We are officially less than one month away from the NFL Draft, and even that feels like too long! The Packers already have had an eventful off-season and now all I want to see is how they top it off during the draft.
The Packers went big this year in free agency for the first time in what seems like decades, signing four starters, all to big contracts. Their biggest focus was clearly on defense, with the signings of LB Za’darius Smith, LB Preston Smith and SS Adrian Amos. They also fortified the O-line with the versatile Billy Turner, formerly with the Broncos.
To make room for all these free agent additions, the Packers had to say goodbye to some longtime veterans, most notably WR Randall Cobb and LB Clay Matthews. While it’s definitely hard to see them go I can’t say I’m surprised, it’s a new era of Packers football. With that being said there is still A LOT of work to be done both on offense and defense. Here I will list my top 3 remaining needs on offense, while my rankings for defense will come out next week.
As stated above, the Packers lost their most experienced wide receiver last week, when Randall Cobb signed a 1 year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. This leaves their WR room pretty thin. Of course, Davante Adams is a star, but behind him, a lot of question marks remain. The current #2 is Geronimo Allison, who was on his way to a breakout season last year before hurting his groin and missing the final 11 games. After that, we have three 2ndyear guys, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and J’mon Moore as well as fan favorite Jake Kumerow (Spent most of last year on IR). Scantling and St. Brown both showed some serious potential when given the chance while Moore struggled in his rookie campaign. It’s definitely not a bad group, but outside of Adams we’re lacking a serious threat.
I think the Packers need to prioritize this position EARLY in the Draft. They need someone who can come in and make an immediate impact. If opposing team’s see that all they have to worry about is Adams it will make it very difficult on Rodgers to run the offense. Someone needs to come in and attract some attention away from Davante and I think they get their guy in the draft.
3 Realistic Options: Marquis Brown- Oklahoma, AJ Brown- Ole Miss, Deebo Samuel- South Carolina
Last year the Packers made a splash in free agency when they signed Jimmy Graham to a 3 year deal hoping to end the revolving door of Tight Ends they dealt with recently. Well, it didn’t exactly work out. Graham finished with only 55 catches for 636 yards and a career low 2 TD’s. I am not giving up on Jimmy just yet but considering the talent at TE in this year’s draft I think they would be foolish not to take advantage. Even if Graham has a bounce back year, he is 32 and has had an injury past. I don’t see Jimmy being the long-term solution which makes getting an elite TE for the future right now a great move.
3 Realistic Options: TJ Hockenson- Iowa, Noah Fant- Iowa, Irv Smith- Alabama
As I mentioned earlier, the Packers have been very aggressive in free agency thus far and one of my favorite signings has to be Billy Turner. He is known for his versatility, being able to play just about every position other than center. If it wasn’t for this move, I probably would’ve had OL higher on this list. But still, the need for depth remains. Starting RT Bryan Bulaga is constantly battling injuries while LG Lane Taylor has struggled in pass protection.
That’s why, even with the addition of Turner, the Packers must draft some quality OL depth. I think first thing is to find someone who can fill in for Bulaga when needed. After that, they should target an interior lineman, someone who may be able to push Taylor for the starting job in camp. The Packers employ the highest paid player in the NFL, protecting him has to be a priority.
3 . Realistic Options:Dalton Risner- Kansas State, Andre Dillard- Washington State, Chris Lindstrom- Boston College
If you don’t see your top prospects listed here, please feel free to drop them in the comment box. Thanks!