As the clock winds down on the 2018 NFL Draft, I’m going to run a few simulations of some moves the Green Bay Packers may make at the end of the month. I’m running the mock drafts on Fanspeak.com using Matt Miller’s Big Board with trades.
Version 1.0: 2018 Green Bay Packers Mock Draft v.1.0
1st – 14: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Jackson is a ball hawk who made more plays than any other defensive back in the draft. He’s tall and has long arms, but is a pretty average athlete. He’s been able to make up for his speed with great positioning and instincts, but will need to continue to refine his technique. As a former WR, Jackson turns mistakes into turnovers (or points). Kevin King and Jackson would be a promising duo on the outside, and Davon House and Tramon Williams would give them some time to develop.
2nd – 13: CB Mike Hughes, UCF
The Packers won’t be forced to draft two CBs early this year because of Williams and House, but Hughes is a great value in the 2nd round. He’s raw and has had some off-the-field issues, but combines tremendous physicality with good ball skills. Hughes would provide great value as a returner, and give Green Bay depth at Cornerback for the first time in awhile.
3rd – 12: EDGE Uchenna Nwosu, USC
Nwosu has tremendous athleticism. He’s a big hitter, has the ability to drop in coverage, and tested well at the combine. He’s relatively new to football, so he’ll need some time to develop his pass rush moves. Adding depth in the pass rush will be important, and Nwosu gives Mike Pettine an elite athlete to mold.
4th – 1: OT Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State
Rankin will probably go much higher than this because most teams recognize the lack of depth at Tackle in this draft. Rankin’s best position might be Center, but he provides versatility to play all five positions. Green Bay would give him a chance to compete with Jason Spriggs for the backup Tackle spot.
4th – 33: WR DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
Hamilton has the ability to immediately be an impact player out of the slot. He uses great route running to make up for average athleticism, but he fits in well with the Packers mold for a WR with his ability to make tacklers miss after the catch. Hamilton is also a high character guy who will be a leader in the locker room.The Packers need to add some youth and depth at Wide Receiver if Michael Clark and Geronimo Allison don’t develop into productive players.
5th – 1: LB Shaquem Griffin, UCF
Griffin would be an absolute terror as a 3rd down Linebacker next to Josh Jones. At a minimum, Griffin will be a phenomenal Special Teams player. However, he could turn into a Deone Bucannon-type weapon that opposing offenses have to account for in passing situations.
5th – 35: DL Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays State
Shepherd is a player that draft experts have all over their board. He could go on Day 2 of the draft (rounds 2-3), or he could slide quite a bit. He possess tremendous size (6’5” 315lbs.), and has great athleticism for a man that big. But he was a very late developer, and still has a ton of work to do before he’s ready to start in the NFL. He’ll have a ton of veterans to show him how to be a pro in Green Bay.
5th – 37: WR Tre’Quan Smith, UCF
Smith marks the 3rd player I have selected from the self-proclaimed National Champions. He’s a smooth athlete, who makes up for average size with long arms. He’s a really smart route runner, and can make contested catches.
6th – 12: TE Dalton Schultz, Stanford
Schultz is simply too good of a value at this point. He’s the best blocking TE in the draft, and he’ll be a capable pass catcher. He’d immediately be the blocking TE, and could develop into a Jimmy Graham’s replacement.
6th – 33: C Bradley Bozeman
Center is the deepest position in a pretty thin o-line draft class. Bozeman represents good value in the 6th round. He’s got tremendous size, but questionable athleticism. He’s not a typical Packers Offensive Lineman under James Campen, but his experience makes him a guy who will provide some team with great depth and possibly a developmental starter.
7th – 14: RB Chris Warren, Texas
Warren left school early rather than get moved to H-Back for his Senior season. He’s a massive Running Back (6’4” 250lbs), who would immediately be a goal line threat. He actually is a solid receiver, and if he proves he loves the game and is willing to lose a little weight, could be a tremendous value.
7th – 21: TE Andrew Vollert, Weber State
Vollert was highly productive at Weber State. He’d be a “move Tight End” who would probably be overwhelmed in the run game. However, his size and athletic traits would make him an excellent Red Zone threat and a potential mismatch all over the field. Vollert would be the #4 TE who could challenge Lance Kendricks for the third spot.
Check back next Tuesday for my final 2018 mock draft.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig