Kyler Murray will be the No. 1 pick ... unless he’s not. Ed Oliver will be the third pick to the Jets, except they could take someone else. The Giants love Daniel Jones and could take him at 6, unless they wait until 17 and don’t take a quarterback at all.
Some years, the draft feels easy, with obvious landing spots for top players and teams able to make straightforward decisions on players. That isn’t 2019, with subterfuge galore, a No. 1 pick we still can’t nail down, a top pass rusher with a heart condition that could cause a fall on draft day, and few clearly defined No. 1 players at their positions.
In some ways, that makes this year the ideal time for the Packers to be in a position at 12 to pick up the proverbial pieces. If the league gets quarterback happy, good players fall down the board them where they’re picking. If they get belatedly interested, Green Bay becomes a primo trade-down destination and the draft class features depth at a number of key positions for the Packers’ current roster situation.
With that in mind, we decided to look at a few moves the Packers could make and figure out how they could make sense. What has to happen for that move to be the move and why would it make sense for the Packers?
Ed Oliver or Montez Sweat fall to 12
This scenario has a different feel following the reporting around Sweat’s heart condition that has reportedly caused him to fall down some draft boards. Oliver comes with no such baggage and, as one of the 3-5 best players in the draft, getting him at 12 represents almost comical value.
How could the NFL let this happen? Let’s say three quarterbacks go in the first 11 picks. We’re also pretty sure Joey Bosa, Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams are sure-fire in that range, along with Devin White a shade behind them. That’s already seven players. Jonah Williams seems like a good bet and TJ Hockenson has many admirers in the top group. That’s all of a sudden nine players gone. Oliver and Sweat would have to both go to take this scenario off the board.
Sweat’s apparent fall would make it less likely Oliver gets to 12, but it could make it easier to envision the Mississippi State edge rusher getting there. Right now, he feels like the better bet to be there, but stranger things have happened. Either would be enormous talent influxes at key positions. I have Oliver as No. 3 overall and Sweat No. 5, each as blue-chip talents. Pass on them for no one and (almost) nothing.
Packers go offensive line
If the scenario above doesn’t happen, likely because the quarterback market wasn’t what we believed it to be, Green Bay could be in good position to land one of the top players along the offensive line.
Jonah Williams could be a guard or a tackle and even if he ends up as a guard, where he has the chance to be very good, he’s still a college offensive tackle which the Packers love. He’s not the athlete the front office traditionally prizes, but neither was Bryan Bulaga, someone to whom Williams has been compared. If Billy Turner is the eventual right tackle, Williams makes sense as a right guard.
Andre Dillard or Jawaan Taylor would also be in play here. Taylor has top-10 buzz and could go off the board at 6 or 7. We don’t know his athletic profile because he didn’t test, but on tape, he doesn’t appear to be Green Bay’s type. Dillard, on the other hand, checks every athletic box and might just be the best pass blocker in the draft. If Turner is, in fact, the right guard of the future, Dillard as the right tackle would make 12 more than appealing for a bookend tackle.
T.J. Hockenson too good to pass up
No. 1 scenario would be off the board in this case. No. 2 would either be unavailable or untenable. Perhaps the Packers still think Bulaga has juice left in the tank and they’re comfortable with Turner for now at guard. We have ample evidence to suggest this isn’t true, starting with the efforts the Packers have made to get Bulaga to take less money before not offering an extension in the last year of his deal. There’s also the extensive work being done by the team on offensive linemen in this draft.
They want one. They just may not like the value they’re getting at 12 with the players on the board. Perhaps they believe Williams is a guard only and they can’t justify his selection that high. It’s possible they believe Turner is the right tackle of the future and Dillard now has the same problem as Williams as a potential guard position switch.
Enter Hockenson, a fan favorite and ideal fit in the Matt LaFleur offense. As a blocker, he makes the offensive line better. As a receiver, he has talent and run-after-the-catch ability. At worst, he’s probably Heath Miller. The ceiling is something closer to Jason Witten. The history of top tight end picks is scary, but in this offense, with this quarterback, Hock has a chance to reach the ceiling others haven’t.
Washington/Mystery Team calls about a QB
This scenario likely presupposes Scenario 1 is off the table. Getting Oliver or Sweat should be too good a cherry to pass on for anything but a godfather offer. Green Bay can justify passing on Derwin James last year because the Saints gave up a future first. A team like Washington wouldn’t have to give up that much to move, though a team further down the draft would like have to make a Saintsian offer.
One of the trade possibilities is Washington gives up 15 and 76 for 12. Gutekunst could then package 30 and 76 to move into the 20s for a top prospect falling down the board (Hock? DK Metcalf?). Come out of the first round with two really good players and don’t give up anything of value except the opportunity cost of picking at 12.
If the Packers sit there at 12 with Hockenson, Noah Fant, Devin Bush, Andre Dillard, their favorite safety and their favorite receiver all on the board, trading down means only truly giving up two draft spots. Washington takes the QB the Packers were never going to take and they get to pick from the rest.
Green Bay shocks us with wild pick
Jonah Williams, if he plays guard, would break tendencies for the Packers but only on the margins. Devin Bush would be a little off the wall for them, but Ted Thompson took A.J. Hawk in the top-10. No one with half a brain actually believes Green Bay would take Drew Lock at 12, but it behooves the team for the league to think they might.
No, the wild card selection that could legitimately happen and make sense is D.K. Metcalf. He’s the kind of ridiculous size/speed athlete that has to give Gutekunst goosebumps given the way he prioritizes athletic traits. Metcalf’s ability to get down the field in Matt LaFleur’s offense provides an ideal compliment to the artisanship of Davante Adams running double moves and creating underneath.
Let Metcalf run flies, posts, slants, crossers, all places LaFleur has room for in this offense, and any concerns about his route running or change of direction ability can be put to bed. This would be shocking because the Packers never take receivers, but Metcalf is a legitimate top-10 talent and for my money, the only better prospects discussed above better than him in a vacuum are Oliver and Sweat. If they’re off the board, Metcalf isn’t a cray selection at a spot where Green Bay has no clear answers after Adams.