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2018 NFL mock draft: Packers trade back and still land impact defenders

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If the Packers land Josh Jackson and Marcus Davenport in a trade-down scenario, not many fans will complain.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

With the scouting combine just around the corner, many mock drafts have begun to shake up their approach. That includes SB Nation’s weekly mock curated by draft guru Dan Kadar, who has projected multiple trades in his latest edition. Those dealings include the Green Bay Packers, who Kadar has taking advantage of one of the front offices desperate for a franchise quarterback.

TRADE: The Bills pair their two first-round picks to make a move for a quarterback. Conversely, new Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst may look to make a splash in his first draft in charge. To make this one work, the Packers could have to add in a third-round pick to get pick Nos. 21 and 22 from Buffalo.

14. Buffalo Bills (via Green Bay Packers): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

If there is a slow play on quarterbacks in the free-agent market, the Bills may need to jump the Arizona Cardinals to get the quarterback they want. In this case, it’s Allen. He’s a physically gifted signal caller who needs to refine his game. The natural skills could lead a team to making a big gamble on draft night.

The Packers haven’t drafted in the top half of the first round since 2009, the year they landed B.J. Raji with the ninth overall selection. Forgoing the opportunity to use their highest pick in nearly a decade would require a massive return, and back-to-back draft choices later in the first round (Nos. 21 and 22) certainly qualifies.

By doing this, Green Bay certainly risks missing on a Day 1 impact player, but they also provide themselves a chance to quickly restock a broken defense and create some balance to Aaron Rodgers and the offense. In Kadar’s trade scenario, the Packers seem to get what their defense needs.

21. Green Bay Packers (via Buffalo Bills): Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson could jump ahead of Ohio State’s Denzel Ward as the first cornerback taken in the draft. He has the combination of length and playmaking skill that teams covet in a cornerback.

22. Green Bay Packers (via Buffalo Bills through Kansas City Chiefs): Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA

Davenport is a project of a player, but his pure talent has some thinking he could be a top-10 pick. He could start his career on a team like Green Bay as a standup pass rush specialist.

Iowa’s Josh Jackson has the length and playmaking skills to jumpstart any secondary. Combined with second-year man Kevin King, the Packers would have one of the longest, most athletic cornerback tandems in the NFL. Jackson might not last until pick No. 21 if he performs well in Indianapolis later this month, but he fits what Green Bay values at his position.

Likewise, Marcus Davenport can shoot up draft boards if he displays all-around athleticism at the scouting combine. Still, his small-school background could turn off some general managers, allowing more polished prospects like Harold Landry to move ahead. The Packers have developed edge rushers selected at this stage of the first round before -- Clay Matthews and Nick Perry -- giving them reason to believe they can do so again with Davenport.