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2019 NFL mock draft: Packers projected to take Brian Burns, N’Keal Harry

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The 2018 season has come to a close. Now, draft seasons can commence in earnest.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the low-scoring Super Bowl LIII in the rearview mirror, the NFL has reached the official start of draft season. The 2019 NFL Draft kicks off on April 25, and between now and then the prospects will traverse the gauntlet of the scouting combine, pro days, and meetings with perspective employers. Those events will change the way teams and talent evaluators view the players, who will likewise see their fortunes rise or fall in the mock drafts.

In his latest mock, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar sees the Green Bay Packers pursuing some familiar positions, albeit with some new names attached to the draft picks.

12. Green Bay Packers: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

This pick has often been Florida’s Jachai Polite, but he won’t be the only pass rusher the Packers consider with the 12th pick. Burns should be another candidate. He’s a long athlete who really flashed at times last season for a dull Florida State team.

Brian Burns has landed on the Packers in one of Kadar’s previous mock drafts, albeit at the end of the first round. This time around, the team lands the Florida State product with their top pick, a riskier proposition given the other talent available in that portion of the draft. Burns has produced as a pass rusher during his three seasons, but he might weigh less than 240 pounds and could become a liability defending the run. Still, Green Bay needs players who can generate pressure on their own, and Burns looks like one of those prospects.

30. Green Bay Packers: (via New Orleans): N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

A wide receiver is a little bit different from the norm for Packer picks in mock drafts. Although Aaron Rodgers made the best of players like Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling last season, the Packers could still use an upgrade. That’s especially true with Randall Cobb being a free agent.

The Packers don’t necessarily need to invest a first-round pick in their receiving corps, but finding a pass catcher capable of taking pressure off Davante Adams would go along way towards restoring the offense to its past glory. N’Keal Harry possesses the elite length and athleticism general manager Brian Gutekunst covets at the position and, once the Arizona State product adjusts to the NFL, could provide Aaron Rodgers another dangerous red-zone threat.

44. Green Bay Packers: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

What, did you really think you’d read a mock draft here where the Packers don’t take a tight end? Smith is just a notch below Hockenson and Fant, but he’s a solid all-around tight end with few flaws

Though the Packers passed on both Iowa tight ends in this mock, they still land one of the better prospects at the position with their second-round pick. Irv Smith Jr. didn’t see much action until this past season when he caught 44 passes for 710 yards and seven touchdowns. He might not have the ceiling that T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant possess, but Smith could develop into the all-around tight end Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur wants for his offense.