After drafting entirely offensive players on day two for the fifth straight draft, the Green Bay Packers have shifted their focus back to defense with their first pick of the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft.
On the clock for the first time on Saturday with the 116th overall pick, the Packers have selected defensive lineman Colby Wooden from Auburn.
Wooden played defensive tackle at Auburn, but his size — 6’4” and about 275 pounds — suggests he could be an inside/outside player for the Packers. That size could make him a candidate to play as a big edge player at outside linebacker, but a bulk up to closer to 300 pounds could put him squarely in play as an interior lineman.
Wooden’s RAS is excellent when run as a tackle, however, as he ran an impressive 40-yard dash of 4.79 seconds at the 2023 Combine:
Colby Wooden is a DT prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.25 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 122 out of 1623 DT from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/DdBRZySM9E pic.twitter.com/dqDB8mGIbV— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 23, 2023
Wooden had a productive 2022 season with six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss while adding three forced fumbles. Much of that production came from the edge, but he played more on the interior as a tackle in 2021, when he still posted 4.5 sacks and 8.5 TFLs.
The Packers need defensive line help. The only returning players who have seen notable NFL snaps are Kenny Clark, T.J. Slaton, and Devonte Wyatt, and both Slaton and Clark are primarily nose tackles. Wooden should have a chance to contribute as a pass-rushing lineman early as he develops and hopefully earns a more substantial role on early downs moving forward.
The Packers are scheduled to be back on the clock twice in round five, holding picks 149 and 159.