The Draft is just over a week away so I gathered up the fellas and asked them to answer some of my burning questions on the NFL Draft. The following are the responses of our staff.
1.) Whose the one guy that if available at 12 (within reason) the Packers cannot afford to pass on?
Kyle Hoffenbecker: Ed Oliver. A couple of months ago it looked like Oliver was a no doubt top 5 pick in the draft. Now, with the emergence of other amazing talent like Kyler Murray, I would not be surprised if Oliver fell to the Packers at 12. If he does, that’s who you need to take. Adding him to an already solid defensive line would be huge. Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, and now Ed Oliver? I’ll take that every day of the week and twice on Sunday’s. Mike Pettine wants more interior pass rush and that’s exactly what Oliver brings to the table.
Brandon Valtierra: It’s a little different having this high of a pick. There are only 11 teams picking ahead of us. There’s been at least 15 prospects I’ve heard have no chance to make it 12. Somethings got to give. After the Combine I would have said Montez Sweat but the Packers loaded up on some edge help. Also Pettine likes to create his pressure in middle of the D-line. With Daniels being a free agent after this season Ed Oliver is my pick. Imagine Oliver, The Smith’s and Daniel’s rushing. Twists would be fun to watch.
James Christensen: One prospect that the Packers cannot afford to pass on is Jawaan Taylor. He is predicted to go in the top 10, but if the Packers are fortunate enough to have him fall, he is a must pick.. Last year the Packers had 10 different offensive linemen take a snap for them during the season. Jawaan Taylor would provide depth and eventually replace the often injured and aging Bryan Bulaga.
Andrew Flegel: I’m torn, but Noah Fant would be a solid pick up. Obviously, the Packers have Jimmy Graham, but he is not the same player he was when he was in New Orleans and it seemed as if a lot of fans expected that from him. Noah Fant will be able to play that type of football as he recorded a 4.50 40 yard sprint which allowed him to beat safeties for touchdowns (see the game against Wisconsin). The 6’4”, 250 pound tight end out of Iowa will be a presence in the red zone as long as he is able to stay strong throughout his routes and hold on to the football which was a problem for him at the college level.
Joshua Amacher: The one guy that the Packers could not afford to pass on if there at 12 (it is possible) is Ed Oliver. The guy is insanely talented. He can play the edge and he can play as a down lineman. A great talent with tremendous potential.
Alexander Juneau: As much as I love TJ Hockenson, I do not think you can pass on Ed Oliver if he somehow falls to 12. The guy is too disruptive on the inside and just a freak athletically. He is so great, I might be willing to give up a 3rd round pick to go get him. With his athleticism and the Packers off m
2.) If the Packers draft (insert player) at 12 I will be incredibly upset, Why?
Kyle Hoffenbecker: I don’t want to single out any certain player but if they went with a quarterback at 12 it would not make much sense. There are much greater holes to fill than a backup quarterback in the first round of this year’s draft. I’m well aware the Packers didn’t need to take Aaron Rodgers when they did either but by the time 2005 came around, Favre was toying the idea of retirement. Rodgers is not close to that point yet, hopefully. I’m not saying we shouldn’t find a decent backup in this draft but not in the first round, especially at 12.
Brandon Valtierra: Any of the quarterbacks. Not that we couldn’t use a backup upgrade and insurance since Rodgers has often been hurt. Just don’t care for the top guys this year. Next year I would be more open to it. Rodger would be 36 and give a guy a couple years to show what he has. Gute is also responsible with making this team his and making LaFleur’s transition to head coach as easy as possible, drafting a QB round 1 is unnecessary drama.
James Christensen: I would rip my T.V off of the wall and throw it outside if the Packers draft DK Metcalf with the 12th pick. The Packers absolutely need another playmaker on offense, but DK Metcalf is not worth the 12th pick. The receiver position has become one that can be filled in the later rounds of the draft. The Packers could wait and draft players like Andy Isabella and Miles Boykins in the Later rounds.
Andrew Flegel: DK Metcalf would make me pretty upset. His straight-line speed, strength, and size are extremely impressive, however, that only takes a receiver so far. We have seen this guy before and he has not panned out. Whether it is John Ross, Darius Heyward-Bey, or Troy Williamson, the burners who have the one dimension of running faster than everyone else get figured out on the professional level. As far as Metcalf goes, he was figured out even at the college level. In his three years, he had only 67 receptions for 1228 yards and 14 touchdowns and that, to me, is a big red flag.
Joshua Amacher: If the Packers drafted (dare I say it) any QB at 12 I would be incredibly upset. Whether it be Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Will Grier, etc it would be a missed opportunity. The Packers aren’t here to build their future quarterback. They are here to win football games today and that starts with filling much-needed holes on defense.
Alexander Juneau: As much as a QB would anger me, I would be the most mad about D.K. Metcalf. Metcalf has some traits that seem really good, size, strength, speed, sounds like a great wideout right? Then you look at his stats and watch the film, he is slow out of cuts not a great route runner etc. I look at the WRs projected to be there at 30 and 44 and think, well those guys might be better? So please Packers don’t draft D.K.
3.) The three positions I would most like the Packers to address with three picks in the top 44 are:
Kyle Hoffenbecker: EDGE, Tight End, Safety.
The Packers did go out and spend a lot of money on EDGE rushers in free agency. However, this draft class is loaded with a lot of EDGE talent that the Packers need to take advantage of. A majority of the Packers EDGE production from the last couple seasons are gone and you can’t count on Kyler Fackrell to have another double-digit sack season. Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Brian Burns, Clelin Ferrell, and Rashan Gary are all names that will come off the board in the first round. I would stay away from Gary but the trio of Sweat, Burns, and Ferrell all have great chances of wearing the Green and Gold on draft night. You can’t have too many EDGE rushers in the league. Grab one at 12 and solidify what was the weakest part of the Packers defense last season.
TJ Hockenson is my draft crush this year. Last year, the Packers took my draft crush, Josh Jackson. He hasn’t been the solid contributor I was hoping for but Hock is going to be a huge part of the Green Bay offense if he comes to Titletown. Hock is almost the perfect tight end. It might be considered a stretch at 12. I’d much rather take a TE at 30 but if other top defensive players are off the board like the aforementioned Ed Oliver and the other EDGE rushers, Hock is my pick at 12. Don’t forget about Noah Fant and Irv Smith Jr. either. Both are great options at tight end if Hock is taken before the Packers pick at 30.
Safety for the Packers has been an issue since Nick Collins career was cut short. It’s been a rotation of hot crap in the back part of the secondary since then. When the Packers selected Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in 2014, many thought (myself included) we found our next great safety for the future. It didn’t work out that way unfortunately after HHCD was traded to Washington before the trade deadline last year. Nasir Adderley is my favorite safety from this year’s class not just because of his family ties to the Packers but because how he can compliment another free agent pick up, Adrian Amos. If Adderley isn’t there, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson from Florida, Juan Thornhill from Virginia, and Jonathan Abram from Mississippi St. are other prospects I would like to see in Green Bay.
Brandon Valtierra: FS, OT and TE
In no particular order it is free safety, Offensive tackle and tight end. Free safety because even though we signed Adrian Amos, he is best suited for the strong safety role. There have been reports of Bulaga being in great shape for this season, but he still is very big injury risk and entering a contract year at 30. Now for tight end, this admittedly wasn’t one of my biggest needs to start the offseason but the hiring of LaFleur pushed it up. The Packers haven’t drafted a top tier tight end prospect since Jermichael Finley and it shows.
As stated before the Packers have had troubles with injuries over the past few seasons, and none more devastating than Aaron Rodgers the past two years. The Packers need to address their offensive line to ensure Rodgers can play at a high level. The Packers have already brought in Kaleb McGary and Greg Little for pre-draft visits.
The Packers also should add some depth to the defense. There is still a need for a safety to play alongside their recent signee Adrian Amos. Another option for defense would be to add another pass rusher. Giving Pettine another pass rusher will allow him to become creative with his packages.
Final position to address would be tight end. I know we have Jimmy Graham for another 2 years, but after this season he can be released with only $3.9 in dead money. Drafting a tight end will allow the Packers to use more two tight end sets or put Graham in the slot where he had success in New Orleans.
Andrew Flegel: Offensive Line: The Packers did just reinstate Cole Madison and add Billy Turner, but I am not sure how much that helps right now. If they were able to land a guy like Jonah Williams, Andre Dillard, or Michael Deiter (might be able to get him in the 3rd)
Wide Receiver: I believe in Marques Valdes-Scantling as a viable weapon and EQ St. Brown as a decent option but in today’s NFL, teams need at least three solid weapons to be successful. Getting Marquise Brown, AJ Brown, or Deebo Samuel would elevate the Packers to that level.
Safety: I think Josh Jackson could make the move back to safety with Adrian Amos, but that does not seem to be what the Packers are looking to do. Nassir Adderley out of Delaware would be a great pick up for the team, but I don’t think he will last until 30 and it may be a stretch to take him at 12.
1) Inside Linebacker
2) Offensive Line
3) Wide Receiver
Alexander Juneau: I am going to try and keep it short and sweet since these answers have been pretty long up to this point. I’d like a WR, a TE, and a Safety. I think the Packers can do relatively well at OL and ILB with 4th and 5th round guys. If the Packers entered the third round with TJ Hockenson, Hollywood Brown, and Nassir Adderley I’d feel really good about their odds next season.
4.) Would you spend those top 3 picks all on one side of the ball if the board fell a certain way?
Kyle Hoffenbecker: Yes, there is a lot of great defensive talent in this draft and I think the Packers did enough in free agency to go offense for their first three picks. Taking a Hock at 12 makes sense depending on how the board falls. There are some great wide receivers prospects to look at in this draft too. AJ Brown, Hollywood Brown, Parris Campbell, and N’Keal Harry are just some of the receivers I like in this draft. You can never have too many offensive linemen either. Despite signing versatile OL Billy Turner in free agency, the Packers can always use more OL depth.
I could see the Packers going with a TE at 12, a WR at 30, and an OL at 44 if a lot of the good defensive talent falls a certain way.
Brandon Valtierra: Absolutely, there are a good number of prospects I would love to see in green and gold. I’ll start defense. My favorite pick for 12 would easily be bolster interior pass rush. Devin Bush of Michigan to fortify our linebackers and give us a cover linebacker. Then which ever best safety prospect is available at 44, probably Juan Thornhill whom I’ve liked since the offseason started. If we go offense then you must draft the best tight end in the draft, TJ Hockenson, at 12. For 30 it’s a player linked to fill the Packers desired big slot role this offseason, AJ Brown, AKA the best of the Ole Miss receivers. The reason I wait to draft OT is because there is some depth there in the draft and on our team for a prospect that might need time to get ready. Greg Little could come in and wait for Bulaga to finish his Packers career and then start in 2020.
James Christensen: I would not spend all three of my picks on one side of the ball. The Packers are always going to be in contention with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, but the last two seasons have shown the need for help on both sides of the ball. The Packers need to take advantage of having three top 44 picks, and build a team that does not solely rely on the arm of their quarterback.
Andrew Flegel: Yes. There is value all over in this draft and because of that, I am inclined to pick best available in the first and second round based on the draft class. The Packers have a number of positions that have holes or are in need of an overhaul which puts them in a position to be able to grab talent meaning they could all be on offense or defense.
Joshua Amacher: Absolutely. I would spend it all on defense. The Packers added three great players onto their team in the offseason in Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Adrian Amos but more depth never hurts.
Alexander Juneau: I think I would on offense, but not on defense. The offense just needs a retooling and the Packers dropped a bag or two on defensive players this offseason. I think if the Packers get to round 3 and they haven’t grabbed a WR or a TE they could be in some trouble next year if none of the returning WRs improve dramatically.