Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels are 2 surefire starters this season. Dean Lowry is a serviceable rotation guy. Montravius Adams has potential and Tyler Lancaster had some pockets of good play last year. James Looney and Fadol Brown will still get a look this preseason. That being said, Mike Daniels is 30 this year and in the last year of his contract. The bottom line is they need another starting dlineman this year, for the future, as well as depth and rotation. To that end, I have multiple high level investments options, as well as a player in each round.
- 1) Quinnen Williams: Perhaps the safest pick in the entire draft. Worth #1 overall, but I wouldn’t pay the draft capital to move up.
- 1) Ed Oliver: Supreme physical talent. One of the best 2 targets for #12 overall.
- 1) Jeffery Simmons: My #1 target for pick# 30. He’ll probably miss most (or all) of this year with his injury, but he’s a stud for the future.
- 1-2) Christian Wilkins: It would be great to have Wilkins, Clark and Daniels on the line. I’d love him at #44 and would still be happy at #30.
- 2) Jerry Tillery: Big guy with long arms. Yet another iDL I’d love to have at #44.
- 3-4) Renell Wren: He’s a guy that I think is about a top 100-120 guy, so the Packers 3rd round pick (#75) is a bit rich. He has the size and quickness, and first step explosion. He’s a gamble. I liked Montravius Adams coming out too, is this version 2.0?
- 4) Khalen Saunders: Large human being that still has athleticism and explosion. He’s from a small school but can develop into a stud. Mike Daniels 2.0?
- 5) Daylon Mack: Likely a low risk rotational guy that can fill space in the middle.
- 6) Daniel Wise: Did well in the Shrine game. He can penetrate and be a rotational guy.
- 6-7) Anthony Nelson: Did well at the combine. He’d play on the end or possibly edge. He has height and length and upside. Could be picked anywhere on day 3.
How quickly this position changed. Just a year ago Matthews and Perry were the starters and no one gave Fackrell a chance. Now Matthews and Perry are gone and Fackrell had 10.5 sacks. One thing people might not be thinking of is that Fackrell was an older player coming out. He’s in his prime already and turns 28 this season. It’s possible he may have already peaked, or we see it this year while he’s a backup behind the new starting Smith pair. Personally, I think he’s a reasonable backup, but don’t expect the Packers to keep him after his contract is up. With the Packers having a pick as high as #12, I’d love to get the elusive great pass rusher that is typically only found at the top of the 1st round. This is one of the best years to get rushers too. Let this truth sink in: This is the year to get one. It would be nice for a new pass rusher to have some time to learn from the starters, and get him ready for solid rotation time until the Smiths are gone (or hurt). Hopefully the Packers aren’t picking this high again for the foreseeable future. Bosa, Allen, Burns, Sweat, Ferrell and possibly Winovich could all go round 1. It seems like Bosa and Allen will both be gone. In the top 2-7. Very unlikely either are there at 12. So:
- 1) Brian Burns: I love the athleticism, the bend, the production, and the person. He needs to work on run stopping and speed to power, but he might be the highest potential edge guy of the guys in this class. He could be the perfect pick @12.
- 1) Montez Sweat: He has very little bend, and he had a minor heart condition. Other than that he is an amazing athlete that produces. 12 is probably high for him, but I think #30 is reasonable.
- 3-4) Jachai Polite: He’s a puzzle. Based on bend and speed rush, he’s probably worth #12. But he really tanked his stock at the combine both physically as well as the things he said. He ran a horrible 40, had a poor vert, and then claimed he was injured and people didn’t believe him. Then he showed weak character buy saying he felt picked on by teams talking about the things he needs to improve on. He can across as immature and uncoachable. Then on his pro day he was EVEN WORSE. He looked very unconditioned and how his motivation is also in question. Then he ran poorly and then got injured. Ouch. Still, he’s extremely talented. By the way, the Packers were one of the teams “picking on him” so that would be awkward too. I should just pass. Perhaps I’m just stubborn, but I see the talent. Taking him late 3rd or in the 4th is probably still worth the risk for the talent he has.
- 4) Zach Allen: He’s very active with his hands (7 batted passes), a good run stopper, and some pass rush. He’s a bigger guy and could play end. Dean Lowry 2.0?
- 4) Christian Miller: He can set the edge and provide some pass rush. A good rotational guy that was a team captain.
- 4) Ben Banogu: High potential pick. Have to take a leap of faith that he’ll have to adjust to the NFL, but he’s an amazing athlete.
- 5) Maxx Crosby: Hugely athletic guy that needs to be developed. He could be the perfect guy to develop behind the Smiths.
I don’t have many late round guys listed, mainly because I’m not sure I like any more than trying to develop Gilbert and Donnerson.
I find it interesting how many Packer fans are clamoring for a high pick inside linebacker. I get that Jake Ryan is gone. Blake Martinez is doing just fine. Oren Burks had some injuries and struggles last year, but he is a really good fit for what they want. I’d also like to see Josh Jones play up more too. On top of that, it’s easier to find a serviceable ILB outside of round 1 than any position on defense. On the flip side it’s hard to find good pass rushers and corners outside of the top of the draft. I’d much rather spend the draft capital there than getting a linebacker. I know that people like Devin White and Devin Bush more than I do, but I think they still have the possibility to fall.
- 1) Devin White: All of the explosion that you can want. I don’t care for his high tackle technique, but I expect that’s fixable. He seems more of a pick #20-#30 for me. If they got him at 30 I’d be happy.
- 2) Devin Bush Jr.: I don’t like him in the first round at all. I love his athleticism but I question his ability to get off of blocks in the NFL. He has the speed, but if an inside linebacker isn’t shedding blocks well he isn’t worth a first round pick.
- 3) Mack Wilson: A developing guy on a great team that needs to develop.
- 4) Blake Cashman: A walk-on that is rising up boards and may go higher after he tested well. I love the story and the growth and the potential. He also needs to get off of blocks better. He’d be a good selection at #118.
- 7) Sione Takitaki: When I saw him play the Badgers he was EVERYWHERE. I know he won’t be as productive in the NFL, but I think he showed enough that he can be a viable backup and is worth a shot at the end of the draft.
- 7) Quinton Bell: An unknown that I’m taking a shot on that he gets drafted. He’s the inside linebacker version of Kendall Donnerson (2.0)? In other words, a physical specimen that you take a chance on to see if you can develop.
Kevin King has amazing potential if he can stay healthy. Jaire is also great if he can stay healthy. Tramon is supposed to move back to corner and offers more as a leader than a player. At least he doesn’t get hurt, but he’ll probably be gone next year. Josh Jackson needs to develop and doesn’t have NFL speed, and Tony Brown has potential but doesn’t look to be a starter. So, I think the Packers should look hard at this position. That being said, I didn’t find anyone that I felt was worth a first rounder.
- 2) Byron Murphy: While a bit undersized and a bit slow, he is a great overall corner with few weaknesses outside of his average size and speed.He’s aggressive, changes direction, has ball skills, tackles and brings something with it.
- 3) Rock Ya-Sin: He is a top level wrestler, and he plays corner like you might expect a wrestler to do. He’s competitive and physical and will get you down.
- 3) Amani Oruwariye: Seems like a solid all around NFL corner.
- 4) Justin Layne: Has the size, but light on speed. He is a converted receiver and shines when tracking the ball in the air and catching or knocking the ball down.
- 4) Sean Bunting: Size and speed and will be good in zone coverage.
- 5) Isaiah Johnson: Simply amazing athleticism. He’s 6’2” and runs a 4.4 and has a background as a receiver. He needs to develop yet, but he is a interesting investment.
- 6) Tim Harris: A physical guy with length and speed. His problem is that he has multiple season ending injuries. The Packers met with him at his pro day.
- 7) Jimmie Moreland: A small school guy that’s also small. Great ball skills and a solid nickel guy that can be had on day 3.
- 7) Corey Ballentine: Another small school guy that can project to the NFL and be had on day 3.
So Amos is the Packers #1 safety. I think Josh Jones should up ends playing linebacker and Josh Jackson should play free safety. Raven Greene had some flashes, but the Packers are kind of thin at this position. I think the Packers need to absolutely get at least 1 guy between #30 and #75. Thankfully, there are a LOT of good options this year. The guys in the 2nd round I keep struggling with order because they are all a little different. If I already drafted a safety at #44 and another one of the round 2 guys falls to #75, I’d absolutely consider doubling up.
- 2) C. Gardner-Johnson: He seems like the best all-around guy. He’s aggressive, good in coverage, and makes big plays. He’s a great target for #44.
- 2) Nasir Adderly: Perhaps not a man guy, but he can play zone and tackle.
- 2) Deionte Thompson: At the beginning of the year, he was a consistent choice for me in the 1st round. I was really disappointed with how he finished the year and it appears his draft stock has suffered. He’s still a good player though.
- 2) Darnell Savage Jr: A tackling machine with speed to burn.
- 2) J. Thornhill: Ex-CB that can match up against TEs as well as play deep. Explosive (44” vert and 11’09” long jump) athlete with 4.42 speed.
- 3) Taylor Rapp: He doesn’t have the speed or coverage, but he can really play near the line of scrimmage. He fills the role I’d like Josh Jones to fulfill, but I’m not sure they will.
- 3) Jon Abram: I love to watch him play. He can really tackle and his ferocity is infectious. He’s a pure strong safety.
- 6) Saquan Hampton: All around guy that’s available late.
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