The Packers had a huge need at cornerback going into the offseason. And then the Damarious Randall trade happened. Now, Green Bay is even weaker at corner after dealing the top player at the position.
Joshua Jackson improved on his 4.56 40 from the combine, running a 4.42 recently. Pro Day Results are available via the link.
Pick change; previously Denzel Ward, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 13
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
The Packers will have to find a new receiver to replace Aaron Rodgers' long-time weapon, Jordy Nelson, who signed with the Raiders this offseason. James Washington would be a logical option in Round 2.
Pick change; previously Justin Reid, S
Rd. 3, Pk. 12
Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
It shouldn't surprise anyone if the Packers use multiple selections on cornerbacks in the first few rounds, given the dire situation of their secondary.
Pick change; previously Lorenzo Carter, DE/OLB
Rd. 4, Pk. 1
Rasheem Green, DE/DT/3-4DE, USC
Muhammad Wilkerson was signed to a 1-year deal. Here's a long-term solution at the position.
I liked Walt's pick in his trades mock of Jabrill Peppers. It makes tons of sense for Green Bay to get Peppers, but I'm not sure they would in light of his diluted-drug-test issue from the combine. I've heard that Green Bay loves Mixon and has done a ton of research into him in the leadup to the draft. The Packers could use a feature back and have the strong locker room, along with a small-town environment, to keep Mixon focused.
Mixon is an electric runner with excellent speed and the ability to rip off a long run on any carry. He became Oklahoma's featured runner as a redshirt sophomore with an average of seven yards per carry (168 carries) for 1,183 yards with eight touchdowns while sharing carries with Samaje Perine. Mixon also was a receiving weapon with 32 receptions for 449 yards with five touchdowns.
Sources have said that they think Mixon is a serious talent with three-down starting potential in the NFL. Some teams, however, already have ruled him out because of the incident from 2014 in which he punched a woman after she declined Mixon's advances. After video of the incident was released two years later, Mixon issued a tearful apology. Some teams have already removed him from their draft boards because of the character concerns.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
The Packers could use a cornerback upgrade, and I think they love Conley. The question will be if Green Bay is okay with the late-breaking off-the-field issues.
On Tuesday, news came out that Conley was the subject of a rape allegation. Two teams told me they thought it was bogus. Hopefully, they are correct for the sake of all involved. Another team said they thought it probably wasn't true, but they were very disappointed in Conley's lack of judgement and awareness to put himself in this situation. Regardless, the controversy could be damaging enough to cause Conley to slide in the 2017 NFL Draft, like La'el Collins or Laremy Tunsil in the past two years.
Conley recorded 26 tackles with eight passes broken up and four interceptions in 2016. He played well, and teams think he is a well-rounded player. The 6-foot, 195-pounder has enough size to start on the outside at the next level. In the NFL, Conley could fit in schemes that run zone, off man, and press man. He is a polished player who should be able to contribute quickly.
After some early issues, Conley had a solid 2015 season for the Buckeyes and improved as the year progressed. He totaled 49 tackles with two interceptions and five passes broken up that year. Conley has a good skill set, and he looks like a safe pick to develop into a quality starter.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Ryan Anderson, OLB/3-4OLB, Alabama
The Packers could use more edge-rushing talent.
Anderson (6-2, 258) was a clutch performer for Alabama in 2016. He supplied a lot of pass rush off the edge and also did well at setting the edge in run defense. Anderson totaled 61 tackles with 18 for a loss, nine sacks, three passes broken up, one interception and four forced fumbles on the season. In 2015, he put together a strong finish to the season, recording 37 tackles with 11.5 for a loss, six sacks and two forced fumbles on the year.
Anderson has versatile size and upside to develop. He would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jaleel Johnson, DT/3-4DE/NT, Iowa
The Packers grab a some defensive line depth and competition.
The 6-foot-2, 309-pound Johnson has the skill set to be a difference-maker at the point of attack. He is strong enough to shed blocks, yet has the speed to close on the quarterback. Johnson needs to get more consistent and increase the tempo of his motor, but he racked up 7.5 sacks in 2016. He also had 55 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and two passes broken up. In a number of ways, Johnson is a similar prospect to former teammate Carl Davis, who had first-round potential but slid to the third round in large part because of inconsistent effort.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Tyrone Swoopes, TE, Texas
The Packers added a tight end weapon in Martellus Bennett, but they could consider a developmental backup.
The Packers secondary has not been the best since they lost all their key players. They have however done their best rebuilding it since drafting Kevin King and Josh Jones last year, I think adding Joshua Jackson would be a big addition, especially with a pick this high in a long time, they should make the best out of it and select the thing they need most, which is a CB. If it's Joshua Jackson or Denzel Ward who is still available, they should not hesitate to select him.
Other Selections: Mike Hughes, Harold Landry, Dallas Goedert
Sources tell me the Packers could target linebacker or wide receiver help in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. If there isn't a good option available at one of those positions, they would think of going with the best player available. Even though Green Bay has used a lot of draft picks on cornerbacks, the position remains a need, and they're getting a good value with perhaps the top corner in the 2018 NFL Draft outside of the top-10 picks. Ted Thompson targeted a lot of big corners, but what the Packers need now is a cover corner who can prevent separation. <br> <br>
Some team sources are very high on Ward (5-10, 183) and think he is one of the best defensive prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. The one concern shared across the league is Ward's height as he checked in just below 5-foot-11 at the combine. For the NFL, Ward has good speed, athleticism, ball skills, and quick feet to run the route to prevent separation. He times his reaches well and shows nice instincts to play the eyes and hands of receivers. To go along with his cover skills, Ward is generally a disciplined player and is not a gambler. Ward looks like a future starter and could have No. 1-corner potential in the NFL if he can overcome his size limitations. <br> <br>
Ward recorded 37 tackles with 15 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2017. While primarily a backup in 2016, Ward totaled 23 tackles with nice passes broken up.
Sources tell me the Packers could target linebacker or wide receiver help in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Green Bay has to improve its edge rush and run defense. Davenport could help address both issues. <br> <br>
Davenport (6-5, 259) possesses an excellent skill set with speed and agility. He has length and athleticism to play on the edge in the NFL, but needs to learn more pass-rushing moves. In 2017, Davenport notched 55 tackles with 17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, four passes batted and three forced fumbles. He totaled 6.5 sacks as a junior after notching four as a sophomore. <br> <br>
Edge defenders with length, quickness, and athleticism are always in demand, so Davenport could go in the first round in a weak year at defensive end. Scouts from multiple teams have told me that Davenport is a good player and impressed them in 2017, but they thought the top 16 is too high for him. They think the back half of Round 1 is possible.
James is a versatile talent with exceptional size, speed and physicality. He lined up all over the field for the Seminoles. He took snaps at both safety spots, nickel cornerback, sub-package linebacker and was asked to rush from the outside linebacker position on occasion during his collegiate career. In my opinion, he's more valuable when he plays closer to the line of scrimmage. He excels covering backs and tight ends and is a dynamic blitzer. When he lines up as the deep safety, he lacks ideal anticipation and needs to improve his angles to the alley in run support. He doesn't have a ton of ball production, but that will improve once he settles into a more defined role. When he's aligned in the box, he is quick to key/read against the run; he explodes to and through ball carriers. His lateral range is outstanding and he makes a lot of plays from the back side. To see his game speed, watch him run down Lamar Jackson in the Louisville contest. Overall, I see James as a box safety or weak-side linebacker at the next level.
The Packers could use more edge-rushing talent. <br> <br>
In 2017, Landry totaled 38 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two passes broken up. The senior was manhandled by Notre Dame, struggling against a freshman right tackle and, on a few snaps, against left tackle Mike McGlinchey. Landry was moderately better, but still underwhelming, against Clemson. He missed the final five games of 2017 with an ankle injury. The 6-foot-2, 252-pound Landry had an impressive junior season as an edge rusher for Boston College, recording 16.5 sacks, 22 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, four passes batted and 51 tackles. He contributed as a sophomore with 60 stops and 4.5 sacks. Landry would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.