There’s a lot of rumors that the Packers are pursuing a deal to get Raiders tight end Darren Waller (and that they even had a deal in place before it fell through on a technicality).
So, if that deal gets done, how would it impact the Packers draft?
Let’s find out!
For our 16th analyzed mock draft of the year, I sent Round 2 Pick 21 (the pick from the Raiders that replaced Waller when the original deal was pre-emptively vetoed on a rules technicality), Round 5 Pick 28, and Round 7 Pick 37 to the Raiders for Darren Waller, then tried to see how the rest of the draft would play out and what their class could look like.
Here are the results:
Jordan Davis – Defensive Lineman
Profile: A beast of a man at 6’6 345, Davis is a powerful force that requires a double team (at least) to neutralize. He can play any spot on the line and had amazing agility testing for his size.
Analysis: There were already 5 receivers gone by the 22nd pick (which is a lot, even considering how high receivers have gone in recent years), but that meant defensive talent could fall. And there is no defensive talent I’d rather see fall than Jordan Davis. Putting him next to Kenny Clark would immediately put the Packers defense into elite territory.
George Pickens – Wide Receiver
Profile: Big (6’3, 200) with good speed (4.47), Pickens runs good routes, has good hands, and is an all-around complete receiver, just lacking elite speed and a clean rap sheet.
Analysis: With a lot of receivers off the board, the Packers have to dip into the 2nd tier in the 1st round this time. This is something that I am feeling is more and more likely to happen in real life. Character concerns aside, Pickens and Waller are a couple of big pieces to add to the offense and put the Packers right back in the driver’s seat to be one of the top offenses in the league.
Logan Hall – Edge
Profile: A big 6’6 275 defender who played edge rusher and defensive end regularly, Hall also moved to the interior on occasion. He has an explosive first step, stuns blockers with his initial jolt, and wins with secondary hand moves.
Analysis: It’s a good thing the Packers have Waller and don’t need to reach for a wide receiver, because they’re all tapped out at this point. There were, however, a lot of good defenders still left, so I went with the top edge rusher. The Packers really need a 3rd rusher to step in after losing Za’Darius Smith and Whitney Mercilus – Logan Hall can step into that spot and has the size and hybrid ability the Packers favor in their defense.
Braxton Jones – Offensive Tackle
Profile: A tall prospcet, the 6’7, 310 Jones can’t get low and drive block, but he has great balance, moves smooth, and plays smart, making him a great fit as a zone blocking tackle.
Analysis: This is a little higher than I’d prefer to grab a guy like Jones, but it has been a really tough draw in this simulation and the premium positions are getting snatched up early. While I would have liked to grab him later, I have no doubts that he would be a great prospect to plug into the Packers line, possibly starting at right tackle to begin the season.
Velus Jones, Jr – Wide Receiver
Profile: A speedy deep threat, the 6’0, 190 Jones, Jr boasts a 4.31 40. He has good hands, but needs to work on his route development. Slippery after the catch, he’s also a great returner – his kick and punt return work earned him SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
Analysis: Wide receivers were getting drafted fast and I had to get one more since the trade left the Packers with a long wait before their next pick. Jones’s speed will fill the field-stretching role that MVS previously held, but his special teams work is where his immediate impact should be felt. I know the Packers tried to use Amari Rodgers there – I haven’t given up on him, but maybe focusing on learning receiver will help his development while Jones handles return duties.
Tycen Anderson – Safety
Profile: With 6’2, 210 size, Anderson holds up well in the box and his 4.36 speed and agility help him keep up with receivers. His athletic gifts and physical style make him a special teams demon.
Analysis: The Packers need safety depth to develop (Amos and Savage are both in contract years) and help on special teams. Anderson’s profile is a perfect fit for what the Packers value in both areas.
Round 5-6 The Packers traded away their 5th round pick in this simulation as part of the Darren Waller trade and currently have no pick in the 6th round
Darrian Beavers – Inside Linebacker
Profile: At 6’4, 250, Beavers plays physical in the box and holds up to blockers. With estimated 4.6 speed, and experience at safety, he can also hang in coverage. Good lateral moves with strong pursuit instincts make him a well-rounded defender.
Analysis: De’Vondre Campbell was a revelation last year, but Krys Barnes is still largely an unknown with very little depth behind them. Beavers could provide developmental depth and play special teams.
Jalen Wydermyer – Tight End
Profile: A 6’4, 255, receiving tight end, Wydermyer can get deep and win contested catches. He was a natural playmaker with a powerful frame and good catch radius, but had horrible testing and the Combine and has tumbled down draft boards.
Analysis: The Packers picked up Darren Waller in this simulation, but he’s only under contract for a couple more years and is pushing 30. Marcedes Lewis can’t possibly last much longer, and Robert Tonyan is on a one-year deal coming off a torn ACL. This is an investment in the future. Wydermyer flashed a lot in college, but fell due to poor testing. He’d be a great practice squad candidate to potentially play a big role in 2023 and beyond.
Analysis The big exciting news in this scenario would obviously be getting Darren Waller. Putting a big-bodied veteran pass catcher in this offense should make people excited. Getting Pickens and Velus Jones Jr is a really nice way to round out the offense, where Braxton Jones should have an immediate impact.
I’m more excited about the defense, though. Jordan Davis and Logan Hall would strengthen a Packers defensive front that is just a couple pieces away from being dominant. Tycen Anderson would strengthen sub packages and probably become a starter next year.
But the biggest problem on the Packers last year was special teams. Velus Jones Jr should be able to step right in as the primary kick returner and punt returner, while Tycen Anderson and Darrian Beavers jump right to the core special teams units.
Wide receivers went 11, 12, and 13… which might lead to a rash of lost souls among the Green Bay fanbase if it happens in real life. It may even be enough for Gutekunst to trade up. A total of 8 wide receivers went in the 1st round.
For this mock, I drafted against the board from FanSpeak – Jake Rigdon.
Want to learn more!?
Don’t just watch the draft – understand it and learn why GMs make the moves they do.
Get more insight into how winning teams build through the draft (and how losing teams fail)!
Start with a introduction to how the draft works then get deep into understanding draft strategy with our draft book (rated a #1 New Release): A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft: Strategies, Tactics, And Case Studies For Building A Professional Football Team
Then jump into free agency with another #1 New Release: A Fan’s Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits and Misses to better understand this critical part of the NFL offseason and see where teams have found (or missed) success in this critical component of team-building.
Finally, get to the game behind the game with our latest must-have book: A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap – which lays out detailed, easy-to-follow scenarios to explain exactly how contract structures and salary cap rules impact teams. This book explains why teams do what they do in the offseason!
All these great books are available in ebook and paperback – and free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers!
If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited, you can get a free trial of Kindle Unlimited here!
Check out our PFTW 2022 Mock Draft Archive to see how other scenarios played out!
Check out Packers Draft Central for all our latest NFL Draft coverage!