With the NFL Draft happening at the end of next month, I’ll begin a series of mock drafts focused on the Green Bay Packers.
Even after being very active at the beginning of the free agency period, the Green Bay Packers still have needs. With 10 picks in this years draft – including four picks in the top 75 – the Green Bay Packers have no excuses for not being able to acquire two or three players who should be able to contribute immediately.
I used Matt Miller’s big board from Bleacher Report of overall player rankings, as well as a mock draft generator, with available players coming off the board via automatic algorithm. I then picked from the pool of remaining players and took who I would take. This is the format I’ll use for all upcoming mocks.
Without further adieu, here is my Packer mock draft: 1.0.
ROUND 1, PICK 12
- T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Hockenson is the most complete tight end in the draft, and I believe will be as good as – if not better than – San Francisco’s George Kittle. He provides Aaron Rodgers with a sure-handed weapon in the passing game, as well as a stout blocker in pass protection. Head coach Matt LaFleur has made it clear he wants to run more two tight end sets and run the ball more, so Hockenson makes perfect sense here.
ROUND 1, PICK 30
- A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
Green Bay hasn’t selected an offensive skill player in the first round since taking Rodgers in 2005, but I have them taking two in this mock. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein describes Brown as a “slot bully” and an excellent route-runner, exactly what Green Bay needs. Brown could step into the slot role immediately and provide Rodgers with a sure-handed beastly safety blanket underneath, forcing defenses to shift focus away from Davante Adams. Brown would thrive in Green Bay.
ROUND 2, PICK 44
- Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
Even though Green Bay signed safety Adrian Amos in free agency, the position still needs help. Abram was a stud for the Bulldogs, leading the team with 99 tackles and also contributing three sacks and two interceptions. Abram plays like an extra linebacker on the field and has the speed to play sideline-to-sideline. Based upon scouting reports, to me Abram sounds like a lesser-known version of Chargers all-pro safety Derwin James.
ROUND 3, PICK 75
- Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
A running back in the third round may seem like a reach, but Aaron Jones has had multiple injuries in his career. Jamaal Williams is an above-average back-up to Jones, but if Jones were to go down, it’s Williams and that’s pretty much it. Henderson might be the best kept secret in the draft and would provide Green Bay a shiny new toy at running back. At 5’8″, 208 lbs, he looks like a combo of Tarik Cohen (elusiveness) and Kareem Hunt (receiving ability) on tape. He had 2204 yards on 223 touches (9.5 avg) for 25 TD in 2018 – explosive. Put him in the stable with Jones and Williams, and the Green Bay Packers are scary at RB.
ROUND 4, PICK 114
- Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland
Another safety? Well, the position needs help. Like Abram, Savage is a hybrid-type safety and can be used in multiple roles. Savage excels in the ‘ball-skills’ department, as scouting reports highlight his ‘sticky coverage skills’ and ‘ability to close on throws from all areas of the field.’ Play-makers and speed on defense are what the Packers need, and Savage fits the bill.
ROUND 4, PICK 118
- Michael Deiter, OL, Wisconsin
After signing OL Billy Turner in free agency, the Packers have the luxury of waiting until the middle rounds to beef up the o-line. Enter Deiter. Deiter primarily played guard at run-heavy Wisconsin, where they always have success running the ball. He projects on the interior in the NFL, but started 14 games at left tackle in 2017 for Wisconsin, meaning he could be a successor to Bryan Bulaga on the right side in 2020. He could likely start if needed, but will have the luxury of slowly learning the nuances of the NFL as a back-up.
ROUND 5, PICK 150
- Dru Samia, OL, Oklahoma
Samia played on a very talented offensive line at Oklahoma and was named second-team All-American for his play in 2018. Samia didn’t allow a sack in 14 starts at guard in 2018, and only allowed five sacks on 1,675 pass-blocking snaps across a four-year career. Wow. Protecting Aaron Rodgers is a priority, and Samia has proven he can pass block. Samia could be a steal in the fifth round and prides himself on his self-proclaimed nastiness on the field.
ROUND 6, PICK 185
- Renell Wren, DL, Arizona State
Wren is raw, just becoming a full-time starter in his senior year in 2018. He has phenomenal size (6’5″, 318 lb) and athleticism for a defensive end. He showed that to scouts at the Combine (5.01 forty, 30 bench reps, 32″ vert). Wren doesn’t have eye-popping college stats, but would add an intriguing piece to an already talented defensive line. Mike Daniels is entering his free agency year, so depth is necessary in case he leaves after this season.
ROUND 6, PICK 194
- Daylon Mack, DL, Texas A&M
Mack is a very big kid (6’1″, 336 lb) and would add another vital depth piece to the defensive line. Mack is similar in size and athleticism to B.J. Raji, who the Packers have struggled to replace since his abrupt retirement in March of 2016. Mack would give the Packers a legit run stuffer in the middle, as well as someone who occasionally gets to the QB (5.5 sacks in 2018).
ROUND 7, PICK 226
- Trey Pipkins, OL, Sioux Falls
Pipkins finished third in the voting for the Gene Upshaw Award in 2018, given to the nation’s top D2 lineman. He was also named first-team D2 All-American by the Associated Press in 2018. Pipkins is a developmental tackle prospect, but has proven success against lesser competition. I’m intrigued by his size and length (6’6″, 309 lbs, 34″ arms). Definitely worth a shot in the later rounds.
To recap, LaFleur has made it clear he wants to run the ball more and win in the trenches. In my first mock, the Green Bay Packers take five lineman on either side of the ball. This team needs a newfound aggressiveness in the trenches if they want to have any success running the ball like LaFleur wants. Let’s hope they hit on draft picks from top to bottom in every facet of the team.
Mock draft 2.0 coming soon!