With the NFL Draft only days away, Green Bay Packers fans are eager to find out what prospects will be joining the team. The Packers don’t have tons of holes in their roster, but with 10 picks in the draft, they have the opportunity to fill the few holes they do have, while adding depth elsewhere on the roster.
Fans love to predict what directions the team will go in the draft, but not every position can or will be addressed. Below, we predict and rank in order of likelihood the three positions where the Packers will most likely, and least likely, come away with a prospect.
For an in-depth recap of the Green Bay Packers offseason and free agency, click here.
3 Positions Most Likely To Be Addressed
1. Wide Receiver
Davante Adams is the only proven commodity currently on the roster, with 83 receptions for 997 yards in 12 regular season games and an additional 17 receptions for 298 yards in 2 playoff games in 2019.
However, after Adams, there is plenty of uncertainty on the roster. Marquez Valdes-Scandling, a 5th round pick in 2018, is currently the number two wide receiver. The confident receiver contributed 26 receptions for 452 yards and played in all 16 games last year, but only had under a 46% catch rate on passes thrown to him, while adding three drops.
Allen Lazard, a 2018 undrafted free agent, could be in line for an increased role this year, after having 35 receptions for 477 yard in 16 games, but questions remain if he’s capable of improving on those numbers.
Recently-signed Devin Funchess comes off a year with the Colts where he played in only one game, totalaling 3 catches for 32 yards.
Adding a receiver in the early rounds of the draft could solidify this group going into next season.
The Packers could use an impact wide receiver in the early rounds of this year’s draft. ASU’s Brandon Aiyuk, Baylor’s Denzel Mims, and TCU’s Jalen Reagor, LSU’s Justin Jefferson, and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault could be options for the Packers in rounds 1 or 2.
The team could also look to draft a solid prospect in the later rounds, as draft experts have said that this draft is deep at wide receiver.
The depth of the class and the glaring need at wide receiver for the Packers makes it highly likely that they will come away with one or more prospects at the position.
2. Offensive Tackle
Last year’s starting OT Bryan Bulaga left in free agency by signing a three-year, $30 million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Green Bay Packers responded by signing OT Rick Wagner to a two-year, $11 million contract. Although a very capable starter, most recently with the Lions, his best years were with the Ravens. Additionally, he has only started all 16 games one season, in 2015.
Wagner’s injury history and average production in recent years makes him unlikely to be a long-term solution at tackle. The Packers could find that long-term option early in the draft.
There are a number of enticing potential options at the bottom of the 1st round. Players such as Houston’s Josh Jones, Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson, Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland, and USC’s Austin Jackson may be available.
Developmental prospects that provide upside include Charlotte’s Cameron Clark and Auburn’s Jack Driscoll. Both of these prospects could be available on Day 3, where the Packers possess seven of their ten picks.
3. Inside Linebacker
Former Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey signed with the Packers during the off season for two years and $16 million. He reunites with Packers Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine, who drafted Kirksey as the Browns Head Coach in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
In 73 career games, Kirksey had 484 total tackles and 11.5 sacks, while gaining a reputation as a strong locker room leader. However, Kirksey was hindered by injuries over the last two years, limiting him to only nine total games. His recent injury history certainly could give Packers front office more urgency to draft a starting caliber ILB next week.
Kirksey’s injury concern isn’t the only question mark at the position. Former starting Packers ILB Blake Martinez, who led the team in total tackles last year, signed with the New York Giants over the off season. This leaves at least one starting ILB spot up for grabs.
The top two ILB prospects in this year’s draft are Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray and LSU’s Patrick Queen. Both could still be on the board at 30, when the Packers are on the clock. They are both excellent in coverage and solid in stopping the run. Both Queen and Murray would slot in nicely next to Kirksey and start week 1.
Some Day 2 prospects include Texas Tech’s Jordyn Brooks and Ohio State’s Malik Harrison. Clear need and abundant talent in the draft makes it likely the Packers come away with someone they like at the position.
3 Positions Least Likely To Be Addressed
Despite the current holes at certain positions, the Packers had enough talent to only be one game away from making the Super Bowl. While taking the best player available is ideal for all teams, GM’s often take need into consideration when making selections. This means that the Packers are less likely to address certain positions based off of the talent already on the roster.
Below are predictions of which positions the Packers are unlikely to address in this year’s draft:
1. Edge Rusher
With limited cap room this off season, the front office did not make any splash signings in free agency. That wasn’t the case last off season, when they decided to invest heavily at the outside linebacker positions. The Pack shelled out a combined eight years and $118 million ($47.5 million guaranteed) in contracts for “The Smiths” Preston and Za’Darius. They combined for 25.5 sacks, 60 QB hits, and 111 total tackles last year.
While a team can never have too many good pass rushers, the Packers front office would be forgiven if they end up spending their draft capital elsewhere.
2. Place Kicker
Another year, another Green Bay Packers roster that will undoubtedly feature Mason Crosby as their starting place kicker. The 35 year old kicker will be entering his 15th year in the NFL (all with the Packers) and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
Crosby was 4th in the league in made FG percentage (min. 15 attempts), making 22 of 24 FG attempts and made 40 of 41 extra point attempts. The front office rewarded Crosby with a three-year, $12.9 million extension that is good through 2022.
The Packers aren’t drafting a kicker next week.
Okay, this one might be a bit of a surprise, but hear me out! GM Brian Gutekunst has been on record saying the Packers are open to drafting a QB in the 1st round in this year’s draft, but I don’t buy it. Aaron Rodgers is not MVP-caliber anymore. However, when healthy, he is still one of the best QB’s in the league.
The Packers do have a history of drafting a QB in the 1st round and not starting him immediately (looking at you again, Rodgers). However, Rodgers has enough left in the tank for the Packers to look elsewhere in the 1st round.
Pundits have linked the Packers to QB prospects Jordan Love from Utah State and, most recently, Jalen Hurts from Oklahoma. Drafting one of these QBs would certainly create a buzz among Packers fans, but drafting either one might be tricky.
It’s looking increasingly unlikely that Love will last until the 30th pick. This would mean that they would have to use valuable draft capital to trade up high enough in the 1st round to ensure that teams such as the Patriots or Saints don’t draft him.
Hurts may not be worthy of the 30th pick, but could be gone before the Packers pick again. Trading down from the 30th pick, or up from the 64th pick is possible, but unlikely in my opinion.
Hurts may not even be a good fit for the Packers. His duel threat ability would mean the Packers would have to change their entire offense from what they currently run with Rodgers.
It’s possible that the Green Bay Packers could also draft a developmental QB in the later rounds of the draft; but it is more likely that they spend that draft capital on other areas of the roster.