With the consistent focus of teams prioritizing offense over defense in the current-day NFL, the 2019 NFL draft may be just what the Green Bay Packers need in terms of value selections.
There are plenty of quarterback-needy teams in a quarterback-trash draft, and outside of Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State, there is no true prospect that can be looked upon to alter a franchise’s path. The likes of Daniel Jones (Duke), Drew Lock (Missouri), Kyler Murray (Oklahoma, if he declares), Will Grief (West Virginia), Ryan Finley (NC State) and Clayton Thorson (Northwestern) will all receive looks from teams, but ultimately will not move any team’s needle.
The push of offense above defense on the pecking order is huge for the Packers, who require more defensive upgrades than those on the offensive side of the ball, because what is new. Defensive line/EDGE rusher, linebacker and safety are all pressing needs for this team, more than offensive line or tight end are.
While the board has the potential to work itself out to benefit Green Bay for them to select offensive prospects as well, the odds of that happening are not as likely. Once one quarterback goes off the board, there will be a rushed sense by other teams that need signal callers and there may be an uptick in the trade market as well, playing perfectly in general manager Brian Gutekunst’s hands.
From last year, when he robbed the New Orleans Saints for their 2019 first-round selection, something similar may arise this year at 12th, and teams like the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders may come calling, looking to move up. If alright with moving down due to the current state of the board, Gutekunst should only make a move if he can haul in a king’s ransom again, akin to what he got from the Saints last year.
With any teams wanting to add to their offensive weapons, defensive line may fall into Green Bay’s lap, as the likes of Ed Oliver, Rashan Gary, Jachai Polite, Montez Sweat, Quinnen Williams and Brian Burns may all slip to 12th or even 30th.
In terms of rank-ability, Polite and Williams would be the two biggest coups for the team, with Polite joining an edge rusher group in dire need of reinforcements. Williams is more of an interior lineman, which does not pose as much of a need but would still help.
If Gary, Oliver, Sweat and Burns were all to fall to 12th, Gutekunst would have a tough decision to make, most likely deciding between Sweat and Burns due to more of a need existing on the edge.
Other defensive prospects, like linebacker Devin White and cornerback Greedy Williams, could also slip to the first selection for the Packers. White is a game changer on the second level and would be a great addition, and while Williams is a corner and we just spent our first two selections on that last season, adding Williams to our lineup would make our corner ranks one of the five best in the entire league.
While offense is more of an emphasis position according to the rest of the league, defense is more of an emphasis position for us, which should play nicely into Green Bay’s lap come the draft. Look for the team’s defensive ranks to be seriously improved come late April, hopefully providing defensive coordinator Mike Pettine an even more solid defense than what he coached last season.
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