With the Green Bay Packers sitting with a 2-4 record, it is time to seriously start tracking this upcoming draft class. This isn’t the position you want to find yourselves going into the final week of October, but it’s where the Packers stand today after dropping four of their last five games.
Last week, we began our mock draft roundup series, and this week we have the results of 13 new mock drafts for you to thumb through. Some of the names the Packers were given in first-round mock drafts were familiar faces, like the top offensive tackles in the class. In other cases, though, some new prospects are beginning to emerge as possible Green Bay selections, either because they’re rising in the draft or because the Packers are jumping up the draft order.
Jonathan Brooks, RB, Texas
This is probably the most interesting selection out of the recent crop of mock drafts. Jonathan Brooks had never cracked 200 rushing yards in a single season with the Texas Longhorns until this year, following the loss of both Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson — who were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. At the moment, the 20-year-old running back is currently ranked as the 99th overall player on the consensus draft board and the eighth running back in the 2024 draft class. He has been a riser lately, though, as he was virtually unthought of as a 2024 prospect until around late September or early October.
With Aaron Jones carrying a $17.7 million cap hit in 2024 and AJ Dillon in a contract season, maybe it is time for the Packers to start looking at the future of their running back position.
Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Every catch in Brock Bowers 8 Catch,— Back2Back 704 Dawg ➐ (@FSFRecruits) October 1, 2023
157 Yards, and 1 TD performance against Auburn pic.twitter.com/f1XM05Tvut
I know we’re supposed to pretend that the team should just take the best player available and not worry about the position that he plays, but it makes no sense to me that Brock Bowers would be the Packers’ first-round pick next year. Bowers is an incredibly talented pass-catching tight end, but the team already drafted Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft in the first three rounds of last April’s draft.
The team continues to play 11 personnel sets, too, even with young receivers and the recent tight end investment. With Musgrave handling the inline “Y” position, Bowers probably fits in best as a slot receiver (which would displace Jayden Reed) or an off-ball second tight end role in Green Bay. I just don’t see it for the Packers, specifically.
Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
Olu Fashanu and JT Tuimoloau faced off 1v1 on only 10 dropbacks.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 22, 2023
Fashanu won most of those reps, but these two plays help illustrate Tuimoloau's heavy hands and natural rush power. pic.twitter.com/YLXGm9ywS7
This is an interesting name. Olu Fashanu is probably the biggest name in the NFL draft who returned for his senior season. At the moment, he’s ranked as the fifth overall prospect and the top offensive lineman on the consensus draft board. When we did the draft round-up last time around, Fashanu was drafted before the Packers ever had a chance to take the tackle in a mock draft.
With Green Bay continuing to lose, they might have a chance to replace Rasheed Walker (and David Bakhtiari) at left tackle with another former Nittany Lion. For whatever it’s worth, Fashanu had an up-and-down game against Ohio State’s TJ Tuimoloau in last weekend’s matchup, the first time Fashanu has really looked like anything less than a blue-chip tackle prospect in his college career.
Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
#NotreDame LT Joe Alt was really good last year, but he's been even better so far in 2023. His balance, hand control and recovery are A+ traits.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 28, 2023
Really fun watching him get better and better and better. pic.twitter.com/mBX8Pa0Iuq
Below is what we wrote last week about Alt, who was a popular pick for the Packers previously.
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.
J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama
Below is what we wrote last week about Latham, who was a popular pick for the Packers previously.
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.
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.
Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU
I think we’ll be talking about BYU RT Kingsley Suamataia as a 1st round prospect in a year or so…— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) December 21, 2022
Only RS-Freshman. 5-Star, Oregon transfer. Really strong season when you focus on him… pic.twitter.com/wlAUbtvXxl
As we wrote this weekend, Kingsley Suamataia is a pretty polarizing prospect. From a raw tools perspective, the Oregon-turned-BYU product ranks near the top of the draft. From a consistency perspective, though, he doesn’t measure up to the top four-ish offensive line prospects in this class.
For example: Suamataia is ranked 30th overall on the consensus draft board, but Pro Football Focus, which obviously is more concerned with his consistency than his upside, has him ranked as the 72nd overall player.
Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA
UCLA Edge Laiatu Latu is such a nightmare to block.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 18, 2023
Technician + explosive hands + red-hot motor. pic.twitter.com/ywbGvNiMkw
Latu is the only player who I haven’t seen on this list, to be transparent. I’m excited to watch him at some point, just just haven’t had the time yet.
The pass-rusher began his career at Washington before medically retiring in the spring of 2021. By 2022, he picked back up his cleats and transferred to UCLA, where he was cleared to play spring ball for the Bruins. In his first season at UCLA, he was able to earn All-Pac-12 honors. This year, he already has recorded 6.5 sacks to go along with two forced fumbles and an interception.
The big question is how Latu’s medical will turn out following his very serious neck injury. If he gets the thumbs up there, though, don’t be surprised if he’s the top edge rusher taken in the class.
Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
Dallas Turner is the Best Pass Rusher in College Football — Alabama DieHards (@DiehardsAlabama) October 24, 2023
• Most QB Pressures in College Football
• 8 Sacks on the Season
• 2 Forced Fumbles on the Season
He’s the next Elite Pass Rusher out of Alabama pic.twitter.com/D7L0fz86Fd
Speaking of top edge rushers, I’d put my money on Dallas Turner — not Florida State’s Jared Verse — to be the first one off the board, if I’m betting on April’s draft today. Alabama doesn’t have the world-beater talent across the board that they’ve had in the past, but Turner is comfortably their best player right now.
When he’s allowed to focus on just rushing the passer, he shows very good speed around the edge and an ability to bend around tackles. I’m not sure about his fit in Green Bay, depending on if Rashan Gary does or doesn’t sign an extension, but it’s good to have options.
Kamren Kinchens, SAF, Miami
Talk about perfect blitz execution— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 18, 2023
Miami S Kamren Kinchens with the disguise, timing, then speed to sack Drake Maye on this rep ⬇️
Gonna be an NFL stud pic.twitter.com/xOUTOFgaIL
Below is what we wrote last week about Kinchens, who was a popular pick for the Packers previously.
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.
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.
Cooper DeJean, SAF/CB, Iowa
One of the weirdest prospects in this draft class, from a Packers perspective, is going to be Cooper DeJean. He’s currently playing cornerback for Iowa, but many people seem to think that he’s going to be playing safety at the next level, despite his speed.
If DeJean is a safety, sign me up. Both of Green Bay’s starters are going to be free agents after this season, and they need help at the position anyway. If he’s a cornerback, I don’t know what the drafting of DeJean would mean for the Jaire Alexander-Rasul Douglas-Eric Stokes trio. That’s without even including Keisean Nixon, who has been starting in the slot this season.
DeJean at safety? Thumbs up. DeJean at cornerback? There’s probably a better way to use a top draft pick.