Packers: Redrafting 2018 draft class three years later

Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

We’re only a week away from the Green Bay Packers putting together their 2021 draft class.

To celebrate draft week, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at a previous draft class with the benefit of hindsight.

How could the Packers’ 2018 draft have gone differently? In this redraft, we assume all trades didn’t happen, so Green Bay picks 14th overall in the first round rather than trading down then trading back up to the 18th selection.

Here we go. Here’s a redraft for the opening five rounds.

Round 1 (14): Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Original pick: Traded away

Even hitting the clock four picks earlier than they did in the real draft, the result is the same. Jaire Alexander is the choice and it’s an easy call.

Alexander has become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in recent years, and he was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro in 2020.

Round 2 (45): Fred Warner, LB, BYU

Original pick: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

In the 2018 draft, the Packers doubled down at cornerback by selecting Josh Jackson in the second round. In the redraft, they use a rare early-round pick at the inside linebacker position.

And for good reason. Fred Warner was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2020. He hasn’t missed a game in his first three seasons, making 367 tackles, five forced fumbles, four sacks, 21 pass defenses, and three interceptions in that time.

Round 3 (76): Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma

Original pick: Traded away

The Packers already had a dominant tackle pairing in David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, but it’s hard to not pick a player as talented as Orlando Brown here. Given Bulaga’s injury history and without much time remaining on his contract, this would’ve made sense. Bulaga left following the 2019 season. Brown is now one of the best tackles in football and is a two-time Pro Bowler.

Round 4 (101): Da’Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama

Original pick: Traded away

In the fourth round, the Packers strengthen the defensive line by selecting Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand, who was selected by the division-rival Detroit Lions 114th overall in the real draft.

Hand has battled injuries but has been great when healthy. He was part of the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2018 and would help Green Bay’s defense up front.

Round 4 (133): Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford

Original pick: J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri

The Packers add some depth at tight end late in the fourth round with Stanford’s Dalton Schultz. Schultz had his best season in 2020 with 63 catches for 615 yards and four touchdowns.

Round 4 (138): Tre Flowers, S, Oklahoma State

Original pick: Cole Madison, G, Washington State

While listed as a safety, Tre Flowers has played cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks. As the Packers don’t select Josh Jackson in this redraft, they add another cornerback in the fourth. Flowers has 16 pass defenses and three interceptions in three seasons. Whether at cornerback or safety, he could help the Packers’ defense.

Round 5 (172): DeShon Elliott, S, Texas

Original pick: JK Scott, P, Alabama

More help for the secondary in the fifth round as the Packers add safety DeShon Elliott. Given how big of a need safety became the following offseason, we can use the benefit of hindsight to strengthen the position in 2018. Elliott battled injuries his first two years in the league but started all 16 games for the Baltimore Ravens in 2020.

Round 5 (174): Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, South Florida

Original pick: Valdes-Scantling

Easy call here. The Packers stick with their original pick of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has improved each year and become a great target for Aaron Rodgers, especially deep down the field.