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2023 NFL Draft: Packers draft grade roundup

Writers are split on Green Bay’s 2023 haul

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Colorado State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Quick reaction draft grades are something like the candy of NFL coverage. They’ll rot your teeth, but it flies off the shelves. According to an analysis done by Football Outsiders in 2020, grades drastically fluctuate depending on the grader and have little to no predictive power for a class’ future success.

But the consumption of draft grades is more about the feeling of hope for the future than anything rooted in predictive power, anyway. With that being said, here’s how writers around the country think the Green Bay Packers and general manager Brian Gutekunst did in 2023. As a refresher, the Packers’ draft picks are listed below.

Packers Draft Picks

  • #13: Lukas Van Ness, OLB, Iowa
  • #42: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
  • #50: Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State
  • #78: Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
  • #116: Colby Wooden, DE, Auburn
  • #149: Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State
  • #159: Dontayvion Wicks, WR, Virginia
  • #179: Karl Brooks, DE, Bowling Green
  • #207: Anders Carlson, K, Auburn
  • #232: Carrington Valentine, CB, Kentucky
  • #235: Lew Nichols III, RB, Central Michigan
  • #242: Anthony Johnson Jr., SAF, Iowa State
  • #256: Grant DuBose, WR, Charlotte

Packers Draft Grades

Day 1 grade: A

Day 2 grade: B

Day 3 grade: A

Analysis: I love the potential in Van Ness as a strong edge defender who can play 5 technique. Musgrave (gained with the pick acquired from the Jets in exchange for Aaron Rodgers), Reed (picked slightly earlier than expected) and Kraft (picked slightly later) give new quarterback Jordan Love three young targets with whom he can get familiar this offseason.

Wooden and Brooks will greatly aid a lean defensive-line depth chart. Clifford has third-day intangibles and some physical traits to be a solid backup, though his accuracy was inconsistent throughout his career. Wicks, DuBose (my favorite pick of the group) and Nichols continue the team’s efforts to build talent on offense. Carlson possesses good leg strength but missed 12 field-goal attempts over the past two seasons. Valentine and Johnson were clutch picks for a secondary in need of help.

The Packers did what the Packers always do in the first round, picking yet another defensive player in Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness. The former Hawkeyes’ standout is a pass-rusher in the mold of Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, and should factor into the team’s rotation early on. On day two, the team finally answered their fans’ pleas, bolstering their skill-player group in support of Jordan Love by grabbing a pair of versatile tight ends in Luke Musgrave (Oregon State) and Tucker Kraft (South Dakota State), along with a twitchy, playmaking receiver in Jayden Reed (Michigan State). GM Brian Gutekunst added another receiver in Virginia Tech’s Dontayvion Wicks in the fifth round—a draft haul that should be a boon for the team’s new signal caller. Green Bay added former Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford in the fifth round, too—a huge surprise that early in the draft, and perhaps a result of the success of last year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy. Clifford is, hilariously, three months older than Love, who was drafted in 2020.

Overview: D-Line help and weapons upgrades for Jordan Love were the theme of this nuts-and-bolts draft. Likened to Grant Wistrom and Patrick Kerney by NFL scouts, Van Ness can win inside and out and hold the point of attack. Musgrave and Kraft made for a worthy TE double-down; Musgrave offers legit star quality if he figures out how to stay healthy, while Kraft is a combo tight end who is plenty athletic, can block, and caught 92 balls over the last two years for the Jackrabbits. Wooden was productive enough in college and worked out well enough in Indy to generate some Day 2 buzz before the draft. Reed was productive all four years of his career and especially in the return game, bringing back three punts for TDs and exhibiting dynamism with the ball in his hands. Fifth-rounder Clifford beat out No. 33 pick Will Levis at Penn State, forcing Levis to transfer to Kentucky. DuBose was #EstablishTheRun pre-draft podcast interviewee Mike Renner’s favorite wide receiver sleeper. While I remain skeptical of Love as Green Bay’s long-term quarterback, I do believe GM Brian Gutekunst has set up Love to succeed.

Analysis: Brian Gutekunst first Packers draft without Aaron Rodgers was interesting given the loading up on receiving help from Musgrave, Reed, Kraft and Wicks, but it was a little too heavy on skill positions, missing some needed selections for the offensive line. Clifford was a terrible wasted pick as a far undraftable QB behind Jordan Love. Van Ness and Wooden need a lot of work to help the defense. Brooks and Johnson were their clear best picks, value or otherwise

Scroll down and leave your grade for Green Bay’s draft class in the comments. We’re going to be rolling out some polls later in the week to figure out which picks were the most and least popular among Packers fans.