The Packers have a lot more needs than usual heading into this draft.
But, zeroing in on positions is a sure-fire way to reduce the potential value a team can get from a draft class.
A best player available approach allows teams to get the most value possible.
Sometimes, that doesn’t align directly with a team’s biggest needs.
But, if the best players available are at premium positions, grabbing them while you can can make the team much better in the long-run.
That’s what happened here.
Broderick Jones – Left Tackle
Profile: At 6’5, 310, Jones is big, but for a left tackle, he’s on the lower end of the ideal size threshhold. That’s pretty much the biggest knock on him. A blue chip since day 1, Alabama was the first school to offer him a scholarship… he was in 9th grade. Big and athletic, the former basketball player didn’t get a lot of starting time (since he went to Georgia), which left his technique in need of fine-tuning. That’s not to say his technique is bad, just that, as good as he is, he can get better. He has powerful hands, that don’t let go very easily, shows natural awareness on processing stunts, and has the athleticism to get in front on pulls and get downfield for second-level blocks. He’s a long-term left tackle at the next level.
Analysis: David Bakhtiari is still not fully recovered and may never be the same, plus he has a monster contract and is already talking about retirement. Left tackles like Jones don’t grow on trees and they are worth waiting for a year if you can get a blue chipper, because the opportunity doesn’t come along often. Honestly, if a guy like Jones is available, I wouldn’t be against trading Bakhtiari on draft night.
Derek Hall – Edge
Profile: At 6’3, 255, Hall has a great frame. He’s already a top-notch run defender who can anchor the edge. He gets to the quarterback with power moves and is still learning more pass rush moves. Athletic, he’s a track star with 4.55 speed who plays fast and dissects plays quickly to find the ball. His long arms serve him well against the run and the pass.
Analysis: The Packers need more pass rushers. Rashan Gary will start the year still recovering from an ACL and may not return to 100% this year. Preston Smith is getting older and Kingsley Enagbare is still a relative unknown despite a surprising rookie campaign. You can never have too many pass rushers and Hall, though a bit of project, plays the run well, which Green Bay requires from it’s edge rushers.
Clark Phillips – Cornerback
Profile: Undersized at 5’9, 185, Phillips plays with aggression and toughness beyond his measurables. Despite how he throws his body around, he only missed one game from injury. Quick and fleet footed, his burst and change of direction skills keep him close to receivers, though his size relegates him to primarily to a slot position.
Analysis: The Packers have talented cornerbacks, but they’ve also suffered from inconsistency and have their own question marks. Phillips doesn’t have ideal size, but he has pretty much everything else you look for in a cornerback and he would give the defense some flexibility and quality depth.
Rakim Jarrett – Wide Receiver
Profile: 6’0, 190 with 4.44 speed, Jarrett can play any receiver position. Quick, he separates with routes, though he lacks breakaway speed. He has a reputation as hard worker and his frame shows it. He catches through contact (drops come from lack of concentration), and is money with the ball in his hands. He break tackles, dodges defenders, takes good angles, and is productive with quick screens and flare passes.
Analysis: The Packers have every right to be high on Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, which gives them the ability to wait until Day 3 to look for more receiver depth. A guy like Jarrett would give them another type of receiver and could pay immediate dividends as a WR3.
Cameron Latu – Tight End
Profile: At 6’2, 242, with a 4.7 40 time, Latu doesn’t have ideal height or speed. What he does have is versatility. He lines up everywhere, runs routes with strong breaks to get separation, and knows how to find soft spots. He runs smooth, then jukes defenders to get open. He’s a decent motion blocker, who can get in the way, too.
Analysis: Latu doesn’t have TE1 numbers or skills, but it the Packers don’t invest an early pick in a tight end, a guy like Latu can help build much-needed depth with the versatility to fill man roles.
Ronnie Hickman – Safety
Profile: At 6’1, 200, Hickman is quick and athletic. A versatile defense back, he plays the field with instincts and awareness as a true safety valve. He doesn’t have range to play single or get picks, but he is a decent man cover and drives into contact with no fear.
Analysis: At this point, the Packers need any help they can get at safety. Hickman could be a poor man’s Adrian Amos in a best-case scenario.
This isn’t how many people would draw up a Packers draft, but it’s hard to complain about addressing premium positions early.
Broderick Jones is a top prospect at a key position that will pay off for the Packers in the long-term, even if he doesn’t start immediately. Derek Hall fills another premium position and can have an immediate impact that can grow over time. Both of these guys can be key long-term contributors taking over for aging veterans.
Jarrett, Latu, and Hickman could all have immediate impacts at positions of need, while Phillips is a unique possibility at nickel back.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba went to the Patriots at 14 – one spot ahead of the Packers… if only they’d swapped 13 for 15 with the Jets in this scenario…
For this mock, I drafted against the board from Draft Diamonds.
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