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2023 NFL Draft: 3 Prospects to watch before Week 9

Some college prospects for Packers fans to keep an eye on.

Kansas v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

After four straight losses, Green Bay Packers fans might want to start thinking about positions of need for the 2023 offseason.

The 27-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills might not have been the worst game of this losing streak, but it has put the Packers at 3-5 with a sizable gap between them and the NFC North leader in the 6-1 Minnesota Vikings. It’s gotten so bleak that if the season were to end today, the Packers would hold the 13th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

With the losing streak still going on and Green Bay holding on for dear life for the chance at a playoff spot, it’s a good time to look at some draft prospects who could be key fits for the Packers.

Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Texas Tech vs #7 TCU, 12:00 PM ET on FOX

Depth on the edge has been discussed a lot this season. While Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare is starting to show some serious flashes, the team needs a another EDGE with top-tier traits who can step in and be a dangerous matchup in case Rashan Gary or Preston Smith go down.

Tyree Wilson has become that pass-rushing mismatch for Texas Tech. In 21 games over the last two seasons, Wilson has racked up 25 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks, making plays consistently in the backfield.

Listed at 6’6” and 275 pounds, Wilson is a bigger EDGE prospect with a ton of length. He wins primarily with his play strength, attacking blockers and forcing the issue. Despite his size, his explosiveness off of the snap and bend around the edge are solid enough, and he has a couple of pass-rush moves he can use to get disengaged.

The biggest things Wilson needs to work on are technique and discipline. Too many times he will get over-aggressive and fly upfield when blocks go away from him, allowing blocks coming across the formation to wash him out and create natural cutback lanes. He’s also inconsistent with shooting his hands and getting extended, but when he does he can absolutely dominate offensive linemen.

Wilson could fly up draft boards in the pre-draft process, but even as of right now he’d a home-run first-round pick for the Packers.

Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

#16 Penn State vs Indiana, 3:30 PM ET on ABC

Is it time for the Packers to find their next great left tackle? David Bakhtiari’s status has changed on a week to week basis, and when he hasn’t been able to play the offensive line has looked brutal.

If Bakhtiari retires, or the team has to move on from him in 2023, 2024, or 2025, having a backup plan will be crucial to keeping Green Bay’s quarterback upright. Yosh Nijman has been a solid backup plan, but he will be a free agent after this season.

Olumuyiwa Fashanu is only a redshirt sophomore, but the 19-year-old tackle has emerged as one of the most dominant left tackles in college football for the Nittany Lions. At 6’6” and 308 pounds, he moves very well in his pass sets and against the run, and he has a real chance at being the first tackle taken in the draft.

Fashanu shows a very good anchor despite his lighter frame, and I think that as he grows into his body he could have a truly elite anchor. He covers a ton of ground with his pass sets, and he has the play speed to get out into open space on screen plays.

The only weakness that stands out is his balance, and he can get knocked down when trying to block from awkward angles. Still, given his youth, size and athleticism, the upside for Fashanu could have him be a perennial Pro Bowl tackle at the next level.

Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

Arizona vs #12 Utah, 7:30 PM ET on Pac-12 Network

The tight end position could look drastically different in 2023 for the Packers. Marcedes Lewis will have to retire eventually, and Robert Tonyan will be a free agent in an offseason where the Packers will be very limited with their cap space.

We’ve talked before about Darnell Washington as a potential Lewis replacement, but what about a replacement for Tonyan? There aren’t a ton of options out there, but Utah’s Dalton Kincaid would be a worthy one in Day 2 of the draft.

Kincaid has been a key part of Utah’s offense the past two seasons, but he had a monster game a couple of weeks ago against USC, catching 16 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. As a Tonyan replacement, he has similar size at 6’4” and 240 pounds along with a similar skill set.

As a pass catcher, he moves well with good speed and explosiveness in and out of his breaks, as well as after the catch. His contact balance and play strength are solid enough to pick up extra yards through contact, and occasionally break tackles.

As a blocker, Kincaid shows good willingness and effort, latching onto defenders and even steering them to seal off rushing lanes from awkward angles. He doesn’t have the frame to be a consistent blocker as an in-line tight end, but he could be a legitimate asset blocking on the outside for his teammates.

Kincaid isn’t the most attractive tight end prospect in this class when comparing him to Darnell Washington or Michael Mayer, but he has the skill set to be a long-term starter, or at least contributor, in the NFL.