The Green Bay Packers nabbed Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson in free agency. How do they approach the draft after aggressively remaking the roster?
When the Packers promoted Brian Gutekunst to succeed Ted Thompson, a vocal portion of Packers Nation worried Gutekunst would be a Thompson clone. After a free agent frenzy, those fears should be put to rest, at least when it comes to hand-sitting when there are players who could help the team available to be signed.
But Cheeseheads may want Gutekunst to mirror Thompson in the draft. No one has been more successful created added value with trades in the draft and few have the kind of track record finding quality players in the mid and late rounds.
There’s also a rarely-mentioned part of Thompson’s draft history worth discussing: when the team comes off major failures, he’s shown a willingness to trade up for impact players. He did it in 2008 for Clay Matthews and in 2013 for Casey Hayward.
After the Damarious Randall trade, and a busy offseason from the Browns, the Packers have a league-high 12 selections in the draft. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, Green Bay can’t roster that many players. Look for a trade-up. Potentially even more than one this spring.
Here’s a look at how at least one of those could look in a post-free agency 7-round mock.
Round 1, Pick 14 — Marcus Davenport EDGE UTSA
Green Bay loves freaky athletes on the edge and Davenport more than qualifies, coming off a combine performance that compares with Jadeveon Clowney. Davenport is a power rusher who relies on his motor and strength to bully players. His explosiveness allows him to convert speed to power even when he’s not playing with ideal pad level.
He doesn’t always play with great pad level and lacks polish as a pass rusher, but his size ( 6’6 264) and athletic ability provide incredible upside. If he learns how to play with better leverage and technique, he can be a monster.
Luckily for him, and for the Packers, Green Bay doesn’t need him to carry their pass rush in Year 1, but by Year 2 he could and by Year 3 he could be a Pro Bowl player.