Mason Thompson | April 28th, 2020
The Green Bay Packers came into draft weekend with a surprising amount of needs for a team that just went 13-3 and was a game away from the Super Bowl. Their two biggest needs were at wide receiver and linebacker, where the team seemed to have put a bandaid over those positions with the additions of Christian Kirksey and Devin Funchess. As a Packers fan, I was beyond excited to see how the draft turned out in this loaded receiver class. Let’s see how they addressed their needs, including a trade-up in the first round.
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Round 1, Pick 26: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
When the Packers traded up with the Dolphins, I was sure it was for Patrick Queen. Instead, the Packers opted to look to the future by taking Aaron Rodgers‘ replacement and backup for now. Green Bay, instead of helping Rodgers now, opted to get his future replacement, who will only see the field in cleanup action or if Rodgers gets hurt until 2022. Queen went two picks later to Baltimore, who had a great draft themselves. While Love was my second-best quarterback in the class, I don’t like the pick that much as some do, but I also don’t hate it as much as others do. The Love pick resulted in my own hat being thrown across the room, which will be used as a counter for the rest of the picks.
Thrown Hat Count: 1
Full Scouting Report on Love here.
Round 2, Pick 62: A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
After taking a predecessor for Rodgers, the team took a bruising running back in the second round with the selection of Dillon. Both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have expiring contracts after this year, which was why I had running back as a potential need heading into the draft. Dillon figures to mostly be used on third downs in Green Bay this year, as his 900 college carries is already quite the workload heading to the professional level. The biggest impact that Dillon will make is if Jones sits out looking for a new contract. Willie Gay was selected a pick later by Kansas City, Logan Wilson by Cincinnati three picks later, as well as Josh Jones ten picks later. I like Dillon as a player, but this was a huge reach.
Full Scouting Report on Dillon here.
Thrown Hat Count: 2
Round 3, Pick 94: Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati
It was a shot through some hearts as Devin Duvernay went two picks before this selection to the Ravens, which led to this selection. I am a firm believer that Jace Sternberger is very capable of carving out a role as Green Bay’s starting tight end. Well, that took a blow with the selection of Deguara, who many thought as a fifth-round pick at best, including myself. He is more of a fullback, as he played the position at the Senior Bowl instead of tight end. The pick made no sense and was a horrific reach.
Thrown Hat Count: Not Worth The Energy Anymore
Round 5, Pick 175: Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota
This was the first selection of the draft that made any sense at all. With Blake Martinez going to the Giants in free agency, it opened up a huge hole at linebacker, which there already was with Martinez in Green Bay. The Packers did sign Christian Kirksey, but he has struggled to stay on the field for the last two years. The depth behind Kirksey isn’t great either with third-round bust Oren Burks and Ty Summers as the only players behind Kirksey. Martin could find his way as the team’s second linebacker depending on Mike Pettine’s thoughts on the other two young linebackers. This is a good pick based on need, but I had Justin Strnad, Evan Weaver, and Markus Bailey ranked higher, as well as skipping out on receivers such as Quez Watkins and James Proche.
Round 6, Pick 192: Jon Runyan, OG, Michigan
Runyan’s father was a great NFL player. Though there is a ton of upside with this pick, there is no need to add more depth to an interior offensive line that has a ton of depth behind starters Elgton Jenkins, Corey Linsley, and Billy Turner with Lane Taylor and Lucas Patrick as serviceable backups. The Packers needed more depth on the outside of the offensive line with questions at right tackle and David Bakhtiari‘s contract expiring after this year and Prince Tega Wanogho was there.
Round 6, Pick 208: Jake Hanson, C, Oregon
Along with Bakhtiari’s contract expiring, Linsley’s contract also expires following this year. Hanson has started since the middle of his redshirt freshman season and helped Justin Herbert out big time. If Linsley isn’t retained, Hanson could possibly be the starter at center next season.
Round 6, Pick 209: Simon Stepaniak, G, Indiana
Three sixth-round picks, three interior offensive linemen for Green Bay. His 37 reps during the bench press at the combine was the second-most out of any lineman at the combine. As I said earlier, it’s weird to make three straight selections on the strength of the offensive line, unless the Packers plan on moving Billy Turner to right tackle and placing Runyan at right guard, which would make the offensive line worse. I don’t understand this pick as much as the last two.
Round 7, Pick 236: Vernon Scott, DB, TCU
The Packers are set at the safety spot with Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage as the starters with Raven Greene finding time as a nickel linebacker. Scott can play safety as well as cornerback and while he does fill a need, I wish the Packers would’ve filled it a lot sooner. Green Bay had a visit with Scott’s teammate, Jeff Gladney, before the draft and the Packers opted to pass on him in the first round as he fell to Minnesota. Dane Jackson was on the board here as well and the Packers didn’t take him.
Round 7, Pick 242: Jonathan Garvin, EDGE, Miami
The last chance to take a wide receiver and the Packers didn’t take one, opting for a raw edge rusher instead. With the Smith’s and last year’s first-round pick Rashan Gary still developing, this didn’t make sense, especially with no receiver being taken yet. Garvin does have upside, but with the moves already made in the draft, this selection reflects those choices and not selecting a receiver even with the last pick, highly impacts this grade.
Well, that was interesting. The Packers didn’t address a need until the fifth round with the selection of Martin. Instead of helping Aaron Rodgers, they found his eventual replacement and used both day-two selections for Love’s development instead of using one or both selections on a receiver such as Laviska Shenault or Devin Duvernay. Green Bay is putting a lot of faith into young receivers Allen Lazard, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to develop with not taking a receiver during the draft. The Packers don’t have a slot receiver and will most likely use St. Brown as a bigger slot receiver. They selected Dillon and Deguara way too early and could’ve picked them on day three.
Packer fans have a right to be upset after perhaps the worst draft of any team this year as instead of drafting to help the team now, they drafted to help the team in the future.
Overall Grade: D
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