The 2018 NFL Draft is right around the corner. Leading up, we’ll take a look at some of the players who have been picked at the Packers' current draft positions.
The Packers haven’t picked this high since B.J. Raji at pick 9 in 2009 so this is relatively new territory for Packers faithful over the past decade.
Several players across the league who were picked at 14 overall still have plenty of left to display, but a couple are on the verge of bust territory. As for the Packers' pick, there aren’t any guarantees for who could fall to them despite how many educated guesses we make.
Over the past five drafts, here’s who was selected at #14 overall.
2017: Derek Barnett, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
During last season’s draft, getting Barnett at pick 14 was a steal for the Eagles. Considered one of the top defensive ends in the draft, Barnett really started to come on late last season for the eventual Super Bowl champs.
Benefiting from a stacked defensive line rotation, Barnett was able to come into the game with fresh legs while learning from some great veteran players. If the Packers pick an EDGE player at 14, getting rookie output akin to Barnett would be a great scenario for the green and gold.
2016: Karl Joseph, S, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders secondary hasn’t exactly been the most solid unit across the league in recent years. The addition of Joseph was supposed to help improve the secondary, but so far, any improvements have yet to be seen.
That may not be Joseph’s fault, though. Joseph is more of a hard-hitting, in the box-type safety who’s not going to cover mistakes made by the defensive backs this early in his career. Both Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James would be more complete prospects if they made it down to 14.
2015: DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
Parker is another player that may be a victim of the system in which he plays, but more importantly, it looks like a general lack of effort. Parker has been plagued with injuries over his first 3 seasons, but his stats in games he has played in have been no better than average.
Drafting for defense feels more and more like the Packers' game plan going into the draft, but if they went offense — a wide receiver more specifically — they had better hope they get more production out of that player.
2014: Kyle Fuller, DB, Chicago Bears
The Packers offered Fuller a contract during Fuller’s free agency after he received a transition tag, forcing the Bears to match. So it’s hard to tell how much they truly value the young corner out of Virginia Tech. Fuller was tied for 2nd in passes defensed in the 2017 season, but prior to last year, he’s had issues staying healthy.
At 14, the Packers will be looking at defensive back heavily. However, you hope that the corner they draft starts their career much better than Kyle Fuller. There are other stud defenders that have been drafted at 14 and they should give the Packers some hope.
2013: Star Lotulelei, DT, Carolina Panthers
Another D-linemen drafted at 14, but in this case Star Lotulelei has been just okay as a player. A solid NFL-starter, Lotulelei is now on his second team— signing with the Buffalo Bills— after the Panthers opted to let him walk this past offseason. The Panthers don’t have the most cap space in the world, but they ultimately decided to invest their resources in DT Kawann Short last season. And Short was drafted in the second round of this draft by Carolina.
Drafting a player like Lotulelei would be like the Packers picking Raji all over again: a solid player when on the field, but ideally you would like someone who will be with the team long term.
Other notable players taken over the years at Pick 14 include:
2010: Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks
2009: Malcolm Jenkins, DB, New Orleans Saints
2007: Darrelle Revis, DB, New York Jets
2005: Thomas Davis, LB, Carolina Panthers
The Packers also have picks 45 and 76 in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, respectively. Those picks have been varied, but I trust the Green Bay front office at selecting later in the draft more than any other.
Picks at 45th over the past few years include:
2017: Adam Shaheen, TE, Chicago Bears
The Bears just gave TE Trey Burton actual bags with dollar signs printed on them this past offseason. It’s clear Shaheen is mostly seen as a redzone target
2016: Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Just when you feel like Henry finally earned enough goodwill to take full control of the Titans backfield, new Head Coach Mike Vrabel signs Dion Lewis. He’s still young, and a very giant man, so there’s still more to see from Henry.
2015: Eric Kendricks, LB, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings more recently made Kendricks the 4th-highest paid ILB in the NFL. Kendricks has been a solid 100 tackle per season guy and that’s what you hope for out of a second-round player.
Picks at 76th over the past few years include:
2017: Alex Anzalone, LB, New Orleans Saints
2016: Shon Coleman, OL, Cleveland Browns
2015: Chris Conley, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Anzalone is still looking for his place to make an impact, but he’s only entering his second year. Coleman started all 16 games for the Browns in 2017 and is currently making the switch to LT to fill the void left by Hall of Famer, Joe Thomas. As for Conley, he’s making his way back from a ruptured Achilles injury and will be fighting for a roster slot now that the Chiefs signed Sammy Watkins to play in his usual outside role.