Coming into the 2018 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers held the 14th overall pick and 12 total selections, which many expected these picks to be used to address defensive shortcomings. While they eventually made a flurry of moves and picked two cornerbacks in the first and second rounds, Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, the team went through the draft and left certain positions in need of improvements.
Wide receiver, defensive backfield, offensive line and linebacker were all areas that the team addressed across the three days of the draft. Corners went in the first and second rounds, linebacker in the third, an offensive lineman in the fifth and the trifecta of receivers fell into line across different rounds.
However, there are still areas that the team could improve in. Pass rusher, safety and punt coverage fit the biggest needs for the team coming into the OTA part of the upcoming season.
For pass rushers, Green Bay added a seventh-round end in James Looney and a seventh-round ‘backer in Kendall Donnerson, who both have some rushing experience but overall don’t bring a pass-rushing aspect to the team.
In general, the draft was regarded as poor for edge rusher prospects, but the team has had good luck in past years with UDFA developments, so look for a few rookie free agents to make the team at the end position. This position group is not a big worry for Green Bay, especially having added Muhammad Wilkerson in the offseason to compliment Mike Pettine’s new scheme.
In regards to safety, third-round selection Oren Burks was a hybrid at Vanderbilt, playing linebacker as well as safety. While not a prototypical safety, Burks has the vision and knowledge of the game to play safety, more in the box than backfield, if needed.
Players mostly relegated to special teams duty last year, like Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans and Jermaine Whitehead, all have the potential to etch out their spot in the rotation, with Brice having the best chance having received more playing time last season on defense.
Concerning punt coverage, the savant himself Jeff Janis was taken from us by Green Bay east, the Cleveland Browns. While his offensive contributions at receiver were few and far between (sans the playoffs against Arizona), his underrated tutelage covering punts for the Packers will be sorely missed.
He helped dictate the field position game well, to the point where he was regarded as one of the better gunners in the entire league.
Of the new draftees, the three receivers could be looked to in taking up Janis’ spot as an outside gunner on punts. Especially with rookie punter JK Scott taking over duties after being drafted in the fifth round, Green Bay will need to look to someone to solidify the coverage ranks.
Outside of the three recently-drafted route runners, players like Herb Waters, Demetri Goodson and Lenzy Pipkins, all from the cornerback position, could be seen as potential replacements for Janis.
Regardless of how the draft transpired and what positions were left unaddressed, Green Bay fans should feel confident in both the depth and development of prospects, both on the roster currently and those fighting to be one of the 53 come opening week.
Have ideas as to how the Packers could solidify their unaddressed areas after the draft? Leave your comments below!뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23