Despite the vast majority of starters resting, the preseason showed us which positions the Packers are going to need depth at in the coming years. That, along with the contract situations of a handful of veterans, gives us an idea of which positions Packers fans should start looking at when it comes to draft prospects.
After the opening weekend of college football gave us some glimpses at future NFL players, here are a few prospects Packers fans should look at this weekend before they take on the Minnesota Vikings.
Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
The Packers are going to need more depth on the edge next season. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith are very good starters, but there’s a huge drop-off on the depth chart behind them. JJ Enagbare will be someone to keep an eye on, but the fifth-round pick would need to vastly outperform where he was drafted to solidify the depth at the position.
There are plenty of EDGE prospects for Packers fans to keep an eye on, but they’re unlikely to snag a top-tier prospect like Will Anderson Jr. unless things go sideways this year. If they end up picking in the late 20’s or early 30’s like they usually do, then a player like Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey is someone for fans to keep an eye on.
Foskey had a breakout season for the Irish in 2021, picking up 11 sacks and six forced fumbles on the year. He will be only 22 years old by the time of the draft, and at 6’5” and 265 pounds he has a powerful frame to handle the NFL’s more physical offensive linemen.
The Notre Dame prospect was relatively quiet in the loss to Ohio State, but he’ll have a chance to pad his stats on Saturday with an easier matchup against Marshall.
Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
What does the future hold for the safety position in Green Bay? Darnell Savage has two more years on his rookie deal, while the Packers decided to restructure veteran safety Adrian Amos’s contract rather than offering him an extension.
The depth behind the two starting safeties is concerning, even with the addition of USFL and preseason standout Micah Abernathy to the practice squad. If the Packers want some insurance at the position in case they lose one or both of Amos and Savage, then a prospect like Alabama’s Jordan Battle could be worth monitoring.
Battle is one of the senior leaders for Alabama’s defense this season. Making All-American teams from multiple outlets with 86 tackles and three interceptions last season.
At 6’1” and 206 pounds, Battle is a physical and aggressive safety prospect who flies downhill against the run or to attack receivers at the catch point. He needs to work on reeling in that aggressiveness at times to avoid whiffing, taking bad angles, or even drawing pass interference penalties, but it’s hard to teach that kind of size and willingness at the position. He’ll have an interesting matchup this week, especially in run support trying to take on Texas star running back Bijan Robinson.
Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse
Aaron Jones has been a fan favorite and one of the biggest draft steals for the Packers over the last decade. However, with Jones having his contract restructured, the team could save over $10 million in cap space if they decided to part ways with him in favor of retaining a cheaper A.J. Dillon in 2023 and beyond.
There are obviously a ton of factors that would go into Jones potentially playing elsewhere in 2023. However, if the Packers cut ties in favor of Dillon while still wanting a back with a similar skill set to Jones, then Syracuse’s Sean Tucker would be an ideal Day 2 pick.
Tucker is a reigning All-American for the Orange after racking up more than 1,750 yards from scrimmage with 14 total touchdowns in 2021. He kicked off his 2022 campaign with an explosive display against Louisville, rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown while catching six passes for 84 yards and another score in the 31-7 win.
At 5’10” and 205 pounds, Tucker has good vision to set up blocks along with excellent burst to burn past defenders at the second level. After watching his 2021 film, one of Tucker’s best qualities is his mental toughness to keep fighting through negative plays early on instead of getting discouraged and mailing it in the rest of the game.
Running back is far from Green Bay’s biggest need, but if Brian Gutekunst decides to move on from Jones, a prospect like Tucker would be an ideal complimentary back to Dillon. He’ll have a chance to put up video game numbers on Saturday against Connecticut, so he will be a fun player to watch this weekend.