It’s officially mock draft season, so I decided to go over to The Draft Network and use their mock draft machine for the first time in 2022. If you have an issue with who was available, please alert them. If you have an issue with someone I took, sound off in the comments.
Without any further ado, here’s a pretend Green Bay Packers draft — following the news that quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams are back — to hold you over this offseason:
#28: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Going into the combine, plenty of Paul Bunyan stories were told about Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks, including one about how massive his 3XL glove hands were. Unfortunately, his week in Indianapolis was not good as expected. Registering 9 7/8” hands — which are large but not abnormal — and running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash, he certainly did not help himself in Lucas Oil Stadium
According to NFL Mock Database, he was picked, on average, at 13th overall on March 6th and has since dropped to a 23rd overall average, putting the Green Bay Packers in play for his services. Burks is one of the top players in the draft class who pass the Packers’ athletic and frame tendencies at a position of need, so we should assume he will be in consideration for their first-round selection, if he’s available.
Burks is a big-body (6’2”, 225 pounds) receiver who rarely played on the perimeter for an Arkansas offense that was built primarily around power runs and quarterback runs. Burks played more time in the slot than outside in the Razorbacks offense and also lined up in the backfield and on the wing, something the Packers do with their receivers more than any other NFL team in the league.
While he’s maybe not the burner that Marquez Valdes-Scantling is, Burks could be an upgrade over Allen Lazard, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2023, assuming the Packers give him a restricted free agent tender this offseason.
#59: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
While he’s not a complete tight end, Isaiah Likely of Coastal Carolina would be a great role player for what the Packers currently need. With the deadline to push Robert Tonyan’s void money into future years behind us, the window to negotiate with Tonyan to return to Green Bay in a way that would best suit the 2022 Packers’ cap situation is already closed. Because of that, a pass-catching tight end is a fairly large need for the team, assuming they think of Josiah Deguara as an H-back to compliment inline tight end Marcedes Lewis.
Despite playing in a spread triple-option offense, Likely was able to register 2,050 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns with the Chanticleers. At 6’5” and 245 pounds, he won’t be for everyone, but his pass-catching skills and 36” vertical will raise the eyebrows of teams who want to add a tight end who can make a difference for them on third downs.
#92: Quay Walker, ILB, Georgia
At 6’4” and 241 pounds, Quay Walker was able to run a 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the combine and showed the NFL evaluators why he wasn’t the player his stat sheet said. In four years at Georgia, Walker registered 137 tackles (79 solo) and 11 tackles for loss, but he shared linebacker snaps with Nakobe Dean (the potential top linebacker in this draft class), Channing Tindall (another 2022 linebacker), Monty Rice (2021 third-round pick) and Tae Crowder (2020 seventh-round pick.)
In Georgia’s blitz-heavy defense, the Bulldogs demanded that their linebackers were able to either run around or through guards to open up late blitzes for players on the second level. While Dean was the speed player, running sideline-to-sideline consistently, Walker was the bigger, traditional linebacker who was beating down offensive linemen with 100 pounds on him at the point of attack.
Should De’Vondre Campbell leave Green Bay, Walker would be a great replacement candidate for him, as they have similar frames and athleticism. Here are their comparable measurables, based on what Walker did in Indianapolis:
Walker vs Campbell
|Name||Quay Walker||De'Vondre Campbell|
|Name||Quay Walker||De'Vondre Campbell|
#130: Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
Like Treylon Burks, Tennessee’s Velus Jones Jr. is a receiver with the frame (6’0”, 204 pounds) that the Packers look for. Jones has played six years of college football, beginning his career at USC, and developed a knack as a return man. In his final season with the Volunteers, he finished second all-time on Tennessee’s single-season all-purpose yardage list, earning more yards as a return man (910) than as an offensive player (822.)
While this may seem too high to take a special-teamer, the Minnesota Vikings drafted Iowa State “running back” Kene Nwagwu 119th overall last season and saw him return 18 kicks for 525 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie. With the upside to develop more as a pass-catcher, this is where the First-Team All-SEC return man with a 4.31-second 40 will go.
The question is just how serious are the Packers about improving in the third phase of football?
#139: Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
The Packers have not taken too many gambles on character risks, which may hurt cornerback Jack Jones’ chances to be drafted by the team. In college, he broke into a Panda Express, which, along with academic issues, led to him spending some time at the junior college level to work on his eligibility before he transferred to Arizona State.
He had one other incident at ASU, a 2020 suspension for a non-legal issue, but the coaching staff has talked about him positively since. At 5’11”, he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis that would not keep him out of contention from playing in the slot, a role that will need to be filled as cornerbacks Chandon Sullivan, Kevin King and Rasul Douglas are expected to move on in free agency.
Jones is a high-level cover corner, earning Third-Team AP All-American as a freshman with the USC Trojans. The big questions are his size (171 pounds) and his off-field issues, which the Packers may overlook for a cheap, quality slotback during a title push.
#170: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
To put it very clearly: Justyn Ross should not be available at this selection. Some will wonder why the Packers are taking a third receiver in this mock draft, but Jones is primarily a return man and Ross is a first-round talent with medical issues.
The story of Ross goes like this: He has a breakout freshman season, putting him on the radar of NFL teams immediately. After registering 1,866 yards and 17 touchdowns with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback over his first two seasons, he has a “stinger” in spring and missed the entire 2020 season after doctors found a congenital fusion condition in his neck, which is the proper way to say he had multiple vertebrae fused together.
In his return to the field in 2021, Ross put up just 524 yards receiving as Clemson struggled to pass the ball with quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei under center. Ross also had a foot injury in November that kept him off the field at the end of the season. Despite missing games, Ross was still awarded the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award for “Most Courageous Player.”
On All-22, Ross’ high-level releases and speed are clear as day, but the Tigers simply could not feed either he or Joseph Ngata, a top 2023 prospect, to the volume that they should have. At 6’4” and 205 pounds, the expectation is that Ross runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at Clemson’s pro day, if he runs at all. He only participated in one drill at the combine: the bench press (11 reps.)
#225: Amare Barno, EDGE, Virginia Tech
With rumors swirling around that the Packers are in the market for Von Miller and Uchenna Nwosu — with Za’Darious Smith likely out and Preston Smith likely extended — Green Bay will want to hit the edge rusher position much higher in the draft, if they strike out in the free-agent market.
With that being said, due to a deep class at the position, they can find interesting depth later in the draft, like Virginia Tech pass-rusher Amare Barno. Barno ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash to go along with a 37” vertical and a 131” broad jump. The South Carolina prep spent two years at Butler Community College in Kansas before posting 21.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks with the Hokies.
#263 Nephi Sewell, ILB, Utah
If Campbell does leave, the Packers will likely look to add more depth at the linebacker position than just one draft pick. With Oren Burks set to hit free agency, Isaiah McDuffie not seeing the field on defense and Ty Summers benched from defensive reps early on in the year, it would be surprising for Green Bay not to address the position multiple times, especially considering the fact that linebackers are some of the most-played special team players in the sport.
Nephi Sewell is the brother of first-round tackle Penei Sewell and Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell. Nephi made 19 starts at Nevada before walking on at Utah, eventually earning a scholarship to play three years for the Utes. At 6’0” and 226 pounds, Sewell ran a 4.67-second 40, a 7.01-second three-cone and a 4.33-second short shuttle at the combine.
While he is not the biggest linebacker, he is very aggressive, a solid coverage player (former safety) and should contribute on special teams.