Handing out Packers Draft Grades for every Green Bay selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, from Lukas Van Ness through Grant DuBose.
Few people truly knew what to expect from the Green Bay Packers in the 2023 NFL Draft as it was the first tentpole moment for the franchise since they officially started a new chapter in the franchise’s rich history by trading Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. Now, it’s the start of the Jordan Love era — but how would it start in the draft was the question.
Frankly, it was more of what we’ve come to expect. The Packers ignored offensive weapons, despite a need, in the first round by selecting Iowa pass-rusher Lukas Van Ness. The good news for Green Bay and Love, though, is that general manager Brian Gutekunst and the franchise then went aggressively on the offensive side of the ball on Day 2 and throughout most of the rest of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Now that their selections have concluded, though, the bigger question is if they got it right. While the results on the field will be more telling, based on what we do know, let’s hand out our Packers draft grades for every selection that Green Bay made in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Green Bay Packers Draft Grades 2023: Rating every 2023 draft pick
Packers Draft Grades for Lukas Van Ness: B+
The initial reaction to seeing a Packers team in need of offensive weapons to put around Love as he takes over for Rodgers take a defensive player in the first round for what feels like the 40th year in a row is obviously going to be negative. I get that and it stands to reason why fans would be initially upset at the selection.
Lukas Van Ness has a lot of projection to him as a prospect, particularly considering he never officially started a game at Iowa (though that’s a bit misleading as it’s a formality for the Hawkeyes to “start” veterans while Van Ness played the majority of snaps). He still had 14.0 sacks for Iowa over the past two years, though, and shows a ton of potential.
Looking at his 6-foot-5, 272-pound frame, he clearly fits the mold of what the Packers like to put on the edge as pass-rushers, and his physical tools only make that more so. He’s big, strong, long, and exceptionally explosive and fast for a player his size. He needs development in terms of a pass-rush plan and with his rush moves too but the groundwork is already laid for a great pass-rusher overall.
As Rashan Gary makes his way back from a torn ACL suffered in November, Van Ness could see the field early, which could be good for his development. More importantly, though, with Preston Smtih perhaps playing his last season in Green Bay, Van Ness can largely take steps forward as a rookie before taking over opposite of Gary on the edge in the 2024 season.