With the 2018 NFL draft coming up at the end of April, many fans start to watch mock drafts on the internet, catch pro days on NFL Network and the like. The Green Bay Packers had a rough season in 2017 but will now pick higher than they have in many years. The Packers currently stand at pick #14. Now people may say that’s middle of the first round and it is, however, there’s something else to think about. The top part of this draft is loaded with teams in need of their franchise quarterback. Guess what else? There’s plenty of quarterbacks to be taken this year and early. Some of those quarterbacks include Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson. I believe that at least four of those quarterbacks will be taken in spots 1-13. This affects the Packers and in a great way. The Packers need DEFENSE!
Having these many quarterbacks available as well as teams at the top looking to draft one, one can only put the thought out there that Green Bay is likely going to land one of the top 5-10 defensive players in this year’s draft. There are game changers out there to be had and one of them will be available for the Packers. Who’s it going to be? If any of the following defenders are available when Green Bay picks, fans should be absolutely thrilled if one of their names is called. Let’s start with my first wish pick, Derwin James, the Safety out of Florida State. James likely could be the best overall player in this year’s draft. He is a physical safety with fluid hips and plenty of quick twitch in him. Covering receivers in the slot, tight ends in the seam, stuffing the run and blitzing the quarterback are all things that James does regularly. Look at some of his highlights.
Another safety to watch to see if he slips just a little in Round 1 is Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety from Alabama. Fitzpatrick is a natural born leader and would change the culture of the defensive backs room immediately. He knows only winning from his days with the Crimson Tide and is NFL ready. He comes off the edge as a blitzer better than most any defensive back in college football. In addition, Fitzpatrick is by definition a “ball hawk.” He slipped a little in interceptions his senior year but you can expect him to get his hands on the football at the next level. Check out Minkah here.
The Packers have several holes to fill and safety is just one of them. Yes, they need cornerback help. Yes, they could use an edge rusher. Yes, adding a speedy wide receiver to compliment Davante Adams would be ideal. My point is that you have some really good players and the Packers will be undoubtedly selecting one of them at pick 14. Having said that, if either of these two are available, I hope the Packers pounce. James and Fitzpatrick are game changers. Either one would change the culture of the backend of the Packers defense immediately as day one starters. It’s too early to predict how the draft will unfold but as pick 14 gets closer and one quarterback after another go early along with Saquan Barkley, Penn State RB and Quentin Nelson, Notre Dame OL, you can bet that Packers fans will be holding their collective breath. We need a game changer. Someone who will come in on day one and contribute and in a big way. Serviceable, reliable players are important but at this pick and time, the Packers need more. They need much more. Who gets drafted this year Packers fans? Do we get our hands on either James or Fitzpatrick? Are they long gone before 14 and does Gutekunst package some picks to move up? It surely hasn’t been Green Bay’s style to do so but it’s a new time in Green Bay with a new sheriff in town. I can hardly wait. As always, Go Pack Go!