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2023 NFL Draft: 3 Prospects to Watch Before Week 5

A few prospects for Packers fans to watch before Sunday morning.

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Virginia Tech at Maryland Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers may be 3-1 heading into their London game against the New York Giants, but the weaknesses are starting to show up.

Even outside of the team’s needs on the depth chart currently, the Packers need to look ahead to 2023 and beyond as the front office continues to evaluate college football prospects. Free agents and players nearing retirement will play a factor in the positions the team pays extra attention to in the 2023 draft class.

With that in mind, here are a few prospects to keep an eye on this weekend before the Packers play on Sunday morning.

Rakim Jarrett, WR, Maryland

Maryland vs. Purdue, 12:00 PM ET on BTN

Even with the sudden resurgence of slot receiver Randall Cobb, the Packers should keep their eye on slot receivers in the upcoming draft. Cobb is 32 years old with a long record of injury history, and it has been made painfully clear that Amari Rodgers will not be his successor in the slot.

Rakim Jarrett is one of the more entertaining slot prospects you’ll watch in this upcoming draft class. The junior wideout has over 1,300 receiving yards and nine touchdowns over his college career, but it’s what he does after the catch that makes him so appealing.

At 6’0” and 190 pounds, Jarrett has quick-twitch explosiveness off of his release, as well as in and out of his breaks to create separation. Once the ball is in his hands, he runs more like a running back than a receiver, keeping his feet moving and lowering his pads through contact with good balance to stay upright, or simply making a quick cut to make a defender miss in space.

Jarrett’s measurements feel generous, and he may not meet Green Bay’s usual thresholds if his height and weight are inaccurate. However, if they’re legit, he’s a slot weapon whom Matt LaFleur could get very creative in utilizing in his offense.

Tyler Davis, DL, Clemson

#5 Clemson @ Boston College, 7:30 PM ET on ABC

Defensive line depth is still looking like a major concern for the Packers. Even after signing Jarran Reed and drafting Devonte Wyatt, Green Bay is struggling to stop the run on defense.

Brian Gutekunst could be patient in waiting to see how Wyatt develops, but Kenny Clark can’t be the only impact playmaker on Green Bay’s defensive line. Tyler Davis would be an interesting complementary piece at the position, especially given his production at Clemson.

A senior for the Tigers, Davis has been a full-time contributor at Clemson throughout his four years, racking up 12 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and 90 combined tackles. Against the run, he shows an excellent anchor to avoid getting blown out of his gap, even against double teams.

Despite his powerful frame, Davis is surprisingly quick when taking angle steps to shoot into gaps and get into the backfield. His biggest question mark will be his lack of length, and that shows up on film when trying to get extension or get a hand on a ball carrier.

Davis is likely a Day 2 or Day 3 pick, but if the Packers want to focus on other positions earlier, the Clemson prospect has a strong resume and could be a solid addition to the defensive line.

Jarrett Patterson, OL, Notre Dame

Notre Dame vs. #16 BYU in Las Vegas, 7:30 PM ET on NBC

The Packers are notorious for finding great value on the offensive line, and lately they’ve had a strong track record of bringing in versatile linemen who can play multiple positions. Depending on how he tests in the pre-draft process, Jarrett Patterson out of Notre Dame is a player who could check some of those boxes while giving the team another starting-caliber guard.

Patterson has played both center and guard over his career with the Fighting Irish. A third-team All-American last season, Patterson hasn’t allowed a sack throughout his entire college career. He does a great job of keeping his feet behind him with a wide base, and consistently resets his hands when pass rushers try to work a move to keep them from disengaging.

As a run blocker, Patterson has the rare trait of winning one-on-one battles after initially getting beat off of the snap. Because of his excellent pad level, hand placement, and lower body strength, the Notre Dame senior is able to drive defenders into the second level, even if he initially is pushed back.

Patterson looks sluggish as a puller, and his play speed and athleticism will be called into question at the next level. From the eye test, he may not hit Green Bay’s thresholds for offensive linemen, but he’s a prospect worth watching regardless.