With the Packers in another win out situation this season, this time without Aaron Rodgers, we took a look at what position we’d like the Packers to address in the first round of the 2018 draft. Focus on the positives with us this Thanksgiving week. (Que inappropriately timed music from any holiday but Christmas.)
They say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. While the Packers offense is far from broke (when Rodgers is healthy), I can’t help but imagine what a dynamic WR would do with Rodgers. No offense to Jordy Nelson and friends, but none of them have that elite size / athleticism combo the other top WRs in the league do. I am talking the Julio Jones, AJ Green, Amari Cooper mold of wide receivers, imagine Rodgers with a threat like that. He can throw any one open, but how about a WR who can run himself open with good size and hands. This guy could potentially be a staple of the offense beyond the Aaron Rodgers era, I think the Packers need a guy like this to ease the transition as well as win in the present.
I believe the Packers must draft offensive line help in order to better this team. The best player in the organization right now is Aaron Rodgers. In order to keep him happy and healthy the Packers need to put forth a stronger and better offensive line. Currently Hundley has had to scramble and had almost no time to throw the ball. The Packers need to follow the building scheme of the Dallas Cowboys to ensure success. The Cowboys built up a solid offensive line and then filled position players around it to generate success. I believe that the Packers have the skill position players to succeed, but if they can put a strong offensive line in front of them, they can really succeed.
The Packers have a chance to sneak into the top ten of the draft order without Aaron Rodgers. Should the Packers have their best pick since they selected B.J. Raji sixth overall, I think they should take the best player available. I don’t care which position, on paper the Packers have talent at every position. They simply need to add playmakers, and what better opportunity than after an injury plagued disaster. The Packers have a lot of young talent on defense with Josh Jones, Kenny Clark, Kevin King, and numerous others who should be able to start in the NFL. Adding another player with high end potential could make the defense interesting in the coming years.
On offense, the Packers could desperately use a punch of youth stardom to match with Rodgers. Whether it be at running back, which the team seems fairly set at, or wide receiver, which could cause the team to decide between resigning Davante Adams, and pushing Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb to the bench. It’s hard to build a team around the top quarterback talent in the league, Rodgers is due for an increase in pay after the 2019 season. Young, cheap talent is gold for the team going forward.
The must have position in the 2018 draft must be Outside Linebacker/Rush Linebacker. The Packers have struggled mightily with no true pass rusher to be feared since Julius Peppers return to Carolina. He now has 7.5 sacks on the season, by comparison the Packers top 2 sack leaders Clay Matthews and Nick Perry have combined for 10.5 sacks, with 7 coming from Nick Perry alone. The Packers top 2 needs in the draft last year were between Corner and Outside Linebacker.
The first-round choice came down to Wisconsin’s own T.J. Watt or trading down, the packers chose the latter and drafted corner Kevin King at the top of the 2nd round. With the pick gained from trading down the Packers drafted outside linebacker Vince Biegel out Wisconsin in the fourth. However, he may not be the future of the position. Of the top 20 sack leaders of the 2017 season, only 4 out of 20 were drafted after the 2nd round and 2 of those 4 were drafted no later than the 3rd round. This year’s draft is looking to be thin at pass rushing outside linebackers, so the Packers cannot wait to draft Clay Matthews heir apparent. Especially when considered that Clay Matthews may not be with the team next year if he chooses not to take a pay cut to his bloated 11 million cap hit in 2018. If the Packers chose to cut him, there would be no penalty as he has no dead cap hit if cut after the 2017 season.