The NFL Draft day is here, which means it’s time for the final Green Bay Packers mock draft. With 12 picks in the draft, it’s possible that they package some of those picks in order to move up and snag one of the better prospects. Unlike past years where there are more players with first-round grades than picks, there are roughly only 20 or so players that should go there. So, if the Packers want to jump back into contention, they will need to be aggressive to get players that will contribute right away.
Round 1, Pick 6 (From Indianapolis Colts): Cornerback Denzel Ward Ohio State
The Packers have shown major interest in the top three defensive backs in the draft, as they’ve hosted Ward, Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick for top-30 pre-draft visits. Although James and Fitzpatrick both possess versatility, Ward is their favorite target with his pure cornerback skillset. He sat behind two former first-round picks in Gareon Conley and Marson Lattimore, but flourished in his season as the number one corner. He had one of the best marks in both completion percentage and NFL passer rating allowed. Although James and Fitzpatrick are more versatile, Ward and his classic skillset are the pick.
Round 2, Pick 45: Wide Receiver DJ Chark LSU
The Packers released Jordy Nelson at the start of free agency which hurts, but they replaced his recent production with Jimmy Graham. However, they have missed his downfield athleticism for many years, and Chark would fill that need. At 6’3” with 4.34 40 speed, Chark possesses a rare combination of athleticism this team has lacked. He was top five in both deep yard and deep yard receptions, while also being great at adjusting to off-target throws. Rodgers is rarely off target, particularly on deep throws, but, if he is, Chark would be a great weapon for him.
Round 4, Pick 133: Safety Kyzir White West Virginia
After losing Morgan Burnett to the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, the Packers need to replace that production. Although they have Josh Jones on the roster, along with Kentrell Brice, neither has shown the ability to be a set starter. White fills Burnett’s role extremely well. He was extremely strong in run defense while possessing the ability to play down in the slot, which is the role he mainly filled in the West Virginia offense. Among cornerbacks, he posted the top run defense grade in 2017, while posting a top-20 score in yards allowed per coverage snap. White may not start right away, but he gives the team another option at the safety spot next to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Round 5, Pick 138: Defensive End Hercules Mataafa Washington State
Mataafa has one of the highest ceilings of players in this draft based on his athleticism for his size. After Aaron Donald’s recent dominance since being drafted, teams have been looking for players that can get pressure up the middle. While at WSU, Mataafa got pressure up the middle once every 26.4 snaps, which was the sixth-best mark in the nation. The Packers have a strong front with Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels but little depth behind them. Adding a player like Hercules would be great because he can do things like this.
Round 5, Pick 172: Linebacker Jack Cichy Wisconsin
Probably the most popular mocked option to the Packers has been Cichy for more reasons than he’s the homegrown talent. If it wasn’t for injury issues, he would be considered much higher up in the draft. Last season, he was one of the top graded linebackers at an 89.0 per Pro Football Focus. He also generated pressure with nine sacks and 28 pressures over two seasons. Cichy may never start, but he’ll be a great depth piece in the fifth round.
Round 5, Pick 174: Guard Colby Gossett Appalachian State
Joe Philbin coming back into the fold means this offense will go back to the basics and a refocus on the zone-blocking scheme. Gossett worked extensively in a zone-blocking scheme with 3,162 snaps in his career, while also playing some at right tackle. The Packers have lost a lot of offensive line depth in recent years, but Gossett would help shore up some of those issues.
Round 6, Pick 186: Cornerback Parry Nickerson Tulane
Nickerson was the star of Tulane’s secondary, where he allowed an NFL passer rating of 41, while also showing great ball skills with 10 interceptions over the past two seasons. He was rarely beat on the deep ball with only one catch over 40 the past two seasons. The Packers struggles at corner are well documented, which is why a guy that played four seasons would help mightily.
Round 6, Pick 207: Wide Receiver Braxton Berrios Miami (FL)
Berrios isn’t the biggest receiver, but the guy has speed and short area quickness. He ran a 4.45 40. The team doesn’t have a great quick threat in the slot behind Randall Cobb, but Berrios could help fill that hole with his top-10 marks in slot receptions and yards.
Round 7, Pick 232: Offensive Tackle Desmond Harrison West Georgia
The Packers allowed Don Barclay to walk this offseason and could use a swing tackle to kind of fill that role. Harrison has dealt with some character issues in college, but he has the natural athleticism that can’t be taught. After addressing their inside depth with Gossett, Harrison could help fill the role Jason Spriggs has yet to take.
Round 7, Pick 239: Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling University of South Florida
Another big receiver with speed to burn. Scantling comes in at a mammoth 6’4” and ran a 4.37 40. He was strong on deep routes in his career but could struggle with drops at times. It’s hard to predict picks this late in the draft, but Valdes-Scantling has the skills to be the player that Jeff Janis never quite turned out to be.
10 picks and one trade later the Packers have addressed several of their weaknesses in this draft. It’s possible that the team makes more or different trades, but we will have to see come draft time. They needed to address cornerback and wide receiver early, which they did with their first two picks. Fans are excited to get back to contention, and, if the team drafts like this, that could come very soon.
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