Packers 2018 Draft: Vita Vea, Lamar Jackson selections important for Green Bay

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive lineman Vita Vea
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive lineman Vita Vea /

With the current projections, it seems as if the Green Bay Packers might miss out on the high impact player that they need at pick number 14.

Even with the craziness of draft day, the best defensive prospects may be off the board before the Packers pick.

Top defensive players in the draft stand out, each possessing different pros, and few cons. Each one has potential to evolve into a star, and each one has potential to turn the Packers’ defense around.

The following players are the ones that I believe have the most to offer:

Derwin James, Safety, Florida State

James is the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft. His praise stems from one quality of his potential. Derwin has the highest ceiling of any safety in the draft, and his athleticism pairs perfectly with that to make him a well-rounded player.

Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Ohio State

Hands down, the best option for the Packers. His technique is flawless, and his leadership quality truly make him stand out. Additionally, he plays a position that Green Bay continues to struggle with. Pair him with Kevin King, and the Packers have a strong source of coverage.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety, Alabama

Many truly believe that Fitzpatrick is the best player in this year’s draft. He can play great coverage as a cornerback. He can attack the quarterback from the edge. He can tackle as a safety. His talent is off the charts, which allows him to play almost any position on defense. A prospect like this can soften the blow from losing players like Damarious Randall and Morgan Burnett, and help defending the run too.

Roquan Smith, Linebacker, Georgia

A Butkus award winner, Smith is a physical linebacker that can truly put pressure on the offense. His reach, speed, and leadership make him a player that has potential to become the face of a defense.

Tremaine Edmunds, Linebacker, Virginia Tech

If the Packers wanted a good player they can develop, Edmunds is the choice here. He is only 19, and still recognized as the most athletic player in the draft. Picking him wouldn’t be anything to complain about.

Based on a collection of analysis, predictions, reports, and tape, none of these players will fall below pick 13.

It wouldn’t be fair if we were to call everyone after the 12th pick mediocre, yet none of the prospects after these five seem to be a decisive selection for Green Bay.

Players mocked to the Packers are names that are projected to go anywhere in the first round, from 14th all the way to 32nd. Names like Marcus Davenport and Harold Landry get tossed around in one report and appear in towards the end of the first round in another. 

The issue that the Packers face is that out of the 13 teams picking before them, seven are expected to pick defensive players. The following mock demonstrates a likely outcome for the first few teams:

  1. Browns: Sam Darnold, QB
  2. Giants: Josh Rosen, QB
  3. Jets: Josh Allen, QB
  4. Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB
  5. Broncos: Bradley Chubb, EDGE
  6. Colts: Tremaine Edmunds, LB
  7. Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S
  8. Bears: Quenton Nelson, G
  9. 49ers: Roquan Smith, LB
  10. Raiders: Derwin James, S
  11. Dolphins: Baker Mayfield, QB

Now the following order most likely won’t be completely accurate, but the following players seem to be consensus as the top-11 picks in the draft.

Here, Denzel Ward is the prospect left for the 12th pick, but this could be any of the players mentioned above, this is just a hypothetical scenario. If the Packers were picking 12th, this wouldn’t even be a discussion.

With four quarterbacks projected to be picked in the first 11 picks, it would almost be guaranteed that the Packers would get one of the five players listed above. However, because two teams (the Redskins and Bills), pick before the Packers, things become complicated.

With the 12th pick, the Buffalo Bills select…

It’s crazy to think that a trade between two different teams makes such a large difference in the Packers’ draft.

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After the Bills traded away Tyrod Taylor to the Browns, quarterback became the biggest need for Buffalo this offseason. This should be enough for the Bills to select Lamar Jackson with the 12th pick.

By selecting Jackson, the Bills must pass on a defensive prospect, passing the chance on to the Redskins. If the Bills pass on Jackson, they select a defensive player that the Packers wanted, and hopes for a steal is lost.

With the 13th pick, the Washington Redksins select…

Vita Vea is very plausible option for the Redskins here, and if the Packers needed defensive line help, he would be for them too. Just like the Bills need a quarterback, the Redskins need a defensive tackle. The key here lies in the decision of the Redskins, depending on if they take a player based on pure talent (Ward, Fitzpatrick, etc.), or a player who plays a position they need to improve on.

If the Redskins select Vea, the Packers get an impact player at 14. That is if  things work out in Green Bay’s favor.

In conclusion, Vea and Jackson could be the players that cause a good player to fall on the boards. Moreover, this scenario is pure coincidence and tough to foresee. Even if this doesn’t happen, there is potential to grab someone that is impactful, but trading down or up the board may be more beneficial.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots are “intrigued and impressed” by Lamar Jackson.

A trade with the Patriots would benefit both teams, and with the situation seen in the first round, the Packers could grab someone they considered at pick 14.

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Moving up, a chance at Ward or Fitzpatrick would only complement the defense. A trade could assist the Packers.