We’re still very early in this process so I thought to get the ball rolling I’d do a little thought experiment. I wanted to lay out our starters and give them what I thought were fair grades based on Pro Football Focus (For some I used their 2018 grades, for others I averaged out their years), and then made a list of our biggest needs for 2019.
Not surprisingly, that yields a much different list than if we took a poll of Packers fans on Twitter. Below is my list (minus the grades) from worst to best.
I know seeing King (and probably Williams) as the worst starter(s) we have is going to throw Packers fans into a rage but just remember a few things. First, he’s always been a project and has rarely been healthy. Second, it’s just a fun experiment. Finally, if all else fails, send a strongly worded email to PFF with your thoughts and feelings.
Round 1 Pick 12
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
I’ve never actually mocked Fant to the Packers before, primarily because I can’t see the Packers making tight end this big of a priority and more specifically because not drafting an edge rusher here seems like a sin.
In reality, however, as much as it isn’t my favorite thing of all time, Fant would not only upgrade our tight end group and add youth, he would be an instant upgrade as a receiving weapon for Rodgers, who has seen his weapons dwindle the last few years.
Beyond that, as far as why Fant, my only other option that was a good value on our board was Byron Murphy, corner out of Washington. I was tempted to pull the trigger but I just can’t imagine playing Murphy, Breeland, and Alexander and then having 2 2nd round corners in King and Jackson sitting on the bench waiting for someone to get hurt.
Round 1 Pick 30
Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
This pick isn’t great based on my experiment but the board just isn’t working in our favor. There are no corners, safeties, guards, or wide receivers available until we get to #39 on our board Deebo Samuel. Allen is our 35th ranked player and we just took Fant in the first round so, even though an edge rusher is 9th on our list, it wasn’t really that tough of a decision.
Round 2 Pick 45
Taylor Rapp, FS, Washington
Once again I have to decide if I want to take a corner and I decided to pass. Our CB3 position has a lot of potential in King and Jackson, as well as Brown. I’m thinking I’m just going to neglect it and see how it goes.
With that said, free safety is a really big need (2nd on our list), even if you love Tramon, due to his age and our lack of depth.
If Rapp can pan out and we can get one of either King, Jackson, or Brown step up as a #3, the Packers could have a really incredible DB group.
Round 3 Pick 76
Ross Pierschbacher, OG, Alabama
This was a tough call. Guard is our next biggest need assuming we continue to neglect CB3, but there was a wide receiver sitting right at #76. Ultimately it came down to two factors. First, Fant relieves some stress on me to get a WR2, and 2nd, I would like a boundary guy with the ability to stretch the field. Hakeem Butler is 6’6 but not much of a vertical threat.
With that, it’s time we start fixing this offensive line. We have very little talent in our starters, we have no depth, Rodgers is sacked too much, and Aaron Jones could use at least a little help running the ball.
Round 4 Pick 109
Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR, North Carolina
Choosing what position to take wasn’t very difficult but I did have a hard time choosing which wide receiver to draft. Stanley Morgan was ranked a little higher but I wanted to choose the better fit. Both are considered talented as vertical threats but Williams also is a talented kick returner. The potential prospect of replacing Trevor Davis was too good to pass up here.
Round 4 Pick 111
Levonta Taylor, CB, Florida State
This could have gone 1 of two ways based on our board (okay 3 if we trade but that isn’t for today). We can take a RB and add some depth or address corner.
There were a ton of corners and none of the running backs were the kind of back I wanted to invest in for the Packers.
As far as this specific pick, Taylor is not only the top guy available but is seen as one of the better corners in all of college football right now. Why he is currently seen as the 111th best player in college, I’m not sure but I’m thinking the fact that he’s 5’10 has something to do with it.
If we’re going to go corner, let’s go late and let’s go high upside.
Round 5, Pick 140
Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
I’m not super thrilled with the pick but it works on a few levels. Bulaga will be gone after 2019, Spriggs is a big question mark, and depth behind Spriggs doesn’t exist.
That said, tackle is currently 4th on our list of priorities, and Prince is a slight reach but it is what it is.
Round 6, Pick 173
Jordan Brailford, EDGE, Oklahoma State
Again, a bit of a reach as far as our list of priorities, but I don’t mind the pick. Edge rusher is a higher priority and nobody else at #173 really jumped out at me.
Jordan will be a long shot to start over Perry, Fackrell, and now Zach Allen, but depth is also a bit of an issue that hopefully Brailford can help with that.
Round 6, Pick 185
Delvon Randall, SS, Temple
Yes we’re drafting a safety named Randall. No we aren’t converting him to corner. Calm yourself.
Safeties, and especially strong safeties are in short supply in this draft but our need and our draft board met up nicely here. I’m still hopeful that Josh Jones, who took a small step this year, can become a good player for the Packers but at this point we haven’t seen much to get excited about.
Even if he does, however, depth at safety is a pretty serious issue.
Round 7, Pick 204
Travis Homer, RB, Miami
Usually the 7th round is a throw away but I like this pick. RB is the 2nd highest need we have left after slot receiver and Homer is the kind of back I’ve been looking for.
With Homer we have a quick slippery back that can play a role in the passing game and allow Jones to do Jones things and Williams to do Williams things.
Below is the new depth chart (not a full 53 but starters and rookies) after the draft.
|WRS||Equanimeous St. Brown|
|RT||Brian Bulaga||Prince Tega Wanogho|
|RB||Aaron Jones||Travis Homer|
|LOLB||Nick Perry||Jordan Brailford|
|LCB||Kevin King||Levonta Taylor|
|SS||Josh Jones||Delvon Randall|