Packers Morning Buzz: How Christian Kirksey could be upgrade over Blake Martinez
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 NFL.com's Grant Gordon sizing up how the NFC North looks a week ahead of the draft and proclaiming the Packers as solid favorites to repeat as division champs, particularly after some questionable moves by their rivals. One Packers move he particularly likes is the signing of Christian Kirksey to replace Blake Martinez.
SLEEPER ADDITION: Christian Kirksey, linebacker
Old Team: Cleveland Browns New Team: Green Bay Packers
Released by Cleveland following back-to-back injury-riddled campaigns, Kirksey will now be tasked with filling the void left by Blake Martinez, who took his three consecutive 140-plus-tackle seasons with him to the New York Giants in free agency. The NFL is a fickle beast whether you're putting up big numbers or injured on the sideline, all the same. The switch from Martinez to Kirksey saved the Packers money (Kirksey signed with Green Bay for two years and $16 million, while Martinez's deal with the Giants was for three years and $30 million) and if -- granted it's a big if -- Kirksey can stay healthy, they now have a talent who had 148- and 138-tackle seasons in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Despite his lofty numbers, Martinez drew just a 58.7 grade from Pro Football Focus last season. A healthy Kirksey might not just fill in for Martinez, but could potentially surpass him in performance, too.
You can read Gordon's entire NFC North analysis here.
Kirksey and Packers receiver Davante Adams are dealing with being new dads and working out under social-distancing guidelines:
We're less than a week away from the draft, and USA TODAY Sports' Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz foresees the Packers going the wide receiver route with their No. 30 pick in the first round:
30. Packers — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: A field-stretcher extraordinaire, Aiyuk would bring an explosive element to a Green Bay offense that at times has gotten stuck in neutral.
Check out the entire mock draft here:
Boise State's Ezra Cleveland has the potential to be a suitable replacement for Bryan Bulaga:
A film breakdown of former LSU receiver and potential Packers draft pick Justin Jefferson:
For Davante Adams, the best likely is still to come:
Joe Kipp of the Packers Wire looks at whether the Packers might try to trade for Texans receiver Kenny Stills:
No mention of Aaron Jones in this story, even though the Packers running back is set to hit free agency after next season:
And no Packers make former NFL agent Joel Corry's list of young stars who could set new financial benchmarks:
Sure doesn't sound like Odell Beckham Jr. will be joining the Vikings:
What are the chances of this year's "virtual draft" going off without a hitch?
Look for a tentative 2020 NFL schedule to still be released May 8 or 9:
And finally: High praise from one great passer about another:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt