10 realistic Packers first-round targets ranked from worst to best

Cooper DeJean
Cooper DeJean / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting the Green Bay Packers' draft strategy is a challenging task.

Countless hours are spent studying the Packers' tendencies and preferences, and while they provide valuable context and can help rule out prospects, they aren't the be-all and end-all. Few expected them to select an off-ball linebacker and an older prospect with their two first-round choices in 2022.

However, it is reasonable to take everything we know about the Packers' preferences and compile a list of realistic first-round targets.

There are some guidelines. First, at the time of writing, all of the prospects included were 20th or lower in the NFL Mock Draft Database consensus board. It takes out players unlikely to fall anywhere near No. 25. Second, we assume there are no trade-ups, which is why you won't see names like Quinyon Mitchell or Terrion Arnold.

Other factors are also considered, including the Packers' preference for premium positions, areas of need, and Relative Athletic Score. Narrowing it down to a top 10 wasn't easy, but here we are.

Ranking most realistic Packers targets in Round 1 of 2024 NFL Draft

10. Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M

The Packers shouldn't draft a linebacker in Round 1, but they've done it before with Quay Walker. There's no denying Edgerrin Cooper's fit in Green Bay's defense. Cooper stands out as the best option for the Packers in a thin class at the position. He checks a lot of boxes.

Cooper is an excellent athlete with an RAS of 9.13. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and also posted solid agility numbers.

On the field, there's a lot to like about his fit in Jeff Hafley's system. Blitzing is one of Cooper's strengths—he made eight sacks and 17 tackles for loss last season—which is one way he could make an instant impact in Hafley's defense. Per PFF, Cooper is the only linebacker in this year's class with grades of 85 or above in run defense, pass rush, and coverage.

9. Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Nate Wiggins is one of the best cornerbacks in the class and would be an excellent Day 1 pick, but only if the Packers are willing to make an exception to their strict thresholds. Green Bay rarely drafts cornerbacks below 190 pounds—Wiggins is 173.

However, he checks just about every other box.

Wiggins has an RAS of 9.44, and his 4.28-second 40-time was the second-fastest among all prospects and first among cornerbacks. The Packers still don't know what they have in Eric Stokes, who has struggled to stay healthy, but Wiggins offers the game-changing speed they lack when Stokes isn't available.

He has Pro Bowl potential as an outside corner and could start immediately, but will he be on the Packers' board?

8. Kingsley Suamataia, T, BYU

Taking Kingsley Suamataia in Round 1 would be a classic Packers move, and it could be a smart one. Gutekunst took Eric Stokes and Quay Walker despite them being considered second-rounders on consensus boards.

Suamataia could be next.

He might not be an instant starter, but the Packers have a great track record of developing offensive linemen, and the BYU tackle has a ton of potential. At 6-foot-5, 326 pounds, the Packers may prefer Suamataia to move inside to guard, but he has experience at both tackle positions.

Suamataia is another great athlete with an RAS of 9.40. He was also invited to the Senior Bowl, which the Packers pay attention to. Whether he plays tackle or guard, Suamataia would be an excellent pick.

7. Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Edge rusher may not be high on Green Bay's to-do list, but it's a premium position and the defense would benefit from more depth, especially with Kingsley Enagbare expected to miss most of the season.

Chop Robinson would give the Packers' pass rush something it lacks: Speed. Rashan Gary, Lukas Van Ness, and Preston Smith win with power, but Robinson's best assets are his speed and athleticism. The Penn State product has an RAS of 9.72. He ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash with a 1.53-second 10-yard split, and Robinson also impressed in the agility drills.

"Edge defender who offers the type of elite athleticism we've seen from players like Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett," writes Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. "If he crafts a rush approach and learns to string moves/counters together, he could reach his ceiling as a destructive force capable of forcing teams to game plan around him."

While he only made 9.5 sacks over the past two seasons, the best is yet to come from Robinson. Much like Gary and Van Ness, the Packers would be getting an outstanding athlete with the tools to become a Pro Bowl pass rusher.

6. JC Latham, T, Alabama

JC Latham plays a premium position and is one of the best tackles in the class. However, it's hard to rank him higher on the list due to a couple of factors. At 6-foot-6 and 342 pounds, Latham doesn't meet Green Bay's size thresholds. The other issue is that he didn't test at the NFL Combine, which means he has no RAS.

However, there's no denying his talent, and if the Packers believe he can play guard, the chances of them taking Latham increase.

"If he were to move inside and play guard, he will have the play strength to thrive against bigger defenders on the interior as well," writes Jordan Edwards of The 33rd Team.

Latham played right tackle for Alabama, but a potential move inside to right guard would make him a valuable pick. Another option would be for Zach Tom to move inside to center, with Latham taking over at right tackle.

5. Jer'Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

If the Packers draft an interior defensive lineman early, it could give us an indication about Kenny Clark's future, whose contract expires next offseason. Illinois' Jer'Zhan Newton could be a top target for Green Bay, regardless.

Newton is an excellent interior pass rusher, having made 13 sacks over the past two seasons to go with 22.5 tackles for loss. He is a two-time All-Big Ten and was named a consensus All-American and the Nagurski–Woodson Defensive Player of the Year in 2023.

Jeff Hafley could have Newton line up across the defensive line, giving the Packers another excellent interior pass rusher to play alongside Clark, Devonte Wyatt, and Karl Brooks.

4. Amarius Mims, T, Georgia

The Packers will likely target an offensive lineman early in the draft, and Georgia's Amarius Mims, whom they hosted for a top-30 visit, is a prospect they could consider.

Mims is 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds and only made eight career starts in college. He doesn't meet the Packers' size thresholds, and they usually prefer tackles with more experience. However, if ever there were a player worth making an exception for, it's Mims.

The Packers have turned late Day 3 picks into starting linemen. Imagine Mims' potential in Green Bay. He is an outstanding athlete with an RAS of 9.59 and has the talent to become a star. Per PFF, Mims didn't allow a sack in three seasons at Georgia. He could eventually become an excellent starting right tackle for the Packers.

3. Tyler Guyton, T, Oklahoma

The concerns with Tyler Guyton are similar to Mims'. He only started 14 games in college and doesn't meet their size thresholds at 6-foot-8 and 328 pounds. However, Guyton may be an even better fit in Green Bay than Mims.

Guyton has an elite RAS of 9.73. Unlike Mims, the Oklahoma product took part in the agility testing, posting a 4.71-second shuttle and 7.5-second three-cone. That could be the difference. The Packers value agility testing, and Guyton checks every box. He may also offer more positional versatility than Mims, having played some snaps at left tackle.

The Packers may not want Guyton to start immediately, considering his lack of experience, but he has star potential.

2. Graham Barton, T, Duke

There might not be a better fit for the Packers than Graham Barton. Green Bay loves versatility, and unlike some of the offensive linemen lower on this list, Barton could play all five positions.

"One of the things we've done pretty good with our offensive line in the past is being versatile enough that guys can play inside, play outside, so there's not just one-position players. We'll probably try to continue that as we go forward," said GM Brian Gutekunst.

That describes Barton. But that's not the only reason why he's the perfect fit. The Duke product is also one of the best athletes in the entire class, earning a 9.85 RAS at his college position of tackle. That number increases to 9.99 at guard and 10.00 at center. Crucially, he aced the agility testing at the NFL Combine with a 4.55-second shuttle and a 7.31-second three-cone.

Green Bay could let Barton compete at tackle or move him to guard or center. With his versatility, production, ability to pass and run block, and athleticism, Barton would be a home-run pick for the Packers.

1. Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

It's a close contest for first place, but Iowa's Cooper DeJean just edges it. Like Barton along the offensive line, DeJean offers the versatility to play across the secondary.

Ahead of the draft, Brian Gutekunst was asked what he's looking for at safety.

"Those guys, I'd love to be interchangeable. I'd like them to be able to do everything. That's really tough on an offense when those guys can move down inside, they can play the post, they can go in the nickel and cover," said Gutekunst.

He pretty much described DeJean.

Whether he plays corner opposite Jaire Alexander, replaces Keisean Nixon in the slot, or starts alongside Xavier McKinney at safety, DeJean could become an All-Pro in Green Bay's defense. He checks every box. DeJean is an incredible athlete with a 9.89 RAS and has the production to back it up. Since the start of the 2022 season, he has seven interceptions and three pick-sixes.

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