Well, the Green Bay Packers have already made some significant moves during this early stage of free agency. Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson are now in Green Bay, and longtime fan favorite Jordy Nelson is gone.
Guess Gutey wasn’t playing around, huh?
Anyways, the Packers still, as of right now, have 12 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
This week’s mock is a mix of who I think Green Bay will covet, and what I would do with that situation. I used Fan Speak’s very nice draft simulator, with Matt Miller’s Bleacher Report big board on the Difficult setting.
14: Round 1 Pick 14
Harold Landry, EDGE Boston College
With Derwin James, Denzel Ward and Josh Jackson all coming off of the board within four picks of Green Bay’s, defensive back was no longer a realistic option, and Landry is still the best pass rusher in the draft. He tested well coming off of his ankle injury that hampered him most of this past season, and Green Bay is still in need of both talent and depth at EDGE. Landry fits the bill here, and gives new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine a toy to work with. With the potential of Clay Matthews playing in one of his last seasons in Green Bay, Landry can learn from the best pass rusher in franchise history and be ready to take over in 2019.
45: Round 2 Pick 13
D.J. Moore, WR Maryland
With Jordy Nelson no longer in Green Bay, wide receiver suddenly jumps to the top of the team needs list. D.J. Moore is one of the better receivers in this class, and if he’s available at pick 45, it would be a coup for the Packers. Moore can play in the slot and outside, and should make an immediate difference in a Packers offense that has lacked explosion from their wide receivers in the past couple of seasons. Moore can play outside immediately, and keep Randall Cobb in the slot for the time being. Moore’s ability to make plays after the catch will quickly endear him to the fans of the Green and Gold as well.
76: Round 3 Pick 12
Nick Nelson, CB Wisconsin
After posting some eye popping numbers at Wisconsin’s Pro Day, Nelson compounded a solid performance at the Combine and could find his way into Day 2. Cornerback was already a dire need, and then new General Manager Brian Gutekunst traded Green Bay’s best for DeShone Kizer. Nelson, in my opinion, can play outside or in the slot. He’s an extremely aggressive cornerback, and I think Mike Pettine will admire that about Nelson’s game. His quick feet (3.88 short shuttle and 6.69 3-cone at Pro Day) could serve him well inside, where he’d be able to press smaller receivers and allow him the recovery speed if he gets beat off of the line. The Packers need cornerback help badly, and Nelson is among the best available here in the 3rd round. It was a joke at the Combine that “why would someone move from Hawai’i to Wisconsin,” but at least he won’t have to move far again, from Madison to Green Bay.
101: Round 4 Pick 1
Simmie Cobbs Jr., WR Indiana
If you take Moore in the 2nd, and Cobbs in the 4th, and you’ve replaced Nelson and Cobb (no pun intended) for 2019. Cobbs is a big receiver at 6’4” and around 220 pounds. He can be a jump ball threat that Green Bay has never really had on the outside, drawing some attention away from Davante Adams and D.J. Moore. Cobbs Jr. was a victim of a poor offense this past season at Indiana, but if you watch him vs Ohio State in Week 1, you can see how talented he is. He even got the better of Nick Nelson a few times in their matchup this past season, so they’ll be able to continue that into training camp. This is a bit of a value pick, but he’s well worth it. This will be the second straight season that Green Bay will have the first pick of Day 3, allowing them to take their highest rated player available.
133: Round 4 Pick 33
Holton Hill, CB Texas
Mike Pettine likes big, physical bump and run cornerbacks. Enter Holton Hill. Hill had some off-field issues at Texas, but in the late 4th it’s worth the chance for a talent like Hill. In the mold of an Antonio Cromartie-type athlete, Hill is over 6’1” and his length and athleticism would be a likely Top 50 talent without the off-field baggage. With guys like Mike Daniels and some seemingly stronger leadership and personalities on defense with Pettine around, this could be a nice environment for the former big time recruit for Texas to rehab his image a bit and have some early playing time. This would be another coup for Gutekunst, getting a 2nd round talent in Day 3.
138: Round 5 Pick 1
Tony Brown, CB Alabama
Oh, you too, like big, athletic cornerbacks? You don’t say? Mike Pettine runs up to you and gives you a big hug. Tony Brown played football and ran track for the Crimson Tide. He was upset when at the Combine the starter called him back on his first run, and came back with a 4.35. Brown never quite lived up to the hype he had as a recruit, but he fits almost all of the Packers’ athletic thresholds to a tee. If you tell me the Packers can get out of this situation (i.e. no Ward or James and without the ability to trade up in this mock), with Nelson, Hill and Brown, holy buckets you got more athletic and physical at cornerback. Pettine will be salivating with these big corners on the line of scrimmage sending pressure packages with the front 7.
172: Round 5 Pick 35
Justin Jones, DL North Carolina State
I came away from the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala. very impressed with Jones, who was one of two defensive tackles at the event from NC State. Jones is built similarly to Mike Daniels, seemingly stacking muscle on top of eachother in a compact frame. Jones is excellent at getting upfield and causing havoc for opposing offensive lines. He adds another body up front capable of getting pressure on the opposing quarterback, and could push last year’s 3rd round pick Montravious Adams for playing time. I personally don’t think Jones will be here in April, but this exercise is fun.
174: Round 5 Pick 37
Skai Moore Jr., LB South Carolina
If this were two years ago, Skai Moore Jr. is probably a 2nd or 3rd round pick. But after injuries and some underachieving from the Gamecocks, Moore is seemingly lost in the shuffle of this talented linebacker class. He’s the prototypical will linebacker, who will excel in coverage and use his athleticism to cover a lot of range on the weak side of the defense. He’ll be able to stay on the field on passing downs, and will be a nice asset on special teams.
186: Round 6 Pick 12
Dalton Schultz, TE Stanford
There may not be a program in college football that produces more quality tight ends than Stanford. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you all about Schultz’ game, because I haven’t watched a second of it. What I can tell you, is that you don’t get on the field for David Shaw at tight end if you can’t block, and with the signing of Jimmy Graham, this is what the Packers are missing at the position. Schultz can play in-line and be a willing and able blocker, something Graham is often neither of.
207: Round 6 Pick 33
Mike McCray, LB Michigan
Mike McCray was a 2 year starter for Michigan, playing both years at Sam linebacker. I think that’s also his position in the NFL, as he has the size and strength to play well against the run. McCray has struggled in coverage, however, and isn’t an above average athlete by NFL standards. He’s likely a special teamer and reserve linebacker who can play against the run well and will be solid depth, which is what you’re looking for at the end of the 6th round.
232: Round 7 Pick 14
Chase Litton, QB Marshall
The Packers just acquired DeShone Kizer in the Damarious Randall trade, but that shouldn’t keep the Packers from continuing to acquire talented throwers at the position. In the 7th round, if Litton makes the roster or can somehow be traded for any type of asset down the line, it was a success. He’s a big dude who has a hose for an arm, and has some athletic tools to work with. I don’t think there’s a way that both Joe Callahan and Brett Hundley both remain in Green Bay next year, so Litton could have a chance at a practice squad spot, or at least audition elsewhere in the preseason.
239: Round 7 Pick 21
Jaryd Jones-Smith, OT Pittsburgh
I personally don’t see as much reason to fret about the Packers offensive line as some do. Re-sign Jahri Evans, who was really good last year, to another one-year deal. Now that every offensive lineman on the roster isn’t hurt, they’re not in as bad of shape as they were a year ago. A front five of Bahktiari, Taylor, Linsley, Evans and Bulaga is plenty good. Spriggs, McCray and Murphy showed they have the ability to, at the very least, fill-in and not be completely terrible when not playing out of position. That’s the key. Someone like Jones-Smith, who oozes developmental potential, could take a couple of years, get stronger, and learn how to use his 37” inch arms, the longest in the class. Again, if he makes the roster, it was a good pick.