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Cheese Curds, 2/11: Packers’ 2019 Draft class led the way in the NFC North

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While the Packers’ top pick didn’t do a ton as a rookie, the next few picks more than made up for it in year one.

Green Bay Packers v New York Giants Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Assessing an NFL Draft after just one year is an incomplete exercise. As NFL fans know, it takes many players a few years to develop into their fully formed selves, and judging picks after just one year will never capture the overall impact of a draft class.

However, sometimes teams need instant impact from their draft picks, and the Green Bay Packers got that from two of their top three selections in 2019. In fact, based on first-year impact, the Packers had the best class of any team in the NFC North last year, finding two players who were effectively day-one starters.

The team’s trade up for safety Darnell Savage, Jr. looks like it was a great move, and their selection of offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins appears to have locked in a ten-year starter at guard. As long as these players do not regress, that’s a pretty good haul on its own, to say nothing of future returns from other picks like Rashan Gary and Jace Sternberger.

And contrasting that with the other classes across the division, it looks even better. The Vikings’ top pick was a disaster in pass protection, the Bears gave themselves no help on the offensive line, and the Lions didn’t get the instant impact they hoped from their early picks.

Brian Gutekunst will need to get some day-one contributors out of the team’s 2020 draft class as well, but for now the team’s 2019 class seems set up well overall to be a good one when all is said and done.

NFC North rookie grades: Pack got a stud on each side of the ball - NFL.com
The Packers appear to have had the best 2019 NFL Draft class among division teams, at least after one season.

Allen Lazard enjoying ‘crazy ride’ to NFL success | Packers.com
Lazard's journey to becoming the Packers' WR2 hasn't been a conventional one, but it has been fascinating to watch him develop over the past year. He's a student of the game, and he constantly leans on Davante Adams for advice, a good plan given Adams' sustained success.

Making the case for and against the Packers re-signing K Mason Crosby | Packers Wire
Crosby had the best season of his career in 2019, as he was over 90% on field goals in a season for the first time. The 13-year veteran certainly made a great case for a new contract even though he will turn 36 in September.

Aaron Rodgers, Danica Patrick send 400 ice pops to Packers fan whose hospital bed video went viral | GB Press Gazette
A teenager coming out of anesthesia posted a hilarious video of herself rambling about her Rodgers fandom and wanting popsicles, so Patrick made it happen.

RFA Taysom Hill considers himself a franchise QB, would leave Saints for 'right opportunity' | ESPN
The Saints will almost certainly find a way to keep Hill for the 2020 season on a RFA tender, but it will be interesting to see which tender they use and if they do indeed see him as a franchise quarterback. Remember, Hill joined the Packers after the 2017 NFL Draft at the age of 26, and he'll turn 30 during this year's training camp, so that would be a very strange career trajectory.

2020 NFL mock draft: These teams should make trades in the 1st round - SBNation.com
Here's another mock -- courtesy of friend-of-APC Dan Kadar -- that sends LSU receiver Justin Jefferson to Green Bay. I'm not a fan of the mock, though, only because it has the Detroit Lions picking up an extra first-round selection.