With two of the three days of the 2018 NFL Draft now in the past, the Green Bay Packers have made three selections and a trio of trades. The team moved back in round one then up again for cornerback Jaire Alexander, landed cornerback Josh Jackson with their second-round pick, and moved up for linebacker Oren Burks in round three.
There are varying opinions on the Packers’ moves so far, so before day three begins, let’s take a look at how various analysts view Green Bay’s decisions to this point.
First, however, we will examine how APC’s readership has graded each pick so far (numbers current as of the publishing of this article).
APC Reader Grades
First Round (trades/CB Jaire Alexander): 35% A, 37% B, 16% C, 7% D, 5% F
APC readers were mostly positive about the Packers’ trades and selection in round one, as the addition of a first-round pick in next year’s draft largely seems to have outweighed missing out on linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Derwin James. Over 70% were in the A or B range, a pretty good sign that Packers fans are satisfied with Brian Gutekunst’s first pick.
Second Round (CB Josh Jackson): 77% A, 18% B, 3% C, 1% D, 1% F
The value for Jackson at 45 led to an overwhelming response from APC’s readers, with a whopping 95% of respondents giving the pick a grade of A or B. Clearly, going back-to-back at cornerback isn’t an issue for APC.
Third Round (trade up/LB Oren Burks): 27% A, 50% B, 17% C, 4% D, 2% F
The trade up was a necessity late in the evening on Friday, as the Packers simply couldn’t afford to use all ten of their picks on day three. Instead, they spun two off into a third-rounder for Burks, who is one of the most athletic linebackers in this year’s draft class. The trade gets an A from me personally (the Packers got the better of the deal by a fair amount based on the trade chart), while the pick itself is probably a B. I can find several players I would rather have seen the team draft more (perhaps tackle Joe Noteboom, edge rusher Josh Sweat, or one of a few wide receivers), but I do like Burks and it appears that the Packers maintained the ability to move up in round four for another good prospect with the trade.
The Packers earned A grades for both days one and two individually, not surprisingly resulting in an overall A grade so far. Chad Reuter loves the deal to add a first-round pick next year, and he’s on board with the two-cornerback plan. He also sounds like a big fan of the Oren Burks pick:
Even with talented safety Derwin James on the board, the Saints gave the Packers a deal too rich to give up. Getting a 2019 first-round pick was a steal. Alexander was the second-best corner in the draft on most team boards, despite being a shade over 5-foot-10. They did give up a third-round pick to move up but the net effect of the two trades is still a positive, and they met their biggest position need with a player who can be an above-average starter. The team continued to bolster its secondary with Jackson in the second round. The question is, should they have picked two corners right away, ignoring other needs? With aging free agent veteran Tramon Williams planned as a starter this year, it was probably a good move. Moving up for Burks cost them a fourth-rounder, but he adds athleticism, strength, versatility and intelligence. He’ll be a good starter for them at a spot they desperately needed to upgrade.
Dan Kadar is less impressed with the double-up on corners, however. He sees too many other needs on the roster that need addressing, presumably the pass rush and some areas on the offense:
The Packers got back-to-back cornerbacks to start their draft. After picking Louisville’s Jaire Alexander in the first round, they doubled up on corners with Josh Jackson of Iowa at No. 45. Jackson is at his best in off coverage where he can read a play and break on the ball. He’s got great hands, and knows how to make a play. The issue is that, while Green Bay needed to fix the secondary, they have other big needs. That’s especially true after taking cornerback Kevin King a year ago.
In the third round, the Packers added a versatile and athletic linebacker in Oren Burks. He has to become more disciplined against the run, but his athleticism can’t be coached. Not many people expected Burks to go that high.
Kiper didn’t assign letter grades, but he does put the Packers in his “winners” category. He circles the value that the Packers got in Josh Jackson at 45 as the primary reason, as well as
I like new Packers GM Brian Gutekunst’s restructuring of the team’s cornerback position, and Iowa’s Josh Jackson was the best player on the board when Green Bay picked him at 45. Now, that’s corners with the first two picks -- Louisville’s Jaire Alexander in Round 1, after trading down and then back up -- but that’s what Green Bay needed. These are two solid players to pair with second-year stud Kevin King. And don’t forget, Gutekunst added a 2019 first-round pick on Thursday when the Saints got desperate for a pass-rusher.
How do you feel about the Packers’ draft through two days? Give us a grade below.
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