Here it is, my annual exercise in futility. You know and I know the Packers won’t make all of their picks as the draft order stands right now. Gutey will move up and down. My home run dream scenario is he moves up and finds a way to land Henry Ruggs III. But it most likely just that: a dream.
Is it more likely he gets coaxed to move out of the first round if, say, Jordan Love is sitting there at 30 and someone wants to grab him? Or would the Pack snatch him for themselves? I’d like to think that if either of the quick, hard hitting, sideline to sideline linebackers are there, Murray or Queen, that the Pack would give Mike Pettine that elusive missing piece in the middle of the defense. But I just don’t think Gutey would go that route.
My hunch is the Packers will decide between a tackle (the eventual Bulaga successor) or a wide receiver. We all know Green Bay hasn’t selected one in the first round since Javon Walker, and with the depth at that position in this year’s draft, maybe they think they can wait. I’m afraid there will be a run on them in the second round and worry that they’ll miss out on a chance to add a big time weapon for Aaron Rodgers.
So here’s my shot at the first round, along with the Packers’ complete seven round mock. As usual, feel free to mock away.
1. Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU Even the Bengals can’t screw this one up.
2. Washington: Chase Young, DE, Ohio St. Please don’t be stupid here. We don’t need Young in the NFC North
3. Chargers (trade with Lions): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
4. Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson OL can wait. Giants get a disrupter for their defense.
5. Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa QB, Alabama After passing on Brees because of health concerns, Fins roll the dice here.
6. Lions (from Chargers): Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State Lions get the guy they would’ve drafted at 3 and add a third and more in the deal.
7. Carolina: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
8. Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama Here comes the run on tackles.
9. Jaguars: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
10. Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
11. Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
12. Raiders: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida Gruden and Mayock know they can get a stud WR a few picks down the road. Henderson is tops on their board here.
13. 49ers: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
14. Bucaneers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, S. Carolina
15. Broncos: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
16. Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
17. Cowboys: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
18. Dolphins: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn St.
19. Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama This is the guy I hope the Packers look to trade up for if he’s still on the board. Pack could deal with Fins to jump ahead of Raiders. Would cost 30 and 62, plus a mid-round swap.
20. Jaguars: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU They snipe the Eagles, which every mock in the US has them taking.
21. Eagles: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma Not a bad consolation prize for losing out on JJ.
22. Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU They need to start to rebuild their CB group.
23. Patriots: Jordan Love, QB, Utah St.
24. Saints: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
25. Vikings: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise St.
26. Dolphins: DeAndre Swift, RB, Georgia
27. Seahawks: AJ Epenesa, DE, Iowa
28. Ravens: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
29. Titans: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
30. Packers: See Below
31. 49ers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
32. Chiefs: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Round 1 (30): Packers If the board falls something like this, I think they debate between adding a tackle, like Josh Jones from Houston or a wide receiver. Jones could give the Pack the luxury of letting him learn behind Ricky Wagner, or serving as health insurance in case Wagner misses time. If they pass on tackle here, I think they’ll grab one in their next three picks.
As I mentioned in the middle of my mock, if Henry Ruggs III gets past the middle of the first, I hope the Pack gives Miami a call to see if they can move up to grab him. He would cost a few picks, but to me he’s the one guy who could make the offense lethal in 2020.
Barring the unlikely trade-up, in this scenario the Packers could choose between Denzel Mims, Brandon Aiyuk and Jalen Reagor–and if they like all three, maybe they’d entertain moving out of the first and into the early second to get one there. Mims has the size they like, but I think they need the versatility that the other two offer. I’ve had a crush on Aiyuk this whole draft season, but I get the feeling they go with Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU.
Reagor gives the WR group the electric, dynamic speed guy they lack. Had some issues with drops, but has shown the ability to make tough catches in traffic and elusive moves make him a dangerous YAC guy–kind of this year’s version of the Niners’ Deebo Samuel. Reagor would probably wrest the punt returner job from Tyler Ervin–he’s lethal as a return guy.
Round Two (62): Lucas Niang, OT, TCU Well, look at that, the Pack goes back to back on TCU guys. Niang was a leader in the locker room, who came back for his senior season and had it cut short by a torn labrum. His athleticism is a fit for the Pack’s zone blocking scheme and he can sit and learn behind Wagner for a year.
Round 3 (94): Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming If I were drafting for the Pack and either Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen were on the board at 30, I would grab him. I don’t think Gutey would though. They just don’t value the inside linebacker that highly. They find value here with a guy who posted three straight 100 tackle seasons and has the speed to cover sideline to sideline. Pack needs to address this spot given Kirksey’s injury history and the inexperience behind him.
Round 4 (136): Leki Fotu, DT, Utah It wouldn’t surprise me if the Pack addresses this spot much earlier in the draft. Publicly, Gutey has expressed confidence in the DL not named Kenny Clark, but it appears he vastly overpaid Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster wasn’t great. Montravius Adams gets one last chance and Kingsley Keke could become a major contributor, but the run defense needs help and Fotu would fit right in next to Clark. His strength and long arms will make him valuable on early downs. His lack of pass rush ability in college might make him an early down contributor only for now.
Round 5 (175): Nevelle Clark, CB, Central Florida He’s got the size the Packers like at the position and has the makings of a slot corner, with his long arms and physicality. His speed his suspect though so he doesn’t provide much of an option on the outside.
Round 6 (192): Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech He might get a chance to replace Danny Vitale as FB and special teams ace and add some depth at tight end, where Sternberger is being counted on to take a big year two leap. Keene may never be an in-line blocker but he’s effective in space and has been productive as a receiver and ball carrier since his freshman season.
Round 6 (208): Tanner Muse, S, Clemson Projects as an inside linebacker/safety hybrid and could replace Campbell on the roster and play behind Raven Greene. He was asked to cover the tight end in college and served on all four special teams units. The ILB group needs more competition and Muse will provide it.
Round 6 (209): Calvin Throckmorton, OL, Oregon The senior has played virtually every position on the line for the Ducks. He’s smart (3.8 GPA): his teammates call him Doc Throck. Probably projects as a center since his sub-par athletic ability makes him an iffy pass protector. A year on the practice squad is in the cards and then maybe he slides on to the depth chart in ’21, especially if Linsley leaves and Patrick replaces him.
Round 7 (236): Carter Coughlin, EDGE, Minnesota His name kept sitting there in all the simulations I did and I can see him getting a shot to fill Kyler Fackrell’s roster spot. All of us here in the Twin Cities know him well and saw how productive he was in the Big Ten. His lack of strength makes his upside probably no more than a situational pass rusher, but he could provide special teams value as well.
Round 7 (242): Omar Bayless, WR, Arkansas State FBS star who caught 93 passes for more than 1,600 yards last season. Lots of ability, but probably needs a year to refine his skills on the practice squad. Worth a flyer this late in the draft.
Obviously, the Pack will move up and down the board and make multiple trades, so this was mostly an exercise for fun and looking at positions I expect the Pack to focus on. I did several simulations that had Jordan Love available at 30 and they might be tempted to grab Jalen Hurts in the second. I think they probably will grab a QB at some point, but there just wasn’t the right fit when I put this together.
I’ll have plenty of draft coverage on KFAN this weekend: Saturday morning on “In the Zone” from 8-10. Then a two hour NFL Draft special from 11-1, featuring The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid from 11:15-12. Hope you’ll catch some of it either on the Fan or iHeart Radio.