Packers Morning Buzz: Draft day brings final pick predictions
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with Draft Day finally arriving! Pete Dougherty talks to his NFL sources about which players could end up in Green Bay with the No. 12 and No. 30 picks in the first round.
Says Pete of Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst:
He very well could be choosing from among a top inside linebacker prospect (Michigan’s Devin Bush), a highly regarded outside pass rusher whose stock might be slipping because of health (enlarged heart/arrhythmia) and character concerns (Mississippi State's Montez Sweat), and at least one of the top three tackle prospects (Florida's Jawaan Taylor, Alabama's Jonah Williams and Washington State's Andre Dillard).
“That would be a good problem to have,” said a high-ranking scout for an NFC team that picks in the bottom half of the first round.
Gutekunst has plenty of needs, so he’s in position to take whichever player he likes best. The guess here is he ends up with Bush, who could be the explosive (4.43-second 40) three-down coverage linebacker the Packers’ defense has been missing since, well, forever.
You can read Pete's entire column here:
The Packers are positioned to come away with three impact players, writes Tom Silverstein in his ranking of the top 44 draft prospects:
Be sure to listen to this pocast analysis of the Packers' draft-day decisions from Silverstein and Jim Owczarski:
Final mock drafts are everywhere, so one must be selective and take all with a huge grain of salt. This one, from Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, has the Packers going big for defense if they don't trade down from No. 30:
12. Packers: Florida State DE Brian Burns. The team needs to add more playmakers on defense, and Burns is one of the best in the draft.
30. Packers: Clemson DT Christian Wilkins. The Packers are in a prime spot to move back, and some teams I speak to think they will. Assuming they don't, Wilkins, whose work ethic has impressed as much as his leadership in the Tigers locker room, could well be the call.
Freeman's entire mock draft is here:
Zach Kruse of the Packers Wire has Green Bay trading down four spots with Carolina and still getting T.J. Hockenson. Here's how he envisions the first two rounds:
1.16 (trade with CAR): TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Content with the look of the board after 11 picks, the Packers decide to trade down with the Panthers, sending 1.12 and 3.75 to Carolina for 1.16 and 2.47. While the Panthers aggressively move up to get one of the top offensive tackles, the Packers sit back and watch Hockenson fall into their laps at 16, thanks largely to the league’s reluctance to take a tight end in the first half of the first round. It’s a dream scenario; the Packers get a blue-chip talent and a perfect fit in Matt LaFleur’s offense while also moving up 28 slots on Day 2. Major win-win.
1.30: OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State
The Packers need to secure the future at right tackle behind Bryan Bulaga. Hello, Dalton Risner. Although not an elite prospect in terms of size or athleticism, Risner dominated the college level as a run and pass blocker and profiles as one of the safest bets in the class. He’s also a certified ass-kicker, and the Packers will need an ass-kicker at right tackle once Bulaga departs. Easy pick.
2.40 (trade with BUF): WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
The beauty of moving down in the first round to get a better pick in the second round is potentially having the opportunity to target a specific player in the sweet spot of this draft class. In this scenario, the Packers send a fourth-round pick (4.114) to the Bills to move up seven spots from No. 47 (acquired from Carolina above) to No. 40 and take Harry, a receiver they’ve liked throughout the draft process. He wins in so many different ways as a pass-catcher, whether it’s on contested catches, battling for yards after the catch or shaking loose from the slot. Think Dez Bryant. Now picture a 21-year-old version of Dez Bryant playing with Aaron Rodgers.
2.44: S Darnell Savage, Maryland
Savage lacks in size and experience playing as a single-high safety, but he checks every other box, and his athletic profile suggests a legitimate future as a true free safety, especially if he’s playing next to a veteran like Adrian Amos. Savage is a twitched-up athlete with the ball skills and man-to-man instincts you’d expect from a former corner, but also the toughness and appetite for hitting of an in-the-box linebacker. Plug him next to Amos and the Packers have their safety duo locked down for the next four years.
Kruse's entire seven-round mock can be seen here:
Pro Football Talk unveils its first and only mock draft of 2019 and has the Packers going offensive line and cornerback in the opening round:
12. Packers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama.
Given Khalil Mack and other great defensive linemen in the division, Aaron Rodgers needs all the help he can get as he enters the twilight years of his NFL career.
30. Packers (from Saints): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington.
The defense gets a building block as the Packers try to build back toward contention.
You can check out the entire mock draft here:
Michael Rosenberg of The MMQB writes about the fascinating life journey of 1981 Packers quarterback/draft bust Rich Campbell:
Tuesday marked the 30th anniversary of a legendary Packers draft bust:
The Packers are learning that picking up Matt LaFleur's new offense will be "a process":
The Packers conducted their final practice of their voluntary minicamp Wednesday, and photographer Adam Wesley was there:
Our draft position preview series concludes with a look at specialists:
Rest assured, the Packers won't be spending a high draft pick on a quarterback, writes Rob Demovsky in ESPN's analysis of each team's biggest needs:
The Packers won't take a quarterback with any of their first three picks. That means no Drew Lock, the Missouri star they had in for a pre-draft visit. Not at No. 12, not at No. 30 and not even at No. 44, if he were somehow to slip that far. Any quarterback taken in 2019 would probably hit free agency before Aaron Rodgers is done, so it's not the time to select his heir apparent. The Lock visit was subterfuge, to borrow a word from GM Brian Gutekunst.
You can read about each team's primary draft needs here:
And finally: Yes, the folks at Pro Football Focus keep track of these kinds of things:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt