No one outside of 1265 Lombardi Ave knows the the draft strategy of the Green Bay Packers front office. Outsiders like myself can speculate on needs. The Packers have two needs that really stand out, one is inside linebacker and the other is receiver. Much like they did last offseason at the EDGE position, the front office invested money in free agency, in order to not be handcuffed to drafting for need. The additions of linebacker Christian Kirksey and wideout Devin Funchess make the Packers draft strategy much easier. The acquisitions open up the door for underrated needs like offensive and defensive line. The team may even explore the possibility of drafting a cornerback, running back, or even a quarterback if the board falls a certain way.
What the Packers do round 1 will certainly shape the way they do things on day 2 (rounds 2&3) of the draft. Unlike last draft, the Packers only possess one pick in the first round. They can go offense or defense, then let that selection shape their strategy on day 2. Sports Betting Dime reports that the Packers’ first round pick will most likely be a player on the offensive side of the ball (odds listed at -310). That would point to the Packers most likely selecting a wideout or offensive linemen, with the off chance of grabbing a running back, quarterback, or tight end.
If the Packers do not address offensive tackle in the first round, it could provide the opportunity to go with back to back picks in the trenches. They need a high level prospect at offensive tackle to replace Bryan Bulaga long term. Mike Pettine also needs a solid pairing with Kenny Clark on the inside of the defensive line. The Packers are in the beginning phases of making multiple runs at the super bowl. This draft could help solidify the line on both sides of the ball for the upcoming years.
Ezra Cleveland – Boise State, OT
Cleveland is very appealing, but he is a developmental project. He needs more mass added to his frame to help compete at the next level. He fits Matt LaFleur’s run scheme very well with his mobility. He could potentially be the swing tackle that the Packers need.
Lucas Niang – TCU, OT
Lucas Niang is an under the radar prospect. He could easily slide in at right tackle and play. He is another player that fits the zone scheme, and he uses his long arms and strong anchor in the pass game very well. He does need some more technical work with his footwork. Niang has all of the physical tools to be a successful starter, and he could see the field early.
Justin Madubuike – DT, Texas A&M
Here is another exciting second round prospect that could see a good amount of playing time. Madubuike is the versatile and explosive defensive tackle that Pettine likes and needs. He is a great pairing next to Kenny Clark. He can play in multiple fronts and get after the passer. He can be inconsistent at times, but with the leaders on the defensive front, I do not see that being a big concern.
Matthew Peart – OT, UConn
Peart is raw prospect who has not come close to reaching his potential. He needs a lot of work technically, and he needs to get stronger. His physical traits and his athletic ability make him a very intriguing player with a high ceiling.
Davon Hamilton – DT, Ohio State
Davon Hamilton can provide the Packers with instant help defending the run. He is a very stout player with great mobility for his size. Hamilton is also very capable of improving his pass rush. He has all of the tools, but he needs more reps. He could be another guy who helps collapse the pocket on the defensive front.
Darrell Taylor – EDGE/LB, Tennessee
Taylor may not fit the ideal need here in the third round, but with the amount of EDGE/LB players that Pettine likes to use never count out a solid EDGE player. Darrell Taylor could come in and instantly replace a player like Fackrell. He would fit into the rotation. He has a good anchor in the run game, and he likes to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage. He does need to become more consistent in his pass rush.
3rd Round Sleepers:
Nick Harris – C/G, Washington
Center is a quiet need right now. Corey Linsley’s contract is up next year. They do have Lucas Patrick, but Harris would be a good guy to get into the system for a year or so before taking over the reigns. He is a great value pick here in the third round. He may not blow you away with any of his testing numbers, but this is a guy who can play football.
Alex Highsmith – EDGE, Charlotte
Here is one of the small school prospects that could make a big splash in this year’s draft. Highsmith has been flying up big boards. A developmental project at EDGE who can instantly better your special teams. He was a productive player who can become a good quality starter in the NFL. An overall good player.
Khalid Kareem – EDGE, Notre Dame
Kareem is an intriguing prospect because of his ability to play all over the line. He may not be the typical EDGE player the Packers are looking for, but the fronts Pettine showed last year benefit a player like Kareem. He is a powerful player who would help improve the run defense. He lacks some other athletic traits, but he could be very disruptive if his skill set is utilized.