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2023 NFL Draft: 3 Prospects to Watch Before Week 11

It’s (sadly) draft season, Packers fans.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s draft season, Green Bay Packers fans.

As much as it hurts to admit, the 4-7 Packers are effectively out of playoff contention. FiveThirtyEight gives the Packers just a five percent chance of making the playoffs, and the 8-1 Minnesota Vikings have effectively clinched the NFC North.

The Packers would have the 12th overall pick if the draft happened today, but we’ve been talking about the top prospects in this draft class for weeks. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the under-the-radar prospects who would be interesting fits in Green Bay.

Jaquelin Roy, DL, LSU

UAB vs #6 LSU, 9:00 PM ET on ESPN2

Green Bay still hasn’t figured out its defensive line. Despite drafting Devonte Wyatt out of Georgia in the first round last year, the rookie is only playing 10-15 snaps a game while veterans Jarran Reed and Dean Lowry struggle to do anything to help stop the run.

LSU’s Jaquelin Roy has flashed a few times as a run defender and could be someone to help the Packers out situationally, much like TJ Slaton has been doing for the past two seasons.

At 6’4” and 315 pounds, I’m impressed by how much Roy plays considering the rotations that some of the other top DL prospects in this class are in to limit their snap counts. He has good stamina and effort through all four quarters, and he does a good job of shooting his hands to engage with blockers to get extended and disengage when needed.

Along with his play strength and technique, Roy has good discipline to know when to stay home, especially when he’s unblocked off of the snap. He has very limited production as a pass rusher, but he could be a solid run stuffer for the Packers while he develops his pass-rush technique as a potential Day 2 or Day 3 pick.

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Colorado vs #15 Washington, 9:00 PM ET on Pac-12 Network

This one is mostly for APC’s Paul Noonan, but if Aaron Rodgers sticks around for a couple more seasons and the Packers decide not to pick up Jordan Love’s fifth-year option, they’re going to need another developmental project at QB.

Michael Penix Jr. has become a QwOBA favorite for Noonan after posting a breakout season with the Washington Huskies. An Indiana Hoosiers transfer, Penix has completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 3,640 yards, 25 touchdowns, and six interceptions.

The left-handed QB immediately stands out because of his arm strength. The way he’s able to zip the ball into tight windows with velocity is impressive, and he has the confidence to make those throws with decisiveness where other QB prospects might hesitate. He has solid athleticism as well to make off-script plays with a physical frame at 6’3” and 214 pounds.

The biggest concern for Penix is his injury history. The 22-year-old quarterback had multiple seasons cut short due to injuries, including two different torn ACLs and an AC joint issue during his time at IU.

However, given his athletic profile and arm talent, Penix could be a legitimate QB sleeper in the third or fourth round of the 2023 draft class.

Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

UAB vs #6 LSU, 9:00 PM ET on ESPN2

We’re double-dipping on LSU prospects this week, mostly because it’s time to have a real conversation about one of the more difficult evaluations in this wide receiver class.

Before the season began, calling Boutte an under-the-radar prospect would have been blasphemous. Before his 2021 season ended prematurely due to an ankle injury, the Tigers wideout had caught 38 passes for 509 yards and nine touchdowns despite playing in a down year for LSU.

The ankle injury, along with a new quarterback and head coach, has caused Boutte to experience serious growing pains in 2022. His role has become much more limited, and the mental mistakes have become a serious problem, including a significant increase in drops.

That being said, Boutte is one of the few wideouts near the top of this draft class who meets Green Bay’s size thresholds for the position. He can show off his burst and quick-twitch off of his release to get clean releases off of press coverage, and this also allows him to create separation at the route stem.

Boutte’s size makes him a solid contested-catch weapon and makes him an asset blocking on the boundary. The mental errors and steep drop in production will have NFL scouts grilling Boutte in pre-draft interviews, but if he can answer those questions, a team like the Packers could give him a shot at the NFL level.