Over the years the Green Bay Packers have done well to keep as many draft picks as possible. We know that this is a team with a philosophy of “draft and develop” and thus it isn’t uncommon for them to move around the board for various reasons. Working magic on draft weekend to acquire more picks or to acquire more desirable players is a serious consideration for any team, but the Packers’ emphasis on drafting certainly puts their yearly rookie hauls under a microscope more than most NFL teams. This all sets up the question; will the Packers trade the 13th pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft?
We can say with near certainty that the Packers won’t decide to trade up in the first round just to take a player at a position of “need.” There are two main reasons that the Packers may trade up from 13, and they are both fairly specific. The first — and more obvious — reason would be to acquire a player that they deem as being well worth the lost picks. A player would essentially have to be jumping off of the draft board at them even prior to Thursday as someone who is worth getting at almost any cost. This is an unlikely outcome for a variety of reasons, some of which we’ll get around to.
The second reason the Packers could trade up would be if one of their top few players on the board begins falling well beyond projection. If for instance a projected top-3 pick like Will Anderson was available with the 10th pick, there may be merit to moving up a few spots to select that player. This is also unlikely because, first and foremost, a player of that caliber probably won’t fall far. It is also unlikely because if a player has some reason to begin falling on draft night, and teams didn’t want the select him, it is unlikely the Packers would be high enough on him either.
The overall reason why it is unlikely for the Packers to trade up is because of their salary cap situation. The fact is, when a player is drafted higher they tend to get paid a bit more. We can also look at the fact that the Packers don’t need to spring on some massive player who needs to help them right now. The front office is realistically looking at this roster as a two to three year project before it is ready to compete for a Super Bowl, meaning there’s no reason to “swing for the fences” or “go all in” just yet.
Ultimately, there is very little chance that the Packers move up at all in this draft class, and if they do, it probably won’t be more than 2 or 3 positions.
Since trading up in the first round from 15 to 13 it is hard to imagine the Packers trading back now, but there is still probably as strong a possibility as ever that the team does. The 13th pick may be highly coveted, and if the front office planned on possibly trading back before acquiring pick 13 it would make sense that they still want to do that.
With the salary cap being a major factor for Green Bay, trading down in the draft can help them manage their money a bit more effectively. Ultimately if you acquire more picks, you’re drafting more rookies, and you’re ending up with more rookies on your payroll. Brian Gutekunst may be poised to try and build a very young core wherever possible in order to save cap space to eventually make a splash in a few years when he feels the team is ready to really compete for a championship.
Do They Stay Put With the 13th Pick?
Obviously the most likely option is that the Packers pick at 13 and then move on with their draft. Without even considering the tendencies of Brian Gutekunst, it’s just usually the case that even if a team looks into trading a pick up or down it doesn’t always occur. Most picks made in the first round of the NFL draft have multiple calls made about them, and most of these calls don’t come to fruition.
Brian Gutekunst has made a few moves early in drafts that suggest he does have a tendency to move up though. Jaire Alexander, Jordan Love, and second rounder Christian Watson were all traded up for, and that’s just to name a few of Brian Gutekunst’s moves in day one or two of the draft.
If I had to rank the likelihood of the Packers’ potential moves in the first round I would say they will most likely stay put. After that will be the consideration of trading down to acquire more picks for the future of the team. Finally, the least likely option will be the small possibility of trading up, and even if a trade up occurs, we can bet that it won’t be more than a few spots.
It will finally be time to watch this all unfold tomorrow night, during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.