There’s an old saying that says “defense wins championships.”
The Packers have had plenty of years where their defense lost them a chance at a championship.
While the D looked a lot better last year (particularly when everyone played together in the playoffs), they could still stand an infusion of talent.
In our 11th mock draft of the year, they got just that.
Here are the results:
Jordan Davis – Defensive Line
Profile: A powerful beast of a man. At 6’6, 345, there just aren’t many humans on the planet that can match his sheer size. A dominant bull rush and explosive hands, Davis can walk a couple blockers backwards pretty much any time he wants. He can play any position on the line and the only knock on him is a lack of quick-twitch pass rush ability and a slight stamina deficiency.
Analysis: The Packers have leaned on Kenny Clark to anchor the line with Day 3 picks and UDFAs for far too long. Davis would immediately pair with Clark for one of the most imposing d-line duos in the league. Throw TJ Slaton in the mix and the Packers have a 3-man goal line D. Davis’s lack of stamina would be largely offset by the fact that the Packers don’t run their line for a high percentage of snaps. With a fresh Davis, they would be very high quality snaps and multiply the impact of the defensive line.
Jermaine Johnson – Edge
Profile: Quick off the snap with a wide wingspan, the 6’5 260 Johnson is a tackle’s nightmare. His presence makes quarterbacks always peak away from their receivers. Good change of direction and stout on the edge despite a lack of bulk, Johnson has good instincts in reading plays. He’s still working on counters, but can stand up or play with his hand in dirt.
Analysis: I was thinking of going for a receiver here, but 5 were already off the board. Guys like Christian Watson and George Pickens seemed like a reach in the 1st and Johnson was easily the best remaining edge rusher. The Packers are in good shape with Gary and Preston, but their defense rotates edge defenders to the point that the 3rd guy in the rotation is basically a starter. Plus, Johnson can play up or down, a trait the Packers like in their edge rushers.
Perrion Winfrey – Defensive Line
Profile: A 6’4 300 gap penetrator. Winfrey is quick off the snap, has good feet and change of direction for the passing game and holds his gaps in the run game. Even with his height, he’s good at getting through the line because he’s so skilled at getting hands off him. Hustles, and chases down ballcarriers – he had a great Senior Bowl and brings contagious energy
Analysis: A great complement to Jordan Davis’s inevitable, grating power, Winfrey is a high-energy hustler. Setting them on opposite sides of Kenny Clark could give them the most talented young 3-man front in the league.
Khalil Shakir – Wide Receiver
Profile: The best route-runner at the Senior Bowl, the 6’0 190 Shakir shows good ball awareness and the ability and willingness to go over the middle for tough catches. He’s capable of circus catches, but also has the occasional easy drop.
Analysis: Sure, you wanted a receiver with one of the first three picks, but we’re still in the second round and there’s a lot of receiver talent left. Shakir lacks some of the flashy measurables of the top tier of receiving prospects, but would fit right in on the Packers with his precision routes and ability to go over the middle.
David Bell – Wide Receiver
Profile: Another route technician. Bell, with middling speed and a 6’2, 205 frame gets open early with a wide array of moves off the line, stays open with great cuts, and has strong hands that refuse to give up the ball when defenders try to knock it away.
Analysis: I really wanted Offensive Tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere here, but he went one pick earlier. The Packers will need to draft multiple receivers, so David Bell is a pretty good consolation prize. His stock has dropped because of a his slow times speed, but he’s not a receiver that depends on speed to win. A great fit for a Rodgers-LaFleur offense.
Braxton Jones – Offensive Tackle
Profile: With a powerful 6’7 310 build, Braxton is a surprising athletic zone blocking left tackle. All his movements are smooth and he covers ground effortlessly. Great balance in his pass sets and and good hand usage, he finesses defenders off their spot rather than driving them in gap blocks.
Analysis: The Packers have a lot of talent and a lot of questions at tackle with Bakhtiari and Jenkins recovering from ACL injuries and Yosh Nijman apparently lacking the full confidence of the staff (as evidenced by him being benched in the playoffs in favor of playing an injured Billy Turner out of position). Jones has an incredible blend of size and athleticism that will fit perfectly in the Packers zone blocking scheme.
Quay Walker – Inside Linebacker
Profile: A 6-4 245 linebacker with 4.52 speed, Walker hits hard and wraps up. High energy that never stops, he’s a violent blitzer with great instincts for using long arms to reach ball carriers that look out of range or pop the ball out. He athleticism also plays well in pass coverage.
Analysis: The Packers don’t like spending premium picks on inside linebackers, but a high Day 3 pick would be well spent on a guy like Walker, who would be a fantastic partner for De’Vondre Campbell in the middle and could also jolt a pathetic special teams group.
Jalen Wydermyer– Tight End
Profile: A 6’4 255, receiving tight end, Wydermyers film is far better than his abysmal Combine testing. A playmaker who owns contested catches, finds holes in zones, and can get deep, he uses his powerful frame to extend his catch radius. Good hands and a great jump ball target in the red zone, he’s still an average blocker who could improve with coaching
Analysis: Yes, the Packers need some wide receivers, but the tight end room needs help, too. Bob Tonyan probably won’t be ready week 1 and he’s on a one year deal. Marcedes Lewis is a great veteran leader and block and Joshia Deguarya is a nice utility man, but the Packers don’t have anyone who play the role of a receiving tight end quite like Wydermyer. Matt LaFleur has shown a love for multiple tight ends and big receivers throughout his career and this pick would give him more options in a new offense that will be wide open with Davante Adams.
The Packers currently have no picks in the 6th round
Matt Araiza – Punter
Profile: A power punter, the 6’2, 200 Araiza had two 80+ yard punts last year. He even had a 70 yard punt in high school. He’s also handled kicking duties, where he used his strong leg to high a 53 yard field goal and took on kickoffs. He had 0 kicks blocked last year and is not afraid to tackle. Kicked mostly in warm weather and can use some work on placement and precision.
Analysis: Corey Bojorquez looked amazing last year, but struggles in field goal holding and diminished productivity in colder weather led to his release. With 3 picks in the 7th round, why not use one on the best punting prospect in the class?
Tre Turner – Wide Receiver
Profile: Good routes and great hands make the 6’2 195 Turner an appealing prospect. He has a lot of good release moves off the line and accelerates into his routes for early separation. He can play slot or perimeter and is productive in open field.
Analysis: This draft has all kinds of receivers. There are a ton of guys who get open and catch the ball. The Packers don’t necessarily need a game-breaking stud if they can keep the chains moving with receivers like this.
Kolby Harvell-Peel – Safety
Profile: A strong, aggressive tackler who competed in track, the 6’0 210 Harvell-Peel has a great combination of speed and strength. He lacks optimal coverage mobility, but can take on tight ends while playing in the box. His physical tools make him a good special teams option.
Analysis: The Packers could really use some safety depth, especially with how much they love to play nickel and dime. Harvell-Peel can give them a unique option in those looks, but I think his best value comes as a core special teams member.
Jordan Davis and Perrion Winfrey immediately change the face of this defense. They are transformed from a group with a great secondary and some good pass rush to a complete defense that can dominate at all three levels. Adding Johnson to the edge group gives the team the ability to rotate their starters and play at a high level.
On offense, Shakir, Bell, and Turner can fill out a depleted receiving corps with guys who run good routes and catch the ball to keep the chains moving. Wydermyer is a roll of the dice that could pay dividends on a tight end group led with age and injury question marks.
Walker, Harvell-Peel, and Araiza bring some much-needed attention to the special teams group.
The Lions took wide receiver Garrett Wilson at #2 overall, which seems like a Lions thing to do.
For this mock, I drafted against the board from Ross Uglem – Packer Report
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