This is Brian Gutekunst’s second Draft as the man in charge for the Pack. Last year saw him add some solid talent to the roster. But locker room dysfunction, injuries (especially to AARON RODGERS) and seemingly disheartened coaching efforts left the team fighting with Detroit for the bottom of the NFC North. The first post-season casualty was HC Mike McCarthy and most of his staff. A lengthy off-season “expose'”in Bleacher Report has shaken the organization and its fan base to the core. It has helped some that ARON RODGERS, a focal point of that article, says much of it is crap. That chip on his talented shoulder may have just gotten bigger.
Luckily their team has 10 Draft Picks, with 4 of them in the Top 75. Gutekunst has already added a significant UFA class, so now a mother lode. draft crop needs to be in order in the imminent selection process.
Round 1, Pick 12 DEVIN BUSH IB MICHIGAN 5’11/234 PP#12
The incredibly athletic BUSH would be a huge addition to the Packers D, if only he makes it to Pick 12. I would advise against trading up to insure getting him however, because the team has many needs from this Draft and will still get a major contributor here. If BUSH is gone it likely means HASKINS is still available with at least 3 teams after the PACKERS Pick, with needs for a franchise QB. No BUSH, no HOCKENSON, then I say trade back a few slots if you can. Another 3rd Round Pick could be helpful. By the way if they get BUSH do not be worried in the least about his 5’11 height. His athleticism (4.44/40) more than makes up for an inch or two in height. He will challenge MARTINEZ for the most tackles on the team, because he runs all day like Blake, but has superior speed! DC MIKE PETTINE might throw his own post-Draft party if they get BUSH here for him.
Round 1, Pick 30 IRV SMITH TE ALABAMA 6’3/242 PP#30
Once again the player I have ranked exactly where they Pick is of the quality and need that fits the PACKERS at this slot. Although SMITH is an inch or so short of the ideal for a TE he is one tough and talented hombre. His dad, IRVIN, was a Round 1 TE Pick from Notre Dame by the Saints, back in he day. I expect JIMMY GRAHAM to be the Pack’s top TE, but SMITH has the talent to earn future Pro Bowl bids. He is also a tough, physical guy who is the top blocker among the best of this year’s TE group. His arms are a bit short (31 1/2″) but you gotta like those 9 1/2″ hands. He should emerge as his Rookie season progresses. Expect to see him inline, but also in the slot, or in motion quite a bit. His 4.63/40-speed will come in handy for Mr. Rodgers.
Round 2, Pick 44 JUAN THORNHILL S VIRGINIA 6’0/205 PP#113
The Packers were seen as having one of the best S tandems in the League just 3 seasons ago in CLINTON-DIX & BURNETT. But those guys fell out of favor (mostly because of their game tape) and the team has been trying to plug in new competent pieces the past 2 seasons. ADRIAN AMOS/VFA was signed away from the Bears, and is a physical presence. THORNHILL, a former CB, with great ball skills and athleticism could make a solid compliment to AMOS. WITH 4.44-speed JUAN covers a lot of ground and has CB ball skills. Last season THORNHILL posted the following stats: 98 T, 7 PBU, 6 INT, 2 QBH, 1 BK. He too should be an instant starter and help the D improve their takeaway numbers.
Round 3, Pick 75 MICHAEL JORDAN G/C OHIO STATE 6’6/312 PP#79
The long, strong young athlete JORDAN gets the nod over CAJUSTE here even though OT might be the bigger need. But JORDAN has star potential and not many warts. He clearly has the size to bump out to OT, including 34 1/4″ arms and 10″ hands, but the foot speed just isn’t there to handle speed edge-rushers. Was ranked as 14th best OL at the Combine by Ourlads, despite his slow 5.28/40-time. Has better overall talent than anyone currently listed as part of their OG corps. Might start right away, or at the least be a 3-slot backup to start his career.
Round 4, Pick 114 DAVID EDWARDS OT WISCONSIN 6’6/308 PP#113
Yes another OL because JASON SPRIGGS looks like a second round bust after 3 seasons. EDWARDS had a solid career for the Badgers, and has enough size and talent to play RT in the NFL. He is proficient in pass-pro and run blocking. Don’t be fooled by his paltry Combine bench press count of 16. The Badger weight room emphasizes power lifts, not bench press. Good, not great arm length (33 3/8″) with nice hand size (9 3/4″). Overall, EDWARDS is a solid prospect, who likely will replace the battered and bruised BRYAN BULAGA in the near future. Too much OL help this early for your taste? I think not. Take a good look at the PACKERS OL depth chart. Protecting Rodgers in a stable pocket is a must for this team.
Round 4, Pick 118 KRIS BOYD CB TEXAS 6’0/195 PP#121
A very athletic and physical defender, who still needs some serious coaching help to start in the NFL. He gets too grabby, as shown at start of the Senior Bowl, when he was flagged early and often for PI. However, his overall physicality and athleticism is very good. He is strong in his run support and has good ball skills. With a little finesse and coverage confidence he might end up with multiple INT per season. His 4.45/40 is adequate and he plays at that speed in pads. Has experience in all kinds of coverage, and can handle them all. His aggressive and physical style of play should make him an immediate help on Special Teams, while he learns sub-package schemes. Packers fans may like this Pick a lot more in a season or two.
Round 5, Pick 150 CORTEZ BROUGHTON DL CINCINNATI 6’2/291 PP#145
The only thing lacking in BROUGHTON’s size is his lack of length overall. But he is a strong, quick player who gets good penetration on a regular basis. Was a standout performer during his time at the Shrine venue in January. Is explosive and active, driving interior OL to distraction at time trying to keep him in front of them to block. In 2018 he posted: 46 T, 17.5 TFL, 6.5 S, 5 PBU, 4 QBH, 1 FF. There is a place for his game in any DL formation this defense uses, which is very valuable in today’s NFL. Stays on his feet, and will run all day long. Good choice, and should find multiple roles right away as a pro. he might push the lackluster MONTRAVIUS ADAMS right out of the DL rotation, and off the roster.
Round 6, Pick 185 PORTER GUSTIN DE/OL 6’5/255 USC PP#185
An explosive playmaker, ala CLAY MATTHEWS, when he can stay out on the field. He is a high energy player and pressures the pocket when healthy. His talent should also project well to Special Teams. Based on his last two seasons at USC this Pick is a medical risk. His skills are a bit limited but hustle and pass-rush talent go a long way toward playing success in the NFL. His Bench Press of 31 reps, raised some eyebrows at the Combine, along with a very good 4.69/40-time. Tantalizing potential, and drafting him this late limits the up front financial risk if his injury woes continue.
Round 6, Pick 194 JALEN HURD WR BAYLOR 6’5/226. PP#194
Was RB at Tennessee for 2 seasons, but left amidst the coaching change drama at Knoxville. Transferred to Baylor and resurfaced at WR. He is a big strong guy, with 10 1/4” hands. Not a blazer, but 4.50/40 at 226 lbs. is not bad. And he will run over smaller DB after the catch. Can catch and run in traffic. Despite some injury issues in 2018 he posted; 69 catches, for almost 1,000-yards and 4 TD. He also rushed the ball 48 times for another 3 TD. Is simply a load for defenses to account for. Should also shine on Special Teams. Potential is worth the developmental challenge for him.
Round 7, Pick 226 GERRI GREEN OB/ER MISS STATE 6’4/252 PP#224
The kind of size, speed athlete that gets your attention. He was over-shadowed in college by teammates SWEAT, SIMMONS who are both first round talents. GREEN has tweener size, but his 4.64/40-time tells you he can move around the field and make plays. It will be up to the Packers staff to decide where they want to play him and then help him develop him as a player. Kind of athlete you take in Round 7 based on potential. Might be another draftee who can help upgrade the Packers disappointing Special Teams units.
Looks good overall, with some immediate help early and plenty of talent to develop into a serviceable pro.