You’ve probably read a hundred of these by now, but we’re going to add to the pile of Green Bay Packers mock drafts today. In this edition of football horoscopes, we’re going to assume that the New York Jets are giving up at least a 2023 second-round pick in a trade for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Will the deal get done before the Day 2 deadline? Who knows! The most recent report with new information claimed that the Jets have changed their 2024 compensation due to Rodgers stating that he was 90 percent sure he was going to retire heading into his darkness retreat, which was apparently news to New York’s brass.
Maybe our long national nightmare will continue well into the summer, but in this mock, we’re simply going to give the Packers the 42nd overall pick for the sake of argument. We used the Pro Football Network mock draft simulator, which is free — unlike Pro Football Focus’ — if you want to give this general managing thing a shot for yourself. Feel free to leave the results of your mock draft in the comments below.
15: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Darnell Wright is a bad bad man! pic.twitter.com/I4w7elWMLG— The GOAT House (@GoatHouseNFL) April 9, 2023
The Green Bay Packers have brought in four players for visits who are projected to be selected in the first 30 picks of the draft, according to the consensus draft board. Three of those prospects are tight ends, with the exception being Tennessee’s Darnell Wright. Not only did the Packers bring him for an extended look, but Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst also personally went to Tennessee’s pro day this offseason.
I’m sure some would roll their eyes at an offensive lineman going this early to the Packers, but that’s the cost of doing business to have the most consistent pass-blocking unit in the sport over the last dozen or so seasons. Wright, a good athlete, has experience at both left and right tackle — which could provide value as Green Bay left tackle David Bakhtiari is set to have a $40 million cap hit in 2024. Yosh Nijman, the team’s preferred right tackle, is also on a one-year deal.
42: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Once the favorite to be selected by the Packers in the first round, it appears that Michael Mayer’s draft stock has cooled off after some insane performances by non-Mayer tight ends at the combine. He’s an all-around tight end who can play inline immediately, which is not the scouting report on some other top tight ends like Dalton Kincaid, Luke Musgrave and Sam LaPorta.
Green Bay needs a tight end now and that’s part of the sell for Mayer. With Robert Tonyan now a Chicago Bear and Marcedes Lewis remaining on the open market with the Aaron Rodgers situation in limbo, the Packers have to bring in a body that is a significant upgrade over Josiah Degaura and Tyler Davis. Mayer is just that, as both a pass-catcher and run-blocker.
45: Gervon Dexter, DL, Florida
Gervon Dexter is a DT prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.52 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 77 out of 1584 DT from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/g6uXQ3RCpx #RAS pic.twitter.com/ueaUgB78TX— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 6, 2023
I made this selection in our last mock draft, but I’m going to do it again. I’m sorry, but I think Gervon Dexter is easily the most underrated player in the draft. Despite running a 4.88-second 40-yard dash at 6’6” and 310 pounds, Dexter is still only 70th on the consensus draft board. I would bet good money that he’s going to go higher than that on draft weekend, simply because of how rare his traits are.
There are some pad-level issues that come with a 6’6” defensive lineman, but Dexter is extremely strong and played in a defensive system that often saw him in a four-point stance at the college level. When he transitions into a three-point stance in the NFL and is allowed to keep his eyes on the ball pre-snap to better utilize his get-off, the sky is going to be the limit.
The Packers desperately need interior defensive line help, as Kenny Clark, 2022 first-round pick Devonte Wyatt and TJ Slaton are the only big uglies who have playing experience in Green Bay on their roster. An interior line of Clark, Wyatt and Dexter has the potential to be a great unit starting in 2024.
78: Brandon Joseph, SAF, Notre Dame
Green Bay might not end up turning this pick on draft day. From what I’ve been told, the team is seriously considering trading for Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker, who requested a trade from the team last week. Baker has prior playing experience for new Packers passing game coordinator Greg Williams, who joined Green Bay from Kliff Kingsbury’s Arizona staff. There are other teams in the mix, like the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers, and the asking price is allegedly around a third-round pick — similar to cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s trade earlier this offseason.
If the Packers do end up picking a safety in the third round, though, a name to keep an eye on is Brandon Joseph. This might be a little early for the Northwestern transfer, but Joseph is a very smart player on the field who took command of communication in the secondary, despite only being with the Irish for one camp. He’s an all-around safety in a weak class at the position, which could make him the perfect fit for Green Bay.
116: Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but head coach Matt LaFleur’s offense loves bigger receivers. With some of my favorite receiver prospects (like Wake Forest’s AT Perry and SMU’s Rashee Rice) off the board, I decided to take a swing on Mississippi’s Jonathan Mingo — who measured in at 6’2” and 220 pounds at the combine. Mingo also ran a 4.46-second official 40-yard dash (with a 4.37-second hand-timed 40, according to NFL Draft Scout) and posted a 39.5” vertical jump.
Mingo only had one season of more than 400 receiving yards with the Rebels and combined for just 12 receiving touchdowns over his full college career, but he also never played more than eight games until his senior season — when he was severely impacted by the poor quarterback play from Jaxson Dart. A height-weight-speed prospect from a big school who was held back by his supporting cast? That sounds like a Packers pick to me.
149: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
Luke Schoonmaker is a TE prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.86 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 16 out of 1104 TE from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/SvTOLGHTgd pic.twitter.com/qOk5hNUYUb— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 16, 2023
I don’t think the Packers need to double-dip at the tight end position, but if Luke Schoonmaker is there in the fifth round then Green Bay should. I think of Schoonmaker as something close to Michael Mayer light, which would give the Packers their two tight ends in 12 personnel for the next four years. The fact that Schoonmaker can play in line at 6’5” and also split out wide with a 4.63-second 40-yard dash only would make Mayer even more of a chess piece.
In a normal draft class, there’s no chance a player like Schoonmaker would make it to the fifth round. Luckily for the Packers, this is one of the strongest tight ends classes in recent memory. If they position themselves well, they could end up catching the tight end who ends up slipping well beyond where he should have been taken.
170: Chandler Zavala, OG, NC State
Green Bay has been known to take athletic offensive linemen on Day 3 of the draft and Chandler Zavala is up there with some of the most athletic guard prospects ever. His relative athletic score (RAS), which takes into account all of the measurables gathered from the combine and pro days, ranks in the top five percent among guard prospects historically.
Chandler Zavala is a OG prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.50 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 70 out of 1393 OG from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/zueW27yJTr #RAS pic.twitter.com/ZYLGwicHdw— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 8, 2023
Zavala began his college career at Fairmont State (Division II) after starting his football path late in high school. The two-time All-MEC lineman then transferred to NC State for his final two seasons at the college level, earning First-Team All-ACC honors as a redshirt senior.
232: Byron Young, DL, Alabama
235: Jake Moody, K, Michigan
These two selections are repeats from our last mock draft. Here’s what we wrote about them previously:
If Byron Young was actually available at this point, I would be surprised. He’s a strong defensive lineman who would provide the Packers with depth at the 3-4 end position, where they need bodies. My assumption is that he comes off the board somewhere around the third or fourth rounds, but if he’s available with the 232nd pick, it’ll be as slam dunk of a selection as Kingsley Enagbare was on Day 3 last April.
Can you name the Packers’ kicker right now? Can you? It’s Parker White, who signed a reserve/futures contract with the team in January. He never signed with a club as an undrafted free agent heading into the 2023 season, but he did have a tryout with both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Packers.
Meanwhile, Jake Moody — a two-time All-American — is on the board. Take a look at the 51-yard field goal he had in the East-West Shrine Bowl above. His leg looks like it had plenty more power to it than Mason Crosby possessed last season. That’s good enough for me.
242: Marte Mapu, SAF/LB, Sacramento State
256: Evan Hull, RB, Northwestern
The final two players we selected are two visits that the Packers have brought in. Mapu, who is dealing with an injury, is a hybrid safety-linebacker — which could very well interest special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia. As we’ve noted previously, no position group has increased their amount of special teams snaps under Bisaccia than the safety position. Hull also makes sense in Green Bay, as AJ Dillon is headed into the final year of his contract and the team has struggled to find a third running back to roster since Jamaal Williams left in free agency.
If you have any burning draft questions, let us know in our Q&A threads leading up to the draft. Acme Packing Company’s draft analysts Justis Mosqueda and Tyler Brooke will be answering your questions this week on Wednesday, April 19th at 3 PM ET.