There’s a new buzz in the air in Green Bay, Wisconsin this week with a new era beginning. While Jordan Love begins his first off-season as the starting quarterback for the Packers, the front office in Green Bay is preparing to fully build around the new signal-caller through the draft. With the 2023 NFL Draft kicking off exactly one week from today, here’s a potential Packers Mock Draft for how the team’s current 10 selections could pan out.
1.15 — Jaxon Smith-Njigba
WR, Ohio State
Starting off the draft with this selection will go against nearly everything Brian Gutekunst has been known for in the draft, and maybe that’s a good thing. The Packers haven’t drafted a first-round wide receiver since 2002 and this is the year that needs to change. Smith-Njigba’s skillset offers a perfect complement to Christian Watson while giving Love a reliable weapon in the slot.
2.45 — Darnell Washington
If the Packers are truly planning to build around its new quarterback in this draft, why not double-dip on offense with the first two selections? Washington was one of ten prospects the Packers brought in for a Top-30 visit. The 6’7, 264-pound monster could be a welcome addition to the Packers’ offense and can fill the void left by Marcedes Lewis.
3.78 — Karl Brooks
DE, Bowling Green
Brooks is another player whom the Packers brought in for a Top-30 visit during the draft process. The Packers’ front office has been sniffing around different pass-rushing prospects with Rashan Gary still rehabbing from his torn ACL and Preston Smith continuing to age. Adding a pass rusher early would be a wise move and Brooks proved what kind of player he could be at the Senior Bowl.
4.116 — Ji’Ayir Brown
S, Penn State
As it stands going into the start of the off-season program, the Packers have a major need at the safety position with Adrian Amos still floating in free agency. Most importantly, the Packers need a player who can cover deep downfield on defense. Brown played 345 snaps deep in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus, and also has experience as a box and slot defender.
5.149 — Bryce Ford-Wheaton
WR, West Virginia
The Packers likely will double dip at the wide receiver position in this year’s draft given the current state of the room. After a slightly unconventional approach in adding Smith-Njigba, Gutekunst can return to his tendencies in selecting a highly athletic wide receiver at an incredible value. Ford-Wheaton is a do-it-all player who the Packers can take the time to develop.
5.170 — Jaxson Kirkland
It wouldn’t be right to have a Packers mock draft that didn’t include an offensive lineman who possesses multi-positional versatility. At Washington, Kirkland recorded 654 snaps at left tackle in 2021 and then switched over to left guard in 2022 where he played 689 snaps. The five-year starter has the adequate frame and skill set to play at either position at the next level.
7.232 — Travis Dye
Running back in a position that I personally would hope to come out of this draft addressing. Aaron Jones has two years remaining on his current contract with a potential out after this season, according to Spotrac. With three running backs on the roster, that would leave the Packers in a pinch. Enter Dye, a player the Packers can utilize on special teams while grooming to become the newest member of the one-two punch in the backfield.
7.235 — Cory Durden
DT, NC State
The Packers addressed the interior of the defensive line last year by taking Devonte Wyatt in the first round to pair with Kenny Clark. However, the team lost some depth when Jarran Reed and Dean Lowry departed in free agency. Durden can help add some depth as a player who can play multiple roles.
7.242 — Noah Gindorff
TE, North Dakota State
The second position worth double dipping into during the draft is at tight end. With Washington coming off the board in the second round, the Packers can snag another in-line tight end late in the draft. The addition of Gindorff as a blocker can open up the Packers to unlock more of Washington’s ability in the passing game.
7.256 — Drake Thomas
LB, NC State
Rounding out this year’s class in this mock draft experiment, the Packers will look to add another player from the Wolfpack defense. Thomas is a physical and relentless downhill defender who could become an outstanding player on special teams working under Rich Bisaccia.——————
Kole Noble is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in North Carolina and is a huge NFL Draft nut. You can follow him on twitter at @SlawSportsShow.