The Green Bay Packers have experienced an unprecedented lack of success in the last couple of years. But with a new regime in town, the Packers believe they have the goods to contend for a Super Bowl right now.
The front office of the Green Bay Packers had a crucial decision to make ahead of the 2019 NFL draft: Draft for immediate need or build a roster for longevity in the Matt LaFleur era. With ten picks coming into the draft the organization was in a prime position to go either way. Now that the draft is over and the picks have all been made, it is clear what path the franchise chose to go down. Green Bay is all in on winning right now.
Heavy on the defensive side of the ball
Of Green Bay’s eight selections in the 2019 NFL draft, five were on the defensive side of the ball. That included their two first-round picks Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage. This defensive aggression in the draft was consistent with how they handled free agency as well. Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and Adrian Amos were all signed by Green Bay this offseason and will play critical roles on that defense in 2019.
The heavy defensive emphasis this offseason is sending a clear message that the Packers are planning to reload around Aaron Rodgers and give him all the tools to help deliver a championship. Since winning the Super Bowl in 2010, Rodgers hasn’t had a strong defense to alleviate the pressure put upon him. The front office made a huge investment this offseason to make sure that trend doesn’t continue.
Green Bay chose not to draft a quarterback
With his age and recent injury problems, many believe that the championship window for Aaron Rodgers is rapidly shutting. While he still has three years left on his contract, there was speculation that this would be the year the team would start to look towards the future.
Nobody expected them to pull the trigger at pick 12 on a quarterback, but maybe at 30? Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network had Drew Lock going to Green Bay with that pick in his last mock draft, and come draft night the Packers had an opportunity to take him. They instead traded up with Seattle to take Savage. Then again on day two, they had a chance to move ahead of Denver in round two to grab Lock. Still, they didn’t pull the trigger. They even had the opportunity to draft Will Grier in the third round but decided against that as well.
It’s easy to see why they didn’t want to take a quarterback in the first round. Rodgers still has three years left on his deal, and quite frankly the 2019 quarterback class wasn’t all that good. But by the time round two and three came around, there would have been relatively little harm in taking a flyer on a guy like Lock or Grier.
If the organization had any doubt whatsoever of Rodgers’ future, they would have certainly taken the insurance of a round two or three quarterback. It could be that the team feels confident in the abilities of Deshone Kizer, especially considering his ties to LaFleur. But after what he has shown his first two years in the league, that is highly unlikely. Green Bay sent a strong message in this year’s draft that they believe Aaron Rodgers still has plenty left in the tank. They will surely try to milk that in the years to come.
What can we expect in 2019?
Green Bay has had an unprecedented lack of success in the last couple of years. Despite that, the organization made an obvious statement this offseason that they believe the team can win now. Was that the right move or should they have chosen to build towards longevity?