A Clearer Draft Picture
With the NFL Combine upon us, we will start to see some early headlines talking about which players stock is rising and which players stock is plummeting. For today’s article, I will present another scenario that will take the Green Bay Packers through the first three rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Recapping Monday’s Draft Scenario:
Monday’s article saw me put together a scenario in which the Packers traded their 2nd and 3rd round picks from 2018 as well as their first-round draft pick from 2019 to move up to the 10th spot to select Derwin James. It also saw the Packers keeping their first round pick for this year’s draft and selecting Courtland Sutton with the 14th overall pick.
Why Should the Packers Think About Trading Up?
The reasoning for trading up in this particular scenario was two-fold. First, I believe that there are many first round players in this year’s draft who will start and make an immediate impact during the 2018 NFL season.
Secondly, I believe that these two players have immense talent and will fit in well with the Packers offensive and defensive schematics. If these two beliefs prove to be truths, and the Packers also end up signing free agents that add depth to the roster and address the needs on both sides of the ball, it is logical to think that they can be a 10-12 win team in 2018.
This means that the 2019 first round pick would be somewhere in the mid-twenties to thirty (hopefully 32) and not a top ten draft choice.
The Importance of Leveraging your Future in 2018:
Is it a gamble to sacrifice a first-round pick, absolutely, is it worth the risk for where this Packers team is in its collective journey with this regime? I believe it is. What is the alternative?
The alternative is that you stick with the business as usual approach and miss out on addressing your needs through free agency and rely solely on filling them through the draft where in recent years you have been inconsistent at best. By trading up and having two first-round selections, you increase the chances of selecting players who will make an impact in 2018.
Eventually, you just need to break out of the mold and change the culture. This offseason certainly seems like the most logical time to change the culture and start this process. In my opinion, this is the make or break year for the Packers organization because anything less than a deep playoff run will in all likelihood spell the end of the Mike McCarthy era which could force the Packers into a rebuild.
Yes, I know that contract talks with Aaron Rodgers have progressed, but if you’re Aaron Rodgers why would you want to stick around when you’re turning 35 in December, and could possibly be in phase 2 of a regime change with a team consisted of older worn out players?
The reality is that you don’t stick around for another regime change, you request a trade. Even if you sign your extension this summer, you still hold all of the cards to your future. The fact of the matter is that the 2018 season will determine whether this ten-year run will be sustained for another half a decade or whether it will come to a crashing end at seasons end.
Early Round Draft Scenario Version 2.0
With this in mind, I came up with another scenario in which the Packers could address their immediate needs with impact players, utilizing each of their picks from the first three rounds of the draft. For the sake of today’s scenario, I will be using different draft prospects to address other needs that the Packers have. (Yes, there are a lot of areas in which the Packers need help)
*The goal of using different draft prospects with each article is to show that there are a variety of different scenarios that can help solve the Packers needs.
Round 1 Pick 14: DT Vita Vea Washington
Vea is a player who can make an impact on defense immediately. He has NFL ready size and strength and would flourish playing upfront with Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark. Vea is a versatile player upfront which only adds to his value in Mike Pettine’s system.
Vea has produced at defensive tackle, nose tackle, and defensive end. Vea’s run stop percentage of 12.0 ranks fourth among draft-eligible tackles and his 91.6 grade against the run ranks second. Vea’s pass rushing ability ranked third among draft-eligible defensive tackles as he had 39 total pressures (3 sacks, 28 hurries, and 8 quarterback hits).
Round 2 pick 45: DE Harold Landry Boston College *May have to use pick (45) and one or both 4th round picks to move up 7-11 spots based on draft pick values (drafttek.com)
On the consensus of mock drafts so far, Landry has been one of the casualties of having their value plummet. Landry decided to stay in school since he figured to be a sure top 10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. However, injuries hampered his production in 2017 and took away from his athleticism, which is his bread and butter.
If Landry’s combine performance does not change his stock, the Packers could have Landry fall on their laps at 45, or they could package this pick along with one or both of their 4th round picks to move up in the second round to get him. Despite his injuries in 2017, Landry still graded out as the 5th highest rated edge rusher (83.8), and if healthy, could still provide the Packers with a first round impact.
Round 3 pick 76: Dante Pettis Washington
Pettis is a dual threat as both a wide receiver and returner and could provide a huge impact at both positions. Pettis’s speed and big-play ability will provide the Packers with a receiver that can catch the deep ball, make tacklers miss, and get yards after the catch. He has the ability to find soft spots in zone coverage as well as to get separation from opposing cornerbacks.
Pettis is an outside vertical threat in the passing game and can make a play on the ball when draped in coverage. He has the ability to high point every jump ball and will be an immediate threat inside of the red zone. His ability as a punt returner will allow him to make an impact right away, and help the Packers consistently win the battle of field position.
These three selections provide another scenario that will help address the Packers needs on both sides of the ball that will have an immediate impact on the 2018 roster. Stay tuned for next Monday’s article when I will provide you with my final early round draft scenario. Next Thursday, I will reveal my 2018 Packers Draft board version 1.0
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