The Green Bay Packers should attempt to trade up in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Best player available.
That is the mantra of every coaching staff in the NFL. If the Green Bay Packers intend to remain a draft-and-develop team at their core, this is a chance to put the saying in action.
With a potential run on QBs early in the draft (four or five), RB Saquon Barkley and “generational” talent Quenton Nelson at the guard position, as well as top defensive talent will slide.
There is a group of six defenders that are basically consensus top-10 talents. The top DE (Bradley Chubb), ILB (Roquan Smith), OLB (Tremaine Edmunds), CB (Denzel Ward) S (Derwin James) and DB (Minkah Fitzpatrick). Any one of these players would likely be day one starters for the Packers.
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After the “Top 6” there is a steep fall off. There are players who might be worthy to select at 14, but no consensus locks. I like Harold Landry, though at 14 it would be a bit of a reach. He could fall out of the first round completely. Then there is mock draft favorite Marcus Davenport and his talent could be worth it at 14, but again he could drop to the end of the first. Same deal with one-year phenom Josh Jackson playing corner out of Iowa.
So what would the cost be to move up three spots inside the top 15? Probably hefty, but this is the year where it is the most feasible to do so. The emphasis on QBs, and the other two talents mentioned above, and the high draft seeding puts the Packers right at the precipice of where the elite talent, the “Top 6”, are likely to be drafted.
Coupled with a league-leading cache of 12 picks, they have the ammo. And finally by adding Muhammad Wilkerson, Tramon Williams and Davon House the Packers are not in a position where they must draft out of need.
Moving on up
First, make the trade ASAP. No waiting for the board to fall to you. That is usually the best strategy but this year is the exception. We know that one of these first tier players will be there at #11, currently owned by the Miami Dolphins. Waiting until the day of the draft would be a mistake. It will only lead to a bidding war, one that the Packers will not be willing to spend enough to win.
So how do they make the three-spot move? It’s not as daunting as one might think. They can utilize the draft capital from this year (say maybe a pair of fourth-rounders, one being the first pick on Day 3).
Or how about a player trade, maybe Brett Hundley and some picks? And here is one I haven’t heard anyone discussing that should get some serious consideration. Use next year’s draft picks. We know the Packers will be picking at the end of the rounds. Try to float the trade out there (say this year’s fourth and next year’s third).
There are a great number of variations to manipulate the board using 19 set draft picks over the next two years.
The Packers won’t be in this position again (barring unforeseen circumstances) so they must make the absolute most of the position they find ourselves in.
If the Packers want to score a premium talent, now is the time to make a move.