The 2018 NFL Draft is quickly approaching. The Green Bay Packers and new general manager Brian Gutekunst have some big decisions to make come April 27. The Packers have kept busy this offseason and will look to build on their moves.
Key Additions: TE Jimmy Graham, DT Muhammed Wilkerson, DB Tramon Williams
Key Losses: WR Jordy Nelson, DB Damarious Randall, WR Jeff Janis
We’ll be breaking down the different needs and targets for the Packers going into this year’s draft. For a more detailed look into each roster position, I would highly recommend our Mason Murphy’s roster review.
The defensive back position was one of biggest holes, if not, the biggest, on the Packers’ roster last season. Part of the blame could go to the ineffective pass rush for getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. No pass rush means that defensive backs have to cover their receivers for a longer period of time and are, therefore, more likely to get beat on plays. Pass rush or no pass rush, the Packers gave up the 10th most passing yards per game (236.8) and the 2nd most passing touchdowns (30) last season.
Minkah Fitzpatrick – Alabama
Excellent in the slot and fresh off the national champion Crimson Tide, Fitzpatrick could bring refreshing speed to the Packers secondary.
Denzel Ward – Ohio State
Ohio State produced yet another talented defensive back. Ward’s 4.32 40-yard dash and 39-inch vertical could be big assets to the Packers.
Josh Jackson – Iowa
Green Bay’s own Mike Daniels has been pushing hard for his fellow Hawkeye, and for good reason.
The only bright spot for the Packers at linebacker last season was Blake Martinez. Martinez lead the team in combined tackles at 144 tackles. Fellow linebacker Jake Ryan had the next highest at 81 combined tackles. The pass rush for Green Bay was never the same after Julius Peppers left, as they acompassed only 37.0 sacks.
Marcus Davenport – University of Texas-San Antonio
Davenport has incredible athletic gifts, ones that the Packers need desperately at the linebacker position. Even though he played in a non-Power-5 conference, Davenport could make an immediate difference in the NFL.
Leighton Vander Esch – Boise State
The Packers need speed at linebacker. Not only does Vander Esch have it, but he has a very high football IQ to go with it.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – Oklahoma
Okoronkwo (try saying that three times fast) may be smaller than most edge rushers, but his agility and skillful use of his hands could make a difference right out of the gate for Green Bay.
The Packers may have lost Jordy Nelson, but Jimmy Graham is a great addition to their offense. Green Bay has been longing for a pass-catching, Jermichael Finley-esque tight end for Aaron Rodgers, and they finally found him. However, that leaves a hole in the wide receiver depth chart. Davante Adams is a proven No. 1 wide receiver and Randall Cobb is a consistent No. 2, but what about No. 3? As of right now that spot goes to Geronimo Allison. Don’t get me wrong, Allison is a promising rookie with a lot of potential, but there are better receivers who are ready today to compete for spots atop depth charts. Signing a much more talented player on a rookie contract may not be a bad deal for Green Bay.
Calvin Ridley – Alabama
Is there a chance the top wide receiver in this draft class falls all the way down to No. 14, right into the Packers’ lap? Maybe not, but crazier things have happened at the draft.
D.J. Moore – Maryland
Moore was the Big Ten receiver of the year in 2017 and has the speed and agility to get separation from defenders, a task Packers receivers often struggle with.
Courtland Sutton – SMU
Sutton is another top wide receiver in this year’s class. The 6-4, 215 lb wide-out could provide size for this relatively small receiving corps.
Stats courtesy of NFL.com