Packers 2023 Draft: 3 first-round targets at edge rusher

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers must strengthen their pass rush in the 2023 NFL Draft.

In a deep edge rusher class, it won’t be a surprise if the Packers use one of their early-round selections at the position.

Rashan Gary’s return from injury will help Green Bay’s pass rush in 2023, but the team should try to find a long-term starter to play next to Gary, as it’s unclear how many more seasons Preston Smith will play for the Packers.

Which edge rushers could the Packers target in the first round?

Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

With so many talented pass rushers in this class, it’s possible that Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness will fall to No. 15 overall.

Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus wrote that “Van Ness is an ascending power rusher with unique power and flexibility.”

With 13 sacks over the past two seasons, Van Ness would be a great player to develop behind starters Rashan Gary and Preston Smith in year one. He could eventually become an excellent starter.

Myles Murphy, Clemson

Myles Murphy could go inside the top 10, although some mock drafts have him falling to the middle of the first round, where the Packers could come into play.

If Murphy is still there at No. 15, the Packers should be absolutely delighted. He can contribute immediately, and before long, he could become an excellent starter alongside Rashan Gary.

The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs wrote that “Murphy has a rare blend of size, length, explosion, and fluidity that makes him a challenge to block throughout the course of a game.”

Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

Tyree Wilson is another player who could go far earlier than the Packers’ pick at No. 15. Green Bay may need to trade up to get him, or land another first-round pick in an Aaron Rodgers trade.

And there’s good reason why Wilson could be an early pick on Day 1.

Over the past two seasons, Wilson has featured in 23 games, making 14 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss. According to Pro Football Focus, he had 50 pressures in 2022.

“Overall, Wilson is still improving, but he has all of the tools to develop into a Pro Bowl edge rusher,” wrote NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah.