After maneuvering to fill the Packers biggest need and getting a first-round pick for his troubles, new GM Brian Gutekunst tabbed Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson at 45. The nation’s leader in interceptions last season had been widely connected to Green Bay at the 14th pick and most agreed he was a first-round talent.
Then, using his myriad Day 3 picks, Gutekunst moved back up to 88 and took speedy Vanderbilt linebacker Oren Burks to continue the defensive revamp.
For the Packers to get such a steal at 45 not only underscores what a glaring need the team had at cornerback but also how a situational the draft can be. Few could have predicted Jackson would have been around in the middle of the second round, but the Packers pounced.
With that in mind, Day 3 holds a cache of picks for Green Bay and they could use them to trade up and add mid-round selections or simply add a host of high-upside talents and see who sticks.
Gutekunst will have seven more picks Saturday to complete his draft more than enough ammunition to turn that into multiple fourth-rounders if he so chooses. That could mean multiple players from this list of the best players still on the board.
1. Tarvarus McFadden CB Florida State — The Packers can’t go full 1999 and take cornerbacks with their first three picks but could go 3⁄4 with the big, playmaking McFadden.
2. Obo Okoronkwo EDGE Oklahoma — Green Bay has yet to address a need many thought would be a priority at the top and Okoronkwo may be undersized, but he’s a physical, athletic and productive pass rusher.
3. Josh Sweat EDGE Florida State — Sweat’s medicals after a devastating knee injury at Florida State must be holding him back. At what point does he become worth the risk?
4. Tyrell Crosby OL Oregon — If the Packers want to address their offensive line depth, Crosby is a Day 2 talent with experience who could play right tackle or guard.
5. Maurice Hurst Jr DT Michigan — Another player whose medical status drove him down, Hurst would be long gone if not for a heart condition that kept him out of the combine. At this point, it’s worth wondering if he’ll be drafted at all.
6. Tony Brown DB Alabama — Brown could a combo player for the Packers as a hybrid corner/safety and has the kind of athletic tools the front office desires.
7. DaeSean Hamilton WR Penn State — Polished and proficient, Hamilton could come in on Day 1 and be the Packers third receiver having played for former Green Bay receivers coach James Franklin.
8. Equanimous St. Brown WR Notre Dame — St. Brown hasn’t produced to the level of his talent, but at this point in the draft, it’s worth taking a flyer on a player with his size/speed ratio and soft hands.
9. Hercules Mata’afa DL Washington State — He didn’t test well at the combine and he’s a wonky position fit, but all Mata’afa did in the Pac-12 was wreck offenses. A creative defensive coordinator could find a way to use him.
10. Akrum Wadley RB Iowa — I’ll die on Wadley Hill, I don’t care. I watch him at Iowa and see Dion Lewis 2.0 and the Titans just paid a lot of money for that guy. He has serious make-you-miss ability and passing game versatility even if his blocking is atrocious.
11. Duke Ejiofor EDGE Wake Forest
12. Deon Cain WR Clemson
13. Kyle Lauletta QB Richmond
14. Holton Hill CB Texas
15. Luke Falk QB Washington State
16. Micah Kiser LB Virginia
17. Tim Settle DT Virginia Tech
18. Trenton Thompson DT Georgia
19. Anthony Averett CB Alabama
20. Ian Thomas TE Indiana