The Green Bay Packers have the luxury of having two first round picks in this year’s draft. Here are three options for them to take with the 30th overall pick.
After completing a trade at last year’s draft that eventually landed them Jaire Alexander, the Green Bay Packers also gained the New Orleans Saints’ first-round selection which ended up being pick number 30.
Given the team’s need at numerous positions, this is a good year for the Green Bay Packers to have two first round selections as it will hopefully accelerate the mini-rebuild that they currently find themselves in.
Last week I took a look at three options for the Packers with their 12th pick, and continuing on with this series, these are three prospects that could be available at 30 and would greatly help this team.
Irv Smith Jr. – Tight End, Alabama
It has been since the days of Jermichael Finley that the Green Bay Packers have seen consistent production from the tight end position. While they have brought in numerous players from free agency to try to help, it is time to invest in a tight end through the draft.
While many have T.J. Hockenson out of Iowa linked to the Packers, I think there are bigger needs to address with the 12th pick, and as he currently flies up many big boards, it doesn’t appear that he will be available at pick number 30.
Under head coach Matt LaFleur, we can anticipate the tight end position playing a bigger role in the Packers’ offense this season, and having Jimmy Graham for one more year will allow Irv Smith Jr. to ease into the offense.
As far as tight ends go, Smith Jr. is very well rounded. He won’t kill defenders with his speed but he is an excellent route runner and has solid hands. As a blocker, he does very well in the running game and although he wasn’t asked to do a lot in pass protection at Alabama, Smith Jr. has shown that he can hold his own when given the opportunity.
Jon Ledyard of The Draft Network has said: “Smith may never be a top 2-3 tight end in the NFL, but he’s fully capable of being the best in the next tier”.
During the 2018 season, Smith Jr. hauled in 44 catches, averaging an incredible 16.1 yards per catch and also added seven touchdowns. He would make a great target in the red zone and over the middle for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Nasir Adderley – Safety, Deleware
No matter who the Green Bay Packers plugged in, they just could not find a solution at the safety position. With Haha Clinton-Dix being traded, Jermaine Whitehead being cut, a number of injuries and poor play led to the safety position being one of the bigger holes on this team.
In one offseason, GM Brian Gutekunst did a nice job of rebuilding the cornerback position, well now it is time to solidify the back end of the secondary with a new safety.
Nasir Adderley was a three year starter at the University of Delaware and is regarded by some as the best safety in this draft class.
This last season, Adderley made a whopping 87 tackles, which was top 20 among defensive backs in the country. He would also add four interceptions and seven pass deflections.
Joe Marino of The Draft Network has high praise for Adderley saying, “his football IQ, combined with outstanding play speed lay the foundation for Adderley to be a highly productive starting NFL safety”.
Adderley would give defensive coordinator Mike Pettine great versatility in the secondary as he is able to play as the singe high safety or he can play down in the box. As evidenced above, he is also an excellent tackler, which is something that this Green Bay Packers defense desperately needs.
Dalton Risner – Tackle, Kansas State
One of the bigger needs that must be addressed this offseason by the Green Bay Packers is the play along the right side of the offensive line, particularly at guard.
Last season, the Packers offensive line allowed 3.3 sacks per game which tied for the second most in the NFL. Whether Green Bay would move Risner to right guard or choose to slide Bryan Bulaga over, adding him to the offensive line unit would be a major upgrade.
With 49 collegiate starts under his belt, Risner is very experienced and has earned many accolades along the way. His sophomore year he was named first-team All-Big 12, in 2017 he received the same honor, and in his final season, Risner was named a second-team All-American along with first-team All-Conference honors. He was also ranked as the 16th best player in all of college football by Pro Football Focus.
The Draft Network’s Joe Marino says that Risner “should be an early starter and high quality blocker for years to come”. Which is exactly what the Green Bay Packers need right now.
Risner is exceptional in pass protection and displays great power in the running game. He brings a mentality to the position that you want from your offensive linemen down in trenches and would give the Packers a versatile player as he played tackle, guard and center while at Kansas State.