Packers Draft Prospects to Keep an Eye On

Packers Draft

With just one final game to close the 2017-18 NFL Season, it’s time to turn our attention to the NFL Draft. The Packers sit at 14th overall, their highest position since 2009 when they took BJ Raji with the ninth pick. That leave open the opportunity to take a game-changing player, preferably on defense.

But there are many needs on both sides of the ball. That’s why I am doing this series. Each Tuesday, I’ll give you a different prospect at every position that could conceivably go to the Packers and I’ll also end with a Mock Draft using FanSpeak’s simulator. So let’s get to it.

Quarterback – Luke Falk, Washington State
6’4″ 223 lbs. Senior.
Notable Stats: 14,481 career passing yards. 119 TDs
Projected Rounds: 3-5

Falk is a prototypical pocket QB. He has a strong arm and is known for his accuracy in a pass-happy offense at Washington State. He needs some work in the weight room and isn’t the most mobile, but he compares favorably to Kirk Cousins. He could be a great value as a backup in Round 4 or 5. Unlike when Brett Hundley was drafted, Falk is a much more polished passer coming out of the Pac-12 and doesn’t have nearly the development curve.

Running Back – Justin Jackson, Northwestern
5’11” 200 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: Four Year starter. 5440 career rush yards. 4.8 yards per carry
Projected Rounds: 6-UDFA

Jackson won’t wow you with his measurables or his eventual combine numbers, but the guy was productive for four years in a brutal Big Ten. He faced top defenses every year and was as consistent as the sun rising. The Packers don’t have a massive need for a running back but Jackson could be someone to look at on Day 3

Wide Receiver – Michael Gallup, Colorado State
6’1″ 200 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: 100 Receptions in 2017, 21 career TD
Projected Rounds: 3-5

Gallup is one of my favorite receivers in this class. Coming from a school that isn’t known for NFL talent, Gallup was extremely productive for the Rams, especially in 2016 when he had 14 TD. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report agrees as well with Gallup listed as his biggest riser among the receiver class. If he is there in Round 3 or even 4, I sprint to the podium for him.

Tight End – Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
6’4″ 260 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: 72 receptions for 1111 yards in 2017. 92 receptions in 2016.
Projected Rounds: Late 1-2

Goedert is seen by many as the top tight end in this year’s class and could go in the first round. He is very athletic for his size and has the speed to create separation. He reminds me a lot of a combination of Anthony Fasano and Tyler Eifert with his game and he can be a Day 1 starter for a lot of teams. I wouldn’t take him in Round 1, but if he’s there in Round 2, I wouldn’t be opposed to his selection.

Offensive Tackle – Ike Boettger, Iowa
6’6″ 307 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: HM All Big-Ten in 2016
Projected Rounds: 4-7

Iowa offensive linemen have worked for the Packers in the past (see: Bulaga, Bryan), and Boettger is talented enough to continue the trend. The biggest knock is an achilles injury that cut his 2017 short. The starter at right tackle for Kirk Ferentz, Boettger is a mauler who opened up holes in the running game with aplomb.

Guard/Center – Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
6’2″ 302 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: 2nd team All-America (2017), 1st Team All-SEC
Projected Rounds: 2-3

Wynn is a very good run blocker on the interior with the versatility to play some center as well. He could come into the NFL and provide needed depth at both spots and compete for a starting spot right away.

Defensive Line – Vita Vea, Washington
6’5″ 332 lbs. Junior
Notable Stats: 43 Tackles, 5.5 TFL, 3.5 Sacks in 2017. Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year
Projected Rounds: 1-2

Vea could fluctuate anywhere between the Top 15 and late in Round 2 depending on how teams see him. A massive specimen, Vea has good burst and leverage, making him an ideal nose tackle in a 3-4 or an 4-3 defensive tackle. He could be Danny Shelton of the Browns or Haloti Ngata.

Edge – Harold Landry, Boston College
6’3″ 250 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: 48 Career TFL, 25 Sacks (16.5 in 2016)
Projected Rounds: 1

Landry is considered one of the top edge rushers in the Draft despite dealing with injuries in 2017. He was the best pass rusher in the NCAA in 2016, leading the country in sacks as a junior. He decided to come back to improve his craft as a senior and was off to a good start before his injuries. There is a lot of Derek Barnett in him as a pro. He is a safe pick as an edge rusher who will be able to step in and contribute right away.

Inside Linebacker – Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
6’4″ 220 lbs. Junior
Notable Stats: Mountain West DPOY, 129 Tackles (5.5 TFL) in 2017
Projected Rounds: 2-3

Vander Esch is one of the more athletic inside linebackers in this class. Expected to perform extremely well at the Combine, he was a sideline to sideline tackling machine for the Broncos in 2017. He is a bit undersized at the moment, but he could be a Su’a Cravens type player in the NFL.

Cornerback – Holton Hill, CB. Texas
6’3″ 200 lbs. Junior
Notable Stats: 51 Tackles, 2 TD in 2017
Projected Rounds: 3-6

Projecting Hill is difficult because he was suspended by the Longhorns at the end of the season for violating team rules. But when he was on the field, he was a playmaker, scoring TDs in the first three games of the season. With prototypical size for the modern corner, Hill is a good fit as a press-man boundary corner at the next level.

Safety – Natrell Jamerson, Wisconsin
6’0″ 198 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: 3.5 TFL, 1.5 Sacks, 2 INT in 2017. 2018 Shrine Bowl Defensive MVP
Projected Rounds: 4-7

Jamerson converted from cornerback in 2017, Jamerson showed his ballhawking skills and football IQ for Jim Leonhard’s top ranked squad. He also provides value as a kick returner and is known for his high character and motor. Could be a special teams demon at worst and a late round flyer who can be a starter with time.

MOCK DRAFT (January 23, 2018)
Used Matt Miller’s Big Board, User-Voted Team Needs, and the Difficult Algorithm
ROUND 1 (14th Overall) – Josh Jackson, CB. Iowa
-Best corner in class. Reminds me a lot of Champ Bailey
ROUND 2 (45th) – Dorrance Armstrong, Jr., EDGE, Kansas
-Dominated on a bad team. Elvis Dumervil potential
ROUND 3 (76th) – Mark Andrews, TE. Oklahoma
-Great size, hands. Could be that seam-stretching TE team needs.
ROUND 3 (102nd) – Michael Gallup, WR. Colorado State
-See profile above. Productive with a high ceiling.
ROUND 4 (116th) –  Quenton Meeks, CB. Stanford
-Long, athletic, experienced. Was Top CB for tough Cardinal defense.
ROUND 5 (152nd) – Jack Cichy, LB. Wisconsin
-Could be biggest steal of draft. Amazing motor, instincts
ROUND 5 (173rd) – Kylie Fitts, EDGE. Utah
-Versatile edge player who can play 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB
ROUND 5 (175th) – Micah Kiser, LB. Virginia
-Tackling machine did everything for Virginia last year
ROUND 5 (177th) – Scott Quessenberry, C. UCLA
-Experienced, tough, durable. Could be great backup and eventual replacement for Linsley
ROUND 6 (190th) – Riley Ferguson, QB. Memphis
-Needs to hit the weight room, but reminds me a lot of Case Keenum
ROUND 7 (233rd) – Christian LaCouture Jr., DL. LSU
-Consistent presence for LSU past three years. Broke out as a pass rusher in 2017
ROUND 7 (240th) – Nick DeLuca, LB. North Dakota State
-Injury concerns drop him, but he was a key player for Bison for last 4+ years.

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Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.

Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.

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