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Which prospects could take a Derwin James-like tumble toward the Packers in the 2019 NFL Draft?

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Green Bay initially looked to be well out of the Florida State safety’s range at pick 14 last year, but ultimately passed on him after a draft-day slide.

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

In the month leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers were predicted to be on the lookout for defensive help. With Morgan Burnett on the way out, the Packers especially appeared to be a great landing spot for safety Derwin James. The only problem was that James was anticipated to go as high as the seventh overall pick to Tampa Bay and the Packers owned the 14th pick.

Likewise, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds was thought to be a target as high as the fifth overall slot to Denver. Edmunds, an athletic, versatile front-seven player who could play any linebacker position and rush off the edge figured to be long gone by the time the Packers were on the clock.

In the aftermath of the first round, James was drafted with the 17th pick by the Los Angeles Chargers and Edmunds with the 16th pick by the Buffalo Bills. Green Bay passed on both defensive talents to trade down and accumulate a 2019 first-rounder while selecting cornerback Jaire Alexander.

With last year’s tumbles in mind, here are a few 2019 NFL Draft prospects who could be available to Green Bay at the 12th pick despite often being mocked much higher.

Ed Oliver

The Houston product has been listed all over the place in mock drafts, but many recent ones have Oliver rising up to Tampa Bay’s fifth pick. On the shorter side at 6’2, Oliver is still an extremely athletic defensive lineman capable of playing all along the line and, as some have hypothesized, inside linebacker. Oliver could be one heck of a chess piece for many NFL teams, but any run on quarterbacks and edge rushers could potentially drop him down the board.

If the Packers can land Oliver at pick 12, it would be a home run. However, it does not look likely at this point.

Montez Sweat

The majority of mocks have Sweat firmly inside the top 10 after a rare NFL Combine performance. But could a heart condition, considered to be minor, help Sweat slide to Green Bay?

The long, lanky edge rusher from Mississippi State ran an incredible 4.41 forty-yard dash at 260 pounds and had a high level of production in the SEC to back up the testing measurables. Sweat could be a fit for Jacksonville, Detroit, or Buffalo at picks seven through nine. But if he sneaks through that stretch, Denver (who drafted Bradley Chubb last year) and Cincinnati would appear to be prime fits for a quarterback. It would be a no-brainer choice for Green Bay if Sweat is still available.

Josh Allen

You would have to search high and low for a mock draft that does not have Allen listed inside the top 10 picks, much less the top five.

Although Allen tested well at the Combine and put together an incredible 2018 campaign at Kentucky, is it possible that organizations could prefer other pass rushers more? Sweat and Brian Burns’ speed and athleticism, Rashan Gary’s potential and versatility, and Oliver’s Aaron Donald-like similarities could vault each of those players into the first 10 picks. That does not count Nick Bosa, who is almost assuredly going to be taken in the first three selections.

It has been a foregone conclusion for quite some time that Allen is one of the draft’s premier edge rushers. But what if the pecking order is not as set in stone as thought?

Dwayne Haskins

Green Bay will not be the destination for Haskins, but there is an outside chance he is available with the 12th pick and the Packers can auction off that selection to the highest bidder.

For Haskins to drop, it would take a combination of scenarios. At minimum, Kyler Murray and Drew Lock would have likely already been drafted at the quarterback position and valued more than Haskins. Many top defensive players would have to be chosen early, notably the pass rushers, and a wildcard like D.K. Metcalf or T.J. Hockenson needs to enter the top 10.

In all likelihood, the availability of Haskins would not be a good thing for Green Bay and trading down might be the best option. But the annual run on quarterbacks, especially in a down year for signal callers, might have many people simply assuming that Haskins will be a top-10 selection.