With the Green Bay Packers officially eliminated from the playoffs, the attention now turns in full to the 2019 NFL Draft. They own two first-round selections as the result of a trade with the New Orleans Saints last April that landed the extra pick. SB Nation’s draft guru Dan Kadar sees the Packers attacking a primary issues on each side of the ball with those draft choices in his latest mock draft.
11. Green Bay Packers: Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has schemed Green Bay into being a team that is near the top of the NFL in sacks. However, the Packers have needed a pass rusher for several seasons and longtime stalwart Clay Matthews is a free agent. Someone like Sweat can be used standing up on the edge or with his hand down.
32. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Two tight ends from the same school in the first round? It’s possible if Hockenson ends up joining Fant in declaring for the draft. Fant, who has already declared, is an exceptional pass catcher who knows how to work the seam.
Landing some help at outside linebacker ranks as the Packers’ top priority on defense. As Kadar notes in his explanations, Clay Matthews could depart in free agency and might have little left to offer as a pass rusher at this stage of his career. You can expect to see different edge rushers rotate in these mocks throughout the draft process as Green Bay’s preferences could change based on the next coaching staff and how the prospects perform in the NFL Scouting Combine and other pre-draft workouts.
Kadar’s projection of Fant underscores Jimmy Graham’s struggles during his first season with the Packers. The team could opt to keep Graham given the systemic issues that sunk the 2018 campaign, but it wouldn’t surprise many to see general manager Brian Gutekunst move on from the veteran tight end this offseason.