A Conservative Approach in Free Agency Would be Shortsighted:
Before releasing the first version of my 2018 Packers draft board I wanted to give a quick synopsis of moves that I think the Packers could consider making and players that the Packers could consider drafting with their first few picks early on in the draft. This is a pre-free agency list of draft scenarios so it is subject to change in the next 2 weeks depending on which free agents the Packers are able to sign.
First thing is first, I want to be on the record of saying that taking the same conservative approach in free agency this year, will be a huge mistake. A balance of building through both the draft as well as free agency is essential to a franchises long-term success. It is time to stop using Aaron Rodgers to conceal all of the weaknesses of this team.
Brian Gutekunst’s tenure in Green Bay will be defined by selecting the free agents and draft prospects that fit best and can make an immediate impact in 2018. If he successfully is able to do this, he will have a long tenure with the Packers, if he is not successful in doing this, the Packers could look to John Schneider to right the ship when his contract in Seattle is finished.
Draft Day Trade Scenarios:
Yes, I understand that the notion of the Packers trading up early in the draft is largely considered to be a sin because it would require giving up beloved draft picks, but sometimes it is necessary to break away from the mold of the past to move forward into the future.
This year’s draft has some impactful players in the first and second rounds that could return immediate dividends. Using some of the Packers twelve picks to move up in the draft could help them acquire players that best fit their system, which is imperative for both the short and long-term success of the franchise.
Players that are worth trading up to draft:
1. Derwin James:
The consensus of James draft status puts him in the 11-20 range of picks (with a few outlier scenarios). James presents a tremendous value to the Packers defense because of his ability to play in multiple schemes in the secondary and because of his ability to be effective in pass coverage, run defense, and pass rushing (Don’t just take my word for it. According to Ryan Wood, The Packers formally met with James at the combine).
2. Vita Vea:
Vita Vea is another example of being one of the best-valued picks at 14 because of his versatility up front. He can play the defensive tackle, defensive end, and nose tackle positions at a high level.
Potential Trade Scenarios: (All draft pick values match up in draftek.com)
1. The Packers trade their 2018 2nd and 3rd round picks and their 2019 first round pick to Oakland for the 10th pick, giving the Packers both the 10th and 14th picks in the first round.
Potential picks: 10th Derwin James, 14th Vita Vea
2. Depending on how the Packers draft board shapes out*
Use the 14th pick and a fourth and fifth round pick to trade for Buffalo’s 21st and 22nd picks. This would give the Packers the 10th, 21st, and 22nd picks in the draft.
3. Depending on if the Packers three highest graded players are still on the board*
Trade the 10th pick to Cincinnati for their 12th pick and 3rd round pick (100th overall).
Packers Potential Acquired Picks: 12th, 21st, 22nd and 100th (3rd round)
Potential Draftees: 12th Derwin James, 21st Vita Vea, 22nd Mike McGlinchey (move to right tackle) or Joshua Jackson/Denzel Ward.
Packers potential traded picks: 2019 first rounder, 2018 2nd and 3rd round picks.
Under this scenario, The Packers are making the wager/assumption that between free agency and this year’s draft, the Packers immediately improve, stay healthy, and at the very least, make the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Packers trade down:
Packers trade their 1st round and 2nd round picks to Buffalo for picks 21 and 22. In that scenario, Derwin James is drafted by Washington and Vita Vea’s stock falls.
Potential Draftees: 21st Vita Vea, 22nd Mike McGlinchey or Courtland Sutton
*In this scenario the Packers sign a corner and cut Brian Bulaga or Jason Spriggs.
Packers trade back into the first round: Packers trade their 2nd and 3rd round picks to Pittsburgh for the 28th pick.
Potential Draftees: 14th Derwin James or Vita Vea, 28th Courtland Sutton, James Washington, Marcus Davenport, or Harold Landry
The Packers do not trade their picks or make minimal moves midway through the draft.
Stay tuned for Thursday’s article when I go on the record and list my 2018 Green Bay Packers Pre Free Agency Draft Board.——————
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