Football is a physical game and being big can help out a lot.
In this simulation, the Packers started off with a slightly-undersized athletic dynamo, then went to the land of giants for the rest of their picks.
Here are the results:
Nakobe Dean – Inside Linebacker
Profile: An athletic freak with speed and range, Dean is a bit undersized at 6’0 225. He can be an effective pass rusher, but has to sort through blocker and runs the risk of getting mauled by larger blockers. Still, his instincts in the run game, coupled with great closing speed and sound tackling, make him a very worthy pick towards the end of the 1st round.
Analysis: Dean is a rare type of talent. If the Packers can’t retain De’Vondre Campbell, he would give them a boost at inside linebacker. If they are able to retain Campbell, Dean would be an amazing complement and give the Packers one of the best (if not the best) inside linebacker tandems in the league.
Daniel Faalele – Offensive Tackle
Profile: An absolute monster of a human at 6’9 380, Faalele played basketball and rugby in high school and only took up football in his senior year. Athletic and powerful, he’s a punishing run blocker, but his pad level and hand work show his inexperience. He tosses aside undersized blitzers and laughs at bull rushers. He has a tendency to lose off the snap to super quick edge rushers, but his natural length help him make up in those situations.
Analysis: The Packers have a lot of talent at offense tackle, but even more question marks around injuries (Bakhtiari and Jenkins), contracts (Bakhtiari and Turner), ad experience (Nijman). It’s been a few years since they’ve had their preferred left tackle or backup left tackle available in the playoffs. Faalele gives them something to work with either now or in the future and would be AJ Dillon’s new best friend.
Justyn Ross – Wide Receiver
Profile: The 6’4 210 Ross really sticks out for his leaping ability and red zone. With his size, he can toss aside press corners and use his length against off-man coverage. After the catch, he picks up yardage in chunks with long strides and mean stiff arm, despite lacking speed. He usually shows a smooth, natural catching ability, but also some head scratching drops and is not much of a blocker for his size.
Analysis: The Packers needs receivers and Ross has the size that plays very well in a Matt LaFleur offense. He’s a unique talent that will bring diversity to the Packers receiver room and give them a big boost in the red zone. I have no doubt that a year in Green Bay would make him into a better blocker, as well.
John Ridgeway – Defensive Lineman
Profile: At 6’5 330, Ridgeway is country strong and can hold ground against double teams. When his pads get high, he can get pushed back, but he’s a very good run stopper. He can move some guys around in the pass game, but isn’t much of pass rushing threat, though he makes his presence felt on every tackle.
Analysis: It’s Day 3. The do-it-all studs are long gone. Ridgeway would be an upgrade for Ty Lancaster’s role and give Kenny Clark a lot of help in short yardage packages. He won’t bring much to the pass rush, but he will help the defense.
Akayleb Evans – Cornerback
Profile: At 6’2 200, Evans has great length. He harasses receivers up and down the field ad is an aggressive tackler. His footwork and press technique are underdeveloped, but he has good instincts and awareness in feeling out routes.
Analysis: Evans is a bit of a project, but the Packers have shown the ability to develop corners. If Evans can improve his footwork and press technique, he has the potential to be a dependable contributor on defense.
After the 1st round, all these players have one thing in common: size. Faalele and Ridgeway provide size on either size of the line, which Ross and Evans can both find immediate rotational roles in the passing offense and defense. Dean is the star of the group, though. His athleticism gives the defense a unique skillset they’ve never had and puts them one step closer to being the best defense in the league.
The Lions got George Karlaftis and Chris Olave in the 1st round. With a new GM making wise moves, I fear they are going to be racking up a lot of talent with all this extra draft capital.
For this mock, I drafted against the board from DraftPlex – Jason Pruett.
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