Evan “Tex” Western: Trade up for Denzel Ward
By all accounts, the Packers have their eyes set on Ward and Florida State safety Derwin James as two of their top options in round one. Although plenty of mock drafts have one of them (or Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick) slipping to the 14th pick -- including our own here at APC -- I struggle to see it happening. My feeling is that James goes to Tampa Bay at pick number 7 and the Bears draft Tremaine Edmunds or Quenton Nelson, leading the Packers to trade with the 49ers for the 9th pick to select Ward.
In doing so, Gutekunst would be taking advantage of his massive haul of 12 draft picks to move up for one of the top players on the board and the consensus top player at one of the team’s biggest need positions. To get to number 9, it probably would take the Packers’ 14th pick, their third-rounder (76), and their fourth-round compensatory pick (133) -- that makes the points almost equal per the league’s trade value chart -- 1350 for pick number 9 and 1349 for the Packers’ package. Then Gutekunst could always trade back into round three, using pick 101 (the first pick in round four) and one of the fifth-round picks to get back into the low 90s late on day two.
As for Ward himself, he would fit in beautifully as a slot corner on day one, as he possesses elite speed and quickness for the position. Contrasted with Kevin King, who stands 6-foot-3, Ward seems diminutive but still has enough height to meet the Packers’ preferences. All in all, this seems the best way for Gutekunst to guarantee that he can select the top cornerback in the draft while maintaining a pair of picks on day two.
Peter Bukowski: Marcus Davenport DE UTSA
I’m on board for Tex’s trade scenario and I think getting to 9th or 10th overall would be worth it for one of those DBs specifically because I don’t think any of them will be available at 14 when the Packers pick. That leaves them with pass rushers like Davenport or Harold Landry on the board and potentially a freak athlete like Tremaine Edmunds at linebacker who can play on the edge.
This will scare some Packers fans because Davenport has been billed as some project who won’t be ready for two or three years. First of all, don’t believe the people telling you that. Davenport is legitimately good already and has outstanding athletic ability to get better. But perhaps more importantly, Green Bay doesn’t need him to carry this pass rush in 2018 or even 2019. Provide depth to Nick Perry and Clay Matthews, help in situational rush roles, and get adjusted to the pro game. That’s all this team needs him to do for now. It would be an ideal marriage for team and player.
Mike Vieth: Minkah Fitzpatrick DB, Alabama
This could end up being one of the crazier drafts in recent memory, especially in the top ten picks. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see five quarterbacks taken before the Packers get on the clock at 14. That all turns into the Packers advantage, as some good players need fall out of their draft projections. For the Packers, that player is Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick is a jack-of-all-trades defensive back that the Packers would love to have. He will team up nicely with second-year pro Josh Jones as they decided, between the two, who takes over for Morgan Burnett at safety and have the other play the nickel corner position.
I think a good situation with this pick gets better when you look at who the Packers have around him to teach him the ropes of the NFL. The Packers brought back Davon House and Tramon Williams so they could help develop Fitzpatrick, Jones, Kevin King and the other young DBs for the future. Some might groan at that thought but House and Williams have had a good run over the years and I’d be very happy with those two helping develop the future defensive backs in Green Bay.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s all we get from Brian Gutekunst in the first round. The Packers have a lot of draft pick capital and I can see them trying to trade back into the latter part of the first round if there is a player to their liking.
Paul Noonan - Trade Back
Using my time-honored tradition of looking at Justis Mosqueda’s charts and randomly picking names,
I wrote about Packers athletic tendencies and made a board with that in mind if y'all want to read that: https://t.co/9b6Cl5yEhA— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) April 24, 2018
I’ll bet on a trade back. That first round pick is going to be super valuable, and I don’t really care for a bunch of players likely to available there. I’m always in favor of more picks, and numerous studies have shown that no team is actually significantly better at drafting than any other team. Success lies in the numbers game of getting more chances at the jackpot.
Anyway, I think they will trade back and somehow wind up with a combination of WR Courtland Sutton out of SMU and Rasheem Green, a Ted special as an edge rusher from a West Coast school.
If they keep the pick they’ll probably end up with Davenport or Landry, but that’s boring.
Shawn Wagner - Marcus Davenport
I will be the first to say I am shocked if the Packers trade up versus trade back. If the top secondary prospects are off the board by pick 11, I think there is a lot of value to trade down and get a similar player in the 20s, such as Mike Hughes or one of my personal favorites in Isaiah Oliver, without reaching at 14.
If they stick at 14 and Davenport is available, Green Bay should take a chance on the pass rusher in what is a weak class for edge players. A small-school product, Davenport is raw and carries some risk, but his blend of size and athleticism is a combination the Packers simply do not have on the roster. Mike Pettine, a coordinator that has had a lot of success with edge rushers in several coaching stops, can mold Davenport to his liking. If he can parlay his tantalizing tools into NFL production, Davenport could not only have a high impact on the defense but present a long-term steal. I personally like Davenport more than Harold Landry, but recognize he will be somewhat of a project in year one.
Jon Meerdink - Best Defensive Back Available
There are too many permutations to come close to guessing who this player is going to be, but I think the pick almost has to be a defensive back.
Brian Gutekunst rightly pointed out in his last news conference before the draft that it’s harder to find guys with elite size and elite athletic attributes than any other combination, but it seems like there are a lot more guys with that profile than there are elite defensive backs in this particular draft.
For that reason, I think the Packers are obligated to take the best defensive back they can get at 14. I am against trading up; I don’t think there’s a sure enough prospect above where the Packers are picking to justify the expense, though I wouldn’t argue with you if that’s the position you hold. I will stand firm on the Packers shoring up their secondary, though. Let’s hope they can add to their pass rush group later.