Every year, we hear “he won’t be there.” Every year, someone unexpectedly falls down the board.
In this simulation, someone with no business falling to Packers fell to the Packers. What did the rest of the draft look like?
Here are the results:
George Karlaftis – Edge Rusher
Profile: At 6’4 275, with a super quick jump off the snap, Karlaftis is a prototypical dream edge rusher. Agile enough to dance around linemen, put with the hand work and upper body strength to over power them, he can win in a number of ways. A dominant rusher and average run defender who can wreak havoc in any type of defense.
Analysis: Karlaftis has no business falling out of the top 10, let alone all the way to the Packers. Every year, guys drop, though. If the Packers get lucky enough to see him drop, they could snatch him up and pair him with Gary to create what might be the best young edge rushing duo in the league. The Packers could cut bait with Za’Darius Smith without a second thought and could even entertain cutting Preston Smith to save cap space.
Zion Johnson – Guard
Profile: Johnson is a quick, mobile block with smooth footwork that would be perfect for zone blocking. He’s currently better as a run block than a pass blocker, but some work on his technique could definitely improve his effectiveness. At 6’3 315, he has the frame to face off with bigger interior linemen. Johnson has been a fantastic guard, but showed his versatility at the Senior Bowl by stepping in at center, despite never playing a game there, and performing great .
Analysis: After a run on receivers and slim pickings on the defensive line, I went with value and found a guard. Elgton Jenkins will probably not be ready to start the season and may be called on to play tackle. He may also be too expensive to re-sign after the Packers continued to push money forward in the cap. Jon Runyan looks like a good starting guard and Royce Newman showed promise in an inconsistent rookie campaign, but neither of them have the ceiling of Johnson, who could make his way into the 1st round.
Skyy Moore – Wide Receiver
Profile: A small 5’10, 195 receiver who can fly with speed that may time under 4.30. Moore displays great agility and runs sudden routes. He’s a converted cornerback who is still learning the position, but already shows good releases off the line, and very good hands. He’s a threat on jet sweeps and quick screens, but also shows no fear in going over the middle
Analysis: The Packers need more receivers. Moore gives them a compact, dynamic weapon like they haven’t had in the past. We don’t know who else will be playing receiver for the Packers this year, but Moore would be a different tool than any other receiver they could retain from last year.
Matthew Butler – Defensive Line
Profile: A quick pass rusher and disruptive run defender. At 6’4, 300, he doesn’t have ideal size, but he’s strong for his frame and even played effectively at nose tackle because of his strength and great leverage. Skilled at shedding blocks, with good change of direction and agility through the line, he can be a menace in the backfield.
Analysis: Defensive line is a big need for the Packers and Butler, though lacking the size the Packers seem to favor, could be more disruptive than any lineman they currently have from Day 1. It’s a low bar, but Butler could be a week 1 starter from Day 3.
Brandon Smith – Inside Linebacker
Profile: A speed back, who ran a hand-time 438, Smith also brings size at 6’3 240. He’s athletic and explosive. He plays tough on the inside run game, but also has big first step for pass rushing and can cover quite well with his size and range. His tackle technique leads to some misses, but his good closing speed makes him disruptive nonetheless.
Analysis: The Packers found a winner in De’Vondre Campbell last year, buy they may not be able to retain him. Even if they do, Smith brings an athleticism the Packers haven’t had at the position since Clay Matthews came inside.
George Karlaftis would make this class a home run. He and Rashan Gary would be an absolutely terrifying combo.
Matthew Butler and Brandon Smith could also see big roles on defense, even if the Packers manage to retain everyone. All three of the defenders would bring a lot of speed, while also maintaining a physical tone.
One offense, Zion Johnson would up the level of the interior offensive line talent and bring some versatility. Skyy Moore would bring versatility to the receiver group and provide Matt LaFluer with more options.
Five edge rushers went before the Packers pick, which makes it more incredible that George Karlaftis fell so far.
For this mock, I drafted against the board from Fanspeak – Jake Rigdon.
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