Packers outsmart Lions with genius trade in 4-round 2024 NFL mock draft

Kool-Aid McKinstry
Kool-Aid McKinstry / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Green Bay Packers are an ascending team, but the Detroit Lions still lead the way in the NFC North until proven otherwise.

Detroit has a dominant offense but needs reinforcements on defense, including at cornerback, which is also a significant area of need for Green Bay. The last thing the Packers want is for a top cornerback prospect to fall to the Lions at the bottom of the first round.

Fortunately, general manager Brian Gutekunst could have a say in it by checking two boxes at the same time. The Packers are potentially positioned to address one of their own needs while also stealing a top prospect from the Lions. That could either mean drafting a cornerback at No. 25 or using their boatload of top-100 picks to trade back into the first.

That's the focus of this four-round mock draft.

Latest Green Bay Packers 4-round 2024 NFL mock draft

Round 1 (25): Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Before trading back into the first round, the Packers stick at No. 25 to draft one of the best offensive linemen in the class. Some analysts believe Duke's Graham Barton will play guard or center at the pro level, while others think he can remain at left tackle. Regardless of where he lines up, the Packers would hit a home run by drafting Barton.

Many point to Barton's size and arm length (6-foot-5, 313 pounds, 32.88-inch arm length) as a reason for moving inside, but longtime Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga had similar measurements (6-foot-5, 314 pounds, 33.25-inch arm length).

Barton is a better athlete than Bulaga, earning an elite Relative Athletic Score of 9.85, and he offers more versatility as he can play across the line. The Packers may prefer Barton at guard or center, but the option to keep him at tackle makes this a home-run selection.

Round 1 (28): Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Packers-Bills trade

With Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry still on the board, it made sense to jump back into the first round and, crucially, ahead of the Lions. Green Bay has the luxury of owning two selections in the second and third rounds, which increases the possibility of packaging picks to trade up.

McKinstry is one of the best cornerbacks in the class and can start from Day 1. In his final two seasons at Alabama, he broke up 22 passes and intercepted one. According to PFF, he allowed a completion percentage of just 44.4 and a passer rating of only 67.9 in his coverage last season.

Injury forced McKinstry out of the NFL Combine testing but he impressed at his Pro Day, running a 4.47-second 40-yard dash despite not being at 100 percent due to a Jones fracture in his foot. McKinstry still earned a good RAS of 7.55, even while not fully healthy.

Round 2 (58): Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M

The Packers make another big-time move on defense in the second round by adding arguably the best linebacker in the class. Edgerrin Cooper earned an elite RAS of 9.13 after an impressive performance at the NFL Combine, including a 40 time of 4.51 seconds.

"Cooper is a long, rangy linebacker with excellent speed and coverage ability," writes NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah.

Cooper is a potential Day 1 starter next to Quay Walker. Along with helping defend passes in the middle of the field, Jeff Hafley could trust him to make an impact as a blitzer, as Cooper had eight sacks last season.

Round 3 (91): Cole Bishop, S, Utah

Green Bay finds its second starter at safety next to Xavier McKinney with Utah's Cole Bishop. No safety in this year's class earned a higher RAS than Bishop's 9.88, and the Packers will love his ability to line up at various positions in the secondary.

Bishop doesn't make enough game-changing plays—he only had three interceptions in three seasons at Utah—but he could become a reliable starter who can play in the box or as the post safety in Hafley's scheme.

Round 4 (126): Blake Fisher, T, Notre Dame

After losing depth earlier in the offseason, the Packers may double or triple down along the offensive line in the 2024 NFL Draft. Notre Dame's Blake Fisher is a steal in the fourth round. While he likely needs time to develop to reach his potential, Fisher could be a future starter at either tackle spot.

Fisher meets Green Bay's strict size and athletic thresholds. He is 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds with an RAS of 7.72. Importantly, he performed well in the agility drills.

Green Bay desperately needs to add depth at tackle behind starters Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom. Fisher provides that. He could begin his career as the Packers' swing tackle with the potential to become a quality starter in the future.

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