The NFL Combine is quickly approaching, scheduled for February 26th through March 4th. For those who don’t know, the NFL Combine is where draft prospects gather in Indianapolis and are given several different tests from multiple teams to prove their suitability for playing in the NFL. The tests range from medical tests, to running drills, to even knowledge-based tests. Most athletes have interviews with teams during the Combine, too. One can bet that the Green Bay Packers will be very active during the NFL Combine.

So, before the NFL Combine arrives, let’s take a look at the top five positions that the Packers need to draft.

#5 Draft Need – Defensive Lineman

draft need - defensive line

The Packers under Jeff Hafley will most likely play four-down linemen in the new defensive scheme. More than likely, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, and Lukas Van Ness will be on the field at the same time. However, the Packers will need to add some more depth at defensive line. They have Kenny Clark, TJ Slaton, Karl Brooks, and Colby Wooden also. The Packers might still want to add a couple more rotation guys who are better suited to stop the run.

This isn’t the most pressing need and I can easily see the Packers not addressing this position in the draft. However, with the Preston Smith and Kenny Clark contract situation, I can see the Packers choosing to address this group in the draft as future insurance.

#4 Draft Need – Running Back

AJ Dillon is starting to look like he might walk away in free agency. The Packers could bring him back but they also could look for a younger running back in the draft.

Aaron Jones is also inching closer to 30 and has had some injury concerns. Jones will be back this season per Brian Gutekunst, but this seems like a short term answer at the running back position. With Aaron Jones and Emmanuel Wilson being the only ones on the roster, the Packers are primed to select a running back in the 2024 NFL Draft.

#3 Offensive Line

Last year, when I wrote a similar article, I had the Packers offensive line need being my number five need in the draft. Green Bay then went and drafted zero offensive linemen. Because of this, the need has escalated to number three. It would have been much higher if it wasn’t for the development of Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom. Tom has played extremely well at right tackle and in the second half of the season Walker was a true starting caliber left tackle.

David Bakhtiari doesn’t seem like he will be back, even though one of my bold predictions was for him to return. With his departure and the possible departure of Jon Runyon, the Packers should draft an offensive lineman or two to compete for the starting five. Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur are always talking about how they want the best five o-lineman out their on offense, this might mean adding more depth to the group.

Also, this is center Josh Meyers’ last year on his contract. If he doesn’t show improvement, then the Packers are not likely to extend him. They could look for his replacement this year.

#2 Off Ball Linebacker

The Packers will likely release De’Vondre Campbell this offseason. Injuries have caught up to him and his cap number is not going to get any better. This leaves just Quay Walker and Isaiah McDuffie. In a 4-3 defense, or ya know 4-2-5, Quay Walker is probably better suited as the weak side backer leaving only Isaiah McDuffie as the only true middle linebacker. The Packers are going to be desperately looking to fill that position with some speed.

Green Bay saw firsthand how beneficial it is to have a speedy linebacker at your disposal when they faced Fred Warner of the 49ers. If Jeff Hafley is going to try and run a defense similar to what the 49ers have run, then Hafley might want his own Fred Warner. Maybe Quay could fill that role, but the Packers will still need to draft linebackers to help run Hafley’s defense.

#1 Draft Need – Safety

Could there have been another answer to what Green Bay’s number one draft need is? They literally have no one at the safety position currently under contract other than Anthony Johnson, Jr. Well, other than some practice squad guys. The Packers have to draft a safety. Look for them to select multiple safeties high in the draft. In Hafley’s defense, he likes to use a single high safety on occasion. Look for the Packers to get a guy who has some speed and ball skills, but isn’t afraid to tackle.

One last interesting fact about this number one draft need: it was my number one last year. The Packers only drafted one safety last year and it was Anthony Johnson, Jr. The Packers really need to make a safety selection this year.

So during the NFL Combine, be watching the safeties and these other positions I mentioned above.