By defeating the New York Jets this past Sunday, the Green Bay Packers ensured that they wouldn’t finish at the bottom of the NFC North in 2018. However, that win pushed the Packers back in the draft order, landing them at No. 14.
Even so, SB Nation draft guru Dan Kadar sees the Green Bay addressing two of its top needs in his latest 2019 NFL mock draft.
14. Green Bay Packers: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
The Packers have racked up 43 sacks this season, but that is thanks more to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme than the players in it. The Packers lack a true standout pass rusher, especially considering Clay Matthews’ declining play and pending free agency. Sweat is someone who can come in and play on the edge standing up or with his hand down.
Montez Sweat’s name has come up consistently for the Packers, who face a difficult decision with underperforming outside linebacker Nick Perry and could see longtime pass rusher Clay Matthews depart in free agency. Whether Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst will target Sweat depends largely on how the Mississippi State standout performs at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
32. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Different week, a different tight end option for the Packers. It will be intriguing to double dip on pass rushers, but Hockenson could become Aaron Rodgers’ go-to target in the short and middle game.
In previous mock drafts, Kadar projected Iowa tight end Noah Fant to Green Bay at the end of the first round. Fant’s teammate T.J. Hockenson actually had the stronger 2018 season, leading the Hawkeyes in receptions (46) and receiving yards (717). Hockenson also won the 2018 John Mackey award as the top tight end in the nation.
However, though Fant has declared for the draft, Hockenson has yet to reveal his plans. If the latter does join the 2018 rookie class, he will certainly garner consideration early in the proceedings.