On Thursday morning, NFL.com’s Chad Reuter released one of the more ambitious mock drafts to date for the 2018 NFL Draft, a five-round monster that presumably took days to put together.
Reuter’s picks for the Green Bay Packers in particular are excellent and seem to fit well with the athletic thresholds and qualities that the team has tended to look for going back to the days of Ron Wolf — which is no easy task for a draft analyst. Too often, these individuals fail to account for a team’s trends and preferences, so it’s refreshing to see someone who seems to account for the way teams do evaluate players.
Of course, it’s possible that Reuter got lucky, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here.
Let’s get to the picks, which start off with an excellent choice, in this writer’s opinion.
Round 1: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Getting the draft’s top cover cornerback at 14 would be a perfect situation for the Packers. With Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick both gone and Ward still available, this is a no-brainer selection for the Packers. Ward has elite speed and change-of-direction skills which make him a candidate to rotate in on the boundary in base and to be the team’s primary slot corner as a rookie.
Round 2: Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia
Keeping with the elite athlete trend, Carter posted one of the most absurd workouts by an edge rusher in recent memory at the 2018 NFL Combine. At 6-foot-4 7/8 and 250 pounds, Carter ran the 40 in a blistering 4.50 seconds and had a bonkers 10-foot-10 broad jump. While he does not have agility testing numbers as he chose not to perform the 3-cone and shuttle drills, Carter is the latest athletic edge rusher to come out of Georgia.
The concern with him is that he didn’t produce a ton of impact plays in college, with just 14 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in four years. Still, he did post six forced fumbles and recovered six more. A situation like Green Bay where he could rotate in and learn behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry for a year might be ideal for him.
Round 3: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
Chad does another nice job here, finding a player who projects well to the Packers based on testing results and fit. The Packers would love a big, fast receiver to take over Jordy Nelson’s spot opposite Davante Adams, and St. Brown is very much that guy. He’s 6-foot-4 3⁄4 and 214 pounds, and ran a 4.48 forty in Indianapolis. Furthermore, his sophomore year in 2016 showed his big-play ability (58 catches for 961 yards, 16.6 average, with 9 touchdowns). Fit and value match up nicely here.
Round 4: Jack Cichy, ILB, Wisconsin & Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech
Repeating 2017 a bit here? The Packers once again hold the first pick on day two, and in this mock they take another Wisconsin linebacker — this time Cichy, who has a visit lined up in Green Bay for next week. It would be another slam dunk for local Badger fans, and Cichy projects as a day-two talent who will fall to the third day due to coming off a torn ACL. It seems a bit high for him given his injury concerns, but he appears to be drawing a ton of interest from around the league and definitely could find himself going in round four.
Meanwhile, the Packers find a potential solution for the right guard position in Teller, who is an ideal height for the Packers’ offensive line. Recruited as a defensive end out of high school, Teller moved to offensive tackle as a freshman then moved inside to guard, where he started three seasons. It will be interesting to see if the Packers are interested in someone with little experience at tackle given their history, but Teller seems to check the rest of the boxes.
Round 5: Greg Senat, OT, Wagner & Chandon Sullivan, CB, Georgia Southern & Tarvarius Moore, S, Southern Mississippi
With two picks in quick succession (the Packers have one of the final selections of round four and the first pick in round five), the Packers get intriguing backups at both guard and tackle with Teller and Senat. Senat does have experience at left tackle, however, playing at the FCS level, and he meets the Packers’ athletic cutoffs as well with a very solid cone time and a good number in the shuttle drill.
Then with the team’s two compensatory picks in round five, this mock finds a pair of intriguing defensive backs. Sullivan is tall enough for the Packers at 5-foot-10 3⁄4 but had a poor 40 time at the Combine, running 4.60; however, that came with a hamstring issue that likely sapped some of his speed. He reportedly timed around 4.50 at his Pro Day while hitting 7 seconds flat in the 3-cone.
And then there’s Moore. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound safety reportedly vaulted his stock massively at his Pro Day after being a Combine snub. Check out these numbers reported by DraftAnalyst.com: 4.32 40, 39.5-inch vertical, 11-foot-2 broad jump, and a 6.89 3-cone. Tony Pauline also reported the phrase “killed it” to describe how moore fared in his positional drills. He also had stellar production as a senior, with 87 tackles, three interceptions, ten pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
All told, this draft haul would appear to be a slam dunk for the Packers if they ended up with this batch of prospects. Ward projects as a potential shutdown corner, while the team finds excellent athletes and fills important needs with essentially all of the other picks. The only position that is lacking a bit here is tight end, but between Graham and St. Brown, the Packers would have their big, seam-stretching receiving weapons covered.