Trying to Make Sense of the Pre Draft Hype:
With the offseason hot stove speculation heating up, the NFL combine happening this weekend, and the NFL Draft just two months away, all of the experts are pouring in mock draft after mock draft. All of the over saturation of these mock drafts have proven to show us one thing, and that is, not one of these so-called experts have any idea which player any of the 32 NFL teams will select early on in the 2018 NFL Draft.
At this point in the pre-draft hype, there is not much of a steady consensus of which top players will go where, and which top players will land in the first round. So far all of these first-round projections are about as volatile as the stock market, in that players values are rising and falling with each fresh and updated mock draft. Hopefully, at the end of this weekend, the NFL combine will help to provide some much-needed stability to all of the experts draft boards.
The Class of 2018:
In the coming weeks leading up to the draft, I wanted to begin a series that provide insight into how to continue to best fill out the Packers 2018 53 Man Roster. In each article, I will provide one draft scenario based on prospects that I believe could potentially be available when the Green Bay Packers are on the clock. These scenarios will be based on the premise that the Packers fill some of the holes in their roster by signing some of the members on my list of potential free agent signees from the last few weeks.
*Disclaimer: Draft prospects stocks are volatile and subject to daily change
Draft Scenarios: Picks 1 and 2:
Scenario 1: “There is a trade to announce”
The Green Bay Packers Trade their 2nd round pick (#45), 3rd Round pick (#76), and their 2019 First Round Pick (29th projected or higher) (1,300 draft point value) to:
The San Francisco 49ers for their 10th pick (1,300 draft point value) (point values provided by drafttek.com)
Round 1 Pick 10: Derwin James S Florida St.
Derwin James is a great fit both for Mike Pettine and the Packers evolving hybrid style of defense. James is considered to be a hybrid player who can excel both in coverage and unleash punishment through his stingy run defense and pass rushing ability.
James would be able to step in and play multiple positions for Pettine and confuse offenses by lining up on different fronts and providing multiple looks. In James’s two healthy seasons at Florida St, he was graded by pro football focus as the top safety in college with a 91.2 grade in 2015 and a 92.0 grade in 2017. James is a player who will make an impact in coverage, run defense, and pass rushing. In 2017 he ranked 2nd in both pass rushing and pass coverage while coming in at 15th against the run.
James 6’3 frame coupled with the speed and quickness that he possesses will allow him to cover the slot position as well as the athletic tight end that always seems to give the Packers fits and put up career afternoons. Drafting James will provide the Packers with another versatile player to play alongside Josh Jones and Kevin King which will give the secondary an instant upgrade in talent.
Round 1 Pick 14: Courtland Sutton WR SMU
Some experts call him the next Julio Jones and other experts don’t even have him landing in the first round but taking a look inside the numbers shows that Sutton’s skills could prove to be a valuable addition for the Green Bay Packers.
Sutton is praised by PFF for his ability to consistently catch the deep ball and ranks second among college draft-eligible receivers with 16 receptions out of 17 targets on deep balls totaling for 574 yards. According to Elliot Rooney, Sutton can “burn defenses on a bevy of routes”. To be more precise, SMU quarterbacks, when throwing to Sutton, had a passer rating of 98.5 on “go routes”, 99.9 on “hitches”, and 133.3 on “slant routes”.
Translation; Sutton can provide the deep threat ability that the Packers wide receiving core lacked last season and excels in two of the staple routes of that the Packers rely on (The slant and slant and go routes). *(grades and rankings provided by pro football focus)
Final Thoughts ????
Derwin James and Courtland Sutton provide the Packers with two naturally gifted young players who can immediately step into their positions and provide instant impact and tremendously upgrade the Packers 53 man roster. Both players will cause each player in their position group to become more valuable because of the attention that opposing teams will have to put on them. Stay tuned for Thursday’s article when I address another early round draft scenario.
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave