumoepeau – Tight End
Profile: A versatile athlete who has played running back, h-back, and wide receiver in addition to tight end, Taumoepeau doesn’t have the speed or quickness to win big routes, but he has good blocking technique, good hands, and the versatility to fill a lot of roles as a developmental tight end.
Analysis: I like Tau’s versatility and think he could be a good replacement for Danny Vitale, while offering more flexibility in sub packages.
Cameron Brown – Inside Linebacker
Profile: At 6’5, Cameron Brown has freakishly long arms, which he uses to fend off blockers and make tackles he shouldn’t be able to reach. He covers ground well, but isn’t much in pass coverage. He could add some meat to his 233 pound frame, but still packs a hit at his current weight and plays with good instincts. He has a unique set of physical gifts.
Analysis: Even with the selection of Weaver, Christian Kirksey’s injury history combined with a general lack of depth to begin with, the Packers are still thin at inside linebacker. Taking a guy with a big frame and room to grow isn’t a bad idea.
Eight wide receivers went in the first 34 picks. I know it’s a talented class, but that’s just nutty.
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