The Packers sit at 14, an unfamiliar place in this year’s draft. While they have some offensive needs, at this point it would be shocking if they don’t go defense with their first pick. What they target on defense is a whole other matter. I personally would have no problem if Brian Gutekunst, went full Ron Wolf and drafted two or three cornerbacks early in the draft. But drafting an edge player or even a versatile off the ball linebacker, or a roving defensive back are options too. The only spot the Packers are strong is defensive line.
Trading down to gain an extra pick may be the best option to help build the defense. By moving down in the 1st round, the Packers could acquire an additional second round pick, or possibly a second and a third. If the Packers can manage to have five or six picks in the 1st three rounds, this will allow them to address various needs and to take additional cornerbacks. This draft is deep at cornerback, but there are not many can’t miss prospects, which is how the draft as a whole can be described, with the quarterback position being an exception.
Some here at Packers Talk have been beating the drum for Josh Jackson, while editor Al Bracco is on record as saying the best choice would be Denzel Ward. But, there are other corners that are worthy of a high selection and could be legitimate starters day one, such as Jaire Alexander, Isiah Oliver (my personal favorite), Donte Jackson and Mike Hughes. And drafting more than one would obviously give the Packers a better chance of landing a quality starter, and help make the roster competitive as McCarthy had hoped. When Ron Wolf went with three corners to start the 1999 draft, the best of the bunch was Mike McKenzie, their 3rd round pick who started Week One and never looked back, having four plus productive seasons with the Packers before being traded midseason to the Saints.
In Cheesheadtv’s annual draft guide, they rank 6 CB’s from 18-60, while only having one (Denzel Ward at 11) at 14 or higher, indicating that if the Packers move out of 14 (or if they draft another position) they will have plenty of subsequent options in round two or even three. Their best course of action may be to gain additional top 100 picks to help fill various holes and draft multiple corners.
Andrew Mertig previously outlined scenarios in which the Packers could move down, and with whom. Since that time, the New England Patriots traded Brandin Cooks for the 23rd pick. This is notable and important as it gives the Packers a legitimate partner to trade down with. The Patriots have four picks in the first two rounds and are a team that trades often plus the Packers have a history of trading with them. In fact, the picks of Clay Matthews and Greg Jennings were picks the Packers acquired from the Patriots. In the case of Jennings, the Packers traded down, while the Patriots traded up to the top of the second round to select Chad Jackson. And the Patriots have an obvious need to replace Tom Brady. With the Packers at 14, if there is a quarterback such as Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph, they could certainly look to make a run at him. Also, merely having the threat of the Patriots moving up to the Packers spot can enhance its value as AFC teams tend to freak out and make less than rational decisions when the Patriots are sniffing around.
From an equity standpoint the Packers trading down with the Patriots could work a couple of different ways. One would be the Packers send the 14th pick to the Patriots in exchange for the 23rd, 63rd and 95th picks. Or for the 30th and 43rd. Or for the 23rd and 43rd, with the Packers giving them the 101st and 138th in addition to the 14th. It could be done several different ways of course, with the general structure looking something like that.
In the first case it would give the Packers the 23rd, 45th, 63rd, 76th, 95th and 101st picks in the draft, adding two picks. They would have 14 overall three more than any other team. This would give them the ammunition to add another top 100 pick or another four round pick, as 14 picks is far more than is needed or worthwhile. But to this sort of draft ammunition, in the top half of the draft can go a long way to re-building a defense and filling other holes.
No matter what the team, if the Packers trade down from 14, it will allow them to acquire one or more day two picks. This may very well be the best course of action considering the depth this draft has at positions of need that the Packers have and a good way to rebuild the defense.Originally from Glidden Wisconsin, Jason Straetz is a lifelong Packers\' fan, who has lived in Maine for over 30 years. He is a writer for packerstalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @jsnstz