Final Packers Draft Primer: Everything You Need to Know
Draft day has arrived. Where does Green Bay pick? Who should the Packers draft? What do you need to know before the team goes on the clock?
Well, it’s finally here. The NFL draft has arrived, and all the speculation and guesswork can end. In a little more than 72 hours, the Packers will know what their 2017 draft class looks like. So here’s everything you need to know before sitting down and watching the Packers draft.
The Packers enter the draft with eight picks.
Green Bay will start with one pick in each of the seven rounds, while adding a second pick in Round 5. The fifth round compensatory pick (#182 overall) comes courtesy of losing Casey Hayward last offseason. The Packers’ draft kicks off at the end of Round 1 with the 29th overall pick. The team’s other draft slots include picks number 61, 93, 134, 172, 212, and 247. However, don’t expect the Packers to necessarily stay put with where they are.
Ted Thompson loves his draft picks, and this looks like a good year to potentially trade for more. The class remains deep at some of the team’s biggest positions of need. It seems possible that the Packers trade out of the first to acquire an extra pick (or two) in the draft’s later rounds. Still, Green Bay should find talented players available at #29. Their decision to stay put or trade back will revolve around whether the front office thinks they can get more value by sacrificing their first round selection.
The biggest Packers draft needs still fall on defense.
Green Bay won’t use all eight picks on defense, but that should remain their focus early in the draft. The team lacks a true shut-down cornerback. While it’s difficult to find a CB ready for that role from day one, the team needs to add to the defensive backfield to set itself up for future success.
The Packers also need to add some solid pass rushers. After losing Datone Jones and Julius Peppers, Green Bay will rely on veterans Nick Perry and Clay Matthews and second-year players Kyler Fackrell and Dean Lowry to generate pressure. That could work out, but the Packers would be wise to add an established edge rusher. T.J. Watt shows up a lot in mock drafts, and could be an option in the first round.
While Jake Ryan took a huge step forward in his second year and Blake Martinez showed promise as a rookie, the team should also solidify inside linebacker. That position has remained in flux for the past couple years, even forcing Matthews inside at one point. If Green Bay takes a versatile ILB with lots of upside, he could develop into a future solution at the position.
While not as urgent, Packers will add offensive skill position players.
Even though defense represents a bigger need, Thompson loves to bring in versatile offensive players. Running back is an actual need this year, as Ty Montgomery and Christine Michael remain (mostly) unproven as feature backs. Montgomery could very well turn into a legitimate RB, but Green Bay should add to the backfield in what looks like a deep class at the position. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Packers draft a RB in the third or fourth round.
Green Bay could also very well add yet another wide receiver to the mix. Thompson has selected at least one wide out in each of the last four years. It would likely come in the form of a late round pick who amounts to nothing more than a camp body. But don’t act surprised if the Packers add another piece at a position that’s far from a need.
The biggest offensive hole exists in the form of right guard. After losing T.J. Lang, the heir apparent on the roster looks like Don Barclay. It would make sense to add at the position in the draft, right? Well, Aaron Rodgers said earlier this week that he doesn’t think the Packers have to draft a lineman. Still, the Packers could add a mid-round selection to the mix of contenders to fill Lang’s spot. Thompson has had lots of success drafting linemen in the fourth round (Lang, Josh Sitton, David Bakhtiari, J.C. Tretter). A new name might get added to that list this year.
The NFL draft kicks off at 7 p.m. CT later tonight. If the pace remains similar to last year, expect Green Bay to pick a little after 9:30 p.m. Day two starts on Friday at 6 p.m. CT, and the final four rounds begin Saturday at 11 a.m. This year’s draft takes place in Philadelphia after the last two came in Chicago.