Breaking down Packers' most realistic options in Round 1 of 2024 NFL Draft

Cooper DeJean
Cooper DeJean / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Green Bay Packers have 11 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, including a first-round pick as well as two second- and third-round picks. General manager Brian Gutekunst has never been one to not make moves during the draft, notably trading up in the first round during each of his first three classes.

Gutekunst moved up in 2018 to select All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander, followed by safety Darnell Savage a year later, and franchise quarterback Jordan Love as recently as 2020. It is clear that if there is a player Gutekunst wants to get his hands on, he is not afraid to make it happen.

With enough ammunition to trade up in the draft again this year, Green Bay has many options for their first-round pick in 2024, with each option intriguing in its own way.

What realistic options do Packers have in first round of 2024 NFL Draft?

Packers stay put and take the best player available at No. 25

Although less exhilarating than a potential trade-up, the possibility that Green Bay does not make any trade in the first round should be recognized. It is not uncommon for two teams to not reach an agreement on a trade while disagreeing on terms of compensation, and the trade falls through.

It is also possible that the Packers feel there is no need to give away additional draft picks in their current position. They could remain at pick 25 and select the best player available.

This would mean not necessarily selecting a player for a specific position but analyzing the remaining prospects and selecting the best talent regardless of position. It could be a defensive back like Kool-Aid McKinstry out of Alabama, a linebacker like Payton Wilson from NC State, or another position of need for the Packers, such as offensive tackle Amarius Mims from Georgia.

Staying put at pick 25 would likely mean not selecting for a specific position; it would mean the Packers are willing to let the chips fall and take what is handed to them. It is difficult to predict exactly who will be available for the Packers at pick 25, but if the price is not right within any trade talks, expect Green Bay to be looking for the best player available at their current draft pick.

Packers could trade up for a cornerback

It is no secret that drafting a defensive back is one of the Packers' primary needs entering the 2024 NFL Draft.

With cornerback Eric Stokes unable to stay on the field due to injuries and cornerback Rasul Douglas being traded to the Buffalo Bills, there is a need for reinforcements in the secondary. At cornerback, Green Bay has Jaire Alexander on the outside alongside seventh-round draft choice Carrington Valentine, while Keisean Nixon handles the slot.

Corey Ballentine remains in a depth role on the outside playing mainly on special teams, alongside the former first-round pick out of Georgia Eric Stokes. Stokes is not a player that can currently be relied on, playing just 12 games in the last two seasons. However, his potential is still something to be monitored in 2024.

Green Bay is thin at the safety position, with star free-agent signing Xavier McKinney looking to fill the void next season. The Packers also have seventh-round pick Anthony Johnson Jr. at safety, but there is still a clear need for another safety to be added before the start of the season.

It is important to note that the Packers hired former Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley to be their defensive coordinator in 2024, who will bring a change in philosophy to the defense. Hafley is a coordinator who loves attacking wide receivers and allowing his cornerbacks to play press-man. This ideology has been unheard of in Green Bay for the past several years, most notably since the arrival of former defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

With the idea of press-man in mind, it is important to have a large group of quality defensive backs for the technique to be successful.

Gutekunst will not be afraid to trade up for a cornerback that fits Hafley's defensive scheme, especially with the number of draft picks Green Bay holds in 2024. There are plenty of talented cornerbacks within the first round of this draft class, and it would not be surprising to see Green Bay trade up for one of them.

Cornerbacks such as Quinyon Mitchell out of Toledo, Terrion Arnold from Alabama, and Nate Wiggins from Clemson are among the top-ranked cornerbacks in this draft class. However, within Hafley's scheme, the best cornerback on paper for the Packers is Iowa's Cooper DeJean. At 6-foot-1 while running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, DeJean is a guy who should be on the Packers' radar throughout the first round. After receiving a 9.89 out of 10 Relative Athletic Score at his pro day, Green Bay should be interested in a player with his combination of skill and athleticism.

Packers could trade down in Round 1

It is not often that the Packers find themselves trading down further or even out of the first round.

Most recently, in 2018, Green Bay traded the 14th overall pick to the New Orleans Saints for a package involving two later first-round picks. In this year's draft, Gutekunst is in a position where trading down does not seem necessary, as the Packers already hold 11 draft picks, including five selections through the first 91 picks.

With a pick as late in the first round as No. 25, there is little reason to move down further unless the right trade package presents itself. Green Bay may be offered something too enticing to pass up. However, it seems unlikely.

More Packers news and analysis