Mock drafts are all the rage these days. Every Packers twitter member has done at least 17 already this draft season. And almost all of them end up the same way: some combo of inside linebacker, safety, and offensive tackle with the first three picks. It’s easy to understand why. They have three total real NFL players at linebacker, maybe two at safety, and someone named Luke Tenuta is the swing tackle. But do the Packers need to draft for need? Let’s go over it.

Do the Packers need a Linebacker?

I would argue that linebacker is the position where they have the most need right now. Quay Walker hasn’t proven himself to be anything more than an average player, Isaiah McDuffie has proven himself to be a below average player, and Eric Wilson is a journeyman specialist more than a starter on defense.

I still don’t think they need to spend a high pick on linebacker. This is the team that went into a season with Krys Barnes as their top linebacker and cut him before week 1. They traded for Antonio Morrison right before the season started. They picked up De’Vondre Campbell off the scrap heap.

I think there are two scenarios here: the Packers have faith that the new defensive system will elevate their current guys and aren’t that worried about who the second linebacker is anyway or the front office knows that they need an all-pro at that position to succeed, in which case none of the guys in the draft come close to that level of play – they’d need to acquire one in a trade regardless.

Of course, if there’s a third scenario where they love Peyton Wilson or one of the other guys and surprise everyone taking him in the first (remember three weeks before the Quay Walker draft everyone thought he’d go in the third round), I would be mildly surprised but quickly talk myself into it.

Do the Packers need a Safety?

At safety they already have a huge capital investment with Xavier McKinney. They also have Anthony Johnson Jr. on the roster. He started several games last year and was famously mocked to go in the first round by Cris Collinsworth. And there are several very playable veterans still on the market. At least two of whom have played for the Packers in the past.

The Packers were good last year but remember this is a semi-rebuild. You don’t have to do everything in one off-season. Why force a high draft pick on a bad athlete at safety because it’s a surface level need? Why not take the best player available and plug in a vet for a season?

Do the Packers need a Tackle?

Where the argument to not draft for need with linebacker and safety is because there aren’t any worth the pick, the argument with tackle is that there are so many good ones this year.

Remember, this Packers team is the one that had above average tackle play from two fourth round picks, a seventh-round pick and a UDFA last year. They know how to take offensive linemen later in the draft.

If one of the truly elite prospects falls to them in the first round, great you should make it work. But if you’re reaching on tackle number 8 who will be a project when tackle number 14 can be taken in the third round, why not take someone more valuable?

Take an Edge

My best-case scenario first pick right now is either that one of Jared Verse or Laiatu Latu falls to them, or they manage to trade down and still get Chop Robinson.

I don’t care that they’ve spent firsts on Rashan Gary and Lukas Van Ness already. This defense has to be built through the defensive line and Gary and Van Ness can rotate to the inside. Van Ness specifically has the frame to add weight and play inside full time – like he did at Iowa.

Adding more to the edge room would be the best way to both impact next season and to continue building the program long-term.

Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.