Where do we begin? Oh I know…Aaron Rodgers is back, baby!
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the Green Bay offseason. The biggest names that come to mind are Davante Adams and Za’Darius Smith. Both have new homes and have yet to be replaced with viable players. They have signed Sammy Watkins but need a legit number one receiver to insert into Matt LeFleur’s offense.
With the vacancies left, the Packers have to reload this team with impact players which has been fairly easy the past couple of years. With 11 picks in the draft and as deep as this draft is, they could come out golden with day one starters on each day. Here is who they should target on April 28th.
Round 1, Pick 22: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State
Round 1, Pick 28: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Day one is already a whirlwind but it could play in the Packers’ favor. With so much unsureness at the top of the draft, the Packers could see players fall to them at the backend that have immense talent.
Two said players are Ikem Ekwonu and Jahan Dotson.
Ekwonu is a player that got a lot of buzz after the combine but there are still players that grade a little higher that will go top 20. Ekwonu would land in a prime spot in Green Bay as he would be able to play early and play in front of one of the greatest quarterbacks of our time. He has all the tools to be an All-Pro right tackle and as of right now the Packers could afford to upgrade at that position.
Dotson has routinely had his name in first round talks since the end of the college season. He is a sticky handed route technician with moves after catch, which is why he is being likened to former first round pick Odell Beckham Jr. The former Nittany Lion would easily be the best receiver in the Packers’ room day one and is a valuable pickup late in the draft.
Round 2, Pick 22: Donovan West, OL, Arizona State
Round 2, Pick 28: Sam Williams, Edge, Ole Miss
Round 3, Pick 28: Nehemiah Pritchett, CB, Auburn
Day 2 will be no different than day one for the Pack. As the frenzy starts to pick up they should still be looking for one of those coveted starting caliber players which they could do with their two seconds.
Sam Williams is a candidate to start day one. He sets a physical edge in the run game and is an easy bender when hunting the quarterback. His frame can hold some more weight, but as is he is a low end starter in the league.
West and Pritchett have the opportunity to develop into starters and would be in a good development spot with the Packers.
Pritchett is a mirror corner that rarely gets beat deep and also has good eyes in zone coverage. With players like Rasul Douglas on the roster he could see slot duties early. West is a good run blocker with violent hands in pass protection. He can play guard or center and possesses a good IQ to identify and pickup interior blitzes. West might not be a starter but he could be a quality depth guy for the first couple of years of his career.
Round 4, Pick 28: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
Round 4, Pick 35: Jeremiah Hall, RB, Oklahoma
Round 5, Pick 28: Dane Belton, Safety, Iowa
Round 7, Pick 33: Ocean Mathis, Edge, TCU
Round 7, Pick 34: Lucas Krull, TE, Pittsburgh
Round 7, Pick 39: Stewart Reese, OL, Florida
There are plenty of players to pick from on day three that can be contributors for Green Bay. They should be able to land at least one future starter with their six picks.
Dane Belton is a player with a lot of potential as player. He has played not only safety but also outside linebacker at Iowa, which shows his versatility. He is solid in coverage and is a good open field tackler with pop behind his pads. He should be able to work his way onto the field.
Of all the other picks for Green Bay, Hall and Walker are the two that stand out. Hall is a running back but would fit more as a lead blocker and extra pass catcher out the backfield, like John Kuhn. Walker is a sideline to sideline linebacker with violent hands at the point of attack. His drawback is his pass coverage, but if he can develop and become average he would be a starter in a couple years.
Mathis, Krull and Reese will be practice squad players but are not complete loss of picks. The Packers can use them if injuries occur, which is invaluable and is the difference between winning and losing a game.
Green Bay, Wisconsin is “Title Town” for a reason and the draft is a big one. This year should be no different and draft weekend should yield major returns for one of the leagues flagship franchises.