With the way the draft stands, it might behoove the Green Bay Packers to maneuver around the 2023 NFL Draft, much like they did back in 2018.
In the draft, whether it be through outside analysis or within the team sphere, it’s important to recognize prospect tiers. Where the top tier ends and others begin is important to drafting, and that often leads to maneuvering around the board.
Take the 2023 NFL Draft for example. Both Alabama’s Will Anderson and Georgia’s Jalen Carter are considered the blue-chip talents in the draft. Throw them in with the quarterbacks, a couple top corners, and a few other trench players, and you’ve built the first “tier” in the draft.
The Green Bay Packers sit outside of this tier at pick 15, and that creates a dilemma. Obviously, staying and picking the best player available is an option, but what if a better opportunity presented itself in the form of trading down?
Even though Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has gotten aggressive before (trading up five spots to select Jordan Love in 2020, packaging 53 and 59 for 34 to get Christian Watson), he’s no stranger to a trade back. In fact, that’s the first draft move Gutekunst made back in 2018, dropping 13 spots in a trade with the Saints that netted another first in 2019.
The 2023 NFL Draft is the draft to do just this for the Packers.
Their needs feel well-defined, even before free agency. Getting another separator in the wide receiver room makes sense. Tight end needs a major facelift. The safety depth isn’t good. As always, the trenches can be beefed.
When looking at the class in a wide scope, wide receiver and tight end have a few strong players at the top, but there’s depth in the class. The safety class doesn’t have a player worth selecting at pick 15, at least in this writer’s opinion (I do hear the Brian Branch hype, I do).
The top trench guys are likely gone by pick 15. So, with a plethora of needs and the sweet spot in the draft on day two, find a way to maneuver around and pick up a couple extra picks in the process.
Consider a few teams who might like to move up. The Giants are looking for a true WR1, and the Chargers would like to add speed at receiver. Maybe the Chiefs will get aggressive for a tackle. The Saints have long been aggressive and now have a first-round pick. Here’s what a few of these could look like:
- Saints trade 29, 40 for 15
- Giants trade 25, 57 for 15
- Bucs trade 19, 82 for 15
- Chiefs trade 30, 2024 first for 15
Any of these packages could be interesting for the Packers. The Giants one could give the Packers an opportunity to secure two second-round picks in this draft to bolster the roster, and get a player that they would draft at 15 at 25.
Brian Branch, Michael Mayer, Dalton Kincaid, and even Jaxon Smith-Njigba all have a chance to be available there.
The Saints trade could still see the Packers land Mayer, Kincaid, or Branch as well, and give them a chance to get a top player available on day two.
With either of those, a draft haul on the first two days could look something like one of the following:
- Kincaid, Derick Hall, Brandon Joseph, Matthew Bergeron
- Smith-Njigba, Luke Musgrave, Mazi Smith, Wanya Morris
- Keion White, Darnell Wright, Chris Smith, Tucker Kraft
As long as we’re sticking with the hypothetical here (a fun place to operate), let’s also throw in the idea that an Aaron Rodgers trade could likely net the Packers picks seven and 40 from the Raiders or 13 and 43 from the Jets.
Pick seven could net a ton in draft picks from the Bucs moving up for a quarterback, or create a bidding war between other teams. Heck, both picks seven (or 13) and 15 could be traded, netting the Packers a massive amount of capital to maneuver on day two, like Gutekunst did last year moving up for Watson, a player they clearly valued as a round one guy.
With a plethora of offensive line, defensive line, safety, tight end, and receiver talent on day two, the riches for a roster overhaul could happen in an instant. Trading down can make this happen for the Packers in the 2023 NFL Draft, and vault them back to the postseason in 2023.