After a second consecutive disappointing season for the Green Bay Packers, they find themselves with the 12th overall pick in this April’s draft, their highest pick since 2009.
With their first pick in last year’s draft, the Green Bay Packers selected cornerback Jaire Alexander, who early on had shown that he can be a top player on this defense for a number of years to come.
If the Packers hope to accelerate this mini-rebuild that they find themselves currently in, they will have to hit another home run with the 12th overall pick in this draft.
There are a number of positions that will need to be addressed this offseason by general manager Brian Gutekunst and having a pick this high will allow them to bring in a player that could fill one of those voids on the roster.
Jachai Polite – Edge Rusher, Florida
Finding a consistent edge rusher is an absolute must for the Green Bay Packers heading into the 2019 season. Many early mock drafts have linked Jachai Polite to the Packers as a possible solution for their lack of pass rush.
During his 2018 campaign at Florida, Polite was able to put on a show most weeks. In 13 games, Polite recorded 45 total tackles with 19.5 of them going for a loss. He also added 11 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 4 pass deflections.
What makes Polite so difficult to stop is his explosiveness off of the line of scrimmage. His quick burst combined with his sheer speed allows him to beat most offensive tackles around the edge with ease.
Then, just when you think you’re able to slow him down, Polite will use a stutter step or a spin move that is nearly impossible to stop.
Although it didn’t seem to happen very frequently, if the blocker was able to engage Polite, he does struggle to break free and is often times taken out of the play.
Polite’s athleticism allows him to cover a lot of ground and to work well in space. His versatility would fit in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s 3-4 defense quite well.
Jonah Williams – Offensive Tackle, Alabama
While Williams may not make it to the Packers at the 12th pick, if he does, he will be a must take.
The Green Bay Packers need to find a solution for the right guard position on their team. In 2018, the offensive line allowed 3.3 sacks per game, which ranked tied for second-most in the NFL and a lot of the time, the pressure came from up the middle due to poor guard play.
Since Williams has all of the physical attributes you would want in an NFL tackle, sliding the less athletic Bryan Bulaga over to right guard could help extend his career, while solidifying the tackle position for the foreseeable future.
Williams explosiveness and quick footwork allow him to get into position almost immediately, which results in him rarely being beaten by a defender. Pro Football Focus has Williams rated as the top tackle in the draft and last season credited him with giving up just 10 pressures, out of 410 attempts.
Top tier tackles are very difficult to find in the NFL, so if the Green Bay Packers are presented with the opportunity to take Williams, in my opinion, they have to do it.
Montez Sweat – Edge Rusher, Mississippi State
Luckily for the Green Bay Packers, the edge rusher position is quite deep in this draft, so in addition to Polite, they will have other options at the 12th pick.
In recent weeks, Sweat has jumped up many big boards because of his performance at the Senior Bowl. Whether it was during practices or in the game, Sweat dominated just about everyone he went up against.
Since he was a senior this past season, Sweat has been able to string together a couple of fantastic seasons. In 2017 as a junior, Sweat led the SEC in sacks with 10.5 and tackles for loss with 15.5.
Sweat uses his 6’6″ length and long arms to his advantage by creating space between himself and the offensive player. His burst at the snap and constant use of his hands are big contributors towards his success.
Where Sweat differs from Polite is that he isn’t as athletic and doesn’t operate as well in open space, but as we’ve seen, when it comes to wreaking havoc in the backfield, Sweat is as good as they come.
In addition to these three players, there are a number of other potential candidates for the Green Bay Packers to take with the 12th overall pick. However, if they end up with either of these three, the draft will be off to a fantastic start.