Packers draft tracker: Here's a look at Green Bay’s picks in 2023

Kassidy Hill
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY − Keep up with the latest Green Bay Packers moves in the 2023 NFL draft, set for Thursday through Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri.

The first round will be held Thursday, with Rounds 2-3 taking place Friday. The final four rounds will wrap up the event Saturday.

The draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network.

Iowa defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness speaks to the media at the NFL combine.

Round 1, No. 13 overall

Lukas Van Ness, edge, Iowa

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "(Packers) need Van Ness because of Rashan Gary injury but also because this guy doesn't have a lot of holes in his game. Van Ness did not start last year, but over the past two years has 13.5 sacks. He's 6-5, 275 pounds, long arms at 34 inches, huge hands at 11 inches, 31-inch vertical, 17 on the bench. He's going to be able to play outside, but he'll also be able to be a nickel rusher in the middle where they can use P. Smith, Clark, Van Ness and Gary. I don't think he's a pass rushing force but he's got a lot of tools you like for an edge guy. Probably will be better in the run than most edges. I still would have taken Broderick Jones, but the Packers are going to need pass rush help this year with Gary coming back from an ACL."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: The Packers keep their streak of defensive players in the first round going with Lukas Van Ness. He fills an immediate need for the Packers, providing depth in a shallow unit that is going to be without Rashan Gary for the beginning of the season. Van Ness has the skill ability to play off the end of the line, and dropped back as a linebacker. They call him Hercules, due in part to his blonde mane, but helped by his physical prowess. He's still young, leaving college as a redshirt sophomore, and didn't start any games in 2022. But he still finished the season leading the Hawkeyes with 11 tackles for loss (38 total) and 6.5 sacks. He also added two blocked kicks on special teams. Observing Van Ness at the NFL combine, he has the burst that's needed in today's NFL, with the swim move that can make him lethal while learning behind the Packers veterans.

USA TODAY ANALYSIS: "Their streak of resisting a first-round receiver extends to 21 years. But for good reason. Van Ness never started for the Hawkeyes but sure was impactful – totaling 13 sacks and 19 TFLs the past two seasons. The 6-5, 272-pounder with sub-4.6 speed – whether he starts or subs – also fills a need for a defense where LB Rashan Gary is coming off a torn ACL."

Luke Musgrave goes to the Packers with the No. 42 pick.

Round 2, No. 42 overall

Luke Musgrave, tight end, Oregon State

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "(The Packers) get a guy who is 6-6, 253 pounds, 33-inch arms, 10⅜-inch hands, 4.61 40-yard dash. He missed 11 games last year with a left knee injury. He had 11 catches of 25 yards over his four seasons. Averaged 13.5 yards per catch. He's a pretty good blocker for a guy who is 253 and can run so well. He was a track guy in high school, but he missed his senior year because of injury and missed most of his senior year in college because of injury. That's a concern."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: The Packers had to find a tight end early on in this draft, and they pick up a good pass catcher in Musgrave. He played in only two games this season due to a knee injury, but he was able to participate in the NFL combine, so he should be ready to take part in offseason workouts. During his two games in the 2022 season, Musgrave started hot with 11 receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown. There had been a run on tight ends to start the second round and, given the departure of Robert Tonyan, this was a major position of need for the Packers and one they had to fill soon with an immediate impact guy.

USA TODAY ANALYSIS: "With a pick obtained in the Aaron Rodgers trade, the Pack add an athletic target for new QB Jordan Love. With 4.6 speed and a big frame (6-6, 253) Musgrave must do damage with defenses likely to be keyed on second-year WR Christian Watson."

Trades: Round 2

  • The Packers trade pick No. 45 to the Detroit Lions. They get picks No. 48 and No. 159 in return.
  • The Packers then trade pick No. 48 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They'll receive picks No. 50 and No. 179 in return.
Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed turns upfield against Indiana.

Round 2, No. 50 overall

Jayden Reed, wide receiver, Michigan State

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "So, it's a second-round receiver, where the Packers usually hit it big. He is not a big receiver. He's 5-11, but he runs a 4.45. Reed will be a slot guy for sure. He should be able to help them on punt returns as well."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: The Packers had to find more weapons for Jordan Love, due to a suddenly sparse receiving corps, and added a second pass catcher in the second round with Jayden Reed. Reed could be more of a weapon as a special teams returner. He returned two punts for a touchdown in 2021, so don't be surprised if the Packers move Keisean Nixon to only kick returner and let Reed handle punts. He's not going to be the speedster that Christian Watson is, but his shiftiness should make him a quality slot guy who can make an impact as a rookie. Brian Gutekunst's bread and butter is receivers in the second round, so his judgment here should be solid.

USA TODAY ANALYSIS: "The help for Love continues to arrive. Reed (5-11, 187) had a big year in 2021 with 59 grabs for 1,026 yards and 10 TDs, but the numbers tailed off a bit in 2022 (55-636-5). Reed's 4.45 speed should be a nice complement to Watson and Musgrave."

South Dakota State’s Tucker Kraft slides into the end zone for a touchdown in the FCS semifinal game against Montana State.

Round 3, No. 78 overall

Tucker Kraft, tight end, South Dakota State

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "Kraft is 6-5, 254 pounds. He had an offer to go to Alabama for his senior year but he decided to stay loyal to South Dakota State. He played everywhere along the line and fits what the Packers like to do with the TEs. He averaged 12.3 yards per catch and did a lot of blocking. He's known for being an aggressive blocker so he isn't just a spread tight end."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: The Packers loading up on tight ends in Day 2 isn't entirely surprising. That's a unit that suffered a major exodus this offseason and needs as much new blood as it can get to help Jordan Love. Kraft played in only nine games his final year in college due to an ankle injury, finishing with 27 receptions for 348 yards and three touchdowns. He's a step slower than ideal, but he's a bigger guy, so he can be the end-line tight end the Packers needed to replace.

USA TODAY ANALYSIS: "That's two tight ends and one receiver Friday night for the Pack. Kraft could be the one to inherit the blocking role from unsigned Marcedes Lewis."

Auburn defensive lineman Colby Wooden runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine.

Round 4, No. 116 overall

Colby Wooden, defensive lineman, Auburn

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "He's 6-4, 273 pounds. Had 11 sacks over the past two seasons and led the team in forced fumbles last year. Another guy with really long arms, 33 3/4-inch arms. He could wind up playing the edge for the Packers. He's really quick and probably can play numerous positions. It will be interesting to see where they play him. He had 30 tackles for loss during his three seasons. Good speed for a 273-pounder at 4.79. 23 on the bench."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: Wooden's size makes him an interesting prospect on the defensive line. He's played inside, but at a lithe 273 pounds, he could also live on the end. His highlight tape shows a capable 3-tech as well, so the possibilities are everywhere for Wooden. It's going to be a matter of finding the best fit for him along a Packers defensive line that lost some veterans but has held lots of promise in recent years, anchored by Kenny Clark and supplemented by young guys like TJ Slaton and Devonte Wyatt. Wooden had three forced fumbles and three pass breakups in his final year at Auburn, so expect him to be a ball-hawk as well.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford waves to the crowd after beating Michigan State.

Round 5, No. 149 overall

Sean Clifford, quarterback, Penn State

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "He's 6-2, 218 pounds. Threw for 24 TDs and 7 INTs last season. Completed 64.4% of his passes for 2,822 yards. Ran the 40 in 4.59 seconds, vertical of 30 1/2. He's a move-type guy who ran a lot of RPOs."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: Brian Gutekunst told reporters earlier in the week that he wanted to add a third quarterback and grabbed the Penn State product in the fifth round. This one will be interesting to watch develop, because his draft projection was much lower than where the Packers selected him. What did they see that others didn't? Clifford was a four-year starter at Penn State at least, so he has ample experience he's bringing with him. Honestly, it could be a battle between he and Danny Etling for the backup spot.

Virginia wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks (3) celebrates a touchdown against North Carolina.

Round 5, No. 159 overall

Dontayvion Wicks, wide receiver, Virginia

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "Another guy they brought in for a visit. Wicks is 6-1, 206, ran a 4.62 at the combine but had a 39-inch vertical. Had had a lot of drops, 15 in three years. His 2021 season was outstanding. He caught 57 passes for 1,203 yards and nine touchdowns. But the offense changed his senior year and he struggled. He has a basketball background and had 27 plays of 20 or more yards."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: Wicks was a standout his junior year. He was first team All-ACC and averaged 21.1 yards per catch, while breaking former NFL receiver Herman Moore's single-season school record with 1,203 receiving yards (57 receptions, nine scores in 12 games, 11 starts). But a new coaching staff arrived for Wicks' senior year, and animosity between the staff and veteran players led to a downtick in the entire offense, including Wicks' production. Drops were also an issue, and seemed to snowball as his season went on in 2022. The Packers took the same risk with Christian Watson, though, and were able to correct the problem fairly quickly.

Bowling Green defensive lineman Karl Brooks rushes Akron quarterback Kato Nelson.

Round 6, No. 179 overall

Karl Brooks, defensive tackle, Bowling Green

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "An interesting guy. He had 17.5 sacks over the last two seasons and 46 tackles for loss overall during his five seasons there. He's 6-3, 296 pounds. Has short arms (31.5) and will probably have to play inside as a three-technique. The Packers are definitely building depth on their defensive line and doing it with guys who can rush the passer. Brooks lined up outside at times for Bowling Green, but I don't think he'll be able to do that in Green Bay much. He is another in a line of players the Packers have drafted who were in on top 30 visits."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: The name of the game is speed and the Packers are loading up on front-seven players who can play in this new tempo of the NFL. Brooks has nimble speed for his size and lived in the backfield his final season at Bowling Green. He also has flashed good awareness, with four pass-breakups and two forced fumbles in 2022. The knock will be the competition he played with and against, but Brooks has shown himself capable of producing. This could turn out to be a really good value pick for the Packers, who are changing the look of their front-seven.

Auburn kicker Anders Carlson celebrates after a victory over Missouri.

Round 6, No. 207 overall

Anders Carlson, kicker, Auburn

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "Carlson was basically the third-best kicker in the draft by many people's estimation. He's the brother of Daniel Carlson, who kicked for the Vikings and Raiders. I was told Bisaccia worked him out and really liked him. Bisaccia had his brother when he was at the Raiders, so he got to know Anders. Carlson made 71.8% of his field goals at Auburn. He was just 5 of 17 from 50-plus yards and 25 of 39 from 40-49. He averaged 61.4 yards on kickoffs and had a 58.3% touchback rate. He came back from an ACL tear in '22, so it's presumed he'll be better with an offseason in which he isn't rehabbing."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: That should be all she wrote for Mason Crosby. The first kicker the Packers have drafted since Crosby will signal the end of his long career. Carlson is the younger brother of Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson and hasn't fully lived up to his brother's shadow, struggling to find a groove at Auburn, but coming up huge in big moments. He went 12 of 17 on field-goal attempts (70.6%) and made all 22 extra-point tries in 2022. He was coming off an ACL tear, suffered in 2021, so there is some leeway given there. During his five years at Auburn, Carlson was the team's primary kickoff specialist, kicking 183 touchbacks on 314 attempts (58.3%). It'll be a whole new world for him, learning to kick in Lambeau Field.

Kentucky defensive back Carrington Valentine intercepts a pass against Youngstown State.

Round 7, No. 232 overall

Carrington Valentine, cornerback, Kentucky

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "He's 5-11 1/2, 193 pounds, 32 1/4 inch arms. Ran the 40 in 4.44 seconds at his pro day. Had 11 pass breakups last year but only one interception in 35 games. This is definitely a pick based on athleticism. He doesn't have a lot of stats and played a lot of zone coverage. But he's got long arms and can run, so there's that."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: The Packers should be set with starters at corner, but given the uncertainty surrounding Eric Stokes' injury and subsequent recovery time, it makes sense to add some depth at the position. Valentine led the Wildcats in pass-breakups in 2022 with 10 overall, along with 48 tackles, 1.5 for loss and one interception. He came out early, and arguably a year too soon, so there is still some development needed. But he's a good sticky corner who has ideal corner traits. A good possibility for special teams and/or the practice squad with a game day elevation when needed as a rookie, with growth to come.

Central Michigan running back Lew Nichols III catches a pass against Oklahoma State.

Round 7, No. 235 overall

Lew Nichols III, running back, Central Michigan

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "Rushed for 1,848 yards as a junior, averaging 5.4 yards per carry and scoring 16 touchdowns. Missed a lot of time his senior year because of a toe injury and gained just 616 yards on 176 carries (3.5 average). He did not run at his pro day because of a hamstring injury but did post a 37-inch vertical. He's 5-10, 220 pounds, so not a small back at all."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: Nichols is coming out of the MAC, so there's a grain of salt that must be taken here, but as a redshirt freshman, he led the entire FBS in yards per game, averaging 142.15 on the ground. He's a bigger, power back, which should (and has) served him well in the cold. But he doesn't necessarily have AJ Dillion's top speed. Regardless, solid backup in a position that is fine at the top.

Iowa State safety Anthony Johnson Jr. drills at the Cyclones' pro day.

Round 7, No. 242 overall

Anthony Johnson Jr., safety, Iowa State

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "He was second-team all-Big 12 and lead the team with two interceptions. He started every game his final four seasons and had 243 tackles, 14 for loss, three sacks, five forced fumbles, 30 passes broken up and two INTs. He played cornerback his first four seasons and then moved to a safety-nickel position, so it will be interesting to see if the Packers consider him a nickel or a safety.

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: The Packers desperately need more in the safety unit ... but this isn't a deep safety class. The Packers are trying to replace vested starters, and except maybe one or two guys at the top of the draft, those prospects weren't available this year. For that matter, when those two picks were still available, the Packers had other more pressing needs. That being said, finding some depth for the unit was still crucial, and the Packers get it in Anthony Johnson Jr.

Charlotte wide receiver Grant DuBose catches a pass from quarterback Chris Reynolds.

Round 7, No. 256 overall

Grant Dubose, wide receiver, Charlotte

QUICK TAKE FROM TOM SILVERSTEIN: "He's 6-2 1/2, 201 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.57 and has a 35-inch vertical. Did not play football in 2020, but caught 62 passes for 892 yards and six TDs in '21 and 64 passes for 792 yards and nine touchdowns last year. Also returned punts last year, averaging 8.4 yards."

PACKERSNEWS ANALYSIS: After missing football for a year when his program shut down due to COVID-19, Dubose transferred to Charlotte and immediately became a force. He led the team in receptions in both 2021 and 2022, as well as a team-high nine touchdowns in his final season. The Packers started the draft with a thin receiving corps. They made a concerted effort to surround Jordan Love with as many weapons as possible, and topped it off with Dubose. He might not work his way into the starting rotation, but Samori Toure showed in 2022 that having as much depth as possible is always a good thing.

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