This four-round mock draft has the Green Bay Packers addressing their biggest needs.
The 2018 NFL Draft is only two weeks away, and as we get closer to April 26, mock drafts start to look similar as the news on what teams are thinking starts to come out and the first waves of free agency are wrapped up.
The Packers made a few moves in free agency, signing tight end Jimmy Graham, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and cornerback Tramon Williams. They have also lost safety Morgan Burnett, receiver Jeff Janis and tight end Richard Rodgers.
Cornerback is arguably their biggest need with the trade of Damarious Randall to Cleveland for quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Also, with newly promoted general manager Brian Gutekunst, draft trends may have been reset, which makes for a less predictable draft. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine also adds a wrench to the mix with new player type preferences.
With all that out of the way, lets see how the draft could play out for the Packers.
Round 1, Pick 14: EDGE Harold Landry, Boston College
After the Senior Bowl I fell for the Marcus Davenport hype and was sold as him being the Packers first pick. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, he isn’t the right choice. He may have the higher ceiling, but is coming into the 2018 draft a bit raw, having played against lower competition in the Conference USA.
Landry, on the other hand, is coming into the draft with comparisons to Von Miller and Vic Beasley. If he were to come through on either of those comparisons, it would be a fantastic selection at 14. Some believe he will be available in the early 20s, meaning the Packers could potentially trade down a bit and gather more ammo, even though they have the most picks this year with 12.
Round 2, Pick 45: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
I know corner may be the biggest need, but I don’t see a value in the corners available at 45 as much as I do for Maryland’s Moore. If you saw day two of the NFL combine then you know who Moore is, after coming away with the most impressive day of all the wideouts.
After cutting Jordy Nelson and possibly losing Randall Cobb next year to free agency, the Packers need an influx of talent at the receiver position. Moore has the talent to play all the wide receiver positions. If the Packers do lose Cobb next year, he could move to the slot where a year in the offense could better utilize his talents.
The only issue is he may have outperformed this spot and may be selected day one after his great combine performance.
Round 3, Pick 76: CB Anthony Averett, Alabama
Finally, Green Bay gets a young corner to compete for a role on defense. I’ve seen Averett mocked from a late second to an early fourth round pick. I’m betting on the average and thinking the run on corners would have slowed down by this time in the draft. Selecting a corner in the third round means you’re not getting a finished product and he may come with some flaws.
The reason I didn’t make a pre-free agency mock draft was because I believed Brian Gutekunst when he said they would be more aggressive and wanted to see if we would get a new corner.
Unfortunately, the top corners were out of our price range, but he did bring back Tramon Williams and still may be in the market for a few veterans. Packers fans should remember there are still moves to be made, either teams cutting veterans after the draft or trading them.
So, I believe Averett will have time to develop with the Packers and he has the talent to do so. Averett ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine and checked in at 6-feet, which would give the Packers two tall lengthy corners for the future in Kevin King and Averett.
Round 4, Pick 101: LB Josey Jewell, Iowa
This year’s linebackers are strong, and some very athletic near the top. Unfortunately for Jewell, he didn’t run very fast at the combine and that may push him down a bit as teams favoring the renascence of new sideline-to-sideline linebackers may not want a smaller linebacker that didn’t run very well.
When watching tape however, he does play faster than he timed, and I thought he would be at least a 4.6 guy, two tenths of a second faster than he ran. Fortunately for Jewell, he is a very instinctive linebacker with the understanding to feel where the play is going.
Round 4, Pick 133: TE Ian Thomas, Indiana
The Packers signed Jimmy Graham to a three-year deal, so it was removed from my top three needs, but a value like Ian Thomas can’t be passed up. He will need development, but so do all the tight ends in this class with no Rob Gronkowskis available.
The Packers also hosted Thomas for an official combine visit. He didn’t run a blazing fast 40 but 4.74 is an adequate number, especially since he plays faster than timed, and he is a good blocker, something the Packers don’t have on the roster currently.