Green Bay is less than a week from NFL Draft night on Thursday, April 28th, with plenty of uncertainty and drama leading up to it. The pending trade of Aaron Rodgers to the Jets is still catching the headlines with hopes of it being resolved by the start of the 2nd round of the draft. The transition from Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love will likely result in a rebuilding year for the Packers and this year more than ever their strategy will be focused on taking the best player available. Green Bay isn’t a player or two away so they don’t need to draft based on need, but rather looking towards their roster needs in 2024 and 2025.
Since Brian Gutekunst took over the GM role in 2018, he definitely has a type of player he looks for. First, they need to be on the higher scale of the Relative Athletic Score (RAS) which is used to rate the athleticism of a prospect. RAS was developed by Kent Lee Platte and is a score that is given to prospects based on that player’s athletic testing results from the NFL Combine and/or that player’s pro day. The 10-point sliding scale factors in things such as height, weight, vertical jump, 40-yard dash time, bench press reps and more. A score of 8 or more is considered above average, a score of 9 is considered excellent. Since 2018, Green Bay has not used a 1st round pick on a player with a RAS score less than 8.37. Second, the player is likely to come from a Power 5 school. Outside of Jordan Love, who is clearly an outlier, all the rest have come from large NCAA football programs. Listed below are all the players GB has taken in the Gutekunst era with their RSA score and College.
Rashan Gary (Michigan) 9.95
Quay Walker (Georgia) 9.63
Devonte Wyatt (Georgia) 9.59
Jaire Alexander (Louisville) 9.53
Eric Stokes (Georgia) 9.37
Jordan Love (Utah St) 8.43
Darnell Savage (Maryland) 8.37
Now that we’ve discussed what type of player Brian Gutekunst looks for in the draft, now let’s focus on a few positions and players that fit his criteria.
Since David Bhaktiari is likely in the final year with the Packers due to age and his high Cap number (40 mil) in 2024. Green Bay could be on the lookout for a new Tackle to protect Jordan Love’s blindside. Here are a few that seem to fit Green Bay’s Player profile.
Peter Skoronski 6’4 313 lbs (Northwestern) RAS: 9.3
If Skoronski falls to Green Bay with the 15th pick, it would be a great coup for the Packers. He was simply dominant in the B1G in 2022 and grew up a huge Packers fan to boot. Skoronski only played LT at NW and was very durable. He played 12 games in 2022 and gave up just 1 sack and 3 QB hurries on the season. He is considered both an elite Pass and Run blocker. He would be a great addition to the OL but remains a longshot of being there at 15.
Broderick Jones 6’5 311 lbs (Georgia) RAS: 9.58
Jones is likely to be there when GB picks and would be the 4 consecutive Georgia Bulldog to be taken in the 1st round by the Packers. Why not, since the Bulldogs have won the past 2 National Championships. Jones played LT in college and in 2022 started 13 games and didn’t give up a sack the entire season. Jones is considered an elite pass blocker and a very good run blocker. With his size he has the ability to play both Tackle spots and could slide over to Guard if necessary.
Jackson Smith-Nigba 6’1 196 lbs (Ohio St) RAS: 8.34
JSN is the only WR that Green Bay would likely consider with the 15th pick in the draft. JSN is a polished route runner and has the ability to play both the slot and outside WR positions in the NFL. The Packers would like to give their new QB Jordan Love with as many weapons as possible. JSN paired with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs would give Green Bay an outstanding core of young wideouts to grow with their QB. JSN is not a burner, running just a 4.52 at the combine, but he is crafty and skilled to get open in the NFL. JSN does come with some risk since he essentially missed the whole 2022 season. In 2021, he had over 1600 yds receiving and was simply dominant.
Myles Murphy 6’5 268 lbs (Clemson) RAS: 9.71
Murphy is an elite pass rusher that has a 50/50 chance of being available when the Packers make their 1st round selection. He is a huge 6’5 and ran a blazing 4.53 at the combine. His last year at Clemson he had 6 sacks and 34 total pressures as an All ACC player. Similar to Rashan Gary, Murphy has all the elite athletic measurements to be a star, however, the sack numbers in college were on the lower end.
Lukas Van Ness 6’5 272 lbs (IOWA) RAS: 9.39
Van Ness was a high motor guy at IOWA and has the size speed ratio that the Packers love! He ran a 4.58 at the combine which is moving for a player of Van Ness’s size. Van Ness was a redshirt sophomore and never started at IOWA. In spite of not starting, he still was extremely productive achieving 8 sacks and a whopping 43 total pressures. IOWA tends to produce players ready to play in the NFL due to their outstanding college coaching under IOWA’s DC Phil Parker who always seems to produce Top 10 NCAA defenses.
These are the 5 players I suspect Green Bay will take with their first pick in the 2023 draft. You may be asking why I didn’t include a TE in this list. GB has a history of taking either Defensive Players or OL early in their drafts under Gutekunst and I suspect that again to happen here. Tight End is such a deep position, I anticipate GB to go that route in the second round.
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