It is that time of year again. The 2019 NFL Draft is upon us, and the Packers have several options to choose from to help bring them back to the playoffs in 2019. If we look back on their last season, Green Bay struggled quite a bit on getting to the Quarterback quickly and maintaining adequate pass defense. This year’s draft gives them various options to choose from in the edge and secondary position. After the Saints loss on Sunday, the Packers secured the 12th and 30th pick in the draft, and there will be plenty of key playmakers available when they are on the clock.
12th Pick: Brian Burns-EDGE/Florida State
Brian Burns had a phenomenal year with the Seminoles, recording 31 total tackles and 10 sacks in 2018. He is the fastest edge rusher in the nation and would be a perfect fit for the Packers. The 6’5 edge rusher is explosive off the ball and would be a lethal force to opponents in Mike Pettine’s defense. The Florida State defense was under a new defensive coordinator this past season in Harlon Barnett, one that Burns also excelled in before the departure of Charles Kelly. Burns also has outstanding technique and footwork off the ball. His quickness applies strong pressure to opponents, as we have seen before. The Packers need another playmaker who is quick and versatile. Brian Burns is the perfect guy to change the Green Bay defense in 2019.
12th Pick: Clelin Ferrell-EDGE/Clemson
The Clemson products are always interesting to watch at the pro level. Clelin Ferrell had 29 solo tackles and 11.5 sacks on the season. The Packers defense under Pettine was a variation of the 3-4 scheme, where there was more pressure from the Outside Linebackers coming down. He also ran a 4-3 front, where there was less pressure from the outside and more from the interior lineman. Ferrell would be a nice piece to add to that Green Bay defense because he has excellent hand technique that makes him suitable for just about any defensive scheme. Ferrell has 2 National Championship rings, so he can bring that winning momentum into Green Bay. This draft is very deep for edge rushers and Clelin Ferrell is one of the nation’s top prospects to watch in April.
12th Pick: Jachai Polite- EDGE/Florida
This is another guy that is quick off the ball and was one of the nation’s top edge rushers in 2018. The 6’2, 250 pound monster is a strong force that would help the Packers apply more pressure to their opponents. In 2017, Polite had 22 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble while playing just seven games before suffering a season-ending injury. In 2018, he recorded 27 tackles, 11 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles starting in all twelve games. The Packers lacked key playmakers on the defensive side. Jachai Polite would be a major addition to the Green Bay defense in hopes of reviving their season in 2019.
12th Pick: Devin White- Linebacker/LSU
There are many experts that have Devin White falling to the Packers at 12. Even though he is not a pass rusher, this pick would still make a lot of sense for the Green Bay defense. As stated earlier, Pettine likes to do various schemes with his linebackers, and Devin White is an absolute menace when it comes to obliterating opponents. He is built like a machine and could be a solid playmaker for the Packers. Clay Matthews has been disappointing to say the least, and will most likely not return to Green Bay in 2019. Devin White would be a solid addition to help bolster that defense into an explosive force. In 2018, he had 62 solo tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles as one of the nation’s top defensive players. Devin White is expected to be an early first round draft pick, and if he landed in Green Bay, he surely will not disappoint.
Trade Up: Montez Sweat- EDGE/Mississippi State
If the Packers were to select a safety with their 12th pick, which would not be the ideal move, Montez Sweat would be a great player to select with their late first round pick. You cannot go wrong with grabbing two edge rushers in the first round of this year’s draft, especially a defense as desperate as Green Bay. Montez Sweat is one of the top edge rushers in the SEC. He is another player that has great footwork and does an excellent job reading opponents from the other side. The 6’6 powerhouse could develop into a lethal player on Mike Pettine’s defense. Sweat is projected to be selected in the mid to end of the first round, and he would be the perfect guy for the Packers to snag with their second pick.
The 2019 NFL Draft is full of great talent, and the Packers sit at a perfect position to grab some key playmakers, having two picks in the first round. Even though it is only January, the draft process will soon be approaching, and that all starts with the NFL Combine in March. As the day gets closer, Gutekunst and Murphy will have some big decisions to make with their two first round selections.