Green Bay Packers: Re-drafting the 2017 draft class

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a defensive stop in the second quarter during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a defensive stop in the second quarter during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Two years on, let’s take a look back at the Green Bay Packers’ 2017 draft class. Here’s how it could’ve gone.

This draft assumes there are no trades from the Green Bay Packers‘ original positions, which means they pick at No. 29 in the first round instead of trading down.

Interestingly, this re-draft is dominated by offense. That’s more a result of the talent available at each pick rather than drafting for need.

The Packers don’t address their need at cornerback here, but this draft would set them up on offense for multiple years, allowing them to select Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson as they did in the real draft a year later.

Round 1 (29): EDGE T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

Packers’ original pick (traded down to No. 33): CB Kevin King, Washington

This is a debate many Packers fans have had since the day of the draft. Green Bay traded out of the first round to select Kevin King with the first pick on Day 2, passing up the opportunity to select edge rusher T.J. Watt.

Injuries have been the problem for King in his first two seasons; he has missed 17 games in that time. Watt has only missed one game.

The Steelers edge rusher has 20 sacks in two seasons, with a career-best 13 in 2018. He also forced six fumbles last year. For a team that desperately needed pass-rush help at the start of the 2019 offseason, Watt makes a ton of sense in this re-draft.

Round 2 (61): WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC

Packers’ original pick: S Josh Jones, NC State

Imagine Davante Adams and JuJu Smith-Schuster playing in the same offense. For the second round in a row, the Packers passed up on a player the Steelers gladly selected. This past season, Smith-Schuster caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns.

With Adams and Smith-Schuster, the Packers would have the best wide receiver duo in the NFL.

Round 3 (93): S Eddie Jackson, Alabama

Packers’ original pick: DT Montravius Adams, Auburn

Instead of selecting Josh Jones in the second round, the Packers get their safety in the third with Eddie Jackson. A star in the Chicago Bears secondary, Jackson made six interceptions in 2018 and was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler.

Round 4 (134): TE George Kittle, Iowa

Packers’ original pick: RB Jamaal Williams, BYU

There’s a lot of talk this year about whether teammates T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant will both be first-round picks. Well, the Packers had the chance to select a different Iowa tight end two years ago: George Kittle.

In just his second year, Kittle broke the single-season receiving yards record for tight ends in the NFL, catching 88 passes for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns. Dominant in the 49ers offense, we can only imagine the success Kittle could have in the Packers offense.

Imagine a defensive pairing of T.J. Watt and Eddie Jackson and an offensive pairing of JuJu Smith-Schuster and George Kittle.

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Round 5 (172): RB Matt Breida, Georgia Southern

Packers’ original pick: Traded pick

The Packers get another offensive weapon in Round 5. In the real draft, the Packers selected Jamaal Williams in the fourth, but as we’ve gone for Kittle instead, here they get Matt Breida.

Breida went undrafted in 2017, but after finishing with 814 yards and three touchdowns last season, he could’ve been a perfect complement in the backfield to the next selection.

Round 5 (182): RB Aaron Jones, UTEP

Packers’ original pick: RB Aaron Jones, UTEP

One of the best Day 3 selections in the entire draft, we stick with the Packers’ original choice of Aaron Jones in the fifth round. With a need at running back, Green Bay puts together an excellent 1-2 of Jones and Breida. Jones finished 2018 as the NFL’s leader in yards per carry, putting up 728 yards and eight touchdowns in 12 games.

Round 6 (212): WR Keelan Cole, Kentucky Wesleyan

Packers’ original pick: T Kofi Amichia, South Florida

The final two picks were undrafted in 2017, but would’ve been great Day 3 selections for the Packers. Here, they add more talent to the receiving corps with big-play threat Keelan Cole. Cole led the Jaguars in receiving two years ago with 748 yards and three touchdowns.

Following the departure of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in consecutive years, the Packers would enter 2019 in great shape at WR with Adams, Smith-Schuster, Cole and Geronimo Allison.

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Round (247): TE Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M

Packers’ original pick: WR Malachi Dupre, LSU

The Packers signed Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks in the 2017 offseason. Instead, they could’ve gone with two draft picks in George Kittle and Ricky Seals-Jones. Seals-Jones has 544 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons and would give the Packers good depth at tight end.