Green Bay Packers
With the NFL Draft less than a month away it’s time for the Packers to take centre stage in our Perfect Picks series. Run via a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine we find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
Highlighting five players that would help the Packers. Including a ‘flex’ pick as an alternate depending on how the board falls. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem a late round sleeper and the flex.
Green Bay Draft Strategy: A Caveat
Truth be told, given the Packers’ roster construction and a likely two year window with the NFC conference game core, i’d expect a trade up for quality over quantity rather than taking six players in the final 80 picks of the draft.
Ideally the Packers would come away with a viable number two receiver (in the mould of an AJ Brown or Deebo Samuel), two reliable starting linemen ready for 2021 and an interior defensive presence from day one.
The Packers have one more year with their most established linemen in David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley. Both are 28 – approaching age 30 where the Packers often move on from players. Bakhtiari may well get the franchise tag.
Billy Turner and Elgton Jenkins can both play two or three positions on the line. Expect to see a lineman drafted early, and with the further reduced practice time in the new CBA a premium may be placed on polished technicians if taken in the 1st round.
Speaking of quantity, the Packers have 10 wide receivers on their expanded roster with the addition of Funchess.
Expect a trade up if any of the following fall past pick 20;
Wide Receivers; CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs.
Offensive Tackles; Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton or Andrew Thomas.
Defensive Linemen; Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw.
Round 1 - Pick 30 - Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor.
In this mock; Josh Jones, Denzel Mims and Zach Baun were all available at pick 30.
Whilst Jones is a fantastic prospect with elite athleticism his technique needs refining, and per the above note on practice time I’m not risking a 1st round pick on that with Mims available.
Normally the Packers take advantage of draft depth and haven’t selected a receiver in round one since 2002. Mims however is my WR4 in this draft and a tier above the next wave in round two, so I’d take him here.
The Baylor product has fluid speed and spring to go up for contested catches. He’s ascending at the position but will be a threat from day 1 to take some attention away from Davante Adams. If he and Rodgers dial up the back shoulder connection, watch out.
Flex Pick - Pick 30 - Zack Baun, LB/EDGE, Wisconsin
Vince Biegel. Remember him Packers fans? The Wisconsin linebacker with pass rush upside taken at the beginning of the 4th round in 2017 by the Packers has carved out a pretty nice role in Miami this season. The pass rush alternate offered wasn’t quite the same level the team passed up in his ex teammate TJ Watt that draft.
For many this clouded how they saw his contribution as a player. Why am I discussing Vince?
Well Zack Baun is a more versatile linebacker for sure, with plenty of coverage ability and greater sack potential but he is a hybrid in loosely the same mould.
Zack Baun in this defense can be a versatile piece for Mike Pettine to adjust in packages and a long term piece at the linebacker position for the Packers long after Kirksey has gone.
I’d be intrigued to see Zack become the player the state of Wisconsin was willing Vince Biegel to become.
Round 2 - Pick 62 - Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Not a dissimilar athletic profile or prospect to Josh Jones, Jackson has been touted as a 1st round prospect recently. Tagging Bakhtiari for 2021 would buy Jackson an additional year to rotate into the line up and technically Wagner is signed for 2 years.
He needs a little more development than Jones but at pick 62 is well worth the wait and allows the Green Bay train to keep rolling.
Jackson can start in a pinch or rotate in to give more athletic blocking at right tackle on specific plays offering LaFleur flexibility in play calling.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 136 - Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
“Bad Ass” is a talented technician at the position. Many anticipated he would go 1st round before the season played out. Struggling to adapt to his post injury condition his play dropped and his stock continues to drop.
With his talent, pick 136 is absolutely a reasonable place to gamble on him and help him recapture the player he once was. Worst case scenario he is used in a rotation to reduce his work load and give a meaningful contribution on less snaps in a state that already loves him.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 208 - Joshua Kelley, RB, UCLA
Joshua Kelley brings an all-round skill set to the position. Gaining back to back 1,000 yard seasons since transferring he can be the latest ball carrier to add to the late round running back strategy debate.
Green Bay have both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams up at the end of the season. Based on past experience don’t expect to see both backs return in 2021.
With at least one running back to be added to acclimate for a substantial role in 2021. Joshua Kelley has the ability to be that back for the Pack.
Draft in full:
30. Denzel Mims (WR)
62. Austin Jackson (OT)
94. Kyle Dugger (S/LB)
136. Tyler Biadasz (IOL)
175. Harrison Bryant (TE)
192. Raequan Williams (IDL)
208. Joshua Kelley (RB)
209. AJ Green (CB)
236. Jon Runyan (OT)
242. Michael Warren II (RB)
Dan previously wrote for the Inside zone and spent the offseason hosting the who dey who dat podcast, shining a light on some of the game’s intricacies with a fantastic array of guests.
Dan founded the site after twisting the arm of some hugely talented friends in july 2019 and he’d love to hear your feedback or ideas to collborate. Follow Dan on Twitter @DanGorelov. DM’s are open.