Many are hoping the Green Bay Packers receive the Jets’ first-round pick in a return package for Aaron Rodgers. Others think in order to make that happen they’ll have to swap their first-round picks and include more. It doesn’t matter if they’re picking 13th or 15th overall. I think there’s still a chance that the Packers trade down in the first round.
I know many readers probably just let out a collective groan or are immediately telling me I’m crazy. The more I look at who could still be available late in the first round or even fall to middle of the second, the more likely the chances become.
Let’s take a look at the Packers top needs heading into the draft and compare to late availability.
Just about everyone you talk to, me included, thinks the Packers need a Tight End early in this draft. There are 3-4 Tight Ends that are projected as possibilities in the top 45 picks. Michael Mayer is considered by most to be the top Tight End in the draft.
However, Mayer is projected by most to go in the mid to late first round. The next in line is considered to be Dalton Kincaid. Kincaid as well, is projected to be a mid to late first rounder.
With the Packers currently picking at number 15 and number 45, it seems like they’ll have their pick of the top 4 if they choose. I’ve said before that I believe Darnell Washington would be the best pick for the Packers at the position. So, if they want, they can leave their Tight End selection to the 2nd round.
What is this, the 4th straight draft we’re talking about Wide Receivers in the first round? Yeah, yeah, I know, this year it might be more likely with a new starting QB. Until it’s not. Let’s look at the top Wide Receivers.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is considered the top Wide Receiver in the draft, closely followed by Quentin Johnston. They’ve both been listed to go from pick 10 to pick 20 in the first round. They are closely followed by Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, and Jalin Hyatt. Those three are projected to go between pick 20 and 40.
Now the kicker here, is I’ve read a lot of chatter about both Smith-Njigba or Johnston possibly being gone before 15. Which means if the Packers want to spend a Day 1 or 2 pick on a receiver, it would be smart to trade down. Flowers and Addison aren’t too much of a drop off from the top 2, so the Packers could still get the value they want, later in the draft, and collect some extra draft capital in the process.
With Preston Smith possibly entering his final season as a Green Bay Packer, there’s a need to get a great Edge Rusher opposite Rashan Gary. It’s a good thing this draft has about 10 Edge Rushers slated to go in the top 45 picks.
Only about four of them though, are thought of as top-20 picks. The rest kind of drift back into the 30s and 40s projection-wise. Without getting into names, two of the top 3 Edge Rushers seem to be unlikely to fall to the Packers. The two remaining the Packers might have a chance at grabbing at 15 are Lukas Van Ness and perhaps Myles Murphy.
In terms of potential though, there doesn’t seem to be too much of a drop-off from Van Ness to the next 6. Possibly drifting as far back as the Packers second pick at 45, I see names like BJ Ojulari, Will McDonald IV, and Felix Anudike-Uzomah. These three are considered to be future premiere pass-rushers and would be excellent opposite Rashan Gary.
So, no need to settle for Van Ness if you can maybe trade back and again pick up some draft capital in the process. You will likely still have a quality player at the position.
To Trade Down, Or Not
I hate to be the bearer of bad news Packer fans. But unless some of the top players mentioned above fall to the Packers at 15, I’d look in to trading down.
Let’s take a look just five positions below the Packers at number 20. The Seattle Seahawks. Seattle has three picks in the top 40. They’re also looking to build a new younger roster. They also hold pick number 37 from the Denver Broncos. Imagine the Packers possibly striking a trade, numbers 15, and 78, for numbers 20, and 37.
With that trade, the Packers could have a chance to fill all three positional needs I listed above, still with top players. Let’s just say, WR Zay Flowers at 20, EDGE BJ Ojulari at 37, and TE Darnell Washington at 45. If the Packers came away with those players as a top 3, I’d be a happy fan.
Obviously, trade scenarios vary on Draft Day. But I’d say trading down would be a good idea if there’s a chance you can collect another second-round pick or early third in return.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.