Why the Green Bay Packers need to strengthen the defensive line, and a new mock draft.
As a longtime Green Bay Packers fan, I have to admit to some level of disbelief over the events of this offseason so far. Will we remember this as “March Madness 2019” forever?
Will these moves be looked back on as the turning point back to Super Bowl relevance, or will they be seen as shackling the team with long-term financial purgatory in exchange for a one-hit wonder, a mediocre grinder and a scheme star?
I personally think it couldn’t have been done much better, but the NFL has proven me wrong many times. To that end can anyone point out an offseason with as many free agent moves by Green Bay?
While I thought it might be a good idea for the Packers to let both Clay Matthews and Nick Perry walk, I was so conditioned to how Green Bay has done business forever that I never dreamt they would actually do it.
So instead of analyzing what’s already transpired (for now anyway), I’m asking myself what are the obvious things coming next based on the measured-but-aggressive approach Brian Gutekunst is taking so far.
Here’s what I think could be coming:
(Note: all contract numbers are according to Spotrac)
- Sign Bashaud Breeland to contract worth $7 million per year (which is his Spotrac calculated market value), and continue the youth movement by cutting Tramon Williams prior to his $1.4 million roster bonus coming due.
- Cut Trevor Davis, saving $720,000. Not sure what role he plays on the team that can’t be fulfilled by another player. Eight receptions in three years — surely someone else can return kick offs?
- Cut Jason Spriggs — does Spriggs become a cut casualty now that Billy Turner has signed with the Packers? Turner can play all across the O-line and would project in my opinion as an upgrade at backup tackle to Spriggs. Cutting Spriggs could free up over $2 million in cap space.
- Bring back Muhammad Wilkerson on another cheap one-year deal, if healthy, to cover up the lack of depth in the middle of the D-line. Which brings me to my next point…
Who is the starting NT, and why aren’t we taking one in any mock drafts?
Here’s a list of players designated as defensive tackles on the current Packers roster. Correct me if I’m wrong, but these would be the guys slotted in to play between Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark when they are both healthy?
- Montravius Adams (third round 2017, one start in 2018, 277 snaps played)
- Deon Simon (played 205 snaps for Jets in 2016)
- Tyler Lancaster (undrafted FA 2018, five games, started 249 snaps)
- James Looney (seventh round 2018, 19 snaps played 2018)
Objectively speaking, this is a pretty thin group based on both experience and proven production.
Although almost all Packers mock drafts had a pass rusher listed in the first two picks, only two out of 33 mock drafts (six percent) I canvassed online had the Pack taking a DT with either of their first-round picks… are we missing something here?
New mock draft picks
There’s a lot of talk about either “drafting for need” or using the “best player available” method, but wouldn’t the best picks be made, by definition, at the intersection of roster need and sheer talent?
The Packers’ need at NT/OT could line up very well with a scenario where the top prospects slide to #12 or #30 and beyond possibly even spurring a trade back option. The biggest question to me now is which of the two positions the Packers take first, but that won’t be answered until we see on draft day which position group “slides” down the order.
Round 1, Pick 12: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Several mock drafts I have read have Jonah Williams going anywhere from #13 to #18. I assure you, if Jonah Williams is still available at #12, the Packers will not let him get to #13.
Williams is an athletic tackle who will thrive in the new blocking scheme (hell, any blocking scheme). Watch him handle possible future first-rounders Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins on a stunt in the Clemson game.
Round 1, Pick 30: Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
I’m tipping my hat to Pro Football Focus here. PFF has the Pack taking Tillery at #12 in a recent mock draft, but I think BG can sit in the weeds on this one and get Tillery at #30. I encourage you to watch this guy’s film.
Round 2, Pick 44: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
I still love this pick if Adderley is still on the board at #44. Wouldn’t you love to have this kid sitting behind new free agent acquisition Adrian Amos on the depth chart? Now we are getting somewhere Mr. Gutekunst.
The Packers don’t need a run support safety as much as a talented center-fielder, and they get it in Adderley. A true free safety with range and speed, will probably put on some weight to handle the NFL. He has nine interceptions in the last two seasons with Delaware, including four in 2018, along with seven pass breakups, a forced fumble, and 86 tackles.