It will be interesting to see how truly aggressive Packer GM Brian Gutekunst will be in this week’s NFL Draft. Here are some thoughts on what the first-year GM is facing.
Based on all the draft prep I have read, I don’t think the following players will be there (whether the Packers wanted them or not – i.e. the quarterbacks).
QB: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield
RB: Saquon Barkley
OL: Quenton Nelson
DE: Bradley Chub
DL: Vita Vea
LB: Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds
DB: Denzel Ward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James.
Do the numbers – that’s 13 guys and the Packers’ pick 14th.
THOUGHTS: Unless another quarterback is taken – a possible trade up – those are the difference-makers in my mind. If something unexpected were to happen, I think Vea, Fitzpatrick or Edmunds might slip to 14. But Gutekunst needs some luck there.
PACKERS PICK POSSIBILITIES: In the order of how I like them – Edge Harold Landry, the only guy in my opinion, who is not a reach here. Edge Marcus Davenport (great potential, but weak competition), a workout warrior (?) and defensive backs Mike Hughes or Josh Jackson would be next. I would be pleased with Landry and I could easily live with the other three.
TRADE THOUGHTS: Gutekunst could be aggressive and trade up, but should only do that for Chubb (would have to give up too much), Smith or the DBs. But the steep price is the key.
TOO MANY DRAFT CHOICES: I have heard experts say “Gutekunst won’t use all 12 picks.” Why not? Because the Packers have so few holes to fill? Give me a break. I have seen Swiss cheese with less holes than the Packers roster.
MY MAIN FEAR: I don’t want to give up a lot of high picks picks to move up. Those picks could also be difference makers if Gutekunst and his scouts did their homework.
FREE AGENTS: There are people still out there that could help the Packers. Bashaud Breeland (if healthy), Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are better than some of the players the Packers have in their secondary to be polite.
There are also longer shots like WR Jeremy Maclin or tight ends Julius Thomas, Marcedes Lewis or Antonio Gates.
If Gutekunst can sign someone to fill the holes in the draft – and not just college free agents – you will get a better idea of the how the draft went.
SUMMARY: That talk about it takes a few years to judge a draft won’t appease me. The Packers, at the best, are now the sixth best team in the NFC.
They need results and they need them now.