Green Bay Packers April Scouting Report
This month is a pre-draft report. But first a free agency update. The following have been signed by another team; WR Allen Lazard, DL Jarran Reed, ILB Kyrs Barnes, TE Robert Tonyan, and DL Dean Lowry. The following have been re-signed by the Packers; TE Tyler Davis, LB Eric Wilson, LB Justin Hollins, CB Keisean Nixon, CB Corey Ballentine, S Rudy Ford, and S Dailin Leavitt. Free agents signed by the Packers from other teams; S Tarvarius Moore and LS Matt Orzech. Restricted free agent OT Yosh Nijam has been tendered by the Packers, but Nijam has yet to sign it. Packer free agents without a home as of yet include; K Mason Crosby, S Adrian Amos, WR Randall Cobb, and TE Mercedes Lewis. I suspect the Packers will wait until after the draft and see how the QB Aaron Rodgers trade to the Jets works out first. But I don't think Cobb is returning even if the Packers $100 million in cap space - Green Bay is ready to move on from both Rodgers and Cobb - at a minimum.
The Packers have 10 picks as we of this writing. 1 in each of the first four rounds, 2 in the fifth, and 4 in the seventh. The national reporters, who try predicting what the Packers need in the NFL draft, are heavily favoring the following positions; a few at running back, a lot of wide receivers and offensive linemen, defensive line, edge rusher, and safety. NO ONE that I have read has mentioned the quarterback position - so that is where I will start. We all know by now that QB Jordan Love is the starter for this season. The backup as of now is QB Danny Etling - and those are the only two on the roster. Etling seems to play well in preseason games. While the media is ignoring this position, the Packers are actively scouting it. They have invited QB Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) and QB Sean Clifford (Penn State) in for pre-draft visits. They have also shown interest in QB Logan Bonner (Utah State) and QB Tanner McKee (Stanford). Tune in to the NFL draft to see if any end up in Green Bay. Next is the running back position. The Packers usually carry four. They currently have; RB Aaron Jones, RB AJ Dillion, RB Patrick Taylor, and RB Tyler Goodson. I think the Packers are good with that - but expect a couple undrafted guys to get them thru camp. A position of need is tight end. The Packers have; TE Josiah Deguara, TE Tyler Davis, TE Nick Guggemos, and TE Austin Allen on the roster. My guess would be that the Packers draft two. If I could arrange it the Packers would end up with both TE Darnell Washington (Georgia) and TE Dalton Kincaid (Utah) that would be 2 well rounded players. More likely they could end up with one. Other players that might be considered are TE Sam LaPorta (Iowa), TE Luke Schoomaker (Michigan), or TE Josh Whyle (Cincinnati). Another position of need is wide receiver. The Packers have WR Christian Watson, WR Romeo Doubs, WR Samori Toure, WR Bo Melton, and WR Jeff Cotton on the roster. The conventional wisdom is that they could use a veteran. But the Packers probably don't have the cap space to get anyone decent. I think there are at least two more draft picks on the way - and then a small group of undrafted free agents. I think they are interested in one of WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (OSU), WR Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee), or WR Quentin Johnston (TCU) early. Then add a receiver like WR Tyler Scott (Cincinnati) or WR Zay Flowers (Boston College) later. They might also have an interest in receivers like WR Andrei Iovivas (Princeton) or WR Dontayvion Wicks (Virginia) later as well. Next is the offensive line group. I don't think the Packers have a problem here. Even if OG Sean Rhyan and OG Jake Hanson don't improve, the Packers have enough players at the right positions to do very well. However, there are plenty of people having the Packers taking some in the draft. One interesting item is that OT Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), the grandson of former Lombardi era left tackle Bob Skoronski, might be available in the first round. If not him then maybe others like OT Paris Johnson (OSU) or OT Broderick Jones (Georgia). The Packers usually take their offensive linemen in third thru sixth rounds. We will see. On the defensive line the roster now consists of DL Kenny Clark, DL TJ Slaton, DL Devonte Wyatt, DL Jonathan Ford, and DL Chris Slayton. It is possible that either a premier pick would help guard against Clark leaving in free agency, or a depth pick will be made here. My suggestions are DL Mazi Smith (Michigan), DL Keeanu Benton (Wisconsin), or DL Dante Stills (West Virginia). At inside linebacker the roster includes; and ILB De'Vondre Campbell, ILB Quay Walker, and ILB Isaiah McDuffie and ILB Eric Wilson. There could be some depth coming in the draft. The cupboard in this draft is a little bare at inside linebacker. My one suggestion is someone like LB Jack Campbell (Iowa) who could play inside or outside. At outside linebacker the roster includes; OLB Preston Smith, OLB Rashan Gary, OLB Kingsley Enagbare, OLB Jonathan Garvin, OLB La'Darius Hamilton, and OLB Justin Hollins. Enagbare played well in Gary's absence. If Gary can't return from his ACL right away, look for a higher draft pick. The linebackers with speed come in at 6-2 in this draft. Taking one of those would mean that they could be moved inside, providing depth, when Gary returns. Suggestions would include LB Trenton Simpson (Clemson) or LB Nolan Smith (Georgia). In the case of LB Dorian Williams (Tulane) (mister defensive versatility himself), he could also help out at safety. At cornerback the roster has; CB Jaira Alexander, CB Eric Stokes, CB Rasul Douglas, CB Shemar Jean-Charles, CB Kiondre Thomas, CB Tyrell Ford, CB Benjie Franklin, CB Keisean Nixon, and CB Corey Ballentine. The numbers are there, if the quality is deemed missing, there will be a draft pick. My one suggestion is CB Darius Rush (South Carolina). At safety the roster includes; S Darnell Savage, S Innis Gaines, S Tarq Carpenter, S James Wiggins, S Dailin Leavitt, and S Rudy Ford. Again, the numbers are here, but there might be 2 picks here. Savage, Gaines, Wiggins, and Moore might be vulnerable. My draft suggestions are S Christian Young (Arizona) and S Daniel Scott (Cal). On special teams the roster currently includes; K Parker White, LS Jack Coco, LS Matt Orzech, and P Pat O'Donnell. Orzech will provide completion for Coco. Orzech also played on the Rams super bowl team. Place kickers to keep an eye on in this draft include K Jake Moody (Michigan), K Jack Podlesny (Georgia), and K Will Reichard (Alabama). If none of those are available, the Packers can always sign Crosby for another year.
Conclusion: The Packers roster is about to change - a lot. The Packer left tackle, OT David Bakhtari, said recently that this is a "rebuilding year" in Green Bay. He may not be wrong. The Packers could get more draft picks from the Jets once the trade deal is announced. And then the Packer GM could trade those picks for more picks or to get players he wants. I suspect the deal will be announced during the draft - whether it is in the 1st or 2nd round. This draft will have a lot of interest for most Packer fans because it determines the course the Packers will follow into the future. Just to be sure you know, the 2023 NFL draft will be held on Thursday, April 27th, thru Saturday, April 30th. Look at nfl.com for times. Here is where I usually tell fans to get there munchies ready for the event. We may not have any control over what our team does, but at least we can do our part to eradicate hunger during the draft. Until next time ...
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