The NFL draft is too far away and cloudy to start speculating about the team’s moves. But, Green and Gold Hopefuls is here to introduce the 2018 Draft prospects the CCC staff is keeping their eyes on. These players may not be drafted by the Packers in April, but we’d love if they were.

Hunter Van Esten:

Quenten Nelson – OG – Notre Dame

Nelson was a second-team All-American as a junior last year, but he decided to return to school and solidify his position as the best guard in his class. Likely a top 15 pick in the coming draft, Nelson appeared out of the Packers draft range until the turn of events on Sunday pumped the breaks on the season. It is blindingly obvious how terrible the offensive line is right now. Granted, it’s not every year that three tackles wind up on IR and a team is forced to send out the only five healthy lineman they have in Week 6 of a season. However, it shows that you can never have too much depth on the line. With Jahri Evans’ contract set to expire after what is his 12th year in the NFL, Green Bay will have a hole to plug along the offensive line.

Using a pick on Nelson would likely give the Packers a new alpha along the offensive line. Standing at a monstrous 6-foot-5, and weighing in at 328 pounds (coaches speculate he’s actually closer to 340), Nelson is a behemoth in the trenches. He’s a rarity amongst men his size, able to steamroll through defenders in the run game while at the same time being quick enough to handle complex blitz pickups in pass protection. Picking an offensive lineman is never a sexy pick, but it could pay huge dividends for the Packers in 2018 if they snag Quenten Nelson early on.

Brandon Valtierra:

Harold Landry – DE – Boston College

If I had to pick a position of need in next year’s draft, I would go outside linebacker. Harold Landry isn’t an outside linebacker naturally so he would have to transition in to it like Nick Perry coming out of college. He doesn’t come off as naturally powerful but wins with speed and hand placement. Landry also set the Boston College single-season record with 16.5 sacks in a season. If he continues his dominance in his senior year he may be a top 10 pick in 2018.

Reid Mueller:

Lamar Jackson – QB – Louisville

Lamar Jackson’s draft stock is highly disputed. Chris Trapasso has him off the board second overall, while SI Albert Breer’s team of scouts have him as their seventh best quarterback prospect in college football. The Packer’s QB situation could go in a million routes between today and the draft. Hundley could play himself into territory where the Packers either refuse to trade him, or receive a trade package that leaves them drooling. The team could become worried about Aaron Rodgers future, he’ll be 34 this time next year. When the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers in the first round, Brett Favre was 36 years old. And it should be noted, Favre had a luckier bill of health.

I don’t think the Packers will draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2018 Draft, but chances are they’ll draft one at some point in the draft. If Jackson’s stock falls this year, similar to Hundley’s dip, there’d be no better spot for him to develop in the NFL. Imagine his physical skills matched with the Packers ability to develop quarterbacks. I’m confident the Heisman winner’s stock will rise as we close in on the draft, but something to keep an eye on as a Packer fan.

Quin Voet:

Mike McGlinchey – OT – Notre Dame

As evident throughout this entire season, the Green Bay Packers need offensive line help. With starting members being too injury prone, undrafted free-agents will not suffice anymore as evident with Aaron Rodgers getting injured and the abuse Brett Hundley will probably get for the rest of the season. The perfect man to draft to fill that huge need is Mike McGlinchey from Notre Dame. A fifth-year senior, McGlinchey is well experienced and has the accolades such as being a team captain twice, an Associated Press Second Team All-American in 2016, a Phil Steele Third Team All American in 2016, and this year being on the watchlist for the Maxwell, Outland and Lombardi award. He also has the size to back it up being 6’8” and 315 lbs. Notre Dame has produced excellent NFL linemen in recent history such as Zach Martin of the Dallas Cowboys and Ronnie Stanley of the Baltimore Ravens. Going forward, the Packers cannot have an offensive line that allows the defense to get its hands on Aaron Rodgers. Drafting an offensive lineman with the size, experience and accolades of McGlinchey would be a great start to improve that line.

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