With six weeks of NFL action in the books, let’s take a look at who the draftniks expect the Green Bay Packers to select in the upcoming NFL draft. We complied ten recent mock drafts for you, eight of which had the Packers drafting an offensive tackle with their first-round pick. Earlier this month, left tackle David Bakhtiari spoke with the media in detail about his cartilage issue and stated that he hopes to return to Green Bay in 2024. Based on the selections made in these mock drafts, though, it doesn’t seem that the national media is buying that the Packers are going to ride with the $40.7 million cap hit that keeping Bakhtiari under contract next season will cost.
Let’s get into the mock drafts.
Joe Alt, tackle, Notre Dame
Week 4 Player to Watch: #NotreDame OT Joe Alt vs. Ohio State— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 21, 2023
He hasn’t allowed a single pressure or sack so far this season. Looks the part at 6-8, 320. Great matchup vs. JT Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer. pic.twitter.com/lethyuiSmM
Joe Alt, a 2022 All-American, is listed at 6’8” and 315 pounds by Notre Dame, making his size one of the biggest positives on his scouting report. As a true freshman, Alt managed to start 13 games at left tackle for the Fighting Irish, a position he’s held for three seasons now. He’s also the son of John Alt, the former Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick who made two Pro Bowls as a bookend and is enshrined in the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame.
Alt came into the season with high expectations and has met them. According to the charting, Alt has only surrendered a single pressure this season and has only allowed a single sack over the last two seasons.
Currently, Alt is eighth on the consensus draft board and is the second-ranked tackle only behind Penn State’s Olumuyiwa Fashanu. For perspective, Fashanu probably could have been a top draft pick in last year’s class, but he elected to return to college for another season.
Amarius Mims, tackle, Georgia
Another popular selection for the Packers is Amarius Mims, who has been out of action for the Georgia Bulldogs as of late. Mims has an ankle sprain that led to him having tightrope surgery, which means that he probably won’t return to the field until at least the end of October.
Unlike Alt, Mims doesn’t have much experience in college. Mims’ first start of his Georgia career was against Ohio State in the playoff last season. He was considered a sleeper prospect coming into this year, due to his high potential but inexperience. Depending on how much playing time he’s able to bank in the second half of the college season, he might be one of the bigger question marks of this draft class.
The 6’7”, 330-pounder was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and actually entered the transfer portal after his freshman year, presumably because of a lack of playing time. He ended up returning to Georgia, though, and waited his turn until the playoff to see a starter’s share worth of snaps. He plays right tackle, a position that Warren McClendon previously held down until McClendon went down with an injury. McClendon, a First-Team All-SEC selection last year, was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round of April’s draft.
Currently, Mims is ranked the 20th prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and the fourth overall tackle prospect, according to the consensus draft board.
Kamren Kinchens, safety, Miami (FL)
South Florida native Kamren Kinchens is probably the best true safety prospect since Derwin James in 2018, considering that Kyle Hamilton was looked at as a hybrid player and plays the slot primarily for the Baltimore Ravens now. The 2022 All-American is a violent safety, despite being listed at just 5’11” and 205 pounds. Last season, Kinchens was able to add six interceptions in coverage, too, and is already at three pass breakups this year.
Kamren Kinchens blitzing from depth. pic.twitter.com/BUl9tmXeek— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) October 15, 2023
According to Pro Football Focus, no safety in college football had a better coverage grade than Kinchens in 2022. With Green Bay playing two starters in contract seasons at the position, this leaves the door open for the team targeting a safety early in the draft. Kinchens is 22nd on the consensus draft board right now and is either the top safety or second-ranked safety on the board, depending on what you consider Iowa’s Cooper DeJean. Many are expecting DeJean to move to the safety position at the next level, but he’s currently playing cornerback for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Jer’Zhan Newton, defensive lineman, Illinois
Illinois IDL Jer’Zhan Newton— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) July 27, 2023
A blend of explosion, power, and first step quickness out of the starting blocks. Consistent first level penetrator. pic.twitter.com/hIpvugPLmd
Technically, Jer’Zhan Newton is a true junior, but only because his freshman season was the 2020 Covid season. Newton had the opportunity to declare for the NFL draft last year, but he elected to return to school for one final season. The West Florida product made his mark on the Big Ten last year, as he earned first-team all-conference honors with a 14 tackle for loss and 5.5 sack season as an interior defensive lineman.
Through seven games this year, his production has dipped, but Illinois has regressed overall on defense with so many defenders entering the NFL over the last two draft classes. The 6’2”, 295-pounder is currently ranked as the top interior defensive lineman in the 2024 class and the ninth overall prospect in the draft.
Jer’Zhan Newton: 24 QB Pressures this season— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 13, 2023
Leads all Defensive Tackles pic.twitter.com/g8zOmUGFyc
If you’re looking for a defensive lineman, Newton is probably the surest bet in this year’s crop of talent. The player who was supposed to push Newton for the “DL1” title was LSU’s Maason Smith, who had a season-ending leg injury as a freshman in 2021 and missed almost all of the 2022 season with an ACL tear. Smith was suspended to start the season and has only recorded 2.5 tackles for loss on the year so far.
J.C. Latham, tackle, Alabama
J.C. Latham is actually a Wisconsin native who played at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha to start his prep career. From there, the now 6’6”, 360-pounder transferred to IMG Academy — the prep powerhouse. The former five-star recruit was able to break Alabama’s lineup in 2022, when he was named the team’s starting right tackle. He continues to hold that job this season.
Alabama's first play of the game vs Mississippi State:— Video from: @TSV__1 (@TSV__1) October 2, 2023
Watch the RT #65 JC Latham pic.twitter.com/rLLWJjdt23
After Fashanu and maybe Alt, Latham is going to come off the board early in April’s draft. He’s one of the blue-chip prospects in the class and is currently ranked 13th on the consensus draft board. Not only is he consistent in pass protection, but he’s also extremely strong based on the movement he creates in the run game. The only questions are why the Crimson Tide never moved him to left tackle and if that position is a possibility for him at the NFL level.
Below are the projected first-round picks, according to the consensus draft board. We bolded the tackles and safeties, the two positions that Packers fans seem to be most interested in.
- Caleb Williams, QB1, USC
- Marvin Harrison Jr., WR1, Ohio State
- Drake Maye, QB2, North Carolina
- Brock Bowers, TE1, Georgia
- Jared Verse, EDGE1, Florida State
- Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT1, Penn State
- Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB1, Alabama
- Joe Alt, OT2, Notre Dame
- Jer’Zhan Newton, DL1, Illinois
- Dallas Turner, EDGE2, Alabama
- Emeka Egbuka, WR2, Ohio State
- Malik Nabers, WR3, LSU
- J.C. Latham, OT3, Alabama
- Laiatu Latu, EDGE3, UCLA
- Keon Coleman, WR4, Florida State
- Cooper DeJean, CB2/SAF1, Iowa
- Rome Odunze, WR5, Washington
- Demeioun “Chop” Robinson, EDGE4, Penn State
- Kalen King, CB2/CB3, Penn State
- Amarius Mims, OT4, Georgia
- Xavier Worthy, WR6, Texas
- Kamren Kinchens, SAF1/SAF2, Miami (FL)
- T.J. Tuimoloau, EDGE5, Ohio State
- Maason Smith, DL2, LSU
- Nate Wiggins, CB3/CB4, Clemson
- Graham Barton, OT5, Duke
- Quinn Ewers, QB3, Texas
- Leonard Taylor, DL3, Miami (FL)
- Kingsley Suamataia, OT6, BYU
- Michael Penix Jr., QB4, Washington
- Shedeur Sanders, QB5, Colorado
- Bralen Trice, EDGE6, Washington