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2019 NFL mock draft: Packers land Jachai Polite with top pick

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The Packers also land a tight end to develop as Jimmy Graham’s long-term replacement.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 South Carolina at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While the Green Bay Packers’ head-coaching search commands most of the attention around Wisconsin, the team will also prepare for the upcoming NFL draft. That holds true at SB Nation as well where scouting guru Dan Kadar has released a new mock draft this week.

Once again, Kadar sees the Packers grabbing a front-seven defender and a pass catcher with their two first-round picks. The identity of those players has changed again this week, however.

12. Green Bay Packers: Jachai Polite, DE, Florida

The Packers need a pass rusher in a big way. Polite is coming off a big season at Florida that included 11 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. Polite is a terror around the edge and closes on the quarterback violently.

Jachai Polite has become a popular name in draft circles for his impressive production and high-end athletic traits. He probably doesn’t fit into every defense, and the Packers could shift to a new scheme under their next head coach, but Polite offers plenty of intrigue as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

31. Green Bay Packers: (via New Orleans): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Hockenson, a redshirt sophomore, is being coy about his intentions regarding the 2019 draft. If he does go pro, Hockenson is arguably the best tight end in the draft. He leads Iowa in receptions and receiving yards, and he’s equally as good as a blocker. He can be a nice check-down target for Aaron Rodgers, who seems to need all the help he can get.

If T.J. Hockenson declares, he will battle with Iowa teammate Noah Fant to become the first tight end selected in the upcoming draft. Green Bay just signed Jimmy Graham to a multiyear contract last year, but the limited returns could push general manager Brian Gutekunst to find a long-term answer in the draft.