Packers vs PFTW: How We Would Have Picked The Packers 2023 Draft

Every year, we do tons of draft analysis on the Packers (you can check it all out at 2023 Packers Draft Central). And every year, we love to follow along and compare our picks to the Packers picks.

We don’t think we’ll do better, rather it’s an exercise that reminds us how difficult and challenging the draft is in the moment and gives something to look back on later and learn from.

With an eye towards learning, here are our picks for the Packers in 2023, compared to the actual Packers picks:


Round 1

Gutekunst: Lukas Van Ness, Edge Rusher
Bruce Irons: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver

I never want a wide receiver in the 1st round, but everything lined up here. JSN is a perfect fit for this offense, is a premium player at his position, and is a natural in the slot, where the Packers have the biggest need for a receiver. I really like the Lukas Van Ness pick and, after reflection, think it might have been the best move. But, for this exercise, we don’t get reflection time and a chance to change our mind. Like NFL GMs, these decisions are made in the moment. We’ll see how things turn out.


Round 2

Gutekunst: Luke Musgrave, Tight End
Bruce Irons: Keion White, Edge

Musgrave is a great pick, but with so many tight ends on the board, I went with White, who I put at a similar tier, but at a position with fewer options.

Gutekunst: Jayden Reed (Wide Receiver)
Bruce Irons: Darnell Washington, Tight End

Jayden Reed is a guy I really like after his Senior Bowl showing, but I wasn’t ready to pick another receiver. I had Darnell Washington much higher.


Round 3

Gutekunst: Tucker Kraft, Tight End
Bruce Irons: Jordan Battle, Safety

Jordan Battle in the 3rd was a dream pick for me. He was a guy I thought could fall here for excellent value. I really like what he does as a free safety.



Round 4

Gutekunst: Colby Wooden, Defensive Line
Bruce Irons: Antonio Johnson, Safety

The Packers need more than one safety and Johnson was a guy that I thought was easily the best player left on the board. I resisted reaching for need and went with my rankings. Johnson could have been a nice strong safety complement to Jordan Battle and became the safety duo of the future, allowing the Packers to let Darnell Savage walk in free agency.


Round 5

Gutekunst: Sean Clifford, Quarterback
Bruce Irons: Warren McClendon, Offensive Tackle

Jake Haener was who I really wanted here. The Packers were also looking for a QB in the 5th, but I wasn’t ready to use the pick for anyone else. Instead, I went with Warren McClendon, who is a powerful blocker that I think could set the tone nicely as a long term right tackle (when Zach Tom eventually takes over for David Bakhtiari).

Gutekunst: Dontayvion Wicks, Wide Receiver
Bruce Irons: Karl Brooks, Defensive Line

I like Wicks and was hoping to get him in the next round. But my mind was already made up that the Packers needed defensive line help and I had Brooks higher on my board.


Round 6

Gutekunst: Karl Brooks, Defensive Line
Bruce Irons: Moro Ojomo, Defensive Line

I had to chuckle when the Packers got a better value with Brooks than I did!

Gutekunst: Anders Carlson, Kicker
Bruce Irons: Zack Kuntz, Tight End

I was hoping Tanner McKee would fall here, but I just missed him. After my two ranked kickers went in the first 4 rounds and my two options at backup QB went, I resigned myself to taking neither and waiting for the waiver wire to get a kicker and a backup quarterback. Instead, I beefed up the tight end group. Kuntz isn’t flashy, but he’s a big target who runs good routes and has soft hands. I believe those are the traits that make a tight end useful in today’s offenses


Round 7

Gutekunst: Carrington Valenting, Cornberback
Bruce Irons: Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Wide Receiver

I was so ticked that Andrew Vorhees went just two picks earlier – he was the 7th round steal I wanted. This is how the draft goes, though, and why these exercises are so interesting. Instead, I went with a tall fast receiver to try to develop.

Gutekunst: Lew Nichols, Running Back
Bruce Irons: Deneric Prince, Running Back

I had a similar thought as the Packers in going for a running back, I just wanted a different one. Prince is a no-frills back who charges ahead and consistently picks up straight line yardage.

Gutekunst: Anthony Johnson, Safety
Bruce Irons: Noah Gindorff, Tight End

I really like Gindorff as a developmental guy and think the Packers need multiple developmental tight ends for this offense. He’s a good route runner with a big catch radius and blocking ability – he just needs to stay healthy.

Gutekunst: Grant DuBose, Wide Receiver
Bruce Irons: Alex Forsyth, Center

Let’s be honest: Josh Myers hasn’t been lighting it up and I think Forsyth has the mobility and athleticism to fit the Packers scheme.


Priority UDFA Targets: Earl Bostick (Offensive Tackle), Jalen Redmond (Defensive Line), Lonnie Phelps (Edge), Malik Knowles (Wide Receiver), RaJae Johnson-Sanders (Wide Receiver)



Lukas Van Ness, Edge Rusher
Luke Musgrave, Tight End
Tucker Kraft, Tight End
Colby Wooden, Defensive Line
Sean Clifford, Quarterback
Dontayvion Wicks, Wide Receiver
Karl Brooks, Defensive Line
Anders Carlson, Kicker
Carrington Valenting, Cornberback
Lew Nichols, Running Back
Anthony Johnson, Safety
Grant DuBose, Wide Receiver


Bruce Irons
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver
Keion White, Edge
Jordan Battle, Safety
Antonio Johnson, Safety
Warren McClendon, Offensive Tackle
Karl Brooks, Defensive Line
Moro Ojomo, Defensive Line
Zack Kuntz, Tight End
Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Wide Receiver
Deneric Prince, Running Back
Noah Gindorff, Tight End
Alex Forsyth, Center


This year, some of my Twitter followers actually took me up on my Packers Fan Draft Challenge, where they also make picks when the Packers are on the clock (check back next year). Here are there results:


Cody Bliss (@Badger71Army)
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver
Brian Branch, Safety
Marvin Mims Jr, Wide Receiver
Jordan Battle, Safety
Braeden Daniels, Offensive Tackle
Anthony Johnson Jr, Safety
Eli Ricks, Cornerback
Keaton Mitchell, Running Back
Andrew Vorhees, Guard
Xavier Hutchinson, Wide Receiver
Starling Thomas V, Cornerback
Mohamoud Diabate, Linebacker
Quindell Johnson, Safety



The real fun in this exercise comes four years from now when we see how these players have panned out on their rookie contracts. For now, we’ll just follow along and try to learn what we can.


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Check out our PFTW 2023 Mock Draft Archive to see how other scenarios played out!

Check out Packers Draft Central for all our latest NFL Draft coverage!


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