4 prospects Packers could regret passing on in 2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft - Round 1
2023 NFL Draft - Round 1 / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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3. Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Drafted: Round 2 (No. 45) by Detroit Lions

Safety was a need for the Packers entering the draft, but GM Brian Gutekunst smartly didn't reach for a player at the position just for the sake of it. He waited until the seventh round, getting tremendous value by selecting Iowa State's Anthony Johnson Jr.

However, the Packers had an opportunity to take the best safety in the class, and it certainly wouldn't have been a reach. Alabama's Brian Branch is a first-round talent but was available when the Packers hit the clock in the second round. Green Bay traded the pick to the division-rival Detroit Lions, who selected Branch.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared him to three-time first-team All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick, writing that Branch is "one of the safest picks in the draft." With his ability to play at multiple positions in the secondary, including slot corner, he would've been a perfect fit in Green Bay.

The Packers would argue that they got great value in their double trade-down. Instead of drafting Branch at No. 45, they moved down twice, netting two additional Day 3 picks. They ended up with Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, and Karl Brooks.

That's great work by the Packers. They turned the No. 45 pick into three talented prospects, each with starting potential. However, it will be interesting to see if they end up regretting not taking Branch when they had the opportunity.