The Green Bay Packers select a linebacker and wide receiver early in this seven-round mock draft.
The Packers have had a strange offseason to this point, bringing in three head-scratching free agents.
Here’s how they can make up for it in the draft.
Round 1, Pick 30: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The Packers may have finally realized Blake Martinez wasn’t good enough to be the only inside linebacker worth the price of admission in Green Bay. But replacing him with Christian Kirksey was incredibly underwhelming. Green Bay had a chance to sign either Cory Littleton or Joe Schobert to surprisingly affordable deals. They passed on both and instead opted for the injury-prone, up-and-down former Cleveland Brown.
However, this deal could become more valuable if they pair him with a young, fresh-legged athlete in Patrick Queen. While Kenneth Murray is the best pure inside linebacker in the draft, Queen isn’t too far behind and was scorching hot to end the season with the national-champion LSU Tigers.
There’s nothing he doesn’t do well. He covers, blitzes, anticipates blocks, and thumps running backs coming through the middle of the field. These traits will allow Kirksey to be himself more than something he isn’t. Green Bay still is not good defensively. Yes, still. Queen will make the Kirksey move worth it.
Round 2, Pick 62: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
Further complicating matters for the Packers has been their bizarre reluctance to make any move of substance at wide receiver since Brian Gutekunst took over the reins. He has drafted three wide receivers, all in the fourth round or later in two years on the job and has added what’s left of Devin Funchess on a one-year deal.
The Packers famously have not drafted a receiver in the first round since Javon Walker way back in 2002, when Brett Favre was still throwing interceptions and Aaron Rodgers was at Butte Community College.
This is a bit of a need pick more than a best-player-available scenario for the Packers. K.J. Hamler has the speed that Davante Adams and Funchess do not, and can give the Packers an actual slot receiver.
He is essentially a lesser version of the blazing-fast and remarkably skilled Henry Ruggs III, who will be a top-20 pick. Green Bay needs speed on offense in the worst way and Hamler’s twitchy route-running will open up a couple more pages of the playbook for Matt LaFleur and Nathaniel Hackett.