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My GB Draft Board pt1

Offense

By Luke FosterPublished 12 months ago 15 min read
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My GB Draft Board pt1
Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

Disclaimer: I’m English. And never watched a single game of college football in my entire life. But one of my favourite aspects that separates American Football from its British counterparts is the draft system. I could, and probably at some point will, rant for hours on the system that brings in kids to a club from the age of 8, as the richest clubs with the best resources hoard swathes of these young children and cherry pick the best ones. There’s a reason that only 7 clubs have won the English Premier League in its 30 year history, 3 of those winning their first titles in the last 10 years.

I did warn that I can rant about this. Anyway, deep breath, and continue.

There are innumerate stats available for all aspects of player performance and measurables. Below are some of the players that have stood out for me, by both reports and tape. This is sorted by position, starting with the offense, with a brief description regarding need.

Quarterback:

Green Bay has a starting quarterback. No matter what happens in the draft, or barring a training camp catastrophe, Jordan Love will be QB1 in 2023. Green Bay have to give Love extended game time to see what it is that they have, and with the fickle and impatient nature of sports fans, drafting another quarterback on day 1 or 2 will see fans clamouring for a replacement the very first time Love makes a mistake. Behind Love, there is only one other QB on the roster, Danny Eitling spent last season on the practise squad, and so far hasn’t played a snap in a competitive game, so that backup position is open for competition, and taking a late round, developmental quarterback is a viable option.

Late Day 3 Picks:

Aiden O’Connell – Purdue – 6’ 3” 213lbs

Jake Haener – Fresno State – 5’ 11” 207lbs

Sean Clifford – Penn State – 6’ 2” 218lbs

There is a handful of suitable options in the lower rounds to meet Green Bay’s needs this year. All the signal callers listed are developmental prospects, their respective ceilings are projected by the experts to be backups, and they have their own unique strengths and flaws.

O’Connell comes out of a good program, Purdue has a solid history of developing quarterbacks, and O’Connell’s tape shows flashes of good throws into tight windows in the middle of the field. The biggest negative mark is a lack of arm strength, and he displays little ability to push the ball outside the numbers or down the field thus far.

It was expected that Jake Haener would declare for last years draft, but he instead headed back to Fresno for his senior year. He displayed fantastic ball security, racking up an excellent 20:3 touchdown to interception ratio. Haener is undersized for an NFL quarterback, which wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but he lacks the necessary pocket mobility to avoid pressure and could lead to some hard knocks.

Penn State finished the year ranked the seventh best team in the country in 2022, Sean Clifford’s fourth full year as a starter. An interesting prospect as he is one of the more experienced college QB’s, meaning that he will more likely have the necessary temperament to not be phased by his entry into the pro game. Experts grade Clifford as good but not great in almost all areas and a capable backup and traditional pocket passer. It is likely that the term ‘game manager’ is likely to be thrown around when describing Clifford as he isn’t considered to have the chance creation qualities needed to be thought of as a QB1 at NFL level.

Who I’d draft: Sean Clifford. Worth a flyer with a seventh round pick. An experienced hand for a rookie, and a capable scout team leader that should be able to step in on a limited basis if needed and keep the team afloat, if nothing else.

Running Back

Green Bay currently has one of the best running back duos in the NFL. Aaron Jones is a do-it-all back who has made a name for himself as a top player, and AJ Dillon is a true unit of a player who is improving in the passing game. The issue is that Jones is going to be 29 this year, which in running back terms is about 50, and Dillon is in the final year of his rookie contract, and would need a pay raise to stay into 2024. So whilst RB is one of the strongest positions on our team, now would be the time to retool. The current draft is not worth spending a high pick, if a running back is selected this year, they will likely be riding the bench behind our two starters, and a pick in the first three rounds should be more of an immediate contributor at this position.

Early Day 3 Picks:

Zach Charbonnet – UCLA – 6’ 0” 214lbs

Sean Tucker – Syracuse – 5’ 9” 207lbs

Late Day 3 Pick:

Evan Hull – Northwestern – 5’10” 209lbs

The running back position is an interesting one, and talent is a little thin at the top beyond Bijan Robinson, and Green Bay have bigger needs to address at that point.

I really like Charbonnet as a prospect. He is a big, hard-nosed runner who hits hard and fights for extra yards. He also has displayed the temperament and composure that the Packers look for in their players. The issue is when he will be drafted. He is projected as a late day 2 pick, and Green Bay have bigger concerns at this point. If he falls to pick 116, run to the podium.

Tucker is much more likely to be available at this time, and as the saying goes, speed kills. Tucker has genuine track star speed, and once he gets outside the tackles then he is gone. He has reliable hands in the passing game and works hard on the other aspects of his game. His smaller stature is going to force him down some draft boards, as he is never going to be renowned as a protector in passing situations, although he will certainly give it his all and is not afraid to throw himself into his blocks.

Don’t expect Evan Hull to change the world at the running back position, but don’t count him out just yet. He had an excellent combine and has thrived on proving doubters wrong. He is strong and fast, showcasing power running with receiving reliability. It may be that the bubble bursts at some point, his production took a downturn in 2022, but in the right scheme he may well have a shot at becoming a regular on an NFL roster, and looks good value for a seventh round pick.

Who I’d draft: Sean Tucker. A difficult decision as the three players selected all have excellent potential, but the more I see, the less likely that Charbonnet is available in the fourth round and my draft board has too many quality players at other positions to take an RB before day 3. I wouldn’t be mad if Hull was drafted as a development piece, but Tucker is the most likely player to make an impact.

Wide Receiver

Now we get to our first position of need. Christian Watson was a revelation down the stretch last season, tying the all-time rookie record for touchdowns, and Romeo Doubs looked like a fourth round steal. These two will start as our one and two options, but beyond this the Packers wide receiver room runs pretty thin. Reinforcements are needed, and the cap situation is too tight to get help from free agency. It seems like the entire NFL is in love with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and it is easy to see why, he will most likely be the first wide receiver off the board, and there’s probably about a 50/50 chance he’s still on the board when the packers pick at 13. I’m definitely not going to be mad if he ends up as a Packer, but he isn’t on my selections.

First Round Pick:

Jalin Hyatt – Tennessee – 6’ 0” 176lbs

Early Day 3 Pick:

Jayden Reed – Michigan State – 5’10 187lbs

Late Day 3 Pick:

Jadon Haselwood – Arkansas – 6’ 3” 215lbs

If you like your wide receivers with pace, Hyatt has it in spades. He clocked a 10.46 in the 100 metres in college, and to put that into perspective, that beats the time that more than half a dozen men that lined up for the 100m in the 2020 Olympics. Now that’s fast. I’ve got a little picture in my head of Hyatt and Watson having a race to the end zone and terrorising defensive backs. Now the problems, Hyatt’s size does not fit the profile of the receivers that Brian Gutekunst drafts, added to that he only has one full year of starter experience. Whilst Hyatt is a first round pick, unless you are certain that he is your guy, then 13 is too early to pick him.

Jayden Reed has good hands and despite his smaller stature he has a willingness to go up for high point and contested catches. He does his job in the blocking aspect and his body control allows for picking the right angles and bursting through tackles that aren’t perfect. It was thought that Reed may have declared for the 2022 draft where he had some traction of being a high pick but seems to be flying under the radar in 2023, perhaps his size is counting against him, but someone will take a chance on this college standout and a fourth round pick should secure him.

Jadon Haselwood doesn’t have many fans in this draft, and isn’t expected to hear his name called until at least round 6. He makes this list due to his similarity to a player that we have just lost in free agency, Allan Lazard. Haselwood is never going to be a WR1, but if you need a receiver to do the dirty work, he’s your guy. An active run blocker, and has the size and athleticism to take passes in congested areas. He’s not going to be a sexy pick, but he will fill a role that Green Bay have taken good advantage of in recent seasons.

Who I’d Draft: Jayden Reed, and its not even close. I’d love to see all three wearing green and gold next season, but in terms of value for pick, Reed is streets ahead. Reed also has a reputation for going to get balls that, delicately speaking, aren’t quite where they need to be. If you have any doubts about Love’s accuracy in his first season as a starter, then Reed is a must.

Tight End

It is a good year to need a tight end, as this is a deep class, with talent running down deep into the later rounds. And boy, do we need a tight end. Maybe two. Our current depth chart has only Deguara and Allen, neither of whom have proven to be a starter at this level so far. So tight end has to be addressed, and from the looks of it Green Bay could take any available option from rounds 1 – 4 and still end up with a good one, but maybe not a great one. My feeling is that none of the available TEs this year are worth the number 13 pick, but at least two will go in round one, if Green Bay wants one of those, then trade back and get your man, and an extra pick. Here are some of my favourites.

First Round Pick:

Dalton Kincaid – Utah – 6’ 3” 246lbs

Day 1/Day 2 Pick:

Darnell Washington – Georgia – 6’ 7” 264lbs

Luke Musgrave – Oregon State – 6’ 5” 253lbs

Kincaid is likely the best all-round athlete in this tight end class, and will go at some point in round one. He is an excellent pass catcher that takes in any pass that is within his impressive catch radius. Once the ball is in his possession, it is secure, as there are very few fumbles or drops on his tape. At 6’3 and 246 pounds, Kincaid could be seen as just a bulky wide receiver. There will be a focus on the run as this new offense finds its feet, and while another offensive weapon is nice, there are other aspects the position that may not be met by a smaller tight end.

The antithesis of Dalton Kincaid is man mountain Darnell Washington. The Georgia TE plays hard, and his A+ blocking skills beg a comparison with Green Bay’s big dog, Marcedes Lewis. Lewis is yet to re-sign with Green Bay this season, or sign elsewhere, and retirement is a serious option. So the idea of signing a Big Dog Jr is an appealing option late in the first or early second. If Washington is the pick, then Green Bay will have to double dip later in the draft, as Washington’s receiving production in college was bordering on non-existent.

For my third option, I wanted a do-it-all TE, someone who could provide balance between the dual duties of passing and blocking that the TE position requires. I looked at Michael Mayer, who could well be the first TE taken this year, but the draft range of Luke Musgrave fascinates me. He appears to be a day 2 pick, but I’ve seen him drafted as high as number 31 with the chiefs, but it seems to be agreed that Musgrave will not still be waiting for the call on Saturday. Musgrave is a long striding runner with short area burst and just enough speed to get up field. Not especially known for his blocking, he still has enough size to get himself in the way of oncoming pass rushers. As much as I’d like to see Luke Musgrave playing for Green Bay this year, it needs to be a the right price. If we are still looking for our tight end in round three, and he is available, then take him. If not, there are better value options out there.

Who I’d pick: Darnell Washington. Playing Washington would be like having a sixth lineman, without telegraphing the move so much. The old school, knockdown TE play has been popular in Green Bay, and there are pass catching TEs available on day 3, with players like Will Mallory out of Miami, or Cincinnati’s Josh Whyle.

Offensive Line

The Packers locked up pro-bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins in November to a 4 year deal, and the entire offensive line from last year is returning this year. That’s the end of the good news. Perennial all-pro David Bakhtiari is 32 years old and coming off a horrific injury that cost him a season and a half over the last two years. Beyond that, his cap hit is massive, and just gets bigger every year. There are good but not great players from centre to right tackle, and upgrades would not go amiss.

First Round Pick:

Broderick Jones – Georgia – 6’5” 311lbs

Day 2 Pick:

Joe Tippmann – Wisconsin – 6’6” 313lbs

Early Day 3 Pick:

Wanya Morris – Oklahoma – 6’5” 307lbs

There are some high quality offensive tackles in round one of this year’s draft, and Broderick Jones may be the best of the lot. Jones would likely be pencilled in as the starter at right tackle straight away, where his incredible strength and lateral movement would seal off the right side. He needs work finishing off his blocks, and improving his footwork, but that is to be expected with such a young player with so much upside.

Joe Tippmann is a centre with the athleticism to get all the way out to the numbers on outside run plays. A player that is able to win league MVP as an offensive lineman is beyond impressive, as he did in his final year of high school, and his reputation is of a smash mouth blocker that mauls defensive tackles. Tippmann also has the positional flexibility that Green Bay covets in its linemen. Being so tall, Tippmann could do with working on lowering his centre of gravity, as smaller defensive tackles are able to get under his pads and drive him back.

The idea that Wanya Morris has a round 4-5 projection seems hilarious to me. Morris has spent time on vaunted programs Tennessee and Oklahoma, and seems to have the size and traits to be a top NFL tackle. He has the length necessary to succeed in pass protection, and the lower body strength to anchor in the pass game and drive on running plays. Morris needs work on his balance and upper body but the tools are all there.

Who I’d Pick: Wanya Morris. I love the value that this pick offers, and Green Bay can afford to take an incomplete prospect like Morris because they have such a stable returning line from last year. So picking Morris on day 3, and giving him a year to learn from pros such as Green Bay has, and I’d expect him to be challenging for a starting tackle spot in 2024.

I have unfortunately ran out of time to get my defensive article finished before the draft starts. My board is in place but it takes me a couple of days to write these up. I may write it up anyway, but by then the draft will be complete and I’ll know if I did well.

Thank you for reading.

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About the Creator

Luke Foster

Father. New husband. Wannabe writer.

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