Now that the Super Bowl has concluded and all 32 NFL teams are in offseason mode, it’s time to start fantasizing about all of the players that you want your team to select that they won’t and will break your heart.
To preface this, we obviously don’t know how this offseason will go for the Green Bay Packers. They have a new coaching staff, and this is probably the closest thing to a “transition” offseason the Packers have had in a decade? So be open minded here, and let’s take a trip into the dream machine and let’s see how the 2019 NFL Draft plays out in this scenario.
For more context: this isn’t a full offseason simulation. There is clearly room for change in the scenario with the different free agent signings and whatnot. However, we’re going to pretend that everything I say goes in this scenario, happens.
Without further ado, here we go:
Round 1 Pick 12: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State 6’5” 240
In this scenario, Clelin Ferrell, Josh Allen, Jachai Polite and Montez Sweat were all gone, so selecting Burns was an easy decision. Burns, who was three years old when the Packers drafted Jamal Reynolds (don’t even think about it), is a long, twitchy pass rusher who was the lone bright spot to a very dull and sad Florida State football season.
Burns will likely not be a base defense guy, as his value initially and in the long run is based in his ability to get after the quarterback. Burns’ weight will be an interesting watch in Indy, as Burns likely played the majority of his career in the 220s or lighter. He may never be anything more than an adequate run defender, but frankly that’s not what you’re paying him to do. He’s likely a long and late downs rusher early on — Fackrell (my God what did I just type) and possibly a free agent (Preston Smith would be very nice) could be the starters, if the Packers move on (they should) from Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.
Round 1 Pick 30: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa 6’5” 250 (from New Orleans)
This has become an extremely trendy pick for the Packers, and to be honest I wouldn’t be shocked if Hockenson was gone before this in April. However, here he’s not, so Roll Tide.
Hockenson, honestly, is just an all-around player. He’s got the size and athleticism you covet at tight end. He’s got reliable hands. He’s a devastating blocker. To be frank, he’s just an ass kicker, something the Packers’ offense hasn’t had in quite a while. In LaFleur’s offense, an athletic, versatile tight end who resembles George Kittle (I’d still use this comp even if they both didn’t go to Iowa). This is a slam dunk, Day 1 pick in this case. It’s a luxury pick from the Marcus Davenport trade from 2018, and the roster continues to get more talented a position that desperately needs it.
Round 2 Pick 44: Nasir Adderley, DB, Delaware 6’0” 195
Yes, he’s related to Packers great Herb Adderley. Now that we’re past that, let’s talk about Adderley as a player.
He was used in a significant capacity by the Blue Hens, but his career ended on a crescendo, with Adderley playing his best ball. He’s not a man-cover guy, and we saw that down in Mobile. But Adderley’s ability to play center field, drop down by the line of scrimmage and be a ball player, and be a robber/rat/hole player in underneath coverage gives Adderley a plethora of possibilities despite him not being an elite athlete. He possesses great range despite lacking game breaking speed and he’s the chess piece I think a lot of people thought Josh Jackson could be.
Round 3 Pick 76: Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia 6’4” 240
The Packers double dipping at tight end? With two of their first four picks?! Look. You don’t only build your roster for the upcoming season. This is one of the deepest tight end classes in quite some time, and now is the time to strike. I looked to select an offensive lineman here, but honestly the value wasn’t there. Maybe they signed a guard in free agency wink.
Nauta is another well-rounded tight end. He’s not the blocker that Hockenson is, but he’s rock solid in about everything that he does. He’s another “move” tight end for LaFleur to utilize, and although the new Packers’ HC is rumored to be molding the offense more along the lines of Kyle Shanahan (more 21 personnel), when Jimmy Graham and his contract are off the books after next season, having Hockenson and Nauta as your tight ends is awfully appealing.
Round 4 Pick 112: Daylon Mack, DL, Texas A&M 6’1” 327
Possibly the biggest riser throughout the all-star game circuit, Mack would be a nice value at this spot early in the 4th round. The Packers would always be wise to continue to invest in their defensive front to give Mike Pettine more pieces to play with in front of the bountiful combinations of personnel the defensive coordinator likes to use behind the front three/four.
Mack is built like a fire hydrant. He’s a former 5-star recruit who never really figured it out until his senior season in College Station. Mack still has some weight to shed, I think his sweet spot is between 320-325. He’s not a flashy pass rusher, but he’s shorter than the offensive lineman he’ll face, he’s stronger than they are, and he’ll walk the lineman backwards into the pocket. He’s not a two-gapper, but he’s a pluggy lineman who you put anywhere from 1-3 tech and let him disrupt and get upfield. One of the best first steps in the class.
Round 4 Pick 116: Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech 6’1” 235 (from Washington)
This pick comes from the Ha Ha Clinton-Dix trade. Dakota Allen, yes, the same one from Last Chance U season two, makes a lot of sense for Green Bay and the direction Pettine seemingly wants to go with the defense.
Allen is a run and hit, coverage linebacker. Green Bay selected a similar player in Vanderbilt’s Oren Burks last season, but Allen is less of a projection, as he’s actually played the position for more than a season. Allen will never be a premier player, but he’ll find his niche as a coverage linebacker in their Nickel and Dime packages, along with special teams. Allen rounds out the linebacker room nicely with Blake Martinez, Oren Burks and Antonio Morrison, really giving the Packers a bit of everything from a playing style perspective.
Round 5 Pick 140: Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State 6’0” 205
Terry McLaurin is one of the most dynamic athletes in this entire draft class. McLaurin should run somewhere between 4.40-4.45 and had a 42” vertical jump in high school.
McLaurin was a victim of the Ohio State offense for most of his career, battling both J.T. Barrett as his college quarterback as well as playing with multiple NFL level receivers throughout his career in Columbus. He finally put it together during his senior season, featured in a much more pass-heavy offensive attack. He was nearly uncoverable in Mobile, and is another impressive special teams player, which after watching the Packers struggle in those facets for the past few seasons, the more players you can acquire who excel in those areas is a bonus.
Round 6 Pick 172: Byron Cowart, EDGE/DL, Maryland 6’3” 297
Cowart is a former #1 high school recruit in the country initially committed to Auburn. However, by Cowart’s own admission, he didn’t know how to really play football once he got to Auburn, as he had gotten by almost solely by his athleticism and size. After eventually transferring to a junior college and ending up in Maryland, Cowart is intriguing.
While obviously he’s still putting his football skill set together, Cowart provides a lot of reasons to like. He’s a plus athlete for his size, and he gives the Packers some versatility in their personnel packages, as Cowart could play some base five tech end, and kick inside in sub packages as a rusher.
Round 6 Pick 182: Chuma Edoga, OL, USC 6’4” 303 (from Seattle)
This pick was acquired in the trade with Seattle after initially trading back with New Orleans. Edoga is a player who really impressed me at the Senior Bowl, after I was pretty underwhelmed with his tape for the Trojans.
I think Edoga would kick inside to guard and his athleticism would allow him to thrive in Green Bay’s new stretch zone run scheme. He played in the high 280s at USC, but looked to naturally carry 303 in Mobile. He’s a high cut, high-hipped lineman with long legs, and is an effortless mover. He could also be used as a swing tackle in a pinch, but he’s a guy who could work his way into a starting lineup sooner than later at guard.
Round 7 Pick 204: Jacques Patrick, RB/FB/TE?, Florida State 6’3” 234
The seventh round is the perfect place to take a chance on a project. Meet Jacques Patrick. A former prized recruit for the Seminoles, Patrick never became the dominant power back he was billed to be coming out of high school. However, he’s a large, impressive specimen with some potential to develop.
Patrick could be a perfect candidate to practice squad for a year or two and develop into a fullback in LaFleur’s system. He’s got the size, speed and skill to carry the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield. Patrick is the perfect candidate to pick late: he’s got the tools athletically. If it doesn’t work out, he was a seventh round flier. If he does work out, however, you’ve got a major piece of your offense and didn’t invest much into acquiring him.
Now, I know I didn’t really address the offensive line. Edoga would be a nice get in the sixth, but preferably a more notable upgrade will be made to the offensive line. I really wanted to get a pass rusher and take advantage of the tight end class.
If you notice, five of the players I selected were in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. There was a ton of talent down at the all-star game this year, and they created a ton of intrigue.