The Green Bay Packers hold the 44th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, and these are three players that should be on their radar.
If the Green Bay Packers hope to get back to their usual winning ways, this is going to be a critical offseason for them. GM Brian Gutekunst is going to have to utilize free agency and perhaps more importantly, he is going to have to hit on a majority of his draft picks this year.
With three picks inside of the top 50, the Green Bay Packers are in a position where they can infuse this roster with play making potential, which is something that they have been lacking the last couple seasons.
In recent weeks, I’ve discussed who could be likely candidates for the Packers to select with their 12th and 30th overall picks, now let’s enter round two of the draft and see who they could end up taking at pick 44.
Devin Bush, Linebacker – Michigan
The edge rusher position has been getting a lot of attention this offseason and rightfully so, but as a whole, the Green Bay Packers need to improve their front seven. Hopefully at this point in the draft they’ve landed their elite edge rusher and now can select linebacker Devin Bush.
Bush would provide the Packers with a big time tackler, which they desperately need as well as someone who can cover a lot of space. His athleticism allows him to move sideline-to-sideline with ease and he is able to stop runners from getting around the edge.
His range also makes him very capable in coverage for a linebacker and allows him to break up plays in the backfield as a blitzer.
In regards to Bush, Jon Ledyard of The Draft Network has said “linebackers who can run, hit, blitz and cover are typically prioritized by the NFL, and Bush can do all of those things.”
Last season for Michigan, Bush totaled 66 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss, and added 4.5 sacks along with four pass deflections.
At 44th overall, Bush would be a fantastic value if he is still available. With Blake Martinez in the last year of his contract and Oren Burks still raw and unproven, selecting Bush wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver – South Carolina
Although the Green Bay Packers selected three receivers in the 2018 draft, it still remains a position of need heading into the 2019 season. What was once a position of strength has now become a bit of an unknown, outside of star wide receiver Davante Adams.
Coming off of a broken leg during the 2017 season, Samuel was able to put together a solid bounce back season in 2018. Overall he hauled in 62 receptions totaling 882 yards and 11 touchdowns.
His 2018 campaign was highlighted by his performance against eventual National Champion Clemson, where Samuel caught 10 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Even with sub-par quarterback play for much of his time at South Carolina, Samuel was able to post productive numbers.
Samuel has the ability to move around on offense but may primarily be used as a slot receiver in Green Bay. Perhaps Samuel’s best attribute is his ability to rack up yards after the catch, which will go a long way in improving the Packers passing attack on short to intermediate throws.
Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network has high praise for the young receiver: “Deebo Samuel is a potent weapon with the football in his hands, he’s effective in winning against press coverage, has the speed to strain off coverage and is sudden and creative after the catch.”
Green Bay needs another big play making threat at wide receiver and Deebo Samuel could give them just that.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (CGJ), Safety – Florida
In one offseason, GM Brian Gutekunst did a nice job revamping the Green Bay Packers cornerback position, but now it is time to solidify the back end of the secondary with a safety.
After a rough 2017 season, CGJ’s game took a huge jump in 2018, particularly as a run defender. On the season he recorded 71 total tackles, nine tackles for a loss, three sacks, four interceptions, including two that went for touchdowns.
What makes CGJ a special player at safety is his versatility to line up just about anywhere. He has the ability to line up in man or zone coverage and can play as the slot cornerback as well. This style of play would fit in quite well with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s system.
Joe Marino of The Draft Network highlights CGJ’s versatility: “Gardner-Johnson is a highly versatile defensive back that can fill numerous roles for an NFL defense and allow for more scheme diversity. He is a standout zone defender whether it’s single high or split zones.”
In addition to CGJ, ideally the Green Bay Packers would bring in a veteran safety from free agency that he could learn from and to help take some of the burden off of the rookie. However, CGJ is still a player that can step in right away and make a difference on this team.