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Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: Packers

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

 

No. 1 Team Need: Inside linebacker

 

Silva's Analysis

 

The Packers were in such bad shape at inside linebacker last season that they moved top edge-pass rusher Clay Matthews there in a number of defensive packages. They've since released Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk, also letting Jamari Lattimore walk in free agency. 2013 seventh-round pick Sam Barrington and a slew of guys who have never played an NFL defensive snap are left behind. Green Bay's run defense has been up and down throughout the Dom Capers era. You could argue the Packers need two new starters at inside linebacker.

 

No. 2 Team Need: Cornerback

 

Silva's Analysis

 

The Packers lost Davon House and long-time starting LCB Tramon Williams in free agency. Sam Shields is entrenched at right cornerback with Micah Hyde in the slot. Casey Hayward possesses the physical gifts to develop into a quality starting left corner, but is a question mark after only earning dime back duties last year. Depth is a particularly big concern at cornerback. The Packers may not use a high draft pick on the position, but I wouldn't be surprised to see GM Ted Thompson select multiple corners in the middle and late rounds.

 

No. 3 Team Need: Defensive line

 

Silva's Analysis

 

Nose tackles B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion are both on one-year deals. RE Datone Jones took major strides as a pass rusher in 2014 following a miserable rookie season, but hasn't emerged as more than a situational player, even playing fewer snaps last year than Josh Boyd. The Packers simply need a talent infusion in the trenches, and would ideally find a long-term nose tackle in the draft. Although he utilizes certain down linemen in aggressive ways as well, Capers comes from the two-gapping school of 3-4 defensive minds.

Norris’ Mock Draft:

Round 1 (30): DL Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma - This would be a surprising first-round selection. There is always at least one, but the stars kind of align here. One, it is a need. Two, Oklahoma’s co-DC left the school to join the Packers’ staff. Three, Phillips is a unique player who can offer tremendous push and power with a large frame.

Round 2 (62): LB Denzel Perryman, Miami - Perryman can be an outstanding run stuffing linebacker. He actually told me he doesn’t see the point of working around blocks. Instead he wants to thump blockers or ball carriers in the running lane. That works against the run, but misdirection and coverage snaps give Perryman plenty of issues. The Packers need someone who wins in the areas Perryman thrives in.

Round 3 (94): CB Josh Shaw, USC - A corner who is best in press situations. Shaw likes to use his length and height to stick with receivers along the sideline and attack the catch point. He tested like one of the best athletes at the position as well.

Round 4 (129): TE Tyler Kroft, Rutgers - Teams can get hung up on certain pieces of the evaluation process. Kroft dealing with an ankle injury during the season and Combine (thanks to medical checks) might be a piece that sticks out and allows the tight end to stay on the board. I know Richard Rodgers was selected last year, but an inline tight end would fit in 12 personnel.

 

Round 5 (166): EDGE Davis Tull, UT-C - Tull put up ridiculous testing numbers despite a hamstring injury. Now he is dealing with a labrum issue, per Rapsheet. He needs refinement, but Tull would offer explosion and depth to an edge rushing unit that has multiple contracts ending soon.

Round 6 (206): LB Zach Vigil, Utah State - With a run stuffer already selected, Vigil could help in passing situations. As Evan pointed out, the team basically has nothing at the position besides Sam Barrington.

Round 6 (210): RB Tyler Varga, Yale - Varga is a really interesting prospect who can be a utility player in the backfield. He is very comfortable on third downs as a pass protector, which is a difficult trait to find in prospects.

Round 6 (213): CB Damian Swann, Georgia - Swann played all over the defensive formation for Georgia. Outside corner, slot corner, even some linebacker - Swann displayed aggression from each spot and is an effective blitzer.

Round 7 (248): OL Takoby Cofield, Duke - Footwork is not Cofield’s strength. Neither is an athletic lower half. Plenty of value can be found in seventh round offensive linemen, and Cofield at least has strength to rely on.

 

Packers Current Offensive Depth Chart

 

QB: Aaron Rodgers

RB: Eddie Lacy

WR: Jordy Nelson

WR: Randall Cobb

WR: Davante Adams

TE: Andrew Quarless

LT: David Bakhtiari

LG: Josh Sitton

C: Corey Linsley

RG: T.J. Lang

RT: Bryan Bulaga

 

Packers Current Defensive Depth Chart

 

LE: Datone Jones

RE: Mike Daniels

NT: Letroy Guion

OLB: Clay Matthews

OLB: Julius Peppers

ILB: Sam Barrington

ILB: Carl Bradford

CB: Sam Shields

CB: Casey Hayward

FS: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

SS: Morgan Burnett

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .