We’ve made it! The 2019 NFL Draft is nearly here! By this time on Friday we’ll have digested the first round and we’ll be excitedly anticipating the start of the second day.
With the draft on the horizon, the APC writing staff is offering up our final takes on what we think the Packers should do. Here are our preferred scenarios. What are yours? Let us know in the comments.
Evan “Tex” Western
My ideal scenario plays out something like this:
In the first round, the Packers find an impact front-seven player and an offensive lineman, in some order. If a player like Ed Oliver falls to 12, snag him there and find a Dalton Risner or Chris Lindstrom type at 30. If the team likes Jonah Williams or Jawaan Taylor at 12, then wait on defense and see if you can grab a free-falling Montez Sweat or another player who slips, possibly a Christian Wilkins, with that second pick.
At 44 and 75, I want to see a versatile safety and a receiving threat of some kind. Personally, I’m a big fan of Juan Thornhill from Virginia at 44, which would allow the team to follow that up with a player like Terry McLaurin at 75. The opposite would work too. say they like a tight end like Irv Smith or a higher-rated receiver, say Parris Campbell, at 44; then Iowa’s Amani Hooker makes sense in the third.
With five third-day picks, including two fourth-rounders, the Packers have plenty of ammunition to move around as well. I’d like to see them use one or two of those picks to move up, maybe back into round two for a player they really like who’s still there in the 60s. I expect to see Gutey wheeling and dealing, but the ideal scenario for me is an impact defender, offensive lineman, safety, and receiver with those first four picks. If they land that by the end of Friday night, anything on day three will be gravy.
I’ve gone back and forth trying to decide what I want to see from the Packers early in the draft. After spending big in free agency on defense, do they go strictly offense? Do you address team needs before anything else? Or, do you take the best player available? The nice thing is that the Packers should get immediate help with the first pick. I think I’ve settled on the best player available.
Now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Brian Gutekunst go with the best offensive player available at the 12th pick but I have a feeling that one of these defense players will fall into the Packers lap. Whether it be Ed Oliver, Quinnen Williams, Devin White or Devin Bush the Packers will seriously have to consider one or more of these players if they are available. They would make an immediate impact on the defense and make a solid front seven even better. If those four are gone, I can see them going offensive line (I’m a big fan of Jonah Williams and Andre Dillard), tight end (TJ Hockenson) or maybe even trading back if they get an offer they like.
After the first pick, I see them focusing on offense early. If they don’t go offensive line or tight end with the first pick, I think it’s almost a guarantee that is where they will look at the end of round one. There are some nice players like Dalton Risner, Garrett Bradbury, Chris Lindstrom, Noah Fant and Irv Smith Jr. that could be available. That is, unless like Tex mentioned, Montez Sweat drops due to health concerns, then he will be worth the risk.
There are many very good wide receivers and solid safeties that will be available in round two and three. If they can somehow add a combination of Deebo Samuel, Hakeem Butler, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Juan Thornhill, Amani Hooker or Nasir Adderley in rounds two and three we should all be ecstatic. From there it’s all about adding depth and building a better special teams. We should see some inside and outside linebackers, running backs and, probably, one more offensive or defensive lineman.
No matter who we think or what the mock drafts pick for the Packers, at the end of the day, this is all just speculation. We might question or not like a selection but we just need to trust Brian Gutekunst and company to build the team to their game plan. Just sit back and enjoy the ride because draft day is a day that should inspire hope for the upcoming season and the future.
I think the best way to build your team is from the line outward. This is especially true for the Packers, given what they have in place going into the draft. Outside of tight end and safety, they’re pretty well set on non-lineman prospects, though it probably wouldn’t hurt to get another EDGE as well.
For that reason, I think the Packers should choose the top EDGE, defensive lineman, or offensive lineman on their board at 12, then choose their next favorite at either of the two remaining spots at 30. I’ll add the caveat that an interior offensive lineman is probably not the best choice at 12, so I’d prefer they stay away from that position there.
I know T.J. Hockenson has been a trendy pick at 12 and people like Nassir Adderley at 30, and I wouldn’t necessarily complain if either of those picks came to pass. I just think the Packers, now in Year 2 of the Gutekunst rebuild, would be best served by adding more talent to their respective lines.
Ideally, I would like to see the Packers get a pass rusher at pick 12. That could come in the form of Brian Burns or Montez Sweat, depending on what the team’s medical staff makes of Sweat’s heart condition. Even a defensive tackle like Ed Oliver, if he somehow slips, would be a great first option to help the front seven immediately in 2019. If all of those players are off the board, I would like to see Green Bay look to the offensive line with Andre Dillard to become the team’s future starting right tackle.
If a pass rusher is selected, the team’s next two picks could come from a pool of offensive linemen, safeties, tight ends, and wide receivers. It would be spectacular if Green Bay could land a player like tight end Noah Fant with pick 30, though this is unlikely. A dark horse is Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who will need to sit out next season with a knee injury but is one of the top 10 players in this draft.
I expect some combination of the best players available at these positions to make up the Packers’ first five rounds, but pass rusher, despite the free agent additions, remains my biggest priority.