Though the Green Bay Packers remained steadfast amid various injuries and embarked on a magical run that culminated in a trip to the NFC Championship game last season, several underlying deficiencies revealed themselves throughout the 2019 season. In order for the Packers to return to prominence, they must sufficiently address areas of need in the upcoming NFL Draft. This updated 7-round Packers mock draft below attempts to address those needs. Version 1.0 of our Packers mock draft can be found on page 2.
Team Needs: WR, OT, ILB, G, QB
The 2020 NFL Draft will be a crucial test for the Green Bay Packers after their 2019 draft haul yielded them little production on the field. Rashan Gary is a questionable scheme fit and was a head-scratcher at 12, and as high as I am on Darnell Savage’s pro prospects, selecting him at 21 was a reach, even for me. Third-round tight end Jace Sternberger began his career on injured reserve due to a preseason injury but returned to appear in six games (one start). The rest of the class is little more than contributing depth pieces.
This year, it is imperative that Green Bay comes away with a viable second option in the passing attack with one of their first two picks, and they must make a concerted effort to add youth along the offensive line. While many of the building blocks that catapulted the team to a playoff berth still remain, there are glaring areas of opportunities that must be addressed in order to sustain success.
Round 1, Pick 30: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Whether it has been Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, or Jake Kumerow, Green Bay has struggled mightily to find the proper running mate opposite Davante Adams. Denzel Mims adds a different dynamic to the Packers passing attack, in that he possesses the requisite size and speed to defeat 1-on-1 coverage with regularity, to go along with the body control and catch radius to thrive in an offense with rocket-armed Aaron Rodgers and creative offensive mind Matt LaFleur at the helm. The Green Bay aerial attack will finally reach its full potential with this weaponry in place.
Round 2, Pick 62: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
Rick Wagner is now on the wrong side of 30 and the team will likely look to land his replacement here. At 6’5″ and 308 pounds, Prince Tega Wanogho is a talented, albeit raw prospect that is a bit of a late bloomer to the sport. The Auburn product is a fluid-mover in space and has the athleticism necessary to eventually man the left post for the next decade. In Green Bay, however, he will have the luxury of learning on the job and not being thrown into the fire right away.
Round 3, Pick 94: Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
Over the past two months, Logan Wilson has become one of the fastest risers of this draft class. At 6’3″ and 241 pounds, Wilson has the size and versatility to essentially play any of the three linebacker positions, but in Green Bay, he will man one of the two inside linebacker spots. Possessing lateral agility, range, instinctiveness, and rare coverage acumen for the position, Wilson has the makings of a three-down linebacker at the next level. Though the Packers recently added Christian Kirksey to their linebacking stable, his current running mate, Oren Burks, is best suited to be a rotational player. By my estimation, Wilson could conceivably come off the board anywhere from pick 75-100, so landing him here feels like tremendous value.
Round 4, Pick 136: James Morgan, QB, Florida International
The lack of a developmental arm behind Rodgers is mildly concerning, especially given his advanced age. The Packers may find his eventual successor in Green Bay native James Morgan. Morgan, who grew up idolizing Packers legend Brett Favre, has enjoyed an immensely productive pre-draft cycle, including standout showings at the East-West Shrine Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. Morgan’s big arm, innate leadership, and ability to make every throw makes him awfully enticing in this spot, and given his recent buzz, teams won’t be able to wait on Morgan.
Round 5, Pick 175: Darryl Williams, G, Mississippi State
The Packers could stand to see a much-needed revamp in the trenches. While they won’t be able to initiate the full makeover in one offseason, adding a tackle at the top of this class and Darryl Williams, an interior mauler with tantalizing upside, feels like a good place to start. Williams, a three-year captain and three-year starter, put together a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Bowl. Not particularly heralded as a twitchy guard known for his lateral movement and burst, Williams is an experienced, savvy lineman that is physical at the point of attack and offers center versatility.
Round 6, Pick 192: Tyrie Cleveland, WR, Florida
Perhaps the most gifted of a highly-touted quartet of Florida pass catchers, Tyrie Cleveland was never able to emerge from the pack during his four-year career. Despite his size and downfield speed, Cleveland was never consistent enough to become a prominent fixture in the Gators’ offense. In fact, teams were enamored enough by Cleveland, that he became a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster as an injury replacement.
Cleveland enjoyed a good week in Mobile, winning many of his one-on-one matchups, showcasing his releases off the line and ability to track the ball down the field. Known as a special teams maven at Florida, Cleveland could be selected in this spot for that skill alone, but it’s his downfield presence that makes him an enticing addition to a Packers roster largely absent of speed.
Round 6, Pick 208: James Smith-Williams, North Carolina State
Even with the Smith’s entering their prime and young Gary waiting in the wings, the Packers could still stand to bolster their pass rush, and adding James Smith-Williams in the sixth-round is simply too enticing to pass up. Multiple season-ending injuries are the primary culprit responsible for Smith-Williams’ draft tumble, but the 6’4″ 265-pound edge rusher plays with imposing strength to anchor and set the edge against the run, and is patient when working his moves as a rusher. The intriguing edge rusher ran an impressive 4.6-second 40-yard dash and 7.35-second three-cone drill in Indianapolis, so there are some obvious athletic traits that would make him an attractive option as a low risk/high reward pick.
Round 6, Pick 209: Cheyenne O’Grady, TE, Arkansas
For Green Bay, the tight end position has become something of a carousel as of late. Richard Rodgers, Jared Cook, Jimmy Graham, and Marcedes Lewis are just a handful of the names that have lined up at the position in recent years. Cheyenne O’Grady, 6’4″ and 253 pounds, finished his Arkansas career ranked first in all-time touchdowns for tight ends. The athletic pass-catcher doesn’t have breakaway speed, but boasts next-level ball skills and is a terror after the catch. If he lands in the right system, O’Grady can be a contributing piece to an offense as a rookie.
Round 7, Pick 236: Tyler Bass, K, Georgia Southern
Mason Crosby turns 36 prior to the start of the regular season. While kickers tend to have a much longer shelf life than most players, the Packers will likely want to have his replacement in place sooner than later. Tyler Bass connected on 93 percent of his kicks from 30 to 50 yards last season and has enough leg to regularly boot the ball out of the end zone for touchbacks. If they don’t secure Bass with one of their final picks, they risk losing him as a priority free agent.
Round 7, Pick 242: Carter Coughlin, LB, Minnesota
Carter Coughlin, a Shrine Bowl participant, was one of the prominent players on a Minnesota defense that helped propel the program to an 11-2 record. A tad undersized for the edge rusher role that he occupied for the Gophers, Coughlin’s likely position will be as a linebacker in the NFL. The 6’3″ 236 pounder ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and appeared fluid enough during the on-field portion of the drills to feasibly make the transition. An ideal late-round flier, Coughlin possesses the frame and skill set to make his mark on special teams in training camp and can potentially graduate to a larger role in time.