The Packers season didn’t go as planned with an injury to Aaron Rodgers early in the year and now that the NFL offseason is officially started since the Eagles have won their very first Lombardi Trophy, let’s look at 5 players that can help us get our 5th Lombardi and 14th championship.
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
If you saw the Wisconsin vs Iowa football game this year, then you saw Josh Jackson. He single-handedly kept the Iowa Hawkeyes in the game with two interceptions, one of them being a pick-6. Why I want him in green and gold? First, he’s a six-foot one ballhawk that tied the Hawkeyes single-season record with eight interceptions while also leading the FBS. Second, I’m very confident in any defensive player that comes from Iowa, they never seem to be busts and they are well coached, just look at Mike Daniels and Micah Hyde. If the Packers were to pull the trigger on him in the first, it would make for three former number one picks starting at corner on our new Mike Pettine defense. Also allowing Damarious Randall to stay in the slot, where he performs much better.
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Yes, another cornerback but hear me out. Ward is considered by many experts as the best corner in this draft class and have said that he has the highest ceiling. Ohio State had two corners drafted last year, with one of them considered the best rookie defender this year in Marshon Lattimore. Ward compares to them in talent and even his position coach at Ohio State, Kerry Coombs, is confident in him saying “I’m telling you [Ward is] as good as the other two”. Really, it’s a bit early to say which of the two corners will be available come April. That depends on the needs of the other teams drafting and how Josh Jackson and Denzel Ward perform at the combine.
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Georgia
I know Linebacker isn’t the biggest need but how often are there linebackers with elite size, speed and explosiveness available for the Packers to draft. Edmunds wasn’t even expected to enter the draft this year but as soon as he declared he had evaluators salivating at his ceiling and what he could mean for a defense. What could he mean for our defense? He would instantly be our most athletic linebacker and tallest. Even though the Packers have Blake Martinez, who is a young linebacker on the rise, his counterpart is Jake Ryan. No nock on Ryan but he seems to have already reached his ceiling and was graded as Bleacher Reports 46th overall linebacker to Blake’s 22nd. Edmunds has even been compared to Bears legend and eventual hall of famer, Brian Urlacher.
Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Now to what I think is our biggest need going into the 2018 NFL Draft, pass rusher. Marcus Davenport is a bit raw and didn’t play against the best competition in the conference USA, but he is very athletic, and it is not often a player with his size, weight and explosiveness comes along. Also, I think it puts the Packers in a situation to keep Matthews and let him develop, or having Matthews occasionally move to inside linebacker where he is very good and have Perry and Davenport rushing. Davenport had a mediocre week of practice at the Senior Bowl but come game time had a sack and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. Enough to just maybe push himself out of our reach at 14.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Packers are entering an interesting off season, having just resigned Devante Adams to a 4 year 58.75-million-dollar extension, that was by all means deserved. Unfortunately, that now puts the Packers in an interesting situation, because they now have three receivers with a combined cap hit in 2018 of 35,775,000 million. The Packers could very well restructure or release Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson to remedy this problem. If they choose the latter, then receiver enters the discussion for the Packers top team needs. Calvin Ridley makes the most sense to me here, being that he is a receiver that breaks the mold of usual Packers receiver. Currently the Packers rank 31st in the NFL in average reciever 40 time, which has been a known problem since 2015, when the Packers offense was stagnant for the year when corners didn’t have to worry about getting beat deep. Calvin Ridley not only has game breaking speed but elite route running and stop and go capability. Look for Ridley to be a very tempting option at 14 if available for rookie GM Gutekunst come April.