The purpose of mock drafts, as we’ve stated before, isn’t to guess what will happen or try to predict the picks. It’s to examine prospects who may be available to the Packers and fit their scheme.
For this mock, we looked at the top offensive playmakers that might be available at each position.
With Aaron Rodgers on his way out, this ironically, may be the first year in a long time that the Packers go with a skill position player in the 1st round.
Here are the results:
Jaxon Smith-Njigba – Position
Profile: At 6’1 195, Smith-Njigba qualifies as a “big” slot receiver. He doesn’t have high-end speed, but runs great routes for separation. He’s played mostly in the slot in college and projects there in the NFL, too. He can also go, where he reads the ball well and tracks with amazing concentration. No matter what kind of route he’s running, his hands are top notch.
Analysis: The Packers could use a great receiver for Jordan Love. Not only does Smith-Njigba come with a higher pedigree than their other young receivers, but he is a perfect fit for the skills they need. Christian Watson is an outside burner, Romeo Doubs is a perimiter possession receiver, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba was born to play the slot and has the size Matt LaFleur prefers in the slot, where most prospects are on the shorter side.
Cedric Tillman – Wide Receiver
Profile: At 6’4 215, Tillman is a big bodied possession receiver who does a lot of damage on the perimeter. His 4.54 speed is solid, but his frame, body control, and ball skills are what sets him apart. His routes need to be a little crisper, but he uses his frame well in the blocking game.
Analysis: The LaFleur offense loves big receivers as much as young quarterbacks do. Tillman’s size alone makes him desirable in Green Bay. If he could clean up his routes, he would be a natural to take over Allen Lazard’s role as a permieter possession receiver and auxiliary blocker.
Sam LaPorta – Tight End
Profile: The 6’3 245 LaPorta was the focal point of the Iowa passing attack, where he doubled the production of their #2 receiver. He flourished as a receiving tight end due to his clean routes and great hands and also played a lot of snaps as a mobile blocker in the backfield. A threat to get yards after the catch with athleticism, he also blocks well, with a good initial pop, although he occasionally struggles to sustain.
Analysis: The Packers are pretty light in the tight end room and LaPorta brings some interesting skills. He could work like Josiah Deguara out of the backfield or play strictly as a receiving tight end. His versatility and athleticism could open up some unique sets in the Packers offense.
Zach Evans – Running Back
Profile: A 5’11, 200 big play back, Evans plays physical despite his size. A unique combination of quickness and a mean stiffarm, he accelerates quickly, allowing him to play faster than he times and pick up chunk plays. He thrived by reading zone scheme blocks, but doesn’t have much experience pass catching or pass blocking.
Analysis: The Packers have an opening behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon and they don’t need a workhorse, they need a complementary player. Evan’s quick burst is the perfect trait for a complementary back who can come in to pick up some chunk plays where the starters get a rest. He would have to work on his pass protection, but still has a lot to offer.
Michael Wilson – Wide Receiver
Profile: A 6’2, 210 receiver with 4.58, Wilson’s numbers don’t jump off the page. He’s still raw, but he can play. He leans on his ability to track balls and picks up yards after the catch. He suffered season-ending injuries in 2020 and 2022, leading to him coming out a little raw and adding an element of rick to his pick.
Analysis: The Packers need receivers. With the players they’ve already drafted, they can afford a late round pick on a developmental receiver. Wilson is a guy who could benefit from a year to work on his health and routes.
Zack Kuntz – Tight End
Profile: At 6’7, Kuntz is the tallest tight end in this class and his 4.55 speed is pretty much the best in this class, too. He has a gigantic catch radius, the speed to separate, and crisp route running. He doesn’t get a lot of yards after the catch or block very well, but he is a giant target who can present a lot of mismatches.
Analysis: Oh, you wanted a tall target for Jordan Love in a Matt LaFleur offense? Well, here you go! Not only does Kuntz bring what looks like an absolutely silly catch radius into the offense, but his weakness (blocking) isn’t much of an issue because the Packers use their tight ends for specialized roles. Kuntz would be a great in the receiving role, giving the Packers what all the top offenses have these days: a tall guy with soft hands.
The great thing about this class is that it doesn’t just load up the Packers with a bunch of guys with redundant skills. This class would bring a whole new array of unique skills to the team.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba brings the slot versatility the team needs. Cedric Tillman gives them a tall possession receiver for the perimeter. Zach Evans provides a big play threat for the RB3 role. Then, at tight end, Sam LaPorta is a dynamic athlete, while Zack Kuntz is a monster with an incredible catch radius.
There’s a lot of ways for the Packers to stack up their offense in this one.
Will Anderson slipped to the Bears, which would be my nightmare scenario for this year’s draft.
For this mock, I drafted against the board from Fanspeak – Steve Shoup
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