The NFL Draft is quickly approaching! The IDP department is breaking down each team post-free agency and what they should look to address in the draft.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have struggled lately on defense, forcing a change at the top. Mike Pettine has been out of football since being fired as Cleveland’s HC, but Pettine is legit and should quickly improve this defense.
The Packers added Muhammad Wilkerson after the Jets released him in a rare FA pickup for Green Bay. The move gives them a potentially solid starting threesome, assuming Wilkerson is motivated, which is a big assumption. Wilkerson has always been overhyped but has two double-digit sack seasons which is impressive for an interior D-Lineman. He’ll line up across from Mike Daniels. Daniels will blow up for a game or two every season and seem like an absolute stud; then he’ll disappear for the other 14 games. If you’ve got him on your roster, watch for that sell-high window.
Kenny Clark didn’t get a lot of hype when the Packers drafted him in the 1st Round in 2016, in what was billed as a great interior D-Lineman draft. Of all the 1st Round DTs, Clark seemed to get the least love. With the exception of DeForest Buckner Clark has now had the best season among them. In 2017, Clark put together 55 tackles and 4.5 sacks to end up as a Top 10 DT.
Blake Martinez stepped up as the 3-down LB and had a breakout season, leading the league with 144 total tackles. Jake Ryan served in a 2-down role at the other ILB spot. Ryan is headed to the final year on his contract. Green Bay got very lucky with Martinez blowing up. This is a team that devalues the off-ball LB position. The Packers drafted A.J. Hawk in the 1st Round and Abdul Hodge in the 3rd Round back in 2006. Since then, no off-ball LB has been taken before Round 4.
The Packers may need some more help at the OLB. They have depth but no more high-end talent. Clay Matthews hasn’t hit double-digit sacks since 2014. The soon-to-be 32-year-old has only played in 16 games three times in a nine-year career. 2018 is the last year on Matthews’ current contract. Nick Perry starts across from Matthews. Perry surprisingly hit 11.0 sacks in 2016, was his career best. Perry has never played 16 games in a season in seven tries. Perry is under contract for longer than you want him to be. Past Matthews and Perry, the Packers have been trying to find value at one of the most expensive positions regarding draft capital, and it hasn’t worked out for them to this point. Kyler Fackrell was a 3rd Round pick in 2016. Vince Biegel was a 4th Round pick last year.
Cornerback is the one position Green Bay regularly spends draft capital on. They spent a 2nd in 2017, a 1st and a 2nd in 2015 (they considered Damarious Randall a CB), and a 2nd in 2012. Yet they still need help at CB. Currently, they would have 2nd Round Sophomore Kevin King, recently resigned Davon House and 35-year-old Tramon Williams. King was only able to play nine games last year. Don’t be surprised if Green Bay spends another Day 2 pick on CB.
Green Bay has moved on from long-time Packer Morgan Burnett but are still set at Safety with HaHa Clinton-Dix (HHCD) and Josh Jones. Going into a different scheme with DC Mike Pettine at the helm, it’ll be interesting to see how their production plays out. HHCD had his lowest tackle total last year with 79. HHCD will be a UFA after the season, but I can’t imagine them letting both starting Safeties walk in consecutive seasons. Kentrell Brice will serve as the 3rd safety.
Draft Needs – OLB, CB, & ILB
This defense needs a lot of help. They ranked 17th in sacks last year. Detroit was the only NFC team with fewer sacks. They need to stop picking OLBs from the bargain bin and spend a little draft capital. They also need to draft a few CBs to hopefully find some that can play.
The Packers currently own:
1st Round #14 overall
2nd Round #45 overall
3rd Round #76 overall
4th Round #101 overall
4th Round #133 overall
5th Round #138 overall
5th Round #172 overall
5th Round #174 overall
6th Round #186 overall
6th Round #207 overall
7th Round #232 overall
7th Round #239 overall
The Packers will likely draft a WR this year to replace Jordy Nelson. If they spend a 2nd Round pick on a WR, get him on your roster. Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Nelson and [/profiler]Greg Jennings[/profiler] were all 2nd Round picks. Green Bay knows where its bread is buttered.
They need to draft a pass rusher. If Harold Landry is still there at 14, they should run to the podium. Matthews and Perry can both come off the field enough to get Landry substantial snaps (not to mention neither is likely to play 16 games). If Matthews isn’t on the roster in 2019, they are going to have a serious hole, and Matthews is nowhere near the player he once was (his country love is also extremely overrated). If Green Bay waits until the 2nd Round to draft an Edge, their options decrease substantially.
Expect Green Bay to draft a CB in the 2nd or 3rd Round. They like tall CBs. If they can grab Quenton Meeks, they should be thrilled. Other options would include Isaiah Oliver, Tavarus McFadden, and Carlton Davis.
The Packers will likely take an ILB in the 5th Round, hoping they find another Martinez.
For more in-depth analysis of these players, you can get the 2018 Rookie Roundup for FREE and read up on the IDP relevant draft prospects.
Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for your favorite team broken down IDP style. Follow me @Ben_Glaser and let me know who you would want the Packers or your team to draft this year!
Liked this? Check out the breakdown of the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.