Rather than looking for help right away, the Green Bay Packers used the 2020 NFL Draft to provide immediate insurance while preparing for the future. This strategy has caught a lot of heat from NFL media and critics alike. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still searching for his second Super Bowl and is set to turn 37 in December. Luckily, Rodgers is playing well enough at this point in his career to still render some hope for another title. However, while last year’s NFC Championship foe in the San Francisco 49ers are in the middle of reloading this offseason, it’s probably more true that the Packers’ chances of being as good as they were in 2019 have stayed the same if not gotten worse. They certainly haven’t gotten better.
First, Green Bay brought in Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner to replace two former staples in Blake Martinez and Bryan Bulaga. Acquisitions that can be considered offsetting at best. Then, instead of signing a bigger named free agent wide receiver, they elected to bring in Devin Funchess. Funchess has some potential that was noticed during his time in Carolina, but he was injured for virtually all of 2019 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Packers didn’t take a single receiver to try and help out Rodgers. Many thought it was time considering the last receiver to be drafted in the first round by the franchise was Javon Walker back in 2002. At the very least, the consensus was they would take a receiver at some point in what many analysts believed was among the greatest receiver classes in NFL Draft history. They didn’t.
During this year’s draft, the Packers looked to the future, from a first-round quarterback to a trio of day-three offensive linemen. Now we must ask ourselves, of Green Bay’s nine selections, what kind of impact can any of these guys make in 2020 to help get this team to the final game of the season?
Round 1, 26th Overall: Quarterback Jordan Love, Utah State
The earliest Love will even remotely receive consideration to be the starter is 2024. Although, the good news is, the Packers now have a viable backup. Also, preseason games are now worth watching as Love’s development will be fun to track.
Round 2, 62nd Overall: Running Back AJ Dillon, Boston College
Dillon has some of the best odds to make an immediate impact, and they still aren’t that great. His style is built for wintertime at Lambeau because of his bruising style and imposing physique. However, he may find it difficult to take snaps from Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, who are proven assets.
Round 3, 94th Overall: Tight End Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati
Deguara possesses a lot of versatility, and that will help him get on the field. At the very least, he will be a special-teams player, but the team hopes for much more. Deguara fits best as an h-back who can also play tight end. He was even found lined up outwide and in the slot during college. His biggest hurdle to getting on the field in 2020 could be gaining the trust of Rodgers and the coaches while he is learning so many roles within the offense.
Round 5, 175th Overall: Linebacker Kamal Martin, Minnesota
Martin’s production at Minnesota doesn’t suggest he was drafted to be Martinez’s replacement. Now, he will be competing with Kirksey, Oren Burks, Ty Summers, and Curtis Bolton for reps. It will be an uphill battle for Martin to earn any sort of playing time this year. However, he is solid enough in coverage to potentially be a three-down linebacker someday.
Round 6, 192nd Overall: Offensive Line Jon Runyan, Michigan
One of the better picks Green Bay made last week. Runyan’s father is a former All-Pro tackle, so he must know a little about what lies ahead. As a sixth-rounder, Runyan won’t have much expected of him right away. But, if he can be trusted to fill in as an emergency guard or tackle in the short term, that’s a win.
Round 6, 208th Overall: Offensive Line Jake Hanson, Oregon
Another stopgap along the interior. Hanson’s a four-year starter with more experience than most prospects. Center Corey Linsley won’t lose his job to Hanson anytime soon, but if the rookie out of Oregon shows some progress down the road, the Packers may move on.
Round 6, 209th Overall: Offensive Line Simon Stepaniak, Indiana
Nothing more than a late-round flier that could never see the field. Stepaniak is a mauler in the run game, which fits the narrative of the team wanting to shift towards a run-first offense. Only, in Stepaniak’s case, his ceiling could very well be that of a career backup. Anything more is gravy.
Round 7, 236th Overall: Safety Vernon Scott, TCU
Green Bay didn’t need a safety, but they took one anyway. Scott didn’t make much of an impact at TCU, however, he’s similar to what the team currently has in Raven Greene- a box safety with decent ball skills. After Greene missed most of 2019 with an injured ankle, they could be looking to add some competition to the hybrid safety role.
Round 7, 242nd Overall: Edge Jonathan Garvin, Miami
The Packers ended their 2020 draft just like they started. By drafting someone with plenty of ability that needs to put it all together to pan out. Garvin never took that final leap at Miami, but his physical traits granted him a look in the final round. Garvin will be lucky to earn a roster spot with the likes of Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, and Tim Williams holding down the edges. That said, you can’t count Garvin out just yet now that he gets to learn from some of the best.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.