Green Bay Packers Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

The Packers had the worst draft in the NFL in my opinion, so I don’t see any of their 2020 picks having boom-pick or solid-starter potential. I think first-rounder Jordan Love and second-rounder A.J. Dillon will be busts. I believe third-round pick Josiah Deguara is just a backup quality tight end prospect. None of Green Bays’s picks from the third day of the 2020 NFL Draft look like future starters to me, and the odds of that happening are very small for third-day selections across the league. Thus, I don’t see a player to project as a solid starter for Green Bay.

2019: Rashan Gary, DE
2018: Josh Jackson, CB
2017: Montravius Adams, DT
2016: Kenny Clark, DT
2015: Damarious Randall, DB
2014: HaHa Clinton-Dix, S
2013: Datone Jones, DE

Most Likely To Bust

A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College – Round 2
Of Green Bay’s picks, I think Jordan Love and A.J. Dillon are most likely to be busts. Between those two, I think Dillon’s bust potential is higher because of his skill set translating to the next level.

Even though Dillon is a big back, he is not the overpowering bruiser one would expect for such a large back. He does not run hard or angry like other power backs such as Marion Barber or Brandon Jacobs. Dillon is taller and thicker, so he runs too high at times. If he can improve his knee bend, that would make him tougher to tackle by sinking his pads lower to charge through defenders. With his big frame, Dillon is not an elusive runner to juke defenders with moves in the open field. He is more of a one-cut downhill straight-line runner.

Dillon can do more in the passing game than was seen at Boston College, but he is not a real weapon in the passing game for the NFL. He could contribute on check downs and running down hill after making the catch. But for the next level, he is not a receiving back.

On top of these limitations, I think Dillon will have a hard time taking carries away from veteran Aaron Jones. Jones is entering a big year for his career and earning a lucrative contract, so I think Jones will force his way into a big pay day from Green Bay. That could lead to Dillon being a backup and never providing the starting value that a team expects out of a second-round pick.

2019: Jace Sternberger, TE
2018: J’Mon Moore, WR
2017: Jamaal Williams, RB
2016: Kyler Fackrell, LB
2015: Ty Montgomery, WR
2014: Khyri Thornton, DL
2013: David Bakhtiari, OT

Potential Boom Pick

The Packers had the worst draft in the NFL in my opinion, so I don’t see any of their 2020 picks having boom-pick potential. There wasn’t another team even close to as bad as Green Bay. The Packers’ selection of Jordan Love was a terrible first-round pick in so many ways that its a list that goes on on.

For starters, Green Bay is in win-now mode with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers still playing at an extremely high level. Last year, the Packers made it to the NFC Championship Game, and they are one of the top favorites in the NFC. While competitors like the Saints, Buccaneers and Falcons used their picks to improve their roster around their aging quarterbacks, the Packers used their premium pick to replace their Hall of Fame signal-caller. To make matters even worse, general manager Brian Gutekunst traded up over teams that weren’t going to take a quarterback, so he wasted additional resources unnecessarily. There are many flaws to the selection of Love aside from the fact that he was a reach. Many teams had him graded as a mid-rounder. They question his field vision, intelligence, and ability to avoid interceptions. As a player, he is very far from a slam dunk.

Rodgers, 36, has stated that he is not close to retirement and is interested in playing into his 40s. That gives Green Bay roughly a 5-year window to get another Lombardi Trophy before Rodgers is done. The franchise’s first-round pick could have upgraded the weak receiving corps, improved the run defense with an inside linebacker, or beefed up the blocking with offensive line help. Instead, Green Bay’s first-round pick is going to sit on the bench for the 2020 season if everything goes to plan. Thus, for the short term this was a bad pick.

Unless Love becomes a Hall of Fame candidate quarterback, it was a bad long-term pick as well. With Love waiting in the wings, Rodgers is forced into winding down his time in Green Bay. He will be on the team for one or two more seasons, maybe three seasons max, before the Packers move on and turn to Love as their starting quarterback. Thus, Green Bay will be cutting short its championship window with Rodgers, so if Love is any kind of a downgrade as a player, this was a horrible move.

The current situation in Green Bay also denies the franchise the major financial advantage of a young quarterback. Five-year rookie contracts are extremely cheap thanks to the rookie wage scale. Teams that have their starting quarterback on their rookie contract have been able to use those massive savings to go on huge spending sprees in free agency. The Seahawks did it in the early years with Russell Wilson. The Eagles did the same thing with Carson Wentz, and the Chiefs have done that with Pat Mathomes. Those young franchise quarterbacks, combined with wise spending in free agency, led to a Super Bowl championship for all three of those franchises. The Packers will have no such luxury with Aaron Rodgers costing them close to $60 million over the next two seasons before they have a potential out in his contract. Thus, they are blowing the rookie wage advantage by having one foot in a rebuilding process with a young quarterback and one foot in a win-now mode with an aging Hall of Fame signal caller.

I think the Packers also made one of the worst picks in the history of their franchise with their trade-up for Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round, but they followed it up with a disappointing Day 2. To start it off at the end of the second round, they selected Boston College running back A.J. Dillon, who is a backup at best to veteran Aaron Jones. Instead of Dillon, the Packers could have selected offensive line help like Josh Jones or wide receiver help in the form of Lynn Bowden or Bryan Edwards. Any of those three would have offered a more immediate contribution than Dillon.

The next selection was a receiving tight end in Josiah Deguara. While Deguara wasn’t a terrible pick, he was a third-day prospect and a slight reach in Round 3. Once again, some better options were available, including Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who has a better skill set than Deguara, but Okwuegbunam comes with off-the-field issues. There also were some worthy offensive line prospects like Connecticut offensive tackle Matt Peart (Giants), TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang (Chiefs), LSU offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles (Redskins), and Georgia guard Solomon Kindley (Dolphins). All of them would have been good picks for Green Bay.

On Day 3, the Packers got some potential backups in Minnesota linebacker Kamal Martin, Michigan guard Jon Runyan, Oregon center Jake Hanson, Indiana guard Simon Stepaniak, TCU cornerback Vernon Scott and Miami defensive end Jonathan Garvin. The fifth-round pick and the three sixth-round offensive linemen were taken over Auburn’s Prince Tega Wanogho, who has the skill set of a top-16 left tackle. With three picks in the sixth round, Green Bay really had nothing to lose by taking Wanogho and only massive upside to gain if he panned out. Thus aside from the Love pick, I don’t think the Packers will have good talent to show for this draft class.

Team sources say that Jordan Love is a quiet and unassuming player. Pressure seemed to get to him in 2019, as he didn’t play nearly as well as he did in 2018. There is going to be insane pressure on him to play well immediately when he gets on the field. Packer fans have been irate about taking him over giving Rodgers some help to win a championship now. I’m not confident that pressure won’t get to Love along with general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur. It would not shock me if the Love pick goes down as one of the worst moves in the history of the franchise and a notorious pick in the history of the NFL Draft.

2019: Darnell Savage, S
2018: Jaire Alexander, CB
2017: Kevin King, CB
2016: Blake Martinez, LB
2015: Quinten Rollins, CB
2014: Carl Bradford, LB
2013: Eddie Lacy, RB


Future Depth Player

Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati – Round 3
The Packers will have Deguara compete with the likes of Jace Sternberger to be the long-term starter at tight end. It wouldn’t surprise me if both of them are just backup tight ends in the NFL though. Deguara showed some skill as a receiving weapon in college, but he is limited for the pro level. At 6-foot-2, 242 pounds Deguara is undersized and really doesn’t have the bulk necessary to block as a three-down starter. I could see Deguara being a solid No. 2 or 3 rotational tight end as a quality depth player but not a starter for Green Bay.

2019: Kingsley Keke, DE
2018: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR
2017: Vince Biegel, LB
2016: Dean Lowry, DE
2015: Brett Hundley, QB
2014: Jared Abbrederis, WR
2013: Johnathan Franklin, RB

Walt’s 2020 NFL Draft Grades:

26. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State – O’BRIEN Grade
Wow. This is terrible. The people on TV are comparing this to the Aaron Rodgers pick from 2005, but the difference is that Rodgers was considered a No. 1 overall pick prospect who just happened to fall. Jordan Love was never that good. Love is an extremely raw quarterback who has some major decision-making issues. He has high upside, but chances are that he flops. This, of course, means that the Packers aren’t helping Rodgers win now, so they might as well trade him. If I were a Packer fan, I’d be very disappointed right now, and I imagine Rodgers is quite upset as well.

Also, why the trade up? Whom were the Packers attempting to jump for Love? This is just a dumb pick.

62. A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College – O’BRIEN Grade
The Packers must have wanted Jalen Hurts because they reached for a running back with the Oklahoma quarterback off the board. The Packers don’t need a running back at all with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams on the roster, so there was absolutely no need to select a fourth-round running back prospect in the second round. If I were Aaron Rodgers, I’d demand a trade at this very moment.

94. Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati – BELICHICK’S DOG Grade
Is Bill Belichick’s dog doing the entire Green Bay draft? I don’t understand anything the Packers have done thus far. This pick is just awful. There were better tight ends available. I get that the Packers are filling a need, but they’re doing so with a prospect some teams thought would be available in the seventh round.

175. Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota – C- Grade
The Packers needed linebacker help, but they could’ve done better than this. I’ve had Kamal Martin in the seventh round as a special-teamer. His instincts as a linebacker are terrible, so he’ll have to play on fourth down only unless he really takes to coaching.

192. Jon Runyan Jr., G/OT, Michigan – B Grade
Jon Runyan Jr. performed well at the combine, and I eventually moved him into the seventh round. He has some potential to becoming a starter, and he has versatility, so I like this pick for the Packers. Finally.

208. Jake Hanson, C, Oregon – A Grade
I like this pick for the Packers, so they’ve finally rebounded. It’s too late, unfortunately. Nevertheless, Jake Hanson is a solid center who can eventually emerge as a starter if he improves his strength.

209. Simon Stepaniak, OT/G, Indiana – B Grade
The Packers continue to bolster their offensive line depth well with a player who is versatile. Simon Stepaniak can play guard or right tackle, and he projects as a good run blocker. Pass protection must improve, so he’s a project.

236. Vernon Scott, CB/S, TCU – C- Grade
I didn’t view Vernon Scott as a draftable prospect. He’ll be able to play on special teams, but I wouldn’t count on him making the 53-man roster.

242. Jonathan Garvin, DE/OLB, Miami – B+ Grade
Jonathan Garvin was a very inconsistent player at Miami. He has nice ability, so if he’s coached up, he could be a valuable rotational piece in the edge-rushing group.

2020 NFL Draft Team Grade: F . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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